May in the garden

Posted on: 10th May, 2016

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: John Hosford

Jobs for the month

As May arrives hopefully with it comes summer. Do however keep a watchful eye for late frosts protecting tender, frost-susceptible plants.

If you still have potatoes remaining to be planted, get them planted right away. Although it’s late, you should still expect a good crop.

Bedding and patio plants may be planted out, as frosts disappear towards the end of May. In order to get a good summer display, now is the time to plant up hanging baskets, window boxes and patio containers.

Hoe weeds frequently, especially in warm, dry weather. Hoe early in the day, using a sharp Dutch hoe for best results and allow the sun and wind to wilt the weeds during the heat of the day.

Greenhouse vents and doors should be opened on warm days.

If you haven’t already, feed trees, shrubs and hedging using a good proprietary tree and shrub fertiliser. Feed Rhododendrons and other ericaceous (lime-hating) with a specific ericaceous fertiliser.

Lawns that are growing rapidly will now benefit from weekly mowing.


Dahlias are an essential component and feature of colour in the late summer/autumn garden. Flowering from late June until the first frosts of late October, they may be planted during May from tubers or as plants usually available either in packs or pots. Many people give the tubers a head start by starting off indoors in a greenhouse or conservatory where the tubers are potted into moist compost and allowed to develop. When all frost is gone they maybe gradually hardened off and moved to their summer quarters.

Dahlias come in a huge array of colours, heights and flower formations. So diverse is their variety that they are grouped into specific groups and classifications: Single-flowered; Anemone-Flowered; Collarette; Water-Lily; Decorative; Ball; Pompon; Cactus; Semi-Cactus; Miscellaneous.

The dwarf bedding varieties are ideal for bedding or for patio containers. The taller varieties should be well and securely staked using strong, stout, robust stakes. Sheep netting may be pulled down securely over four posts allowing the plant to grow through the mesh. Move the mesh upwards as the plants develop in height. Protect against slugs at all times. Good rich soil, which has been well manured, is best for successful Dahlia displays. Keep weeds down by placing a heavy mulch of straw and water well during dry spells.

Liquid feeding with a seaweed-based liquid tomato fertiliser is recommended during the growing and flowering season. Spacing will depend on the variety: The dwarf bedding varieties are planted at 30 cm. apart whereas some of the larger growing varieties need 90cm between the plants. Packaging and labels accompanying the plants or tubers will usually have instructions on recommended planting distances.

Hanging Baskets and Window Boxes

Hanging Baskets and Window Boxes for summer displays may be planted up during May. Discard old compost from last year. Make sure chains are intact, replacing if not secure. Window boxes should have drainage holes drilled if not already in place. Add a slow-release fertiliser and water retention gel in the fresh compost.

Sunny Aspects: Geraniums; Petunias; Lobelia; Nemesias; Petunias; Surfinias.

Shaded Sites: Fuchsias; Begonias — trailing, non-stop, semperflorens; Nasturtiums.

The containers will benefit from being placed in the shelter and protection of a greenhouse until established. Feed weekly with a liquid Tomato fertiliser.

Vegetable Garden

Tender vegetables maybe started under cover early this month for planting out at the end of May/early June when all risk of frost is over.

The following may be started in peat pots (7-10cm.)

• Courgettes

• Melons

• Cucumbers

• Pumpkins

• Sweet Corn.

• Runner Beans

• French Beans

• Climbing French Beans

• Squash

• Outdoor Tomatoes

Sow/plant Broccoli for late winter/early spring maturity. Sow/plant cabbage for late autumn/winter maturity. Sow lettuce and salad leaves at regular successions. Sow/plant beetroot. Swedes and turnips may be sown this month. Sow peas for a late summer/early autumn crop.

Herbaceous Border/ Perennials

Ensure good stakes are in place for the taller perennials and that they are well and securely staked, especially Delphiniums, Lupins, Phlox etc.

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Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

“The Viking Gold and Silver Hoards from County Cork” is the topic of the next Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on Thursday 22nd at the Parish Centre starting at 8pm.

It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
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15th February, 2018  ·  

Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
Tickets can be purchased either on the club's facebook page or through eventbrite.
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