Garden miracles occur daily - you just need to recognise them
Home & Garden

Garden miracles occur daily - you just need to recognise them

THE garden I tend may be situated in pleasant leafy surroundings, but it does not have the up-market postal address that auctioneers like to eulogise.

It is however, a wonderfully spirited and community-based area in which to live.

For over 50 years my wife and I have chosen to live here and in all that time it has been a place of repose and intangible consolation - a charmed spot where the annoyances of the outside world are cooled of their sting.

The garden itself is divided in two by a bungalow-style construction, one to the front and one to the rear.  Each are roughly two hundred square yards in area.

Working out front means working in public for a major road network has replaced the original boreen.

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You get used to the traffic volumes, the pollution, and the constant noise. But nice things happen here often, especially during rush hour, when motorist and truckers waiting for onward movement open their windows to pay a compliment.

The back garden however differs totally to the front and here I can plod away all day unnoticed and totally happy.

No noise, no pollution and no rush here. I aim to work in the back as often as possible for miracles really occur daily.  You simply need to recognise them.

During dry spells this month I like to spend time increasing shrubs by the method known as ‘layering’, and to keep on top of the curse of all gardeners - weeds.

I know all the different kinds in both plots (even better than the flowers) and without them my victories would be insipid affairs.

They provide the challenge that most of us require except for the scourge of Liverwort (illustrated). This creeping cancer is singularly disgusting in all its stages.

Liverworts grow on the soil surface and are usually evident, and associated with compacted soil, poor drainage and an acid Ph.

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Although they don’t harm plants, they’re offensively unsightly. Most boast a green, flattened, plate-like body and no leaves.

As well, they have no roots, but this assists their removal, and most can be scraped off the surface and disposed of.

There are many ways in which control may be undertaken. Sulphate of Iron in powder form is particularly good.

Sprinkle this over the growths and in a few days the Liverwort will have blackened and died.

Increasing the organic content of the soil by digging in well-rotted farm manure, garden compost, processed bark or leaf-mould.

In rockeries, weed out moss and liverwort before loosening the soil surface and mulching with a good, sharp grit, gravel, or slate.

Bare soil must be covered or kept free of unwanted growths by regular hoeing and raking in order to maintain a rough and well-drained surface.

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Chemical control consists of using products based on natural fatty acids or Pelargonic acid but either should be used with care around garden plants, including those in containers.

These products are contact herbicides based on natural ingredients and they will biodegrade on soil contact and have limited environmental impact.