This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Flowers, Fruits and Tree Advice?

Summer weather has finally arrived! We usually get spells of sunny, warm weather in April /May but this year it has been rather chilly - until this week. We've a whole week of good weather forecast - maybe even ten days of warm, dry and sunny conditions. Yippee! I've been getting caught up on weeding and general garden work. I'm also hardening off plants, starting with the beans (cobra, dwarf purple queen and scarlet emperor), and then moving to pumpkins, courgettes, squash and kale. Many of my other seedlings are still quite small so I might grow them on a bit more in the glass house / sun room before planting them outside. Photos below are updates around the garden - focusing mainly on flowers and fruits.

Left: Lupin should be in flower soon. Two of my favourite cottage style plants - lupin and delphinium.
Annuals - Snapdragon and Silverdust grown from seed last year and still going (never died down over Winter). They're slightly straggly looking in places but I can't bear to pull them out.
Silverdust growing in the middle of...?
I was thinking bluebell but  bluebell flowers droop so not sure what the purple flowers are. Any ideas??
Lilac shrub is in flower. It's so pretty!
The self fertilising apple tree blooms will soon be finished. I'm still picking off green and black worms. More on this in a few days.
Thornless blackberry - I really need to take better care of it. It grows rather wild.
Above: Gooseberries are starting to form.
Below: Red Currant bush. Last year I didn't get any berries. I've been trying to rejuvenate some old plants. Maybe this year I'll get some berries.
Corkscrew Hazel / Harry Lauder Walking Stick - come Summer it will be covered in crinkled-looking leaves and becomes less interesting. Much more interesting in Winter.  
Above and below: Rowan trees are in flower.
Ornamental cheery tree - in need of pruning? I googled how to prune but I'm still a bit unsure. A fellow blogger pointed out that it would bloom better if pruned. I don't think it has been pruned in 15 years. Any tips on how to prune this tree? (I'd appreciate any guidance)
I've killed a few shrubs by pruning at the wrong time. I really don't want to damage this little tree.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. Your garden is really waking up now, amazing what a bit of sunshine can do. Haven't got a clue about pruning the cherry tree, hope someone can give you some good advice, it looks a lovely tree.

  2. I don't have any suggestions for pruning. You might try Google. You do have a lot blooming. Your yard is beautiful.

  3. The blue flower is definitely Bluebell. The flowers start off looking like miniature Hyacinths on tall stems, but will droop as they mature.

    I don't know much about fruit trees, but I would always say make your cuts just above a bud or sideshoot, and use sharp implements to minimise plant stress. I'd reduce those long droopy branches by about two-thirds. Maybe try one or two first, and see what happens. If successful, do the others the following year.

  4. As Mark says it is a bluebell but from the one that is almost open I'm wondering whether they are Spanish bluebells like the one I photographed on my blog. I think it is a grey/red squirrel situation. The spanish bluebells were imported and are cross pollinating with our natives and gradually ousting them.

    By the way - are you sure the photo is of a redcurrant bush as our redcurrants don't have that type of flower. I wonder if it is different for different varieties!

    As for the cherry - whatever you do prune it during summer - winter pruning is a no no for members of the cherry family. You could shorten the droops a bit or maybe take out some of the lower branches but in many ways you grow this plant for the shape. Must admit we removed ours as it ended up taking too much space for the short period of flowering.

    1. Hi Sue, you've got me wondering now about the red currant... hmmm... I acquired the plants and were told they're red currents. I'll have to see how they bloom and develop. There are about 6 plants so maybe not all are red currents. :)

  5. Your garden must be heavenly. I love all the beautiful flowers that are in bloom. The flowers of the Rowan tree are very pretty.And great looking apple blooms too.

  6. I have a lilac tree just like your's. I love the darker blooms, and it smells divine. It's blooming much later this year than it did last.

  7. Your garden is looking lovely Kelli full of abundance - at last everything is flowering.

  8. Beautiful flowering plants. Your apple blossoms look really plentiful and even the cherry has many, many blooms. Let us know when you find out how and when to prune it. Maybe a master gardener at one of the National Trust properties could tell you!

  9. What kind of ornamental cherry is this? I have a Yoshino cherry in my back yard. Start off my pruning away any branches that seem thin and weak. Also cut out any branches that are crossing others so they don't rub and create a wound. Does the tree have a central leader? It looks like some of the branches are dragging on the ground. They need to be shortened. This will create a stronger tree. :o)

    1. Thanks for the tips! I'm not too sure what type of ornamental cherry the tree is as I acquired it through previous house owners. I did some searching on the internet but didn't come across one that looks like the one I have. I'll keep searching. Thanks for your advice!