Time to Get Out in the Garden

Now that the last frost of winter is behind us, the time has come to get out in the garden to prepare for the growing season ahead. JANE McCORKELL and ALAN RUDDEN share their tips for gardening this weekend. 

 ‘Between St Patrick’s Day and Easter is the best time to start cleaning up after winter,’ says Jane McCorkell, the multi-decorated landscape architect who has won several awards at Bord Bia Bloom.  

 ‘Now is the time to clear the soil and prune the plants so that everything can start growing again. If you are heading to the garden centre, try not to impulse buy. Don’t just pick up something because it’s the only thing in flower now. Think about where you want to plant it in your garden and how it will change in the coming weeks. Often the worse a plant looks in the garden centre, the better it will be when it gets in the soil. You should go beyond annuals and start thinking about perennials. Consider what will work in your garden in the different seasons so you have something of interest throughout the year.’ 

The Bee Positive Show Garden at Bord Bia Bloom 2019, designed by Jane McCorkell in collaboration with Fingal County Council and TU Dublin Blanchardstown 

 Alan Rudden, garden designer and fellow Bord Bia Bloom medallist, agrees that the time is right to start planting.

 ‘Start pruning and clearing straight away if you haven’t done so already. It’s too late for bulbs but now that the last of the frost is gone it’s safe to start getting plants in the soil. If you’re planning a new border, visit your local garden centre and don’t just buy one plant, buy 10 or 15. Always do a mixed planting scheme but think about how the different plants will work together.  

The Vina Doña Paula – A Matter of Altitude Garden designed by Alan Rudden at Bord Bia Bloom 2019 

 ‘Recently I have started knitting edibles like rosemary and thyme into my borders rather than keeping them in their own separate area. While I have found that it works very well it’s important to keep an eye on the size of the plants. For instance, you can get a pot of rosemary in a supermarket and while it looks very neat at first it will get very big in the soil. Think about where you are going to plant it so that it doesn’t take over the space.’ 

Jane McCorkell and Alan Rudden are both designing show gardens for Bord Bia Bloom this year. Don’t miss out on this year’s event – book your tickets in advance here.