Gardening by the sea

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Posted on: 7th April, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

By Bill Chase of Deelish

It’s a known but seldom acknowledged truth that many an experienced gardener has been overwhelmed by the unique and devilish conditions which characterise the coast of West Cork. Not only are their plants buffeted by salt laden winds; the roots are often bathed in the acidic wet soils that surround them for many months each year.

To withstand the salt and the wind, plants adopt clever and sophisticated strategies. Some drop their leaves and go dormant during the harsh winter months. Others hug the ground, leaving the damaging winds to pass over them. Still others form a waxy cuticle to protect themselves from the damaging salt.

But that’s not the end of it. Any plant hoping to survive these coastal conditions must endure the peaty and often waterlogged soils, which characterise the area. The problem is that many of the plants that have solved the dilemma of salt winds will not tolerate the challenging soils vital for their growth, and vice versa.

Clearly, finding the right plant for the right place is crucial. But how to do that?  Well, you could try trial and error, but that can be an expensive, time-consuming and ultimately discouraging effort. Possibly a better idea would be simply to observe; look around and see what is actually thriving in similar conditions to those of your garden. However this limits you to growing more or less the same plants as your neighbours.

Perhaps the most pragmatic solution is to speak with people who have knowledge and practical experience in the area of coastal gardening. And this is where Deelish Garden Centre comes in. For over thirty years, Deelish has been involved in the planning and planting of seaside projects. We’ve undertaken many commissions, and we’ve made a few mistakes. But hopefully, we’ve learned from them and we’re still learning all the time; we can offer you advice and suggest and supply the plants which will thrive in your conditions.

And of course it’s not simply a matter of finding ‘something’ that will grow. Your garden should ultimately be expressive of your tastes, as well as continuing to develop its character. And Deelish’s very extensive selection of trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials and alpines combined with our staff’s experience and advice should be a great help. We can also help by giving you a list of plants that tolerate our extreme coastal conditions. Stop in any time and pick one up.

Deelish is also an excellent source of seeds and gardening aids, particularly if you prefer to garden organically. We’re exclusive Irish distributors of Chase Organic Seeds and also offer a range of tools and composts from Fruit Hill Farm. We’ve also just received a huge consignment of pots and containers –  possibly the largest in West Cork –  and well worth seeing. And on top of it all, there’s a fantastic, one-off play area which has just been completed. So there are all sorts of reasons to stop into Deelish Garden Centre, located on the Ilen River, just off the N71, about 1 mile west of Skibbereen. Check us out; it might grow on you.

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Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

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