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No prizes for guessing

13 February 2016 20:10:47

I'm sure most of you will recognise my host for today and his garden.  I have been there in different seasons and the garden is just as tremendous but it has become a tradition that my gardening years kicks off with a visit to the Scrub.

This year I took my youngest, Louis, along.  We had a quick stop at Altamont first to purchase my first yellow snowdrop.  I was looking for a slate blue hellebore as well but alas they didn't have any.  Louis had come to Altamont with me during the summer but as it was snowdrop week I warned him as we entered the crowded car park that this time it would be full of Galantophiles.  "I hope there won't be any children so" he quipped (he's a card...).

Anyway I sped him through the beds pointing out the difference between the snowdrops trying to inspire him (he liked the trees) and he could see all the other visitors doing the same.  As we passed people oohing and ahhing over these little plants he said to me (very seriously this time) 'I wonder does Louis Theroux know about this place?"

Anyway snowdrop bought off we went to the Scrub.  Peter was looking magnificent; talk about a glamorous gardener, and so was his garden.  I saw new additions, new paths, rocks moved vertically horizontally bedded in.  These were all improvements on what I had thought was perfect.  I think Louis was even a little mezmerized especially at the area below the cliff of snowdrops with all the hellebores.  It is like Disney created a winter garden and you could imagine Snow White flitting through it.

On a sad note we saw Dooley's final resting place.  What a goergous doggie he was. I would love to have loads of pictures of the garden to show you all, so you would see exactly what it was like but I believe a keen photographer will be visiting next week so hopefully will capture the place better than I could.

So I'm home now, inspired and ready to plant my snowdrop.  I have to tell Louis where I'm planting it so if anything happens me he'll know where to dig it up.  He couldn't believe how much I spent on the little thing.  He had to admit though that he will spend the same and more in the pub tonight and have nothing to show for it except a sore head in the morning.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 13 February 2016 22:07:56

Hi Ann. Great to hear from you again. Sounds like yourself and Louis had a good day. Which snowdrop did you buy? I have 'Spindlestone Surprise'. Mine was expensive too, but I can't remember how much exactly. They have bulked up from one to 5 in two years.

ladygardener ladygardener 13 February 2016 22:42:32

Your ears must have been burning Jacinta; I told Louis that I knew someone, Jacinta, who had bought one before.  It is Spindelstone Surprise and that seems to be a great return on your investment; 5 in two years.  "Madeline" was the other one I could have bought with a yellow ovary and it's growing in the walled garden there but Spindlestone Surprise looked stronger. 

fran m fran m 14 February 2016 08:15:51

That is Scrubber in his normal 'Gardening Attire' Ann, a real country gent ;)

A great garden at any time of the year but it must be really super at the moment.

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 14 February 2016 10:24:02

Nice purchase Ann. You will have to start a collection of yellow marked snowdrops. Any sign of the yellow marked leucojum? I did not see any for sale this year and did not notice any in the gardens. 

Rachel Rachel 14 February 2016 16:45:07

I love that first photo of Scrubber. A great way to start the season :)

Jackie Jackie 15 February 2016 08:09:25

Lucky you getting to see the Scrub at this time of year. Peter looks very dapper as usual. Lovely photos. 


01 August 2015 20:01:06

I've not had time to write journals recently but have been trying to put up monthly albums as a record of the seasonal changes in the garden.

Ummm.... I've made a little error I'm hoping someone can help me change.  I've put my July photos in an album called August 15 (doh!).  Does anyone know how to change an album title - I've not been able to figure it out.


Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 01 August 2015 20:06:19

Lovely album Anne. The garden is looking great, lovely big plantings. Don't know how to change the album title. Enjoy the trip to Cork next weekend.

Michelle finn Michelle finn 01 August 2015 20:12:14

anne garden looking fab well done. i dont know how to edit it either sorry 

Kate & Graham Kate & Graham 01 August 2015 20:38:01

If you go back to your photo album and click on edit it will allow you to change it  ...Lovely Album :

Jacinta D Jacinta D 01 August 2015 20:40:25

Ha! Kate has just beaten me to it. I'm off to look at your album now. Hope you get sorted. And welcome back, Ann.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 01 August 2015 20:43:42

Smashing album.

ladygardener ladygardener 01 August 2015 20:46:41

Thanks guys and thanks Kate that worked perfectly.

fran m fran m 01 August 2015 20:50:48

Looking great Anne.

Kate & Graham Kate & Graham 01 August 2015 21:25:46

your very welcome.....

sallysarah sallysarah 02 August 2015 09:06:05

lovely colour combinations in your garden especially the poker and hydrangea!!!

TheH (Hazel) TheH (Hazel) 08 August 2015 00:09:19

You've been busy! Your garden is looking great!

What do Hostas taste like?

07 May 2015 12:24:20

Well, after reading the article from the journal earlier I had to find out so off I went to get some.  Unfortunately they're only emerging here at the moment so it was sad to take away the lovely emerging leaves.

I brought them in with wild garlic leaves and had some white cabbage and prawns to fry them with.  I sweated the veg in the microwave first as I usually do as I don't like to use too much oil in my stif frys.  There was an unusual smell emmitting from the microwave (old socks?).  It wasn't a smell I was used to anyway so I committed to drowning the concoction. in more than usual soy sauce.  Mixed up with rice noodles and prawns they were fine.  They did shrink massively but they kept their green colour.  I'll have them again.

Now if only someone told me I could eat Gunnera I'd never have to shop again :-)

kindredspirit kindredspirit 07 May 2015 13:08:27

If you eat Gunnera, it starts growing out of your ears! :)  :)

PCON PCON 07 May 2015 13:59:31

I would certainly not eat Hosta. They could cause severe. Stomach upset. Probably No harm done if only a small taste, but not a good idea.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 07 May 2015 14:57:04

That's sacrilege taking away Hosta leaves. If you wanted to know what they tasted like you should have asked your local slugs and snails. LOL

Welcome back, Anne.

SandraR SandraR 07 May 2015 15:55:07

Have never tried them but know that hosta leaves, flowers and stalks are widely eaten as a vegetable in Japan. Farmers grow fields of hostas for consumption the way we grow cabbage or lettuce in Ireland !!


Kathrin Kathrin 07 May 2015 17:13:00

I am too busy minding them from being eaten by slimey things, let alone eat them myself. 

Elizabeth7 Elizabeth7 07 May 2015 17:31:45

Full marks Anne for testing the Hosta .....I would not be that brave!!

Jackie Jackie 07 May 2015 18:18:55

No definitely me not, as I said in your earlier journal, I find it hard enough eating the greens we are used to, so no Hosta wont be going with my Sunday roast lol but well done for trying them!

ladygardener ladygardener 08 May 2015 07:20:33

Well hello everyone I'm still here this morning with no ill effects.  That's very interesting Annalee about them being grown as a crop in Japan.  When I've time I'm going to google some images of that.


Michelle finn Michelle finn 01 August 2015 20:10:47

anne i am laughing here fair play to you for trying them dont think i would try gunnera either 

Has anyone tried these?

07 May 2015 10:05:24

I'm intrigued this morning reading this article.  Has anyone ever tried eating their Hostas?



Fleurette Fleurette 07 May 2015 10:13:59

Do I need to place them in a raised bed so that I can get my mouth to them?  Naw, as they say, I dont fancy being a slug!  

Obviously, I haven't read the article yet. 

Jackie Jackie 07 May 2015 18:12:01

Not sure they are for me either lol......I find it hard enough to eat my greens as it is, so adding the Hostas....hmmmmmmm. Yesterday I had this HUGE snail on my Hosta leaf and couldnt get it off because of the suction. I had to get my shovel and prise it off!! ewwwww

seeking Grace

24 August 2014 16:42:38

I know I already have one, well two, but I need another Cotinus Grace.  It's the only shrub will do for a particular spot.  However I've been on the look out all summer and havn't seen them for sale anywhere.  Has anyone seen them at any Garden Centre?  By the way the shrub pictured in front of Grace here is a small inconspicuous shrub that flowers now and the flowers have the most delicious scent.  I've had it years but don't know it's name.  Anyone know?

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 16:58:23

What about taking some cuttings of your other Graces, at least until you find one?

Sorry, have no idea what shrub it is.

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 17:15:43

Ah Jacinta I was hoping no one would suggest that.  If I take cuttings I'll forget to water them and then they'll die :-(

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 17:36:44

Put a dollop of water-retaining gel into the compost. That might help. And mulch the surface well. At least then you'll have something on the go as an insurance policy , before you find something big enough to suit your requirements. And.....you're young enough to wait for it to catch up on the other two.

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 17:49:04

Um thanks Jacinta but no, nope, I will not do any of those things....

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 17:53:16


Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 17:58:27

I could offer you MY Grace, and take cuttings beforehand?

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 18:12:31

That's a brilliant idea Jacinta, you have my address I think...

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 18:28:21

:) If there is anyone near you coming to Dublin in the near future, Anne, that would be a lot more feasible. Don't think it would survive too well in the postal system.

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 18:36:19

Jacinta I was being facetious I wouldn't take your Grace off you.  Hopefully someone will have seen one around..... in a pot..... with a price tag on it...

andyf7 andyf7 24 August 2014 18:37:22


Scrubber Scrubber 24 August 2014 18:40:34

Amazing grace! We will all keep a look out for it Anne. Cotinus grace is that it. Is it plumcoloured or green,My computer's colour is wonky so Ill wait until it settles to have a decent look!

andyf7 andyf7 24 August 2014 18:42:04

Typical you J, and the reason you are held in such high esteem. 

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 18:42:38

:)  Phew!!!   LOL

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 18:43:02

Peter to say it's brown would be to do it a disservice however compared to say any of the purple ones it would look brownish.  It has bigger leaves too than most of the purples.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 18:44:17

Ah, Andy. That's so nice of you. :)

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 18:47:27

Russet would be a good description of the colour.  Yes you're right Andy.

Jacinta D Jacinta D 24 August 2014 18:48:50


matt64 matt64 24 August 2014 19:11:36

Anne I checked on the Johnstown garden center site and they have one for sale...pricey at 15e...

Don't know if this any good to you...

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 19:21:37

Ohh thanks a million Matt I think they deliver as well !!!! I'll give them a ring in the morning.  Hope it'll still be there :-0

Gracedieu Lass Gracedieu Lass 24 August 2014 19:37:15

Not that expensive to deliver from Johnstown GC. and very well wrapped.

ladygardener ladygardener 24 August 2014 20:11:05

Have been on http://www.johnstowngardencentre.ie/p/cotinus-grace/cotinus_grace  site and the Grace they've on offer doesn't look or sound like the ones I have.  Strainge?   I think I'd actually have to see that before I'd buy.


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