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!

Customer Testimonial
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.

hanging light

 

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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Monthly Update: June 2016

Urban Plant Life and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

Haven’t seen our newly made glimpse into Urban Plant Life yet? Experience Plant Life as you never have while listening to the beautiful sounds of Beethoven. The video gets up close with herbs, flowers, houseplants, cacti and succulents, statues, trees and more! Let us know you liked it by leaving a comment or giving it a thumbs up on Youtube.

Bloom 2016

One of our favourite events of the year! 1- MASTER_10th BLOOM LOGO-300DPIHeld in Phoenix Park over the June Bank Holiday weekend, Bloom is the perfect time for gardeners and their families to explore the artistic side of gardening by visiting the showgardens. There are also opportunities to shop, interact with other gardeners, watch demonstrations and more. We provided plants to a few stands at Bloom this year and are already looking forward to Bloom 2017!

Taste 2016.JPGTaste of Dublin

We had so many plants going to Taste of Dublin we had to make multiple trips! If you went to the festival in the Iveagh Gardens you probably saw some of our lollipopTaste 2016 4.JPG bays, olive trees and buxus topiaries. We also had nearly 100 tickets we gave away to customers at the garden centre! However, there were only two VIP tickets so we came up with a fun competition. The first person that identified all 6 of the below culinary plants won the tickets! With any luck next year we’ll have a round two.

Taste VIP contest

Petunia window box houzzHouzz

Popular in the UK and USA, Houzz launched in Ireland in April 2016. The website is a platform designed to bring homeowners and home/garden professionals together. It can be used to get ideas for home or garden renovations and to find a relevant service. We’re still working on getting our page up and running, but check it out for some of our projects and products. Leave us a review to help us get verified!

Guerrilla Gardening Donations

We donated about 100 white nursery pots to a group planning a series of ‘guerilla gardening’ events for kids! They made their very own bug hotels, take a look:

bug hotel

Dunnes Stores

We prepared some troughs with lavender and olive trees for the Baxter and Greene restaurant on the 3rd floor of Henry Street’s Dunnes Store. Next time you have a meal, get some delicious salads or sandwiches and enjoy the scenery!

Wildlife Garden

Our new wildlife garden is still in its early stages but one day it will even have a pond for frogs! It is important to garden with wildlife in mind as many insects and animals rely on gardens for food and habitat. They benefit the garden too so it is a symbiotic relationship! By creating a wildlife garden you’ll be rewarded with a natural outdoor space where you can enjoy the plants, animals and birds that make their home there.

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4000 Likes on Facebook

We reached another milestone on Facebook! Thanks to everyone for the support you’ve given us over the years.

4000 likes

Best Shops 2016

In its 5th year, the Irish Times Best Shops competition is underway! If you’ve ever enjoyed your experience at Plant Life, go here and nominate Urban Plant Life for Best Specialist Shop. Share with your family and friends too!

Sam photo 1 best shops

Plant Profile: Dahlias

An invaluable plant for the summer, Dahlias often flower until the first frost!

Botanic Name: Dahlia

Light: Full Sun (at least 8 hours a day)

Flowering Time: Mid-summer to autumn

Size: 40cm-1.5m (height) and 40-90cm (spread)

Planting Conditions: Fertile, well-drained soil. Plant tubers once danger of frost has passed (typically May-June, about same time you would plant a vegetable garden). Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil such as manure. Use a general purpose fertilizer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Deadhead as flowers fade.

Winter Care: Cut plants to the ground after first frosts have blackened the foliage. In mild regions and well-drained soils, leave tubers in the ground and cover with 7.5-15cm of bark mulch or compost to protect from frost. In colder areas and heaviers soils, lift and store the tubers until spring.

Varieties: There are many varieties of Dahlias but here are a few that we stock at the garden centre.

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Monthly Recap: May 2016

May arrived with some beautiful weather and luckily for us, higher temperatures and sun turned out to be a relatively regular occurrence throughout the month. On nicer days, our cats Salem and Jess love to take advantage of the opportunity to sunbathe! And of course we love to take pictures of them.

May Spotlight on Balcony Gardens

We did a few blog posts this month about balcony gardening. Balconies can be tricky due to exposure and lighting, but they are also common in a city. We tackled plants for shady, sunny and windy balconies. Read them below if you haven’t!

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Exposed Balcony
Balcony Pots
Sunny Balcony

 

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Shady Balcony

Introducing Plant Facts!

Fun facts for plant-minded people! Learn crazy facts about plants on our social media pages.

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Hanging Baskets!

We’ve had a steady stream of hanging baskets going in and out of Plant Life all month! Seems Dublin can’t get enough. Luckily we just got a new order into the garden centre yesterday!

 

Throwback

We found a box with some old photos and brochures in the office this month. It’s always fun to get a bit nostalgic!

Corporate Jobs

We spent much of May refreshing window boxes and outdoor planters with summer colour for our clients. We also delivered plants to Eli Wine Bar, Temple Bar Hotel, and an Insurance company’s canteen.

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Events

May was a month of events, we had dozens of plants going out every weekend. Some of our biggest events were the Irish Open and House of Peroni pop-up bar.

New Video ft. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

Spend three wonderful minutes listening to a beautiful rendition of Beethoven’s 6th and witnessing the plants, flowers and products of Plant Life. Don’t forget to give it a thumbs up on Youtube!

Bloom Prep and Giveaway!

We had 9 pairs of tickets to giveaway this year for our customers. We held a raffle in the garden centre, with customers getting the opportunity to enter over the course of two weeks. Entry closed 31 May and we drew the lucky winners! We’re also sending out some plants for stands at Bloom and spent the last days of May preparing for the event, which starts 2 June in Phoenix Park.

Plants for an Exposed Balcony

Part of Plant Life’s May Spotlight on Balconies 

Are you always struggling to upright toppled pots and clean up spilled soil? Exposed, windy balconies can be a problem, especially in Ireland! The wind pulls moisture from the soil, leaving your plants dry. It also tears leaves and branches, sometimes ripping flowers and buds before they have a chance to flourish. We’ve attempted to address a few situations you may be facing on your balcony: protecting plants from wind and choosing plants to suit your balcony.

Protecting Plants

  1. Create a windbreak. Use something dense or solid to put between your tender plants and the elements. Put up plexiglass to block wind coming through a railing or use hedging, such as boxwood.
  2. Keep soil moist. You can cover the soil with black plastic, small stones or marbles. Something that creates a barrier between the soil and the wind. Avoid bark mulch or wood chips as they will just be blown away.
  3. Don’t use unglazed terracotta, it dries out faster than other materials.
  4. Use a few heavier, larger pots instead of many smaller, lighter ones. Just in case you get some very strong gusts, larger pots are less likely to be knocked over. Use low-lying pots instead of tall ones for more stability.

Hardy Plants for Wind

  1. Phormium – Full sun, south or east facing. Grasses variety.JPGFertile, moist but well-drained soil.
  2. Carex – Light and soil depend on variety. Check with garden centre staff before purchasing.
  3. Heathers – Flower in winter and spring. Perfect for window/balcony boxes. Enjoy full to partial sun.
  4. Aubrieta – Full sun, though tolerates partial shade. Tolerates dry conditions. Flowers in spring.
  5. Thyme – Full sun in well-drainedRosemary.JPG alkaline to neutral soils. Flowers in summer.
  6. Rosemary –  Prefers poor, well-drained soil. Likes full sun. Flowers spring through Autumn.
  7. Sedum –  Full sun. Moderately fertile soil, well-drained and slightly alkaline. Drought-tolerant.
  8. Lathyrus Latifolius (Sweet Pea) – Full sun to partial sun, south or west facing. Fertile, well-drained soil. Flowers summer to autumn.
  9. Hardy Geraniums – Tolerate shade but do best with morning sun.trailing verbena.jpg Tough plants that need little care.Well-drained, fertile, moist soil.
  10. Verbenas – Ideal for trailing out of window boxes and baskets. Flower in summer and autumn. Likes lots of sun and well-drained soil.

 

10 Plants for a Sunny Balcony

Part of Plant Life’s May Spotlight on Balcony Gardens

  1. Basil – Plant after all threat of frost has passed.
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    Basil

    Likes full sun but keep it sheltered from wind. Keep the plant going all summer by repotting into a slightly larger pot each time roots show through the drainage holes.

  2. Verbena ‘Lawrence Johnson’– Good for exposed, west- or south-facing balconies with plenty of sun. In containers they are best grown in loam-based compost, alternatively add multipurpose compost with sharp sand.
  3.  French Marigold ‘Honeycomb’ – Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Deadhead to prolong flowering. Water freely in dry spells. Ideal for west- or east-facing balconies.

    Lavender herb
    Lavender
  4. Lavender – Thrives in poor or moderately fertile, free-draining chalky or alkaline soils. For containers, use a loam-based compost. Regularly water in summer. Tender varieties do best in containers.
  5. Sedum Varieties – Hardy and perfect for south- or east-facing exposed balconies. Flowers in summer/autumn (depending on variety) and likes moderately-fertile, neutral to slightly alkaline soil.
  6. Viola Tricolor – An evergreen plant with flowers from spring to autumn. Likes moist soil but will grow in any moderately fertile soil. Will tolerate shade but likes full sun.
  7. Osteospermum varieties
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    Osteospermum

    Grow in light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil in a warm position. Does not tolerate cold weather. Some varieties require shelter.

  8. Petunia Surfinia – South- or west-facing sheltered balconies. Plant after frosts have passed in light, well-drained soil. Flowers in summer and autumn. Perfect for hanging baskets or trailing over balcony ledges. Fertilise weekly in containers.
  9. Daffodils (Narcissus)- Plant in Autumn and get flowers February through May. Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. They will tolerate some crowding but try to plant them 7-15 cm apart.

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    Cotton Lavender
  10. Santolina Chamaecyparissus (Cotton Lavender) – Plant in south- or east-facing sheltered balcony. Easy to grow, santolina thrives in sunny, well-drained sites. Trim after summer flowering to maintain a compact shrub.