It’s time to start cleaning up your garden tools so they are just like brand new to start off the new year of gardening again. It is important to keep your tools and other garden accessories clean to ensure they don’t spread any pests or diseases in your garden. It is easy to do and can even fill some time up over the winter months until the weather warms up and it’s time to sow more seeds. 

Seed trays should be included when cleaning up your garden tools 

When you gather all of your gardening tools ready to clean them, don’t forget any unused pots and empty seed trays. Everything can be cleaned up ready to go for spring. Grab a bucket or bowl, or even the kitchen sink and soak the trays in warm soapy water. Make sure they are well-scrubbed and dry them off ready to store and sow seeds in when you are ready.

When cleaning up your garden tools don’t forget hand tools 

Hand tools are some of the most used of all of the gardening tools so they should be top of the list for cleaning. Any time of the year is good for brushing off dirt and storing well but at least once a year a good wash and clean up helps to prevent the spread of disease and pests. When you clean your tools, make sure you check out they are in good working order and do any repairs if needed. 

Cleaning up your garden tools such as forks, spades and hoes

All of your bigger gardening tools also need to be kept in good condition so keeping them clean means they will be in good condition for many years to come. Soaking them in soapy water is the easiest and quickest way to give them a clean but if you have worked with them around any diseased plants make sure you clean them straightaway before using them around another plant.

Plant labels included when cleaning up your garden tools

Another gardeners accessory that is used frequently in and around the garden is the plant label. Labels are constantly used in soil and around plants, often switched from one plant to another and they will need to be cleaned as well. Wipe off any plant names if you can soak them in soapy water and scrub.

Allow everything to dry off before you store them again which will help to ensure there is no rust development. Your tools can last very many years with good care and repairs on an annual basis at least. 

If you do need some new tools, we have many in store for you to choose from. 

January 21, 2021 — Ciarán Haskins


This month, as part of Veganuary, many of us are trying to adopt a more vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. To help, we’ve put together a few tips on being more vegan in the way we garden.

What is Veganuary?

Veganuary is the world's largest vegan movement, inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. Try a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle this month and help mother earth. Eating vegetarian or vegan isn't too difficult. Read our tips to start this year healthy. Can you hold on to your New Year's resolutions?

Tips for vegan gardening

Vegan gardening is about growing plants without the use of animal products and chemicals. It involves learning to live with garden pests like slugs and insects rather than reaching for the pesticide bottle and making choices that are good for the environment as a whole and our gardens. Becoming a vegan gardener doesn’t happen overnight, but here are a few ways to start.

  • Let a part of your garden go a bit wild, and you’ll reap the benefits of the wildlife that will soon arrive.  Long grass provides a habitat for insects, shady, damp log piles encourage frogs, and hedges bring in birds and even hedgehogs, which all do their bit to keep pests like slugs and aphids under control. 

  • Grow some of your own food. Having a vegetable patch helps, but it’s surprising how many plants can be grown in small spaces. Beans, peas, tomatoes and even dwarf fruit trees can be grown in pots, and salad leaves will thrive on a sunny windowsill, as will many herbs. The best thing about growing your own food is that you really know exactly what’s gone into it.

  • Make your own compost. Get a compost bin or use pallets to build your own, and add your garden cuttings and vegetable scraps – obviously no dairy or meat products, though. Add some torn-up cardboard to aerate your compost and give it the right balance of carbon and nitrogen.

  • Learn to live with garden pests. Plant young seedlings out later so they’re less attractive to slugs and protect them with copper tape.  Invest in nets or barriers to protect plants from cabbage white butterflies, carrot flies and hungry birds. And consider planting more than you need, so you can afford to lose a few plants.

  • Don’t use animal manure for fertilizer. Instead, feed your soil by sowing green manure crops like clover and digging the plants back into the soil to break down. Practice crop rotation to avoid depleting soils, and mulch with your own compost, if you have enough. 

  • To make your own high-potassium liquid plant food, fill a bucket with chopped up comfrey leaves, top it up with water, put a lid on and leave it for 2-4 weeks (best to put it far away from the house - it smells!) Strain out the leaves, dilute the black liquid from 1 part comfrey tea to 10 parts water, and feed tomatoes and other fruiting plants. 

Whether you’re new to gardening or an old hand, you’ll find everything you need in our centres, so visit us and get your gardening year off to a great start.

January 21, 2021 — Ciarán Haskins
Tags: Veganuary


Tips to style your home office

  1. Research shows that spending time around plants and nature improves our mental health and boosts creativity. If you’re lucky enough to have a view from your home office window, take time every day to appreciate the changing seasons. If your office has no windows, put a beautiful houseplant on your desk to keep you in touch with nature while you work. 
  2. You spend a lot of time in your home office, so it needs to suit your own personal style. Whether your choice is minimalist furniture with simple lines, a traditional leather-topped oak desk, walls lined with books or inspirational art, take the chance to express your own style in your home office. 
  3. Good light is vital for any office. Get as much natural light into your office as you can – this helps to keep you connected to the world outside. A smart new task lamp lets you work without straining your eyes, and it’s also a quick and easy way to give your office a fresh new look. 
  4. If your home doesn’t have an extra room that can be used as an office, turn a corner into a dedicated workspace by creating an accent wall where your desk is, painted or papered in the design of your choice to make it feel visually separate from the rest of your home. A decorative folding screen can hide your desk when you’re not at work so that you don’t feel you’re living in your office.
  5. Stop your office spreading out into your home. It’s worth investing some time and money in setting up a good filing system that will allow you to stay organised and in control.
  6. Choose your colours carefully. Pale, neutral colours help to make a space feel larger and lighter, and you can liven things up by adding touches of brighter colours that speak to you. Paint a shelf in your favourite colour, hang a print on your wall, or buy matching accessories for your desk.  
  7. For those times when you need a bit of extra motivation, keep something on your desk that speaks to you, as a reminder of things you love about your life. Pebbles picked up on the beach, your children’s artwork, a fresh-picked flower from your garden – place them where you can see them and be inspired by them. 

You’ll find plenty to inspire you in our exciting indoor plants and homeware ranges, so visit our centre to get your home office off to a great start.

January 21, 2021 — Ciarán Haskins


Britain's best-loved flower, roses are found in almost every garden in the country. And it's little wonder: they're elegant, stately plants that just take your breath away as soon as they flower, with those heartbreakingly beautiful petals and perfume to fill the garden and beyond.

They're also amazingly versatile. Among the roses you'll find in our garden centre are tiny patio roses for pots and ground-cover roses to scramble at the feet of your other shrubs. There are climbers and ramblers to smother fences, and species roses with sculptural autumn hips.

The way you grow your roses is limited only by your imagination. Here are a few ideas:

  • Over pergolas: Tie a rambling rose in to each upright of a pergola and it'll quickly scramble up and over the top, meeting the rose on the other side and forming a bower of flowers you'll love to wander through.
  • Trained round an obelisk: Choose a moderate-vigour climber like the scarlet 'Dublin Bay' and tie it in at a 45° angle so it winds round the obelisk in a spiral to the top, clothing it in colour.
  • In sinks and troughs: Patio roses like buttery 'Sweet Memories' are very happy in containers: plant two or three in a sink or trough, and they'll froth over the top in a riot of colour and perfume.
  • On swags: Drill holes through tall, sturdy posts and thread with rope at least 24mm thick to make swags to hold climbing or rambling roses. Tie them in as they grow and they'll knit together into elegantly romantic garden dividers.
  • As a hedge: Rose hedges are great for security, as the prickles keep would-be intruders well away, and they look wonderful in full flower. Hedging roses include the dog rose and Rosa rugosa 'Hansa', with fat reddish-orange hips.
  • Scrambling up into a tree: If you've got plenty of space, there's nothing more beautiful than a big tree exploding with the colour and scent of summer roses. Large ramblers like 'Rambling Rector' and 'Kiftsgate' are spectacular grown like this.

Please ask the staff in our garden centre in Mullingar for more information and advice about ways to grow roses.

January 19, 2021 — Thomas Keogh


January 08, 2021 — omearasgardencentre Admin