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Where did you think i was?

01 November 2017 16:16:46

The clue is in the title folks. Late summer and early autumn are not the most spectacular times of year in my garden, so i was concentrating on my family history research which is another huge interest of mine.

I did the DNA test to try and track down one of my great great grandfathers as there is a mystery there to be solved. That mystery remains, but i am nothing if not persistant. Back to the DNA results, it was a huge shock to me that i showed up as only 70% Irish. That was bad enough, but then it showed i am 23% Great Britain and to make matters worse there was no trace of Rhododendron DNA. That can't be correct, can it. Anyway as this is a gardening site i will leave the ancestry talk at that, except to say that if anyone wants advice on family history research, i am more than willing to help so feel free to contact me.

Another reason i was gone from the site for so long was that my Mam got a bad pneumonia (is there any such thing as a good one?), and she was in hospital for a couple of weeks and laid up before that. Thankfully she is back home to her house and doing well, slowly but surely she is getting there.

It is a beautiful week this week and there is much to admire in the garden in the way of autumn colour. My Camellia sasanqua took a bad hit by storm Brian and lost a couple of big branches, but it will be fine and is flowering fantastically.

Berries are great to have at this time of year when flowers are at a premium and Callicarpa bodinieri is one of the best berrying plants due to its unusual berries. They are a joy.

Mahonias are also great for flowering at this time of the year and are a fabulous plant for year round interest.

A quick hello to my cousin Dave and family in Australia, Dave has been checking in on Garden.ie lately.


Jacinta D Jacinta D 01 November 2017 20:43:38

Welcome back, Sean. As you can the site is really quiet at present.

Sorry to hear about your Mam's illness. Let's hope she recovers quickly. I love the Callicarpa. I had one a few years ago and it died. Maybe I should invest in a bigger specimen. It might have a better chance.

I tried to get my own family history, but I could only get as far as my grandparents. Nothing after that. A bit frustrating. But I find it very interesting.

accsean accsean 01 November 2017 20:57:04

Thanks Jacinta, she had a very hard dose but is getting stronger bit by bit. If you ever want to delve into your family history a bit more, message me and i will send you my email and we can contact that way. Self praise is no praise, but i am a dab hand at it at this stage and i am sure i could get you back a lot further. It is a great pastime.

Callicarpa is a great shrub for this time of year. You were just unlucky with yours.

Scrubber Scrubber 01 November 2017 21:03:30

Welcome back sean. i envy you your callicarpa. I had five and have only two survivors which refuse to berry for me-They were fine when I bought them. Yes I was certain you'd have rhododendron in your make up. You may be interested to hear that this year i have planted about eighteen new rhodos, some miniature, others larger. I have mislaid the labels so am in for a big surprise next Spring. am really looking forward to seeing the scrub light up.Ill be asking for your help then probably!....I dont think Id dare go back too far into my ancestry The Scrubbers of Rocknagowna as I am sure there are many miscreants among them. I dont know what a miscreant actually is but sister Josephine used the word a lot!

Scrubber Scrubber 01 November 2017 21:03:32

Welcome back sean. i envy you your callicarpa. I had five and have only two survivors which refuse to berry for me-They were fine when I bought them. Yes I was certain you'd have rhododendron in your make up. You may be interested to hear that this year i have planted about eighteen new rhodos, some miniature, others larger. I have mislaid the labels so am in for a big surprise next Spring. am really looking forward to seeing the scrub light up.Ill be asking for your help then probably!....I dont think Id dare go back too far into my ancestry The Scrubbers of Rocknagowna as I am sure there are many miscreants among them. I dont know what a miscreant actually is but sister Josephine used the word a lot!

accsean accsean 01 November 2017 21:15:35

Thanks a million, Scrubber. I am fair looking forward to seeing your new Rhodos. I haven't got around to adding any this year. I must be slipping.

I love finding miscreants among my ancestors, their adventures or should i say misadventures, make for interesting reading.

LindaB LindaB 02 November 2017 14:49:07

Lovely pics Sean.  Sorry to hear about your mother, great she is back home and doing well.

Jackie Jackie 02 November 2017 19:03:27

Best wishes to your mum Sean and lovely to see you back again!

Love the photos!

DeclanTipp DeclanTipp 02 November 2017 19:13:44

Welcome back Sean . Yes the family research can take you to the most unexpected places as I know . Facinating though and ideal for the long winter nights 

accsean accsean 02 November 2017 20:49:03

Thank you so much, Linda, Jackie and Dec.

JoanG JoanG 02 November 2017 21:16:42

Great to see you back Sean, and hope your mum's recovery continues well.  Three lovely shrubs in your photos; it's great to see flowers and berries at this time of year when other plants are slowing down.  Have been meaning to try the ancestry DNA test myself and your post has reminded me to get around to it soon. I suspect my background is fairly predictable but you never know ...

accsean accsean 02 November 2017 21:35:56

Thanks a million, Joan. As for the family history side of things, there are always surprises, but that makes it all the better.

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 03 November 2017 07:31:33

Welcome back Sean and best wishes to your Mam for a full recovery.

Three gorgeous shrubs. I love the berries and the autumn colour on the Calicarpa. This year mine has had a great set of berries which are much loved by the pheasants. No garden should be without a Mahonia, beautiful scented winter shrub. Not many gardens have a Camellia sasanqua flowering in their garden.

We were at a talk last night in Wexford given by John Anderson where he spoke about Exbury Gardens where he worked as head gardener. You would have loved it.

accsean accsean 03 November 2017 11:07:54

Thank you very much, Mary. That talk would have been most enjoyable.

During storm Brian, which wasn't too bad around here, i was watching my C. sasanqua being bent over double and as it had grown to a fine size, i was worried about it. When i saw it had been damaged, i feared the worst, but thankfully there is still plenty of it left. They are a really attractive plant and i am lucky it flowers so well for me.

I wasn't aware pheasants like Callicarpa berries, but then again i have never seen a pheasant in our garden.

Summer stunners.

13 August 2017 19:53:39

Evening all, I haven't been on the site much lately, as unlike other members gardens my garden isn't too colourful in these months.

Having said that, there is always something to be admired and Hibiscus 'angel heart' is at its brilliant best at the moment. God only knows how good it would be if we got some decent heat.

I adore scented lillies and have a nice few of them around the garden. The one shown in the second photo is almost six feet tall and is most impressive, and the scent is divine.

A seldom seen shrub is Clethra and what a shame, as it is a wonderful addition to any garden. The flowers are also scented and I am very fond of it.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 13 August 2017 20:54:58

I have two Hibiscus, and they are positively puny compared to yours. I think I may have them about 5yrs at this stage.

Love that Clethra. Really gorgeous.

accsean accsean 13 August 2017 21:09:26

Thanks Jacinta, of my four Hibiscus 'angel heart' is my best performer. One of the others used to be fabulous, but I moved it as my wife didn't like where it was as it was very bare looking for a lot of the year and I foolishly acquisced and it has sulked for the last few years. Lesson learnt.

Michele Maria Michele Maria 13 August 2017 21:30:55

Beautiful healthy looking plants. That lily must be even more fabulous in the flesh.


accsean accsean 13 August 2017 21:35:25

Thanks Michele Maria, it surely is.

Eilish Eilish 13 August 2017 22:12:25

That is a beautiful Hibiscus.

accsean accsean 13 August 2017 22:21:09

Thanks Eilish.

JoanG JoanG 13 August 2017 22:31:25

Yes, that is a gorgeous Hibiscus, Sean, packed with flowers.  I like the look of the Clethra too, not a plant that I know so thanks for posting about it. 

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 14 August 2017 00:32:20

I have two hibiscus in pots the past two years. I bought them in flower, they came back the next year but only managed one or two blooms - this year I am waiting with bated breath for the buds to start swelling - there may be more flowers :-)

sallysarah sallysarah 14 August 2017 07:45:42

I love that Clethra - must google it.    Like other gardeners here my Hisbiscus is a shadow of yours.  We have moved it to a sunnier spot, fed and mulched it so here's hopin!!!!!!

accsean accsean 14 August 2017 10:18:42

Thanks Joan, Hazel and Sallysarah. Hibiscus sure can be tempermental. Clethra is well worth having but it favours soil that is on the acidic soil.

Scrubber Scrubber 14 August 2017 22:55:38

Sean you give us so much in Rhodo azalea seasons theres no need to apologise for not having colour. And you have-gorgeous colour. When I saw your lovely lily I trembled for it. Watch out for the dangerous Lily Beetle. It stripped all my turkcaps in a week!!!! Bright red little fellows. And they multiply like anything. They also eat fritillaries!

accsean accsean 15 August 2017 00:08:12

Thanks Scrubber and thanks for the warning. I wasn't aware of those boyos.

Thanks to Scrubber, waiting and hope.

28 July 2017 15:34:41

I have to admit that I am very much my own man when it comes to what I like, whether it is music, gardening etc, and like St Brendan when he was ploughing his lonely furrow through North, South, East and West, I go my own way most of the time. But it is always good to know when someone is giving good advice and a few weeks ago Scrubber remarked that a few Marigolds would be nice around the base of the fantastic R.bureavii, as he said the flower colour would go well with the underleaf indumentum. I am glad to say I followed his advice, and even though the photo doesn't capture it properly, the combination works great, so thank you Scrubber and thanks to my Mam for getting them for me.

I planted my Lirodendron tulipflora a good few years ago as I have loved the tree since I saw it in a garden in France, and as it takes years to flower, I wanted it to flower in my lifetime. I bought the variegated form as the normal forms were all too large to fit in my car and I am so pleased with it as the foliage is a joy.

I am lucky that I am very successful with growing my Rhododendrons, as some of them can be fussy and tricky to grow, but one that has never taken off properly is R. fulgens. Hope springs eternal.

Moya Moya 29 July 2017 23:09:56

Sean, I see what you mean about the marigolds setting off the under leaf colour - that is a lovely combination.

I love that Lirodendron. I'm not particularly a fan of variegated plants but that tree is lovely.

Thanks for posting the one rhododendron that hasn't taken off for you. It is good to know you are not perfect and have your challenges like the rest of us.

accsean accsean 29 July 2017 23:57:11

Thanks so much, Moya. I am not a big variegated fan either, but I do think the Lirodendron is exceptionally nice. 

I have had plenty failures in the garden, but prefer to dwell on the positive. Life is easier that way.

Mary B Mary B 30 July 2017 19:53:15

Yes the marigolds are perfect there!

accsean accsean 30 July 2017 20:26:54

Thanks Mary. 

Where is the sun gone?

27 July 2017 20:08:20

Evening everyone. A nasty day here overall, so here are a few photos to compensate in case it was the same wherever you are

R. makinoi is an extremely attractive, narrow leaved species Rhododendron and my first photo today shows it opening some new foliage. Quite delightful. The only drawback is that it can break easily from its roots, but it is well worth taking a chance on it.

The second photo is of inside one of the front walls and the third photo is of a section of the North-Eest garden. There are a nice few gems to be seen in each.

JoanG JoanG 27 July 2017 21:30:43

Gosh that is very unusual rhodo foliage in the first photo, Sean.  The other photos are lovely too; your stone wall shows off the plants well. 

accsean accsean 27 July 2017 21:40:17

Evening Joan and thanks. I have a penchant for narrow leaved Rhodos and that one is one a few different types I have in the garden. I find them very attractive.

It is hard to beat a lovely stone wall, all my Dads work, may he R.I.P.

Mary B Mary B 28 July 2017 00:03:30

Lovely pics Sean.

Nice enough day here really but a bit windy.

Michele Maria Michele Maria 28 July 2017 10:47:50

I love th purple lacecap Hydrangea and your stone wall is beautiful.


accsean accsean 28 July 2017 15:36:20

Thanks a million, Mary and Michele Maria.

From the pole to Japan.

25 July 2017 20:49:19

Evening all, a bit of drizzle here now after a lovely couple of days.

As promised, here is a photo of a flower truss on my late flowering hybrid, R. polar bear. This is a splendid Rhododendron, and as a bonus the flowers are scented as well. This is very strong growing and will grow large.

The second shot is of Azalea nipponicum, a species deciduous Azalea and I adore its foliage.This is a most attractive plant.

fraoch fraoch 25 July 2017 21:17:25

I love the polar bear!

accsean accsean 25 July 2017 21:39:12

Thanks Fraoch, it is a star.

Mary B Mary B 25 July 2017 21:50:40

Yes Polar Bear is a beauty!

The drop of rain is welcome Sean:)

accsean accsean 25 July 2017 21:53:06

Thanks Mary, we don't want too much rain though.

JoanG JoanG 25 July 2017 22:42:50

Polar Bear is a lovely pure white, really lives up to its name.  Looking forward to the forecast overnight rain, the garden could do with it here. 


Jacinta D Jacinta D 25 July 2017 23:00:12

Lovely Rhodo, Sean. Let's hope the rain is only temporary.

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 25 July 2017 23:01:41

Round the globe in two photos! Lovely plants Sean!

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 25 July 2017 23:20:28


Jackie Jackie 26 July 2017 08:01:26

 Beautiful,photos Sean 

accsean accsean 26 July 2017 10:03:42

Thanks everyone, much appreciated.


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