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Gardening and the Irish Garden Smock


Gardening and the Irish Garden Smock

I am a weekend gardener. No, I do not spend my weekends in the garden. I do spend my weekends visiting garden centres and planning my garden…

I dress very stylishly while doing so – I wear my beautiful Lee Valley Irish Garden Smock and flannel shirt with a pair of denims. My outfit is comfortable and screams ‘REAL GARDENER COMING THROUGH!’. The denim jacket is ideal for traipsing through draughty garden centres, it being lined with the softest green tartan flannel and all. Obviously the Denim Gardening Jacket is ideal for wearing while working in the garden too.

During my weekend research missions into gardening and garden planning I have come across a few handy tips and tools for all gardeners.



  1. Plan well and plan again. Use gardening magazines, local garden centres, blogs and the internet for information and help.
  2. Dress appropriately. You can’t beat the comfort of the cosy Gardening jacket paired with denims and a t-shirt. You can add or remove layers as appropriate. Wear thick woollen socks with waterproof shoes. I find my hiking boots are ideal.
  3. When is the last frost likely? You can use the internet to find out more about your local weather and climate.
  4. Chart your plan of action. I like to use a month per page downloaded from the internet. Print this page and fill in the plants on the dates you will plant them.
  5. Don’t forget to mow the lawn! Mow it in different directions, spread new seed in scarce patched and water regularly.


  • Gardening gloves
  • Set of tools: spade, hoe, rake, shovel, soil-tiller, hedge clippers
  • Hand tools: trowel, spade, fork, hand-weeder, transpanter, secataurs
  • Kneeler pad

The only rule regards which garden tools to use is ‘use the tools you know how to use’. If you don’t know how to use a particular tool – don’t use it! Most garden centres run mini courses to teach you the basics to get you started. If you are one of the lucky ones that live near a large garden centre that runs regular courses, take advantage of their knowledge and skill. Sign up for a course, go in and ask for advice and guidance.

There is one plant I can successfully grow from seed – a sunflower. They are the ideal plant to grow.


What to buy:

a packet of sunflower seeds

six medium size planters

a bag of potting compost

a trowel


  1. Half fill the planters with the compost.
  2. Push 3-4 seeds about an inch down into the compost in each planter – leave space between seeds.

I put snail pellets around the edges of the planters and cover the planters with a fine plastic mesh to stop birds robbing the seeds. The fine plastic mesh allows the sunlight and rain in to nourish the seeds. The snail pellets stop the snails from ruining your sunflower seedlings.

  1. They need a lot of water, judge for yourself depending on the weather. I usually pour a 5 litre jug of water around the edge of each planter at the weekend. Once a month I add a cap of liquid fertiliser to the water. The plants will take what nourishment they need from the soil.
  2. As the seedlings sprout and climb, remove the mesh and use bamboo canes to support the sunflowers stalks.


Fun Facts about Sunflowers:

  • The most famous sunflowers are Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.
  • The sunflower symbolizes loyalty and adoration.
  • It was named for its resemblance to the sun.
  • Dry the sunflowers and use the flowers heads as bird feeders in the winter.




  Win an Irish Oak Clock with Lee Valley Ireland

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  • (caitriona hurley)
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