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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Caring for Lupins

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | May 22, 2017

Around this time of year certain plants always become extremely popular with gardeners because they have seen them at the likes of the Chelsea Flower Show or Bloom. One plant in particular that we always see a surge in after these shows are lupins. It would nearly be impossible to walk around any sort of garden festival or show without seeing at least one lupin in either a floral display or planted in a show garden. And judging by how popular lupins have been this summer already with customers coming into CountryLife it is safe to say that lupin mania has struck again in 2017.

I really think that their popularity comes down to the fact lupin flowers are so striking in a garden and for the fact they come in such a wide range of different colours. As a plant they have been popular for years and years in Irish gardens and I can vividly remember them in any garden that I would have visited as a child and they have been a firm staple in my own garden every year.  

Lupins are part of the legume family and you can really notice when you look at the shape of the flowers which many say look very similar to that of sweetpea. This family connection is more evident however when you look at the seed pods that form when the flowers finish blooming.

Thanks to the introduction of new hybrid varieties of lupins over the last number of years means gardeners now have mountains of choice in terms of what they grow. Choice not only in terms of single flower colours but you can not get some fantastic dual colour species that look extremely well in a garden. Generally with the dual coloured lupins the colours are often clashing colours which means the flowers really stand out in a flowerbed.  

At the moment in the garden centre we have a wide range of colours on sale for anyone looking to add lupins to their own garden. Manhattan Lights is a very interesting lupin with its purple and yellow flower spikes. ‘Governor’ has always been a popular choice with gardeners for its brilliant dusty blue flowers. ‘Persian Slipper’ is one of my personal favourites because of its brilliant purple flowers.  

To get the best from your lupins it is best to plant them in full sun and in good free draining soil. They don’t like their roots kept in water so if you soil if prone to retaining lots of water it might be a good idea to work some grit or gravel through it before planting. It is important as well to watch out for aphids during the summer months as they can cause a lot of damage to the flowers. When tackling aphids however I would stay away from chemical bug sprays as you could inadvertently kill off bees which love lupins as a source of food. Try using a water and soap solution to tackle your aphids if they do become a problem. 

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.