Friday 19 December 2014

Ask Marie

Poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America.

How can I keep my poinsettias looking healthy?

It's poinsettia season again and if you would like to keep yours looking good over the next few weeks, give them a bit of what they fancy.

The most important thing is to keep them out of draughts. They aren't partial to the cold, but they do like a nice drink, so place them on a saucer of gravel and water and let them take what they need.

Cyclamen are the same, preferring water from the root up – so it's time for the saucer again.

If you are grouping cyclamen together indoors, make sure they have plenty of air circulating around them. If not, you run the risk of botrytis, which leaves the leaves looking grey and furry and not-at-all festive looking.

Can you recommend a gardening book for a Christmas present?

I was at a book launch recently. I don't tend to head into town much, but I wanted to show my support for someone that I have a huge amount of respect for.

Not only is he a lovely person, but he is a very talented gardener. We grew up on the same estate and took different career paths, but now, 30-odd years later, our paths have crossed to celebrate the launch of his new book.

Dermot O'Neill is a very passionate plants person. The people that gathered in the Solomon gallery for the launch were delighted to be part of his night.

I spend a lot of my money on gardening books, and if you are looking for an ideal gift for a gardening friend close to you, look no further than Dermot's book, called, 'Clondeglass: Creating a Garden Paradise'.

Irish Independent

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