27 September 2010 10:50:26
Photo from Amazon
I have to say I am still a little bewildered by the attitude to Diarmuid. Although he is not my favourite gardener either, I think he is a very talented designer. He was pushing the use of exotics long before they became popular here and also presented a series about the history of gardens. My biggest problem would be the massive budgets involved in his gardens but if people want to pay funny money for an outdoor space, that is their concern. I think his Chelsea gardens are among my least favourite of his gardens as some of those in his 'Big Ideas' are much more appealing. Whatever about his biography, there are two stunning books of his that are top of my garden book wishlist - 'Planting' and 'Outdoors' which he produced with Terance Conran. I'd love to see what he would do with a budget of €500 rather than €5000. But I would also have to say that if his clients weren't gardeners when they commissioned him to design their gardens, I'd bet they are now.
26 September 2010 22:46:40
I liked the red stems on this too. Apparently it is known as Mountain Pepper in Australia, and is used to flavour Wasabi in Japan. Thats a new one on me!
26 September 2010 22:18:18
Spotted this Penstemon in Ardgillan today and thought you might be interested - it is called Evelyn. I'm sure I could get a cutting for the little lady!
25 September 2010 12:30:46
Did anyone see Diarmuid Gavin on the Late Late last night? I'm wondering why 'Ireland's favourite Gardener' didn't talk about gardening at all......
22 September 2010 23:42:29
Nerines with Nicotiana sylvestris in the background
This one gets more sun so is a little ahead of the others. I wouldn't have expected something so exotic looking to be hardy. The bulbs are very congested now so it must have been here a good few years.
22 September 2010 23:20:55
Nerines almost in flower
for the Nerines to open fully. I love this dark pink though. Its funny - I was googling them to find out a bit more about them and what pops up but MichaelC's journal from the 3rd of oct 2009. It just goes to show what a treasure trove of gardening info we are all creating by sharing our gardening experiences on Garden.ie.
21 September 2010 11:47:11
Soil test kit - a very useful Xmas present
After unknowing buying some acid soil loving plants I decided to do a soil test this morning with a kit I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. I was a little disappointed, but not surprised to find that the soil here is alkaline - there are limestone walls around it and the soil is quite sandy so that was to be expected I suppose. So now I have to decide if I want to dig out pockets of soil and replace it with lime free soil but I reckon that would be fighting a losing battle. Pots are probably the way to go. I did notice that the Chimonanthus praecox I had in a peaty spot in my old garden is doing much better here and when I looked it up I see that it prefers limey soil so there you go. You win some, you lose some!
ps. this kit looks complicated but the pH test couldn't be easier!
21 September 2010 11:36:03
Half price plants
I was driving by a nursery last week and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. "All Plants Half Price". I thought I was in heaven. I couldn't stop as I had to pick my little one up from school but the next day I went back and almost bought up the place. I got a Fothergilla gardenii, which I have had on my wish list for a while as it is one of the best shrubs for autumn colour - its the one with the reddish pink leaves in the photo. I also got Grevillea Canberra Gem, Viburnum judii and carlcephalum, Convolulus cneorum, Stipa elegantissima, Philadelphus Frosty morn, Osmanthus heterophylla, a Loquat tree - Eriobotrya japonica and the gorgeous vivid blue flowered Ceratostigma. So I had planned to plant them as they are in the photo but chemistry has scuppered those plans as I find Grevillea and Fothergilla both like acid soil and this garden, as I found out this morning, is quite limey. So they will be confined to pots for now.
15 September 2010 12:49:55
Mystery above ground bulbs
Back in March I put up this photo of mystery bulbs in the new garden as I had no idea what they were. Agapanthus or Alliums were suggested but I waited all summer for them to flower and I can reaveal, now that they are finally about to burst open, it looks like they will be pink, so I'm thinking they are Nerine bowdenii. It is odd how the bulbs are almost completely above ground. Maybe it is because they badly need to be divided. All will be revealed in the next day or two.
11 September 2010 16:14:39
Time to take stock
Some good tips in Jane Powers' piece in the paper today
Although I know I will never stop aquiring plants that may or may not work in my garden. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.
I've spent the summer getting to know my new garden and now I have more or less decided what is staying and what is going. It has been worth sitting back and not being too hasty in ripping things out as I was tempted to get rid of a huge goji berry shrub before I knew what it was and I'm still waiting to identify mystery bulbs that are just about to flower. I am definitely getting rid of a lot of crocosmia as it is taking over and while Christopher LLoyd might have liked pink and orange together, I don't in this case!
10 September 2010 09:40:50
How lobelia can you go?
I think garden.ie may be in danger of becoming a naturalist's site with all the great photos of Butterflies, bugs and even slugs being put up over the last while. Although for a minute there I thought it was becoming a naturist site with various bottoms being pictured (by Deborah!) But back to the naturalist aspect - here is a stange moth I snapped on my blue lobelia the other day - no idea what it is but it has very delicate wings, almost as if they have been clipped. I'd love to know what it is called.
09 September 2010 14:27:57
I divided this Salvia this year and it is doing very well. It has large leaves and impressive flowers that I think are larger than usual for a Salvia. This one looks like it is sticking out its tongue! ;-)
03 September 2010 10:28:03
The Lutyens garden
I visited the gardens at Ballintubbert house near Athy a couple of weeks ago and was very taken with them. They are a work in progress - or rather, a work interrupted. They were begun in their current form towards the end of the boom by a businessman with great plans, and the funds to make them reality. They involved many well known Irish designers and plantspeople. However, recession intervened and the garden staff has dwindled from up to 14 to a talented head gardener and volunteers today. So there are areas of neglect and wilderness, but there are also areas of gorgeous planting where the efforts of the gardeners have been concentrated over the last couple of years. The Lutyens garden is beautiful, and the barn garden was full of colour when I visited at the end of July. The rose garden was past its best as it was bereft of blooms and unsurprisingly there are plans to make this area into a white garden in a nod to Sissinghurst and Hidcote, for more year round appeal. However these along with many other plans have been shelved for now.
There has been huge investment in the gardens - some would say it is sheer lunacy to invest so much in a garden and that the Nuttery at the end of the garden is well named, but many of the most popular gardens visited today required massive outlay at their inception - Mount Stewart was said to be 'manured with money' and Ilnacullin required boatloads of soil and stone to be brought over from the mainland and employed 100 men for 3 years. But of course you don't need a money tree to have a spectacular garden, but if you want one on the scale of Ballintubbert, it helps. And while I don't mean to compare Ballintubbert with world famous gardens, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to see a garden that may well some day be a jewel in the crown of Ireland's horticultural attractions, in its infancy.
The gardens, located between Athy and Stradbally, are private but are open to the public at weekends until the end of September. I did notice some exotic plants but the gardens are mainly classical and traditional in style, probably in keeping with the Georgian house which was originally a rectory and as a matter of interest was the home of actor John Hurd and the brithplace of poet Cecil Day Lewis, father of another actor - Daniel Day Lewis.
And if you are going to visit, be sure to take the long way round to the central gardens - through the wild garden and wooded walk where you pass the Oak and Holly God scuplture, past the Mount which is set up like a stage looking out on to the lawn, through the Orchard, into the Nuttery and back towards the house along the avenue of yews which leads directly to the sunken circular Lutyens garden, delaying gratification if you will.
The garden has limited facilities for visitors - there is no teashop or proper toilets - but there is a sort of gardener's 'outhouse' in the orchard if nature calls. Plant wise there was a guy called Gerry who has a garden centre in the town who had a plant stall at the car park and I got a few things. I'm not sure if he is there every weekend though. And here is a link to a map - the gardens are signposted from Athy by a green sign with a sunflower on it. The entrance is unassuming with white iron gates and stone pillars but the gardens, you might say, are certainly not!
I put up an Album of photos. I'm interested to hear what people think or if anyone decides to visit.
01 September 2010 13:41:14
Fly killing tobacco plant
I grew these from seed and noticed today there are loads and loads of dead insects on them. It must be that the flies are attracted to them and then get stuck on the leaves as they are a bit sticky. It is kind of ruining the look of them as they are about to burst into flower. I think I'll have to get the hose out as there are even more stuck to it since I took the photo.