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JoanG's Journal

JoanG's Journal January 2017

Last Post 390 days 1 hour ago

Small revamp

30 January 2017 22:21:17

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After years of trying to tread carefully in the back border to tend to plants, I've decided to run a stepping path of paving slabs through it for better access, and taking the opportunity for a partial revamp of the planting in this area.

In late summer I drastically cut back the winter jasmine on the long north-facing wall which had got so overgrown.  It will take a few years for it to re-flower properly though we have had some flowers this winter. I've moved a few plants and bulbs and dug out the squares; hoping to get the path laid (with some help) later this week or early next week.  Then I have a new tree to plant and will probably refresh some other planting as the year goes on.  Will keep you posted. 

Overcrowded irises

30 January 2017 21:05:29

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Some of you have posted lovely photos of Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin' recently and aren't these just splendid early flowering reticulata irises?  About four years ago I planted 20 bulbs in a sunny well-drained corner of one of the beds; 19 came up the first spring and I had 38 the following year (yes, I did count them!).

Last year there were nearly 70 in the same space and in summer I tried to dig some up and spread them out but it was difficult as summer flowering plants were growing around them.  They are now really overcrowded so I'll have to do a better job this summer when the foliage has died down, so we can again appreciate the lovely detail on the individual blooms.  

I've been reading about their history: in the late 1950's a Mr E B Anderson crossed Iris winogradowii (a lovely rare yellow iris) with Iris histrioides and of only two resulting plants which flowered, this was one, which he grew on and later generously shared when they multiplied.  We are the lucky beneficiaries today. 

Front garden in January

17 January 2017 22:17:09

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It was so mild today that I was delighted to have the afternoon free for some gardening, mostly out the front. 

Every autumn I try to make up my mind whether to tuck fallen leaves around plants for frost protection and nourishment, or to take them all up and compost them, so I end up doing a bit of both. But the wind blows the leaves around anyway and by now they just look a mess and no doubt harbour slugs and snails.  So today was for clearing them up, tidying and a little cutting back.  The birds were singing away and it felt so good to be out there.

My witch hazel is coming on slowly, as they do; the flowers are divine but unfortunately it is rather hidden by the splendid Fuchsia 'Hawkshead' beside it which I didn't realise would grow so big every year.  I trimmed some branches off the fuchsia today, even though it's still flowering profusely, the rest to be done next month.  It will be a long time before little Hamamelis catches up!

Sarcococca inside the front gate greets me with its wonderful winter scent every time I come in and the pretty hellebore 'Winter Moonbeam' is opening now with lots more flowers to come. Chaenomeles and snowdrops are starting to flower, a couple of primroses too, crocus and daff tips are up. Oh joy! Let's hope this nice weather lasts. 

Johnstown - belated thanks

09 January 2017 21:18:29

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I posted a small album on Saturday evening but never got back to put up the related journal, so this is just to thank everyone who came from near and far for your great company once again, for the chat, the laughs and the plants.

Well done to Jim Clarke and his team for looking after us so well, to Scrubber/Laetitia for the entertainment, Myrtle and Ron for the lift and your company, and to dear Hazel for organising such a splendid get-together for us again this year.  Hazel is very modest about her efforts but we all know the amount of thought and work she puts into ensuring we have a wonderful day.

It was lovely to meet new people too, thanks for coming and hope to see you all again during the year.  

Gardening TV

04 January 2017 20:01:43
Gardening TV

Gardening TV

A new series of Big Dreams, Small Spaces with Monty Don starts this weekend.  It's on BBC 2 (except N.Ireland) on Friday evening Jan 6th (not sure of time) and will be repeated on BBC 2 N.Ireland on Saturday 7th at 6.30 pm.  Those of us who will be at Johnstown on Saturday may wish to record it!

The series runs for about six weeks, so that should take us nicely towards early March when Gardeners' World will be back. 

Plants for Johnstown

02 January 2017 19:28:33

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Happy New Year everyone and happy gardening in 2017.  I look forward to seeing many of you at get-togethers through the year, starting with Johnstown on Saturday.

Here are my plant offerings:

1 x Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

2 x Achillea 'Smiling Queen' 

1 x Dahlia 'Vancouver' (large) 

3 x Iris japonica 'Variegata' - Jacinta

1 x Plectranthus purpuratus - MaryB 

Penstemons (1 of each): 'Bodnant'- Hazel, 'Evelyn' - Michele Maria, 'Garnet', 'Hidcote Pink' 

2 x Schizostylis/Hesperantha (pink) - Moya, Jackie

1 x Sedum 'Purple Emperor' - AitAlainn

1 x Sedum 'Autumn Joy' 

1 x Silene dioica

2 x Sisyrinchium 'Biscutella' - Hazel

1 x Solomon's Seal - Jackie

3 x Stipa tenuissima - Gerby (3)

Also bringing promised plants for Jackie and Moya.  If I have promised anyone else, please remind me! 



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