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Cork Independent

Home & Property

Oh so seasonal

Wednesday, 27th November, 2019 4:36pm

Margaret Griffin


Adding a red berry shrub at your front door will look great during the festive season.

Temptation is a skimmia plant with a difference. The plants are self-fertile, only one plant is needed for the fruit to develop, so all plants of Temptation produce berries without another plant nearby for pollination.

The problem with some of the older varieties is that although they may start small, they eventually become uncomfortably tall for many modern gardens. Temptation is shorter and bushier so it makes a more effective garden plant. Its root growth is strong and its berries are a brighter red. Temptation is sufficiently compact to make a good two season container plant, and also thrives in any fairly well-drained garden soil in sun or partial shade.

Why not try the new variety of Pabella berries?

Pabella is a bushy, rounded, female, evergreen shrub with glossy, lance-shaped, dark green leaves and dense panicles of fragrant, white flowers in late spring followed by large clusters of round, glossy, green fruit that ripens bright red and persists throughout winter. It is a true winner in the garden and pots.


Margaret's formula for a wonderful front door:

• Pot of your choice or concrete urn

• Ericaceous compost

• Horticultural grit

• 1 x red berry skimmia

• 3-5 x red cyclamen

• Trailing ivy or foliage from real trees

• Snowdrops (15 bulbs)

• Red Riding Hood tulips (9 bulbs)

• Snow spray

• Twigs from your garden

• Lights


How to plant

Put a flat stone or slate over the drainage hole of a pot. Fill the pot with a mixture of half grit and half compost. Skimmia can be planted at the back of the pot. Then the trailing ivy or Christmas tree foliage can be placed between the cyclamen. Fill in the gaps with bulbs, snowdrops at the front and the Red Riding Hood tulips behind the snowdrops.

Add a touch of magic to your pot with snow spray painted twigs. This will add height and interest.


Here’s a quick reminder on how to plant your cyclamen to give you long lasting blooms that will return year after year.

Cyclamen are naturally a woodland plant. They thrive under trees and shrubs because these areas are usually well drained by the large roots of the trees. This needs to be recreated.

Make sure you plant your cyclamen high. There is a little corn (bulb) under the foliage, when you plant it, this should be just peaking above ground. Also place at the slightest tilt as this will ensure heavy rainfall will flow off the leaves of the vibrant cyclamen.

Also the when planting in the ground or pot, make sure you plant with a good mixture of John Innes Compost and Horticultural Grit. This should be a ratio of 50:50 and add a little slow release feed.

It's that simple! If you plant your cyclamen like this, they will keep on flowering through the winter and reward you with months of elegant blooms of colour. They are ideal for containers and pots and will survive many harsh environments like windy gardens and graveyards if planted using the tips above.

When you are happy with the planting, get your battery operated lights. Make sure they have a timer on them so you won't have to remember to turn them off. My favourites are the pin wire time lights. These will give your pot a sparkle and a real welcome.


Enjoy super offers this Friday for Black Friday at Griffins with up 50 per cent off Knight and Day jewellery and selected Christmas lights, 20 per cent off nine foot Christmas trees, 20 per cent off Kelly Craig shawls and lots more.

There’s carol singing every weekend at Griffins and this Sunday, the garden centre welcomes the Carrigaline Choral Group.

Have you booked your family visit to Santa in his cottage this December at Griffins Garden Centre? For full details go to

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