Christmas Trees: Real or Fake?

Debating whether to purchase a real or artificial Christmas tree this year? Perhaps this will help you decide…

Artificial Trees

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Artificial tree

Pros:

Buying an artificial Christmas tree can save you money. If you already own a fake tree, there’s no reason to buy another and you can reuse it each year. They are ideal for people who like to put their tree up early in the season.

Cons:

Some artificial Christmas trees look phony and synthetic. They usually contain PVC plastics which pollute the environment when you eventually dispose of them. They are often made on the other side of the world which doesn’t benefit our economy and transporting them here produces massive amounts of carbon emissions. Storing them can be an issue if you are short on space.

Real Trees

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Nordmann Fir

Pros:

As real trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide, cleaning the air and they can be recycled after use. Natural trees tend to be locally grown. Our Christmas trees are grown in the Wicklow mountains. Buying a real tree limits the carbon emissions it takes to transport artificial trees from the countries where they are manufactured. Plus, nothing beats the comforting pine scent from a real Christmas tree. It just cant be faked.

Cons:

Needles can cause a mess. However, there are non-shedding varieties such as the Noble/Nordmann fir which we sell.


Question: Do you prefer a real or artificial Christmas tree?

5 Best Plants For Your Office

Brighten up your cubicle with an office friendly plant!

Plants are a great way to add personality and colour to your work space. Besides looking good, they bring lots of other benefits too. They can help purify the air by filtering toxins from everyday items, such as carpets, upholstery and paint, and ozone emissions from office equipment like printers and photocopiers. (Source)

One study by the University of Exeter found that a desk plant in your office could make you happier, more creative and more productive. Read more

Here are 5 of the best office plants:

Succulents

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Succulents are water retaining plants that are adapted to thrive in dry conditions

Centrally heated / air-conditioned offices have notoriously dry air. Succulents thrive with little moisture (they are desert plants after all). Stylish and compact, they’re ideal for smaller workspaces.

Peace Lily

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The peace lily is one of the most popular indoor plants due to its resiliency

This delicate looking plant is surprisingly tough and only needs watering about once a week. And it’s one of the best air purifying plants.

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria/Snake Plant)

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Sansevieria – almost indestructible with a striking appearance

A beautiful, easy to care for plant. It makes a great low-light houseplant to brighten your office. It’s also a natural defense tool against air pollution.

Philodendron

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Philodendron – this trailing plant is one of the easiest, fool-proof houseplants

This low maintenance plant will let you get on with your work without needing much attention and is suitable for a wide range of indoor conditions. Water approximately twice a week.

Areca Palm

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The Areca Palm will add a tropical feel to your office

This tropical looking plant is known for its air-purifying properties. It thrives in shady indoor spaces so it’s perfect for brightening up a drab, windowless office.


 What is your favourite office plant?  Comment below!

How To Make Your Own Hanging Basket

Hanging baskets are an easy and inexpensive way to brighten your outdoor space.

Discover how to make your own hanging basket using our step by step guide.

1. Choose your basket

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Rattan hanging basket

Think about the type of basket you want. For example, Rattan or plastic.

2. Moss

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Line your basket with moss

Place moss around the bottom half of the hanging basket. Add newspaper as a barrier between the moss and compost. This prevents the soil from falling out and as the paper rots the roots will grow through to hold the soil in place.

3. Compost

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Add newspaper, then compost

You can either use hanging basket compost or ordinary compost. If you are using ordinary compost, add hydration crystals to help the soil retain water.

4. Planting

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Add plants of your choice

This part is up to you. You could start with an upright fuchsia or a geranium as a centrepiece. Surround with trailing plants like petunias or ivy leafed geraniums, and then add some fillers such as busy lizzies. Finally, decorate the sides – trailing ivy will give it the perfect finish.

5. Watering

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Hanging baskets dry out quickly, especially in Summer

Water your hanging baskets regularly.  Add enough water that it runs out of the bottom of the basket.

When to plant hanging baskets

  • Summer hanging baskets: April onwards
  • Winter hanging baskets: Between September & October

Maintenance

Hanging baskets are like little gardens – they need regular trimming and tidying to keep them looking their best. Deadheading and trimming when the plants start to look straggly will encourage more blooms.

Tip

Have two sets of hanging baskets so that you don’t have to wait for your summer baskets to finish flowering before planting up your winter baskets.

Gardening in October

Autumn has arrived and it’s time to start thinking about preparing your garden for the cold Winter months ahead…  

What to do & plant this month:

Perennials:

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Planting spring bulbs

Now is the time to plant your spring bulbs.

Plant at twice the depth of the height of the bulbs, so bigger bulbs go deeper into the soil, with the pointed end up.

They can be planted together, but the order of flowering is:

  • January: winter aconites
  • February: snowdrops/crocuses
  • March: daffodils
  • April: tulips
  • May: alliums (ornamental onion)

Fruit & Vegetables:

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Planting garlic bulbs

Garlic bulbs and onion sets should be planted now. Transplant your spring cabbages to their final growing spot. Transplanting will give cabbages that extra bit of sturdiness, which will see them through the winter.

Harvesting:

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Harvesting carrots

Dig up temporary summer crops (runner beans, root vegetables such as carrots and beetroot, and pumpkins and squashes). Leave vegetables that can be harvested into autumn and winter, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers. Pick the last of any summer crop fruits such as raspberries, apples and pears.

Lawn:

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Clear leaves from your lawn

Clear away the leaves as any left on the lawn will damage it.

If You Only Do One Thing This October…

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Protect your plants with horticultural fleece

Protect anything that might be damaged by frost. Bring small succulents indoors and protect larger plants like tree ferns by tying horticultural fleece (pictured) around their tops.

When winter comes, you can enjoy a relaxing break from gardening!

What’s Wrong With My Plant?

Dealing with a sick plant can be very frustrating.

Below we have a few checks to help you find out why your plants might be failing to thrive.

Pest Check:

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Aphids

Pests can cause a huge amount of damage to your plants. Look closely, you might see little bugs on your plant’s stem or leaves, or holes where they have been feeding. To get rid of these bugs, simply mix warm water with a small amount of washing up liquid in a spray bottle. Spray generously on the tops and bottoms of leaves, as well as the stems. This method is effective against many pests, such as aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. If this doesn’t do the trick, store bought pesticide may be the only solution.

Water Check:

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Water carefully – not all plants require the same amount of water

It might be obvious when your plants are thirsty, but it isn’t as easy to tell whether your plants are having too much water. To find out whether or not your plants are over watered, check for leaves that are wilted and yellowed. A soil moisture meter takes the guesswork out of this.

Sunlight Check:

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Plants need sunlight (requirements vary)

If leaves are turning yellow or getting brown edges or tips, then your plant could be lacking sunlight. Sunlight is essential for plants since it helps them to produce the food that helps them grow (photosynthesis).

Mineral Check:

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Feed your plants to keep them healthy

Aside from a good amount of sunlight, your plant might need extra minerals in order to look its best.

Plants can develop deficiencies like:

  • Zinc deficiency
  • Nitrogen deficiency
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Iron deficiency

If your plants are lacking one of the minerals above, then look for yellowed or discoloured leaves since it is the most common sign of deficiency.

A high quality all purpose plant food will give your plant all the nutrients it requires.

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Plant Food

So, in order to maintain your plant’s health, make sure to give it the water, sunlight, and food it requires, and keep an eye out for bugs!

Hope this helps.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Monthly Update: July 2016

July was a very busy month. Some of our biggest events were the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, The Festival of Curiosity’s Infinity Garden in Temple Bar, and Longitude Festival at Marlay Park.

Events:

Dublin Horse Show 2016, RDS:

Festival of Curiosity – Mirrored Infinity Garden, Temple Bar:

Longitude Music Festival 2016, Marlay Park:

Archaeological Finds in Cork Street, Dublin 8!

Weaver Park is an exciting new 21st century park being developed by Dublin City Council at a brownfield site on Cork Street. The new park is the first to be developed in The Liberties in over 100 years and is set to open in Spring 2017.

Recent enabling works at the site have thrown up some interesting archaeological finds that reference the past life of this area of The Tenters as a vibrant industrial quarter.

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Weaver Park Plans – Photo Credit: theliberties.ie

 

Customer Testimonial

We thought we’d share this lovely review we received by email, it’s great when our customers send us such positive feedback!

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Customer Testimonial from Breda Kennedy

Good News

Kingston | Lafferty Design have advised us that we played an integral part in the success of Tootoomoo (Crouch End, London), which has been shortlisted at this years Restaurant & Bar Design awards!

Now in its 8th year, it is a globally recognised competition dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces.

Tootoomoo Restaurant, London
Tootoomoo Restaurant, Crouch End, London

 

Tip – Regrow Your Own Food!

Food That Magically Regrows Itself
Food That You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps (Click Image To View Article)

 

 

Getting Creative in the Garden

Love gardening and crafts? Want to mix things up a bit in your gardening routine, maybe get the kids involved? Check out some of our ideas for getting creative in the garden:

Bug hotels

Gardens need beneficial insects to truly thrive. bug hotelSpiders, bees, ladybirds and other bugs need wood piles, dead leaves and twigs to make their homes. When a garden is too tidy, these insects have no habitat and the garden will suffer for it.

Bug hotels, as they are often called (though truly they should be called bug houses), are assembled with wood, loose bark, dry leaves, straw and hay, hollow stems such as bamboo, etc. Different insects require different conditions so it is best to assemble yours half in sun and half in shade.

wildlife-trust-insect-hotelUse an old wooden crate or plastic pot for small hotels and pallets for larger ones. The bigger the garden, the bigger the bug hotel! Try to use recycled materials when possible. You need lots of holes, crevices, cracks and other spots for insects to burrow. Holes are specifically helpful for bees while loose bark and dry leaves make a good home for beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice.

Plant nectar-producing plants around your bug hotel to provide essential food for bees, butterflies and more!

Repurposed Pallets

Pallets are easy to get and provide a cheap source of building materials. At Plant Life we have dozens of pallets from past deliveries of supplies (buy one for €4). As long as you are handy with tools and have an eye for design, there’s really no limit to what you can do with pallets. We’ve selected a few of our favourite methods but there are so many more ways to use them. See if you get any ideas!

Wall Planter: Perfect for narrow balconies and small yards

 

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Raised Bed: Make room for roots, tubers and bulbs
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Tool Shelf: Hang on a wall for easy access to tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furniture: Paint pallets to make tables, benches and more

Stones

Stepping stones are one of the best ways to really make your garden your own. They’re fun to make too so you’ll always have fond memories when you look at them! All you need is some concrete, a bucket and tools to mix it, gloves and a dust mask for protection, a mould in the shape of your choice, and bits of glass and ceramic for decorations. Write family member names into the stepping stones or even make hand prints to give them that special touch! Here are a few design ideas:

If you have some stones (which we do sell at the garden centre) you can also play around with paint! Stones can be turned into garden markers or fun decorations:

fairy gardenFairy Gardens

A great project for kids and adults alike, fairy gardens are miniature gardens planted in containers. You can use a traditional garden pot, hanging basket or window box or opt for something more creative such as a sink, basket, wheelbarrow, pot or pan, etc. welcome-fairy-garden

The best place to make your fairy garden is in a sheltered area in order to protect your accessories! Make sure your fairy garden gets enough sunlight or choose plants that will thrive in whatever the conditions are. Choose plants that have the same growing requirements as they will be sharing the container, water and light. You want plants that won’t mind sharing space and won’t grow too large too quickly. Don’t overcrowd! Some creative accessories include: a birdhouse, pebbles for a path, twigs for a fence or archway, etc.

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A beautiful display from GardenSparkle.

Recycled Containers

Making containers out of recycled materials helps you be environmentally friendly and creative while gardening. Make sure you keep drainage requirements for certain plants in mind when you’re making your recycled containers.

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Lightingcupcake lights

Cupcake liners always have fun patterns on them. Turn them into outdoor garden lights by stringing them like little lamp shapes onto outdoor lights. Get the tutorial here.

light orbs

 

The best way to repurpose your old outdoor christmas lights where half the string isn’t working! Just stuff the mini lights into some glass spheres, run an extension cord under the dirt and put the glowing orbs wherever you want! Get the whole process here.

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Use some colourful ropes, small glass dishes and candles to make these hanging lanterns. Learn how to make them yourself.

 

 

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Some craft stores sell grapevine or twine balls like this but you can make your own too! Just attach the lights when you’re finished and hang from a tree, balcony or porch overhang.

 

Use light bulbs, candles or fairy lights to create different styles of mason jar lighting. String them along a fence, hang from a trellis or arch, or place them on tables as lanterns!

Wind Chimes

Wind chimes can be made out of almost anything that makes noise! The below ideas are keys, silverware, seaglass and shells.

 

 

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