"You’ve got to treat the plants like they’re human, they need to eat and drink. You need to put in time, patience, and put that bit of welly into it!"

June 16, 2023

Noel Kelly, Newtown court Garden Group

"We started the garden seven years ago. There were just five little pots in the beginning. We had to get our back into it. For six years we spent January right through to September working on the garden. Our neighbours come in to enjoy and admire the garden.

We have weeping willows, roses, azaleas camelias, hydrangeas, rhododendrons.   We got a few tricolour buddleia’s, fairy roses and so on from the Netherlands.  We put spring bulbs in a wheelbarrow. There are carnation flowers ready to come up for summer. A lot of Gladioli bulbs were planted too.  We got a barrel online and a stand to go with it. We have a large pot of heather on top of the barrel.

We have geraniums here. These will all come up puffy. They say geraniums never sleep. They’re still going, even through the winter. You don’t have to replant them. I say to people, water your plants, even when it’s dry in the wintertime. You have to treat plants like people, we all need to eat, we all need water.

I cleared out the corner of top weed. We’re going to put in a pergola, it’s a pain when you’re out at this time of year and it’s raining and you have to bring your shovels and buckets back down the field to store them.  So, we came up with the idea of building a pergola, which is an open shelter. We can also sit under it, out of the rain and in the scorching sun. We’re going to put a gutter on the back of it to collect the rainwater. Some of the plants are acidic plants so they need rainwater. Acidic water is very good for all plants but especially for acidic plants.

We have four climbing roses on the back wall: Galway rose, white roses, red and pink roses. They start to bush in late spring, early summer. They come out well every year, but you have to feed them. What I did was add coffee grounds, you can find them from any coffee shop.  Create a mixture of four to one, four scoops of compost to one scoop of coffee grounds put it around the roses and your acidic plants. Keep it away from the stem and top it up every three to four weeks.  The coffee has nitrogen which roses love.  Be careful not to overfeed your plants.

There are so many angles in the garden, everywhere you look you can see something different. It takes a lot of time. I’m a vision person. You might not see something in one year, you may not see it in two years, but if you keep adding and adding it builds on its own. You need to have a lot of patience for gardening. Twelve years ago, if someone asked me to cut the grass, I would’ve laughed at them, now look at what I’m achieving.

You’re constantly planning and envisaging what the garden will look like. I’m hoping to have the construction of the garden completed by year ten and finally concentrate completely on the plants.  We got a greenhouse so now I’ve started to propagate.  There’s so much you can do with a garden, so make a plan and start your creation.  We’ve bought plants over the years where from two plants we grown eight.

There are so many different flowers and plants. We have cordyline, fuchsias, daisies, azaleas, hydrangeas. We have camellias that are starting to bloom. They’re gorgeous when they bloom.

Everywhere is walkable because I’ve put a cobblestone border and cement borders around the beds and areas in between its grasses, the whole idea came to light where we were spending a lot of time with the sheers and trimmers, now we don’t need those tools anymore.  We have two wildflower beds too. The bees love the wildflowers. I enjoy the garden. Once you’re inside the gate it’s hard to leave it.  The garden is like a magnet.

I always leave the sticks with the plants so I remember the names. One of our favourites is called pink crispy!

My tips and tricks for people looking to start their own garden would be to make sure you have time, a few hours, a couple of times a week. It depends on the size of the garden and what you want to do with it. Ours is a fair size and we have put in a picnic bench and colour for the kids, some gnomes, a lighthouse, a castle. This castle came from a neighbour During Covid, he was building castles and other shapes and was giving them away when the pandemic ended.

You’ve got to treat the plants like they’re human, they need to eat and drink. You need to put in time, patience, and put that bit of welly into it! Put your hours in and you will get the results.  The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  You might not see anything for a while but stay at it and give it time.

I love gardening, I want to go off and do others! It’s been seven long years, but I’m glad I’ve spent the springs and summers planting and building."