Focus Corner


Author Profile : Ian Gomersall (http://gardening.ie/)

Ian Gomersall lives in Inishowen and studied Amenity Horticulture. He has experience in working in Horticultural Therapy, running a plant nursery and garden design. He set up -www.gardening.ie -a web site dedicated to organic gardening a few years ago and continues to tinker with the content. There's recently been a forum and classified section added.

cordyline frost damage

Cordylines – Don’t Panic!

March 17th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

By all accounts garden waste recycling centres are full of dead cordylines. We didn’t know it at the time, but a few weeks ago when the cold snap was upon us, anyone who didn’t put some form of protection like an old sack around their prized specimens and tied them up, risked losing them to the frost. Ours was about fifteen years old and you would think it was hardy enough to withstand the winter. We were wrong. The devastating damage only became apparent about a month after the worst of the weather had gone. The usually upright growth of… Read More »

filling a sock

Barley Grow

March 3rd, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

Foot Warmers During the cold spell we took positive action to keep warm. I got a bit fed up of looking at the oil level in the tank going down like the barometer mercury and layered up. I have a thick cardigan with a fluffy hood which I have worn since before December last and will probably be with me for some time yet (I do wash it occasionally). Another measure I took to keep my feet warm in bed was to fill old socks up with barley, we have plenty of odd ones so it gives them a use… Read More »

2010 entrants

RTÉ Super Garden are on the lookout for a Super Gardener

January 26th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

I thought this might be of interest to any budding garden designers…… NEW SERIES OF ‘SUPER GARDEN’ COULD YOU BE A SUPER GARDENER? Are you passionate about gardening? Is it your ambition to be a garden designer? Do you dream of winning a Gold Medal at Chelsea? ‘Super Garden’ is seeking 5 amateur garden designers to compete for the title of ‘Super Gardener’  in the new RTÉ  series, to be broadcast in May 2011. A passion for gardening is a must, as is creative flair, and the ability to design a garden to a budget and deadline. So if you… Read More »

fir cone

Predicting the weather

January 15th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

When I was younger, I was told that pine cones could forecast the weather as they change shape according to whether it is wet or dry. In dry weather, pine cones open out as the scales shrivel up and stand out stiffly. When it is damp, they absorb moisture and as the scales become flexible again, the cone returns to its normal shape. I used to keep a fir cone near my back door and they were pretty reliable.  Nature is good like that and can give us far more indications of the weather, not only for that day, but… Read More »

cold remedies

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

January 15th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

Keep out the colds I think that getting a cold is nature’s way of telling you to slow down and look after yourself.  Some might even say that we need a cold every year to clean out our systems, a human oil change if you like, and to build up our immune system.  Billions of euro are spent every year, giving big pharmaceutical companies our money in the hope of alleviating the discomfort or with a promise of avoiding the colds altogether.  I’m not saying that colds, and especially flu isn’t dangerous, far from it, medical intervention is probably needed… Read More »

birdhouse

Winter gardening fun for children

January 11th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

MEETING YOUR NEEDS I never noticed, or remember bad weather days when I was a child. I also can’t imagine being hot when my toes feel like icicles. It’s no doubt a safety feature we have built into us so we don’t suffer unnecessarily. Imagine being able to feel toothache when you don’t have it…not nice at all. There must have been days when I just couldn’t go out though and I also must have found things to do to occupy myself. I remember having a day off school because of an illness when I was about six. This must… Read More »

flooding-garden

Flooding in the garden

January 8th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

COPING WITH A FLOODED GARDEN More and more people are getting concerned about flooding and the damage it causes. No house is really safe, although the severity of the floodwater will differ depending on where you are.  Although we escaped the severity and distress of the damage, there have been floods in Inishowen with Greencastle being the worst hit.  The issues of why this is happening are open to debate…Global Warming and the fact that we have been building on flood plains are just two theories.  Whatever the reasons our hearts go out to the families who have been so… Read More »

giy group meeting at Harry's bar

Inishowen joins GIY Ireland

December 18th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I’m walking into Harry’s Bar in Bridgend.  It’s not often I venture out into  bars,  but tonight is something a bit special. It’s the first meeting of the new Inishowen GIY (Grow It Yourself) group.  The GIY movement was  started in 2008 by Irish Times Journalist and author Michael Kelly as a non profit making venture in Waterford. The idea is help people find out more about growing their own produce and has quickly spread nationwide with over 80 groups forming around the country. Link to this post!

tit

Feed the Birds

December 13th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I am sitting at the computer finding inspiration for this week’s article when there is a thud at the window. The kids are off school with the snow so we all go over and open the window. A wee bird is lying looking a bit dazed in the snow. One of the lads goes out and comes back in, hands cupped and a wee pair of eyes looks up. The bird is popped into a furry slipper and left there to recover. This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few wee chirps emanate from the wee thing. We… Read More »

fine looking sieve 1_1

Digging in the dirt

November 2nd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

We ran out of room in the veggie patch this year. I’m not sure why really as we more or less grew the same things as the previous years. Maybe it was the extra large pumpkins that took up the room, or the weeds. Whatever the reason for the lack of space, I have decided to expand. Acting impulsively I sift through this week’s edition of the Dealer to see who is selling topsoil, a vital commodity in my expansion plans as we really don’t have a surplus in our own garden. The collapse of the building industry in this… Read More »

courgette fritters_1

Courgette Fritters and Blackberry Jelly

October 21st, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Late summer can be a bit of a glut time for fruit and vegetables. In the days before food miles people would have had many ingenious ways of preserving their produce for use in the bleaker winter months. Pickling, drying and dousing everything in salt as the sailors would have done are a few widely used methods of storing food, especially in the days when there were no fridges. Another method of preserving is to add sugar. Link to this post!

klaus at home

New Organic Gardening Book

September 21st, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Vegetables for the Irish Garden At long last, a vegetable growing guide book just for us in the North West of Ireland. “Vegetables for the Irish Garden” by Klaus Laitenberger has just been released and is getting rave reviews around the country. This glossy 288 page book has all the tips and advice for growing a successful bumper crop of fine organic vegetables. Klaus moved to Leitrim back in 1999 and quickly established himself as a trainer, becoming the head gardener at Rossinver Organic Centre. He also co-ordinated the restoration of the Victorian gardens at Lissadell House Co. Sligo. Klaus… Read More »

allotment1

Community Gardens

August 22nd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I’m working for the council in Nottingham. “Here take this”. Jim, the foreman of the local parks gardening team throws me something shiny. “It’s a golden key”. He says with a smile. “With this key you can get access to any padlocked council owned area in the town, look after it well”. This was a big responsibility for me. From my first days there the foreman dished out responsibilities, some of which I rose to, others made me crumble. Link to this post!

thumbs up_1

The Autumn Garden

August 21st, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I was wandering around a local DIY shop this week having a look to see what new innovations have appeared recently. I’m always amazed at the ingenuity of people when it comes to making our lives that little bit easier in the garden. Of course a majority of things are pointless or you could make your own, and probably already do, for less. Recycled rubber on the other hand might be a bit fiddly to produce as you would need a shredder a little bit bigger than the ones used for chopping your twigs into compostable bits. Or would you?… Read More »

I don't believe it

Sunday morning Miscellany

July 7th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I’m driving along the road listening on a beautiful Sunday morning listening to Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1. Usually I just let the voices drift over me but today I’m taking notice as a woman reminisces about how their parents used to grow vegetables. She was pondering on how they managed to find the time to garden without having two cars, a dishwasher, microwave and other modern day devices to save precious time, as she can barely have time to cut her grass. Link to this post!

water butt

Make your own Water Butt

June 23rd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Yea Butt No Butt yea Butt…. “It’s nothing really, just an old wheelie bin and a downpipe”. I’m talking to Mickey Donaghay from Carry Garden Sheds in Fallask on the outskirts of Buncrana and he’s being very modest about his inventive water butt design.  The idea is simple enough. When he needs water from the butt, he lowers a six-foot long pipe from the top of the bin to the floor and “gravity does the rest” Mickey says, demonstrating how the flow of water starts when the pipe gets lower. It’s so practical, why didn’t I think of that? Link… Read More »

shakti ad 2

Win on Gardening.ie

June 23rd, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

Two Acupressure Mats worth €35*to be won Gardening.ie have joined up with Shakti.ie and have two Acupressure Mats to win. What are Acupressure Mats? Acupressure Mats have thousands of tiny spikes on a soft cotton base that release endorphins in your body when you lie on them. They are a great way to relax and ease the muscles (especially after a hard day in the garden) Are they just for Gardening? The mats can be beneficial when you feel low in energy, experience high stress levels, suffer from insomnia, have muscular tension, lumbago, sciatica, migraine, digestive problems, and depression. Research… Read More »

old rusty bike

A load of old rubbish

June 18th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

“If you like I could drop them off at your house”. I’m in town and a friendly shopper has asked if I want some old neglected shrubs to look after as they are clearing out a few old borders. “I’ll think about it”, I say cautiously. I’ve been stung before by people offloading unwanted items onto me, and I am thinking back to the times when I have been unexpectedly left holding old rubbish. Maybe if I recall my past experiences I can make an informed decision. Link to this post!

gyreum eco lodge castlebaldwin 7

A Gardener’s Diary

June 6th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

DAY 1 Day 1- Sunday –8pm Bit grumpy, so Julie suggests I go away for a bit. I ask her how long I should go away for. Tells me to come back when in good mood. Might be gone some time. Day 1 Sunday 10pm Found great looking hostel in County Sligo called the Gyreum Ecolodge in Castlebaldwin. Looks like a spaceship built from wood and bitumen sheets. Was voted the country’s most unusual hostel. Just the ticket. Bags packed and ready to go. Link to this post!

bloom 44

Bloom 2010 and Castlefinn photo’s

June 6th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

I have a few images from the Bloom Show  in Phoenix Park and the North West Show in Castlefinn.  More Bloom pics here More Castlefinn pics here Link to this post!

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