Last Post 1266 days 1 hour ago
31 December 2009 22:03:25
As I sit here, I think of the various people for whom 2009 was not the best of years.
I think of us gardeners, fustrated by a third wet summer.
I think of ex-colleagues, who lost their jobs; all of whom were married, with young children and large mortgages.
I think of people who I know who were sick during the year. Constantly in my thoughts is Rita D - a lady if ever a lady were found. We met in Belevedere and laughed as we recalled our childhood memories of hen keeping!
I think of people for whom 2009 saw a loved one depart this world. My thoughts are constantly with Bobby and the girls, as I compared notes with Michelle on our children.
May 2010 be a great gardening year for everyone; may these "green shoots of recovery" in the economy grow into forests; may we all have our health and may what trials and tribulations that come our way in 2010 be only minor.
Best wishes everyone for 2010.
31 December 2009 20:53:27
In the January issue of the Gardeners' World magazine, there is a pullout year planner for growing your own vegetables. It is set out in columns -
(a) Crop name, details as to how to sow, distance when planting out, suitable conditions, and fertilizer requirements.
(c) Months of the year, with sowing, planting and harvesting highlighted
Details of thirty different vegetables are set out; two of which are tomatoes - greenhouse and outdoor.
For me, while I have no intention of planting all 30 different vegetables, this is an excellent planner as everything is set out in a very clear manner. I will be copying this and putting it up on one of the walls in the kitchen.
31 December 2009 00:24:00
I acquired a new laptop today (the old one simply stopped and would not turn on). I spent a couple of hours today setting everything up. Tonight, I brought it downstairs and to my delight, it continued to get the broadband signal. So, I have spent the last few hours with this on my knees, a DVD in the tv, having a read of past journals I had missed. Oh, what fun!
Gardening wise - nothing - too cold, wet and miserable. The wind is howling down the chimney and I am both too busy (!) and too lazy to get up to put more fuel on the fire. Judging on the forecast, there will not be anything done in it for another 10 days or so. The only good thing about this weather is that if you have a place were the wet clothes can be put under cover, there is great drying with the wind!
29 December 2009 21:32:53
After several nights spend reading about different seeds, I decided that if I didn't make some type of decision, I wouldn't get any seeds ordered. So decisions were made.
I ordered vegetables which are suitable to Irish outdoor growing conditions. I have ordered "Irish Green Pea", "Golden Bantam" (corn), "Early Nantes" (carrots), "Marketmore" (cucumber) and "Ushiki Kuri" (squash).
That will get me started. After that, leeks and brussel sprouts but I have a bit more time for them.
Flower-wise, I think I will use what I have already and see how I get on with the greenhouse. That's the plan at the moment - but I will have to pass by pages of flowers to get to the vegetable seeds at the back........
28 December 2009 23:26:29
Cold, so cold
I didn't even attempt to remove any of the horticultural fleece, even to give the plants half an hour of breathing today, due to this cold, cold weather. I have an outdoor weather sensor with an indoor reader and it has registered down to -4 over the past week, rising to +5 max during the day. This little outdoor sensor is mounted on the shed door, because it is (a) north facing and (b) within a specified distance for the indoor monitor to pick up the signal. On Sunday, the shed door was opened for all of 10 minutes while we got the fuel for the fire out. During that time, the sensor was south facing and the temperature reading was +11.8! Amazing what a little bit of sun can do.
The birds aren't eating the food I left out for them. I have 3 fat balls out and a container of peanuts, as I have done every other year. But they aren't even dropping by, just to check the menu!
Gardening wise, I have Micheal Kelly's books and seed catalogues all over the sofa. I still have no final plans made except that I want to eat our own Brussels sprouts next Christmas. One problem is the amount of different varieties - confusing to say the least. I wonder will I ever get to make out a list of seeds because I am reading so much about the different varieties, I just seem to be getting bogged down. Maybe I should just open the catalogue, close my eyes and prick a pin into the page!
By the way, any of you suffering withdrawal symptoms from not being out in your vegetable plots, check out www.farmville.com One of my sisters in Australia mentioned it to me just before Christmas so I checked it out. Good fun but addictive. Mine you, I'm not as bad as her - she was in bed one night and got up to harvest her crops!!!!!
26 December 2009 19:03:43
I received three gardening books. One is on ideas for small water features, which looks interesting as I have a very small pump somewhere.
The second one is the Expert Orchid book. After managing to kill 2 earlier in the year and currently having one, a bit of expertise is required.
The third is the book by Michael Kelly, the founder of GIY Ireland. It sets out month-by-month what we should be doing with commentary, facts and receipes for the vegetable grown. I started it last night, while keeping an eye on 'The devil wears Prada'. Nothing amazing on telly tonight so should get a good bit of it read.
25 December 2009 01:30:48
To all my friends on garden.ie, I present a photo of yellow roses, as a token for friendship, appreciation and joy given by all of you to me. I have learned so much from you in the last year, I have laughed at journal entries and cried upon reading others. Thank you, one and all, for a great 2009.
Happy Christmas everyone.
22 December 2009 23:06:54
When I saw this growing in the garden, I was delighted for a number of reasons. I didn't plant this so it must have been a gift from the birds. I love holly - as a child, a neighbour used to bring us a big bag of holly with berries which she had cut. It always signaled the start of the Christmas season.
My original plans were to cut pieces off this plant this year and then move it to a different spot in the garden. However, I don't have the heart to cut it now. Now, don't get me wrong - I am very capable of cutting and digging up non-performing plants. In my small garden, each plant has to justify its existence so a pre-Madonna plant who sulks for more than a year is moved on!
This little one had got a hold of my heart, for some reason. It will be spared the chop; I will move it later but not just yet.
22 December 2009 00:52:58
Greenhouse covered with hort. fleece
I went out and took photos of the garden today - or more specifically, individual plants looking half decent at this time of the year and in this weather. I didn't stay out long - just long enough to make sure the fleece is still in place over the greenhouse and my umbrella tree. Hope to get the photos uploaded tomorrow.
20 December 2009 21:23:58
I was relieved to get off the road last night. While the road conditions were good, I did hit a terrible shower of sleet on the M50 and feared it would be like that for the rest of the journey home. Thankfully, it was just one shower.
I have the glasshouse covered in three layers of horticultural fleece since Friday night. Apart from making sure that the fleece is still in place, I have left it alone i.e. didn't even open it up slightly. I have my new rose covered with fleece also. I hope that doesn't die on me - getting such a cold blast just after planting. I don't know which is worse - the actual frost or that very cold wind which would skin a cat?
All the Christmas presents are bought so I am going downstairs now to wrap them and perhaps have a drink or two while wrapping. They could end up wrapped any way!
19 December 2009 00:17:45
Sorry folks about the journal entry I just put up. It was a copy of the email I received regarding the availability of tickets for the Gardeners' World Live show next year.
Dates: 16-20 June 2010
Place: NEC, Birmingham
Normal price: £19
Special offer: If you book your tickets before 31 December, you only pay £15 - with code GEM1
Web Site: https://haymarket.seatemwebservices.com/GWL10/WhatsOn.aspx
A word of warning: This year, you must select the actual day you want to visit the show. Previously, you could book an "anyday" ticket and keep an eye out for cheap flights. So it might be worth while waiting to see what flights are available before booking. Last year, special discounts were available up to 3 weeks of the show - all be it just 10%.
16 December 2009 09:52:03
Electronic Label Maker
If anyone is interested, Lidl have electronic label makers for €22.99 tomorrow. I got one in Mr. Middleton earlier this year and while it is very good, I really don't get enough use out of it to justify the amount paid. Both are made by Brother and I see that the Lidl one uses the same type of ribbon.
15 December 2009 17:13:10
Santa came again.........
As I was about to go out to plant my rose, the doorbell rang. I subscribed to the BBC magazine "Grow your own" for 12 months, starting in January. While it wasn't cheap, two books by Carol Klein and 10 packets of seeds were included in the offer. I assumed that they would not deliver to ROI but I got them today. This really is better than Christmas!
15 December 2009 10:18:53
Variegata di Bologna
My bare-root rose "Variegata di Bologna" has arrived. It is currently sitting in a container of water as I am not to plant it with dry roots. Lunchtime today might be a bit longer than the norm............
14 December 2009 10:11:27
Bill and Liga, this is what Angelica Pachycarpa looks like. Bought from June Blake at a garden talk in Malahide earlier this year.
14 December 2009 09:45:41
What can I say that hasn't been said by others? It was such a great afternoon. If anything, it was too short to talk to everyone. Thanks to Rachel for organising it; Cuppa_Tea and Jacinta for their roles. It was lovely to put faces to names and to be able to talk gardening. To Clara (Clare), thank you for such a thoughtful gift.
13 December 2009 02:05:13
Looking forward to see you all later today. I have no Santa hat but I shall be bearing gifts!
11 December 2009 09:41:39
With BBC's Gardeners' World gone off the screens for the winter, the weekly garden fix is no longer available. On the radio, Dermot O'Neill isn't on Mooney (RTE Radio 1 - Thursday only) and it is a long time since I heard "Ask about gardening" with Gerry Daly. I used to hear him on Saturday evenings around 6.30pm as I was driving back from Kilkenny but it seems like years ago.
I found that using the BBC iPlayer, we have access to Gardeners' Question Time. Wonderfully, previous broadcasts can be listened to.
Unfortunately, BBC's Gardeners' World cant be viewed using the BBC iPlayer as we are outside their area. Pity. I wonder if RTE could "buy" the Gardeners' World programmes and then we could either see them on TV or on the RTE Player.
09 December 2009 23:55:20
I get the monthly newsletter from Ferndale Lodge by email. Normally, it is filled with interesting bits of information. Guess what is in it this month? Read this....... and weep.
|Is Shane Mc Gowan the new Monty Don?|
|Most of us know Shane McGowan as the hell-raising gravelly-voiced front man of the Pogues, most famous for their festive hit "Fairytale of New York." You might have assumed that his fingers are nicotine coloured, but according to the Guardian he's actually a green fingered gardener. He's about to co-present a programme on Ireland's RTE television with his wife where they try to lead the good life. Now this we need to see!|
09 December 2009 22:20:33
Any of you brave enough to try seeds for either one of these plants?
Brodiaea is a genus of monocotyledon flowering plants, also known by the common name cluster-lilies. Brodiaea species occur in the West Coast of the United States, especially northern California.
This year, my father-in-law gave me the seed heads of either this or agapanthus - he doesn't know which one. I can't tell the difference from the flowers or the foliage. All I can tell ye is each seed head was one long stalk with easily 25-30 individual dried flower.
So if anyone is brave enough to try the seeds, you could end up with a blue brodiaea or a blue agapanthus! I have hundreds............
09 December 2009 22:14:17
Or do the seeds belonging to this plant?
Agapanthus, the "Lily of the Nile", is a genus of mostly summer-blooming flower plants with six to ten species depending on how the different species are classified. They are all herbaceous perennial plants native to South Africa. They have been placed either in the family Alliaceae, or separated into their own monogeneric family Agapanthaceae (e.g. Indices Nominum Supragenericorum Plantarum Vascularium).
Members of the genus have funnel-shaped flowers, in varying shades of blue colors with white flowering forms occurring. The species have been hybridized to produce additional colors in plants under cultivation. The flowers are produced in many-flowered cymes on long, erect stems called scapes, which can grow up to 1 m long. The basal leaves are curved, lanceolate, and are up to 60 cm long.
08 December 2009 22:05:02
I don't know where yesterday and today went. I said several times both days that I must take a few photos but when I finally got around to doing it, it was dark outside.
I printed off the seed pouches that Rachel informed us of from the web site www.blossomswap.com/envelopes.html The large ones are very handy I think; the 3 small ones are a bit too small. Anyway, I have so many seeds which need to be sorted, I started today as soon as the dinner was on.
I was wondering could I offload some of them on those of ye who are going to Carlow on Sunday? I have so many that I will never get to plant them. In particular I have Ligularia dentala and Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. Apologies for not being able to put the common name for Ligularia but I don't know it myself. It was Rachel & Bill (Headgardener) who identified it for me earlier this year.
In case any of you don't know Ligularia as a plant, it is a lovely plant. It's leaves are purple underneath with green on top with a yellow flower. It comes up every year, is frost hardy and so far with me, the only thing that does it damage is slugs and snails. Touch wood - aphids don't attack it.
07 December 2009 00:05:29
I got out to my garden - at long last. It has been so long since I was out doing anything of real benefit that I was like a kid in a sweet shop, in my eagerness to get out and doing something.
The front garden doesn't know what hit it. All the summer flowering foliage has been removed. All that remains are the "back-bones" to the garden. There are a couple of plants to be moved out and a load to be put in. Yet again, my eyes have deceived me into believing that I have more space than I actually have. But I am not going to panic yet - when the camellia and acer have gone to their new homes and a few grasses have been dumped (not point giving them to anyone as they aren't in the best of health), then I will set out my pots and see what will be left over.
The back garden then got my undivided attention. I cut down the mallow plant to about 3 inches from the ground and unwound it from around the obelisk. I cut back the clematis, blackened dahlias and sorry-looking lupins, as well as peony foliage. The place looks a bit bare at the moment but I'll get used to it.
No photos, I'm afraid. Between me out gardening, my first plum pudding on the hob for 10 hours (mad stuff) and a Christmas tree going up inside, the house was a bit manic to put it mildly. Tomorrow, I promise, weather permitting.
05 December 2009 02:38:02
I got Mr. Middleton's seed catalogue the other day. Over a cup of tea, I had a good look. Some very interesting looking plants in there and a few oddities. Did ye see the seaweed fertiliser (not in liquid form) which is now available? It comes in different size bags too so you could do a trial for plants grown in an area fertilised with it and and area without it.
My eyes also spotted some lovely looking salad leaves and some odd looking gourds. I have arranged with the in-laws that next year I am getting a drill in their vegetable patch and if I want more, I can have it. I am half scared at the idea but would love to grow carrots, onions, only a few pumpkins for Halloween next year, these odd looking gourds and sunflowers for the pair. In my own garden, I plan to grow peas, those salad leaves, strawberries, the garlic and onions already planted, the blueberries and rhubarb. I think if I got all those doing well, I would be delighted.
It will also be a great place to pop a flower that isn't doing too well for a while until it either dies or pick up. Or give the children marigold seeds or something similar which would grow quickly and be benefical against carrot fly or onion fly........just as well it is winter and the weather is awful so I can sit down and plan.
Mind you, that seed catalogue is very tempting. Who knows what I could end up buying? Oh flexible friend - don't break yet!!
04 December 2009 09:38:23
I went to the GIY first meeting in the Naul last night, with my brother-in-law. Despite it starting at 7pm, there was a good turnout. It was an interesting meeting, particularily when we were put into "pods". At the end, one lady spoke about what we should be doing now or at least when the ground drys out a bit. She spoke of a cropping plan and to set it out on graph paper. Panic! A quick google later and even more panic as nothing is coming up that looks like something that is on graph paper. Any suggestions anyone as to where one can be got?