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August issue of The Irish Garden








Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal

Last Post 11 days ago

Don't Discard Before May!

09 March 2010 16:10:05
Abutilon vitifolium

Abutilon vitifolium

The intention today was to prune the roses. I got as far as pruning my two climbing roses and then got distracted into clearing up that bed.

The first good news is that my Voodoo Lily (Dracunculus vulgaris) was unaffected by the frost. I saw two shoots emerging : ) The Lobelia cardinalis seem okay but time will tell. Signs of regrowth on the Penstemon too.

The yellow Phormium, that's now completely brown, I cut back. The advice I received on assessing what is dead or not, is to wait until May before discarding. If stuff hasn't shown any sign of life by May then it is most probably dead but everything should be given a chance until May.

The main feature in the bed I cleared today is a prime example. It is a large Abutilon vitifolium. I have never seen it loose its leaves before and I see no sign of new buds when usually, at this time of year, it is bursting with them. I cut off a small branch to look for signs of life and fancied I saw some green. So maybe there is still hope.

The thing I regretted most though was the fact that I had given away all my seedlings from this fast growing shrub. I had kept one and planted it but it has not survived the winter.

But, as I was thinking these thoughts and clearing around the shrub, I was amazed to discover a host of new seedlings, all unburned by frost. I am absolutely delighted. At least if worst comes to worst with the mother plant, I will be able to grow one of her babies in instead.


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Myrtle Myrtle 09 March 2010 17:54:41

Isnt that amazing that they survived. I'm sure you were delighted.


Rachel Rachel 09 March 2010 17:58:52

I am delighted, Myrtle. ! potted up all seedlings last year. I think these ones may have sprung up this year !?!


Myrtle Myrtle 09 March 2010 18:24:57

Maybe we should adopt the old saying "Never cast a clout till May is out"  for the garden this year!


HeadGardener HeadGardener 09 March 2010 18:57:19

Thats great news Rachel about the Abutilon, there are lots of things I see in trouble aroud my garden but I'm keeping my fingers crossed..


Jack17 Jack17 09 March 2010 19:14:56

That was a miraculous occurrence, those Abutilon seedlings appearing from beneath the shelter of the mother plant. No wonder you were delighted. As Gay Byrne would say "you were delire and excire". All of my Pelargoniums in the ground were completely destroyed. I traced the blackness all the way down to the roots and pulled them up for the compost heap.


Cloncaw Cloncaw 09 March 2010 19:48:55

Wonderful to find the Abutlion seedlings, it's hard to tell with plants yet if they will recover, wondering what about evergreen shrubs that have lost most of their leaves will they rejuvenate or remain baldy looking? Any advice on what can be done that might help them or is it a waiting game?


Ladybird Ladybird 09 March 2010 20:25:44

Great news about those seedlings.


Periwinkle Periwinkle 09 March 2010 21:25:04

Rachel, is that the abutilon that you gave me the little one from last year? If so mine is doing fine so all is not lost. A gardening friend of mine always say the one way to make sure you never loose a plant is to give some away! That way you can always get a piece back! Great about the seedlings!


Rachel Rachel 09 March 2010 21:32:37

Yes, the very same, Dorothy. Was yours planted out? The young plant I planted out is definitely gone. You surely had it colder than us last winter... I like that saying about giving plants away. I think it is true.


Periwinkle Periwinkle 09 March 2010 21:41:07

yes mine was planted out in the shrub border in a sheltered spot and last time I saw it it was lovely and green. Will have to check again in the morning! I dont think we would have it quite as cold as you as on the western seaboard- Gulf Stream and all that. Just doesnt warm up as quickly here, being northerly.


Mairin Mairin 10 March 2010 00:58:33

May is a long way off yet, considering our "clean-up" attitude and eagerness to have the garden looking half-decent. 


Rachel Rachel 10 March 2010 07:48:35

Geraldine, sorry. I forgot to answer you. I was talking to Ian McDonald of the Bay Garden about normally evergreen plants, specifically Pittiosporums. He pointed to some that had lost about a third of their leaves and he said that they would not survive. Mine have not a single leaf on them. But he said, wait until May to be sure.


Rachel Rachel 10 March 2010 07:49:52

Mairin, of course if you have something in a prominent place and it's looking really knackered, you have to make your own judgement call on what to do : )


Johnplotman Johnplotman 10 March 2010 09:50:07

That is good news for sure Rachel,not to discard before May.I left some shrubs etc here in hope but they got a little nearer discarding each day.Thanks.


Cloncaw Cloncaw 10 March 2010 19:10:49

Thanks Rachel,I have one pittosporum that looks very sad indeed it was a varigated one, there are a couple that have lost some leaves and another varigated one that looks quite good. The other shrub that has lost a lot of leaves is the escalliona on the north in the bed along the house, had thought about pruning it back a bit. I don't  want it to grow too tall do you think it would help it to green up a bit.


Rachel Rachel 10 March 2010 19:20:31

Prognosis is not good fro escallonia, Geraldine, but wait until May!


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