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JoanG's Journal

JoanG's Journal January 2014

Last Post 1484 days 23 hours ago

Garden views 2014 - January

31 January 2014 21:57:33
Back garden - long view, Jan 2014

Back garden - long view, Jan 2014

Thanks to ClaireE for the idea of logging views of our gardens through the months of 2014.  By a whisker it's still January and when rain stopped this afternoon I took a dash around the back garden with the camera and have put up an album.  The light is low and dull in my west-facing back garden at this time of year, so hopefully the photos will get better as the year advances.  It will be interesting to see how the garden changes through the months and to see other members' gardens progressing also.

Didn't manage to get to the (even smaller) front garden ... a job for another day.

Another bi-colour hellebore

28 January 2014 19:07:30

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I had just logged on to post this when I saw ClaireE's journal about her hellebore with both pink and white flower buds.  Looks like this phenomenon is catching ... but I'm not as pleased with mine, as I bought this lovely double red Harvington's hellebore with bronze foliage at Altamont last February and was looking forward to it flowering again this spring.

Then I noticed that three of the five new shoots have bright green foliage and the flower buds are lighter in colour.  Not what I expected or wanted.  Has anyone else had this experience?  It was rather expensive, so I'm hoping that when the flowers open they will at least all be double.  The third photo shows the plant when I bought it.

More on exotic garden history

26 January 2014 13:10:00

Exotic garden history

24 January 2014 19:24:26
Exotic garden history

Exotic garden history

Apologies for the long journal but you may be interested.

As in many Dublin suburbs, the houses in our area were built on the site of a 19th Century big house.  It was owned by a branch of the Bewley family for at least three generations.  I had known that Thomas Bewley created a garden here at Rockville in the 1850’s and 1860’s with glasshouses for exotic plants but it was only recently, on discovering a series of articles by William Robinson in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1864, that I came to realise how remarkable and extensive these gardens were and what horticultural history may lie beneath my feet.

Robinson described Mr Bewley’s plants as “the finest collection of exotics to be found in any private garden in the United Kingdom.”  There were several orchid houses – a West Indian house, an East Indian house, a Cattleya house and a greenhouse for cool climate orchids.  All had double glazed roofs, innovative at the time, with elaborate ventilation systems.  There was a 140 ft long stove house (palm house) in three sections, a cave-like grotto with stained glass windows devoted to the Killarney fern, and an orchard house for citrus trees, peaches, figs and vines, which also had 1000 feet of shelving for growing strawberries. 

The ‘piece de resistance’ was the Fernery, a 60 ft square, 22 ft high house in three spans filled with an amazing range of exotic ferns, begonias and other plants sourced worldwide.  At its far end was a mass of rockwork, with various recesses and a winding path over its summit “from whence a peep may be had into the crests of some of the finest Tree Ferns in Europe”.   Imagine the gasps of wonder from his visitors!  

There were outdoor gardens too, including an area bounded by gothic arches of tufa.  This may be the “Cloisters” referred to in the photo, which a reader submitted to the Irish Garden magazine in June 1999 in response to a reference to the gardens in a previous edition.  Her grandfather had lived at Rockville in the early 20th century.   I don’t know if he was a Bewley descendant, nor how long the house and gardens lasted, as I haven’t found any other published information about them.  Our houses were built in the 1960’s.

Sometimes when working in the back garden I dig up small pieces of old glass.  Could they be from Mr Bewley’s famous glasshouses?  Fanciful, I suppose, but I’d like to think they were.

Aeoniums, thank you Rachel

18 January 2014 21:23:01
Aeoniums, thank you Rachel

Aeoniums, thank you Rachel

Fran has posted a thank-you for his aeonium cuttings, which reminded me to say thank you also from me Rachel for the aeoniums you gave me some months ago.  I potted them up straight away and have had them in the (unheated) greenhouse until recently.   They're now in the dining room and I move the table over to the patio doors during the day to give them more light.

Two have definitely rooted and I'm assuming the third has too, as it's looking good.  I'm really looking forward to seeing them develop, many thanks.

Should they be watered during the winter or not?

A great day at Johnstown today

12 January 2014 20:58:44
Johnstown 12.01.14

Johnstown 12.01.14

Today was my second Johnstown gathering and once again I had a wonderful time.  It was great to see everyone who could make it, especially members who came a long way and that I didn't get to meet during the past year.  I've been home a while now and am still smiling ...  I put up a few photos earlier.

The plant swap was manic fun, the catering and set-up by Jim Clarke and his team at Johnstown excellent, the chat was so enjoyable, the kris kindle went off swimmingly and hopefully the raffle did too  :-)  Thanks Rachel, I really enjoyed doing that bit with you. 

Thank you to everyone who brought me plants and seeds and to the donor of the lovely herb planting kit I got in the kris kindle.  Above all, a huge thank you to dear Hazel for organising a superb day for us all.


Seeds and plants for Johnstown - update

08 January 2014 21:23:33

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

As I posted my Johnstown offers a while ago, here's an update on what's left if anyone is interested.

Ipomoea 'Star of Yelta' seeds: a nice twining climbing annual, grown from the seeds which Moya gave me last year (Jacinta, Keego, Maureendid, Jackie, ClaireE, Eilish, Joann, Doreen, Sallysarah ... some left)

Opium poppy seeds, from the plants Keego gave me last year (lots). These came originally from Airfield garden. (Jackie, Joann, Jacinta, Liztai, Maureendid, Sallysarah,   )

Echium pininana x 1  (LindaB, gone)
Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' x 2  (Violeta, 1 left)
Poa cita (grass) x 1
Aquilegia alpina (blue) x 3 (Liztai, Sallysarah, Linda B, gone)

I'll also bring some foxgloves and a few more pots of snowdrops for the free plants area.   Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Plants for Johnstown

02 January 2014 20:54:22
Johnstown Jan 2013

Johnstown Jan 2013

Here's my list with previous promises noted but if I have promised anyone a plant or seeds not listed, please remind me!  Plants in bold are all taken.

Iberis (perennial) x 5  Keego,
Parahebe catarractae 'Delight'  x 4 Elizabeth7, Moya
Fuchsia x bacillaris  x  4 Eilish, Liztai, Moya, Conrad (gone)
Echium pininana x 6  Gouldilox (2), Eilish, Jackie, LindaB,
Aquilegia alpina (blue) x 3  
Foxgloves (4 in each) x 6  
Pots of snowdrops x 6  ClaireE, AitAlainn, Liztai, Keego, Krista, Doreen
Helleborus lividus x 2 TerriShoos, Krista (gone)
Helleborus foetidus x 2 TerriShoos, Moya (gone)
Helleborus x hybridus  x  6 TerriShoos (2), Jackie, Moya
Rudbeckia goldsturm x 5 Elizabeth7, Hoeys, 
Fuchsia genii x 1  Moya (gone)
Buddleia davidii 'Royal Red' x 2  AitAlainn, Doreen (gone)
Sanguisorba obtusa 'Alba' x 1  Claire E  (gone)
Poa cita (grass) x 1  
Stipa tenuissima x 1  PWiseman (gone)
Euphorbia cyparissias 'Clarice Howard' x 3  (Warning: invasive)  
Ipomoea 'Star of Yelta' seeds  Jacinta, Keego, Maureendid, Jackie (lots left)
Franchoa sonchifolia seeds  
Airfield opium poppy seeds  Jackie  (lots left)

Double Celebration

01 January 2014 15:46:34
Ladies in red at Bay Garden

Ladies in red at Bay Garden

Welcome 2014 ... I hope you all enjoyed ringing the new year in, and let's hope today's weather will not be setting the climate for the rest of the year!

My other reason for celebrating is that in a few days time it will be two years since I joined this terrific gardening site, where I've made lovely friends who have taught me so much, shared your gardens, plants and visits and provided lots of laughs along the way.

Thank you all so much and may you have a wonderful gardening year ahead.  I look forward to seeing many of you at our Johnstown get-together and/or elsewhere during the year.


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