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Jacinta D's Journal

Jacinta D's Journal January 2010

Last Post 2848 days 13 hours ago

'Arran Victory'

31 January 2010 20:49:45
Arran Victory

Arran Victory

Arran Victory was bred in the Isle of Arran. Victory, the oldest of the 'Arrans' still grown, was named in celebration of the end of the war. It is rare and is one of only 2 blue-skinned varieties still available for general cultivation. It is high-yielding, given a long season.

Tubers are round to short oval with blue skin and snowy white flesh.

I bought these in Homebase today. 5 tubers for only €1.98. Good price if you just want to try something new. The others I bought today were in 2Kg bags for only 4.67

Seed Potatoes

31 January 2010 14:57:11
Good Purchases

Good Purchases

Went over to my workplace looking for seed potatoes. They were supposed to be in on Friday. Ended up going over to Homebase for them. Got 3 different types. Second Early 'Maris Peer', Main Crop 'Desiree', and 'Arran Victory' which are a heritage variety with purple skins. I have started the 'chitting' process on them now. I also bought some feed for my Camellias. I do have some in the garage, but it is so untidy that it must be buried under a load of crap. So I am going to feed them now and give them a topdress of ericaceous compost. I also got 2 lovely terracotta pots reduced from €9.99 to €4.99.

Oh and by the way, Dave, if you are still interested in those 2 orchids (Dendrobiums), I found them. Just 2.

Pomello seeds

31 January 2010 08:51:04
Pomello

Pomello

Ok I have to use this free time constructively. I bought a fruit called Pomello in Lanzarote, purely so I could get the seeds to sow. I had never heard of this before until googling it. It is a cross between a grapefruit and an orange. It hasn't got the bitter taste of a grapefruit, and has smooth skin. Has anybody ever grown these before. I am wondering whether I should bother really, as citrus fruit plants need constant day and night temperatures to thrive. I can't supply them with that. However, I will give it a try. Maybe now is the right time to go out and buy a heated propagator. Or I could leave the seeds sitting on the mantelpiece with the open fire lit. If I succeed in germinating the seeds, I can hand over the seedlings to the first taker.

No Babies Today!

31 January 2010 08:30:04

Jacinta and the Beanstalk!

30 January 2010 21:48:56
Beanstalk

Beanstalk

Whenever I think of Amaryllis it brings to mind the fairytale 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly it grows. It almost grows in front of your very eyes. Look at my journal 'Late Developer' 28th January. See the difference in 2 short days? Ok I am going to keep tabs on its growth. Today as it is in photo on the right it measures exactly 4inches from compost level to underneath the flower bud. I will measure it every 2 days.

Consolation Prize

30 January 2010 17:38:28
Consolation Prize!

Consolation Prize!

I have spent today in utter frustration. Zoe and my grandson, David, were supposed to be coming home today. However, that didn't happen. They won't be home until tomorrow. David Senior is the only visitor allowed in for the whole duration of their stay, as a result of Swine Flu precautions.

I have not been happy with the strength of the zoom on my recently-purchased camera. It is no good for getting up close and personal with the birds in my garden. I swear, this is not an obsession with me. The zoom on the one I have is only x3. However, today I bought myself a consolation  prize of a new Fuji with a zoom of x15. Big difference. And not that expensive either. God help my babies when they get home tomorrow. Ha ha. I did no gardening today. Just played around with my new camera.

New Arrival In Santry

29 January 2010 21:27:04

Makeshift Propagator

29 January 2010 16:22:15
Makeshift Propagator

Makeshift Propagator

This year it seems that my seed sowing is pathetic. But then at least I am not going to have a glut of seedlings and not know what to be doing with them. The only seeds I have done so far is about 15 tomato, which have germinated, 4 scotch bonnet seeds, 2 small pots with 3 seeds in each of Rodochiton (thanks Rachel), and 2 small pots of Lanzarote Parsley (Petroselinum crispum). And I saved the clear plastic trays that some plants in work came in on to act as a makeshift propagator. 

A White Flower. At Last!

29 January 2010 15:32:16
A White Flower. At Last!

A White Flower. At Last!

I have had 2 red Amaryllis and countless pink Hyacinths. Boring. All I wanted was a white flower. I don't know why white is my preference this year, it just is. But this morning when I got back from the hospital, look at what I was greeted by. A White Hyacinth. Oh you little beauty. I spent a bit of time tidying the garage, and spurred on my Rachels sowing of Rodichiton yesterday, I did a few myself. I also potted on a nice new cactus that I bought recently. Just on the phone to Zoe. God love her. Things are progressing. Maybe I will get to see my first grandchild later on this evening. If not, at least tomorrow they will all be well rested. And with me full-time.

Here we Go.

29 January 2010 05:19:25

Monty Don Again

28 January 2010 17:33:19

Expectations Of A Different Kind!

28 January 2010 16:51:06
Great Expectations!

Great Expectations!

Today was the first day of my 'Maternity Leave'. I have been like a hen on a hot griddle all day waiting for something to happen. Either way, by tomorrow, I will be a Grandmother. Yikkkes!

On a more positive note I have all next week off, so hopefully I will get the opportunity to get a bit done in the garden, in between teaching my baby how to become a mother. Help!!! Fingers crossed all goes well.

Late Developer!

28 January 2010 12:39:11
Here's Hoping For White!

Here's Hoping For White!

Not in work today due to family priorities. Just had a look around the garden. Helleborus doing well, looking nice and healthy. Such a good and reliable plant. Crocusses so close to blooming. Can't wait. Potted up my Narcissi 'Bridal Crown' into the new pot. My last Amaryllis flower is peeping up now. I got this one late in the season, and I suspect that it may be white :) Here's hoping!

Onion seeds coming on nicely too. They are making an appearance through the soil at last. This is my first time growing onions from seed. They are called 'Snowball'. Today I also sowed some parsley seeds that I bought in Lanazarote in October, and I did a bit of clearing up of rubbish in the garden, stalks and leaves of the sprouts that I harvested last weekend.

Frost Damage

27 January 2010 18:12:59
Peculiar break!

Peculiar break!

Just looking around the garden this morning and discovered yet another pot, broken by the bad weather. I thought the way it had been broken was very strange indeed.

For Cloncaw

27 January 2010 16:58:30
A long way to go yet.

A long way to go yet.

The photo on my journal this morning was dowloaded from the internet. I thought it would be prettier than putting up a photo of the bulbs I bought yesterday. Which would you rather look at, bulbs in growth, or full-blown gorgeous double flowers. Ha ha. I am afraid I will have to wait a little longer before mine grow as well as this mornings photo.

Spring Is Definitely In The Air

27 January 2010 07:26:29
Narcissi 'Bridal Crown'

Narcissi 'Bridal Crown'

This is one of my favourite times in the garden centre. The anticipation of the first spring orders coming in. All the spring bulbs in pots, and seed potatoes and onions. I love it. We got a small order in yesterday and of course I couldn't resist. I bought two nice pots, one for my new Acer, just in case I couldn't find the right location for it in the garden. I also bought some Narcissi 'Bridal Crown'. I will probably plant them into the second pot. Hopefully at the weekend I will get the opportunity to pot them up.

Did anybody notice that the birds were singing at 6.00 this morning. Wahoo, it's getting earlier. Ooh Lads, it's coming.

Camellias

26 January 2010 18:48:32
Camellia trouble

Camellia trouble

I have 4 Camellias, all in pots. The two bigger ones are 'Debbie', and 'Wisley White'. The smaller two I only bought last year. They are 'Tiptoe' and Anticipation'. However, this morning when I was out there I was looking at them. The two smaller ones are fine, the bigger ones have virtually no flower buds, and the leaves are pale and very mottled. At the end of November, I gave all of them a feed of sequestered iron. And their appearance did actually improve.  The 2 that are affected are in a more exposed position. I am wondering what is wrong with them. Is it the very cold weather we have had. They never looked this bad before.

My Bargain Is The Best. Naa Naa, Na Naa Naa!

26 January 2010 18:02:57
All For Free. Hee Hee

All For Free. Hee Hee

Steve came in from work with these little beauties. Ha ha. A friend in his job was throwing these out. A bit of elbow grease and they will be as good as new.

Premature Notification of Bargains

25 January 2010 18:55:09
Spotting Scope €24.99

Spotting Scope €24.99

I know I am being a bit premature in informing you all about Aldi's bargains. These start on Thursday 4th February. They have a terrific selection of birdie items, like Camera Nest Box Kit, Spotting Scope (Gotta Have That, only €24.99), Feeding Stations, Nest Boxes, Feeds, Bird Bath, Bird Table. And this might interest a lot of you, Soft Fruit Triple Pack Shrubs for only €2.49. It would make more sense if I create an album with most of these items (Aldi 4th Feb) and you can see them for yourself. But here is what I will be buying.

Visit from Chilipepper

25 January 2010 18:21:01
Chinese Asparagus Beans

Chinese Asparagus Beans

I was expecting Dave in to the Garden Centre at some stage today. He was kindly giving me some Aurora tomato seeds. I had the pleasure to meet Madeline again too. Well 'lo and behold, there were a lot more than the Aurora seeds included in the envelope. Chinese Asparagus Bean, Lemon Drop Chili, Hamburg Parsley, Aurora & Urbikany toms, Rozovy Titan toms, Huautli Amaranthus (I think thats how its spelt, correct me if I'm wrong, Dave), Demidov toms and Rat-Tailed Radish (very interesting, that one). Your generosity know no bounds. Thanks a mill. Can't wait to start all these. I hope I don't make a hash of them. P.S. It would have been great to see you again, even if you had no seeds with you. Ha ha.

Front Garden Make-Over 2010

24 January 2010 14:02:01
In need of a make-over

In need of a make-over

It is time now to do something about my front garden. It is a disgrace.

The area in question measures about 20ftx30ft. The rest of the garden is concrete and is used for the cars. In the middle of the garden is a big Cordyline australis. That will be the first thing to go.

 Then there are beds on all four sides. Way too small and pathetic. I have just spent about an hour out there clearing up leaves, and all the droppings from the Cordyline. There is a small open fence that divides our garden from our neighbour. He is definitely NOT a gardener. He has beautiful wild garlic growing ALL over his garden. And it is coming into MY garden now. It is impossible to get rid of it. I think I remember Fran saying that he liked it. I have just been trying to pull it up and my hands STINK! And I had gloves on. So I think we will also have to put up a closed in fence to aid weed control. I am not going to say too much more as I am not 100% certain what I am doing. I need to weigh up the pros and cons. I will open up an album of what it looks like now. And you are sure to agree that the time has come for something to be done. It's good to have 'before' and 'after' photos.

Itchy Fingers

24 January 2010 07:53:30
Carnations

Carnations

Usually seeds are started off from March onwards, leaving me totally frustrated with nothing to do. January to March can seem like a very long boring time. I am dying to get my fingers going. However, now I have started some tomatoes, chilipepper, and next week I hope to start chitting some potatoes.

However, there are a couple of things you COULD start off now. Why not make the first sowing of summer bedding. You could sow geraniums or begonias. These can be sown in a heated propagator (must get one) at a minimum temperature of 21 C.

Geranium seed should be lightly covered with a sprinkling of Vermiculite . But as Begonia seed is like dust, this needs light to germinate, so it is best sown on the surface of the compost with no covering. Later in the month, you can start sowing Antirrhinum, Dianthus/Carnation. And over this last year on Garden.ie I have learned a valuable lesson in keeping the enthusiasm going with me. Usually I sow a particular seed that I really love. However, in my stupidity, I sow the whole lot, get millions of seedlings. Then get even MORE frustrated when they all come up and I have nowhere to put them. That is when I end up just neglecting them, and they wilt. That is what happened last year when I sowed quite a lot of sunflowers. Not this year.

I just sowed 4 chilipeppers. Yes 4. Stingy or what? Don't think so. It's called 'using my brain' finally. So let's get off the computers and get active. It could kick-start our brains after the recent cold spell and period of inactivity. This could be considered our 'warm-up' time. God knows we are all going to be really busy this year.

 

 

The Kitchen Gardener

23 January 2010 20:26:24
The Kitchen Gardener

The Kitchen Gardener

Got another good book today with the last of the vouchers. 'The Kitchen Gardener' by Alan Titchmarsh.

Alan's passion for gardening and years of experience growing a huge variety of edibles bear fruit for everybody to share in this one complete volume. Divided into 2 sections - The Ground Rules, which sets out essential guidelines for any successful crop, and a Directory, which provides detailed A-Zs of fruit, veg and herbs - The Kitchen Gardener starts from scratch, but is also ideal for those with some experience who might be growing edibles in a new way, perhaps in a small space that need to look attractive, or on a new allotment.

Yum Yum!

23 January 2010 16:16:01
Home-grown sprouts

Home-grown sprouts

Did all my bits and pieces this morning. A quick change into gardening garb, and pulled up all the sprouts. Lots of small ones. But I figured out that it was because I planted them too close together. However, they look delicious, and are not as embarrassing as my attempt to grow carrots.

In the greenhouse, I was going to give things a bit of a watering, but there is a very cold night forecast. One of my baby Cannas is absolutely fine. Kangaroo Paw doesn't look bad considering. Bulbs coming up all over the place. Wahoo! Also I sowed just four seeds of the Scotch Bonnet. Liz, there are some on the way to you.

The fog never lifted here all day, and is now coming in even thicker. It's going to be another really cold night.

Water!

23 January 2010 09:10:59
Still tiny!

Still tiny!

Yay, there is a magical substance coming out of my taps. I wonder what it is. lol. And I never thought I would say this, but the sound of my washing machine running is music to my ears. Sadly, the shower is not working. But I think it may actually be broken. However, one step at a time.

Today, I think I will be harvesting my sprouts. I had hoped to eat them with the Christmas dinner, but they were still too small. Maybe they were just planted too close together. They haven't grown at all since then, nearly a whole month ago. So, I think their time has come. I need now to clear out that bed and get it ready for my corn, peas, and white radishes. So its a delicious dinner tonight of Ham, Sprouts, Boiled Potatoes and loads of gravy. mmmmm.

When I get my act together, (still in pj's) I will sow the Scotch Bonnet Chilipeppers, and pot on my new cactus. Then its over to the Police Station to get photos signed for new passport, and Chelsea here we come. It is a very frosty morning and foggy. I can't see past my back wall. But I think it should clear.

Anticipation

22 January 2010 23:47:24
Maybe this is a Foxtail Lily!

Maybe this is a Foxtail Lily!

Had a quick look around the garden this morning before work. Saw this peeping out of the barch chip. I am hoping this is EREMURUS coming up. This will be my first year for the Foxtail Lily, so please excuse my ignorance. Can't wait.

A Bird in the Hand!

22 January 2010 19:57:22
New cactus

New cactus

Well 'lo and behold it rained all day yesterday, and all night. Just checked the water butt. 400 litres. It is now 4inches from the top. Better organize the brown bin to act as an over-flow now. Otherwise all that will go to waste down the shore.

Smashing day today. It was great to be able to work in t-shirt sleeves all day. AND it was still daylight when I clocked out at 5.00pm. I had to buy myself a consolation prize today. All my 8 succulents from the greenhouse are dead as dodos. It was caused by those extreme temperatures during the snow, and me moving them to a much much hotter temp in the house, in the room with an open fire. I won't bore you all with another photo of them. Needless to say, all 8 will be going on the compost heap tomorrow. But I will show you a photo of my new cactus. Its shape caught my eye from the delivery trolley as soon as I took it in. Tomorrow I will pot it into one of my terracotta pots.

 But guess what?????? You all know that I have been looking after the birds in the garden centre recently. The robin has become braver by the day. And I make sure that if he doesn't eat what I put out on the ground for him within about 30minutes, to sweep it all up. So he can't be eating it when I'm not around. It took a while today, but I DID IT. He fed from my hand, then a customer came out and he flew off. But he came back time and time again. Wahoo! This is just the best news!

Unwanted Christmas Present

21 January 2010 21:11:00
Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnet

Just been watching the programme on Channel 4 with Monty. Very interesting. A lot of hard work involved by the couple in Dartmoor. I feel for the husband, as I can sometimes be crippled with arthritis too. Very debilitating condition. Brave man who has a strong urge to succeed, and enjoy life into the bargain.

Girl in work brought me in a present that someone got her for Christmas. She hasn't a green bone in her body. Hates gardening. I can only presume that whoever bought her this present, doesn't know her too well. So she duly presented me with a growpack of Scotch Bonnet chilipeppers. It made my day. Will start them off at the weekend.

Last of the Hyacinths

21 January 2010 06:54:52
Still waiting.

Still waiting.

At the beginning of the winter season I bought a pack of 5 ordinary hyacinths (untreated) and grew them in the hyacinth vases. All did well except one. With this one, it just needed a helping hand to start into growth. The others have flowered, gone over, and the foliage is beginning to die off. The last one is just about peeping through after I gently nicked the top of the bulb to release it into growing.

And I also have a lot of 3 which I bought in Homebase late in the season. 2 are doing ok. One is a dud. But I actually bought these for the pretty pot that they were in.

Be Prepared!

20 January 2010 19:24:02
Water Butt

Water Butt

We live on an island surrounded by water (obviously) and yet we are going to be charged for a God-given substance. We all have waste bins outside our houses. I have found alternative ways of disposing of my waste so now Steve has turned my green bin into a water butt.

Materials required:

1 8ft flexible hose (a firehose is what we used)

2 Jubilee clips 4inches diameter

1 bin

1 1/4 turn valve/ball valve

4 solid blocks for mounting

1 piece of 4inch pipe, 6inches long (offcut of downpipe is ideal)

ASSEMBLY

1. Cut down-pipe at the nearest bracket above the height of a downstairs window.

2. Slide the fire hose over the pipe and secure with 1 of the 4inch Jubilee clips.

3. Use the off-cut of the down-pipe and cut roughly 6 inches off. Insert it into the other end of the hose and secure it with the 2nd Jubilee clip.

4. Position the bin as close to the down-pipe as possible. When happy, cut hole in the bin-lid to accommodate the pipe at the end of the hose. Steve put the hole towards the back of the lid so I could use the front to put pots, containers on it.

5. Once you are happy, lift the bin onto 4 solid blocks to ensure access to water supply.

6. Drill a hole about 2inches up from the bottom of the bin and insert 1/2 inch quarter turn valve/ball valve. This will be your tap. You can get these valves in different sizes from 1/2 inch up to 1 inch.

7. Put in an overflow pipe at the top side of the bin so that any excess can flow into a nearby shore.

When the water butt starts to collect water, add a tablespoon full of sunflower oil. This will stop mosquitos from laying eggs into the stagnant water.

 

 

 

Steve Has Gone Gaga!

19 January 2010 21:48:14

Spring Is In The Air

19 January 2010 21:15:27
Leucojum (Snowflakes)

Leucojum (Snowflakes)

This is my favourite time of the year in the garden centre. All the spring plants are on their way in.  I get such a buzz out of receiving that first spring order. Tete-a-tete's planted up, Leucojum (Snowflake), Lilies, Myosotis (Forget-Me-Nots) although I hate them. They go over far too quickly in the garden centre, Narcissus 'Bridal Crown' etc. Keep 'em coming. Oh it's nearly upon us.

Top Heavy!

19 January 2010 20:34:06
Leaning to one side.

Leaning to one side.

Last night before going to bed, I thought to myself, I really should put this Amaryllis into a heavier pot. I was having thoughts of Cloncaw's journal about 'Things that go bump in the night'. However, I didn't do anything about it. And I never got a wink of sleep, expecting to hear a bump in the night. Ha ha.

Luckily it was still standing when I got up this morning. Sorted now though.

Cold Day!

19 January 2010 18:53:13
Nepenthes cuttings and new radishes

Nepenthes cuttings and new radishes

Biting cold wind in the garden centre today. I spent a good bit of time sussing out which plants took the brunt of the cold spell the most. I was surprised that most were ok, apart from ALL the cyclamen, which were completely wiped out. They ended up in the skip.

This evening, after very thorough instructions from Rachel, I took my first Nepenthes cuttings. Hopefully I will see some new growth from them within a month.

Today I bought radishes of a different kind to go in my veggie bed for the summer. I never saw white ones before. These ones are 'Daikon Mooli Minowase NR'. They are a large Oriental radish that should grow 12inches long, or more. These are traditionally used in stir-fries, or pickled.

Calling 'Nepenthes Queen'!

19 January 2010 07:40:33
Nepenthes 'Rebecca'

Nepenthes 'Rebecca'

I bought a Nepenthes 'Rebecca' at Bloom 2009. It is doing well, so well in fact, that there are about 4 healthy new shoots growing on it. I was thinking of trying to propagate these, but Rachel, I need your advice on this one. What kind of compost should I put them into? How do I take them off the parent plant without causing it any harm? Do I just cut them off, or break them? All advice welcome!

Still No Water

19 January 2010 06:47:30
Still No Water

Still No Water

Last weekend I had a bit of a reprieve by going up to Dad for a shower, and to use his washing machine. No water in work yesterday. I was hoping I would be able to water all the indoor plants thoroughly. Not a chance.

However, now I won't even be able to drop up to Dad for a shower. His water is off too. :(

Revised, revised list of veg for 2010

18 January 2010 19:49:11
Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'

Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'

I can't remember how many times I have made lists of what veg I want to grow this year. But THIS is my final one. And I will list them all in my diary so I can't change my mind AGAIN.

In one big container I will be sowing a combination of Spinach Beet, Cos Lettuce, Lollo Rossa Lettuce, and Red-leaved Basil.

In a big container each side of the Loggia, I will be growing beans. One side will be 'Sultana', the other will be 'Painted Lady' runner beans.

In front of the greenhouse, I will be growing Peas 'Hurst Green Shaft' and in the bed in front of them I will sow sweetcorn 'F1 Sundance'. I will keep that whole bed for the corn. I just can't get enough corn. But it is a long time since I have grown it, so we will see how I get on with that. In the greenhouse, I have 'Alicante' tomatoes which have already germinated here on my windowsill, and 'Tumbling Tom' Yellow, 'Russian Black',, 2 types of peppers 'Hungarian Wax' and 'Hamik', also Mangetout peas 'Reuzenzuiker' ( I am not certain yet whether these should be grown in the greenhouse, or outdoors), also in the greenhouse Cucumber 'Crystal Apple', Melon 'Edonis F1 Hybrid', with 4 peach trees,  the vine, and strawberries. Hopefully my greenhouse will be able to accommodate all these. I also have 8 blueberry bushes this year, and a kiwi, a 'Minaret' Apple tree, and Malus domestica 'Redlane', and 'Stella' Cherry. If I succeed with all this, I will be MORE than happy.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I sowed onions before christmas, and have garlic and raddichio. And hopefully next week, or this week if I am lucky, the seed potatoes will be in. Can't wait to start chitting them.

Guess What this Is!

18 January 2010 17:38:16
What's this?

What's this?

While checking my cyclamen in my stone circle yesterday I was delighted to see some new growth. Not on the cyclamen, but on a new plant which I had forgotten that I had planted. I have to say the foliage is not what I expected from it. Can anybody guess what it is? And No, there will be no prize for the person who can guess correctly.

A Day For Positive Thinking!

18 January 2010 07:23:49
The Luxury of Running Water!

The Luxury of Running Water!

Water coming out of my tap in the kitchen this morning, and toilet flushing. Hopefully the water in the main tank in the attic is being replenished. Will have to check that later. But in the meantime, we have to be frugal in our use of the existing water. Fingers crossed that things will get sorted asap.

I realize how lucky we are that this has happened at this time of year. If it was during the summer, when growth is in full swing, it would be ten times worse. And there would be a lot of dirty bodies in this house, and also a lot more laundry.

My poor indoor plants in work didnt get any water last week. They are pretty parched at this stage. But I shall embrace today with a feeling of positivity. And the birds are chirping away outside. They would do your heart good. :)

By the way, this photo is from the internet. Not my Tap. I should be so lucky!!!!

St. Anne's Park, Raheny

17 January 2010 19:47:39
St. Anne's Park, Raheny, Dublin.

St. Anne's Park, Raheny, Dublin.

This article was published in the Northside People last week, some of you may be interested.

WORK AT ST. ANNE'S TO BE COMPLETED IN SPRING

Dublin City Council is expected to complete boundary work at St. Anne's Park in the spring. The work will be carried out at James Larkin Road, Clontarf Road and Mount Prospect. The Parks Division (at Dublin City Council) has done tremendous work in replacing and infilling the sunken garden and pond areas. Most of the refurbished area was levelled and seeded last summer and is well established by now. Drainage works are now complete and final surfacing of the new pathways will take place as soon as weather permits. Extensive new tree planting will also take place, which the city council believes will enhance the views from the park to North Bull Island, Dublin City and the Dublin Mountains. The Parks staff is to be commended for continuing their great efforts to present St. Anne's Park as Dublin's premier park.

Garden Guilt

17 January 2010 18:03:17
4 in front of pic GONE!

4 in front of pic GONE!

This lark of having no water is really getting me down. We have had no running water here for the last 8 days now. I took in all my small succulents from the greenhouse last week. Gave them a light watering and left them in a cooler room in the house. I didnt want to barage them with too much heat after spending all that time out in the cold greenhouse.

 However, I was looking at them closely today. 4 out 8 are gone, the leaves were going mouldy and slimey.  The remaining 4 could have done with another dose of water today. But I reckon they are probably on their way out too. Why waste water on dying plants. Also, I could do with washing some pots and trays for seed sowing in a couple of weeks. What is the point in sowing seeds, and giving myself all that heartache when obviously water is going to be a problem for the foreseable future. At the moment, we can get water from tankers dotted around the locality. But if this goes on for much longer, I can see each household being rationed. It is depressing me to think that this seed-sowing time is going to go to waste and I will have NOTHING to look forward to for the summer.

Pot Luck!

17 January 2010 10:06:19
'Frost-resistant',  Not 'Frost-proof'

'Frost-resistant', Not 'Frost-proof'

During last Summer I bought a lot of pots. I got them very cheap and decided to try and have as many as possible the same. I planted 7 blueberries into pots identical to these. And they look great. But I have just been out there. In the centre of my garden I have 3 of these pots also planted up with cyclamen. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the birds, especially blackbirds, were pulling them up. Now they look terrible. But thats not the problem. All the pots have split and broken with the cold weather. If that happens to all my blueberry pots, it will make me a bit more wary when purchasing new ones. Most teracotta pots would be considered 'frost resistant', which really isn't great. What you want to look out for is 'frost proof'. But sadly, you rarely see them being advertised as 'frost proof'.

Looks like another good day.

17 January 2010 09:04:06
Looks like another good day.

Looks like another good day.

I haven't seen a Goldfinch here in a couple of weeks. I wonder was it the really cold weather that brought them to forage in our back gardens. I have been reading in peoples journals that, as well as nyjer seeds, they are feeding on nuts. I must get a nut feeder and bring them back in. Maybe they are gone until next winter. But I have to try. Beautiful little bird.

All the brambles that I cut back in October had been left on the ground, so today I hope to do something with them. There is a lot of decayed vegetation down in that area that could do with a major tidy-up.

My garage door leading out into the garden needs to be sanded down and re-painted. If I get the motivation I will make a start on that. I usually avoid taking photos of plants in that area as they don't look great with that door directly behind them. I will also have a good look at my sprouts. Had a quick look yesterday and they still seem quite small. Dying to eat them. Maybe they are not going to get any bigger. So maybe I SHOULD take them up.

What a Beautiful Day!

16 January 2010 20:29:34
New Books

New Books

 

It was indeed a beautiful day today. It was very mild, calm, dry and sunny later on. A pleasure to be alive. It was the day that a lot of us have been waiting for, for so long. Long may these last. But I think maybe we should all be cautious for a little while longer. Unfortunately my time was taken up with tasks other than gardening today. Myself and Zoe spent the day with Dad. We needed to use his shower and washing machine. So in return, we treated him to dinner out. We did a little bit of shopping while we were out.

 Didn't get home until 4.30. And Steve had the new water butt all rigged up to the downpipe. Can't wait to see how long it takes to fill up. Delighted with that great idea of Steve's. I got 2 new books when I was out. I had Christmas vouchers to spend. One of them was Monty Don's 'The Complete Gardener' and a Garden Diary which I hope to fill in meticulously with all the appropriate entries. That is going to be my ONLY new years resolution this year. This diary also has 2 pages of a planting and sowing calendar for all types of veg, and pages of recipes too.

I have done my laundry for the weekend, so hopefully tomorrow can be spent in the garden, weather permitting.

2 Dead Fish

16 January 2010 16:50:21
One of the fatalities

One of the fatalities

Our small pond was still half covered with ice up to 2 days ago. This morning I had a quick look around the garden. And while doing so, I noticed a goldfish floating on the surface. As I was fishing him out, I also noticed another casualty, a koi. I was actually expecting more deaths than that. This is the small ponds first winter in which there are 10 small Koi and 10 small Goldfish. The deepest part in this pond is only about 20inches, so I figured we would have a lot more deaths as the fish wouldnt have the proper depth to go down to for winter protection. So, if that's all we lose, it's better than I had expected.

A day for the Beach!

16 January 2010 08:30:01
Temperatures rising!

Temperatures rising!

Just showered and dressed. In my shorts. Have sunfactor on, sandwiches made and also a big flask of coffee. Outdoor Thermometer is reading +7. Very hot in here. Not used to these high temperatures. Off to the beach for some 'rays'. Better take lots of drinking water too, and a good gardening book....................................................

And then, she woke up!!!!!!!!!!!

Self-sufficiency of a sort!

15 January 2010 20:39:37
Water Butt

Water Butt

With recent events of lack of running water here, we got to thinking..... Dangerous, I know. However, outside our house we have a brown bin, which I NEVER use, because I wouldn't give them the money to dump my garden rubbish that I can compost anyway. We have a green, and black bin also, which I don't use either. Luckily I have found an alternative way of disposing of my household rubbish and paper. So now we are going to put these bins to better use. I was going to buy a water butt yesterday, but they had all sold out. So that was the deciding factor. Our green bin will be a water butt from tomorrow.

Visitor to Garden Centre

15 January 2010 19:47:19
Welcome Visitor

Welcome Visitor

Do you remember I told you all that I had spotted a fox lurking around the yard of Warehouse? Well, he turned up today, and looked very relaxed about the place. I would say he has been visiting on a regular basis. Couldn't believe he appeared today, AND I had my camera with me. Wahoo! I think he looks like a pup. Maybe I am wrong. If so, where are his siblings. Maybe there are more where HE came from!

Some Survivors

14 January 2010 18:36:56
Alpine Circle Not Looking Too Bad

Alpine Circle Not Looking Too Bad

My God, what a day in work. I would say 75% of our sales were for water containers. People here are going nuts. There are water tankers stationed all over the capital. There is also one in our carpark. But when they have to go off to refill, people are becoming antagonistic and stressed out. Normally the carpark is practically empty at 5.00 when clocking out. Not today. It was like midday traffic. What did our ancestors do if there was ever a water shortage. There was no such thing as Ballygown Spring Water on the shop shelves. The local supermarket ran out of stocks of water.

This morning I had a quick look around the garden to assess the damage. Anigozanthus looking bad. Musa is all brown and yeuchy. It fell over when I touched it and just flopped out of the pot. Gone! But outside the greenhouse, the Alpine Circle is looking ok. After all, the plants there grow in almost constant sub-zero temperatures and very hostile conditions. Some of the plants there are a little bit blackened around the edges, but there is plenty of fresh growth visible. All my cyclamen are completely blackened too and very slimey. I have a lovely shrub Spirea 'Snowmound' which has been blackened too. But I spotted the tiniest bit of fresh green buds on that too. So there is definitely hope for a lot more than we realize.

Now, if only there was water coming out of my tap, and shower. Pain in the arse!!!!!!!! Haven't had water since Sunday. We really take running water for granted! This is going to take a long time to sort.

 

 

Damage So Far

14 January 2010 07:34:50
Some casualties.

Some casualties.

I had a good few small succulents out in the greenhouse. I bought these during the summer in Homebase. Luckily I didn't pay too much for them. I only thought to take them into the house when it was too late. I think that 3 out of 8 are completely 'kaput', which isn't too bad considering. But I won't be discarding ANY plants just yet. Plenty of time for that. However the Aeonium seems alright so far.

I took in my Arisaemas, and Amorphophallus. However, they are back out now. But another casualy that I am expecting is my Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthus). I never thought to take that in. That will be a 'blow' for me if it dies. So unusual. And great colour flower.

I hope I get water back soon or EVERYTHING will die. We haven't had water here since Sunday. They say that this could be the case for the next 3 months.  Maybe now is the perfect time to purchase a water butt for my plants.

This Is Better Than Christmas

13 January 2010 18:18:14
I won't have time for Garden.ie soon. Hee hee

I won't have time for Garden.ie soon. Hee hee

Yesterday I got a parcel in the post from Fraoch with cuttings of Tradescantia. Today I got yet another parcel. It feels like Christmas all over again.

The parcel today was from Rachel. Wahoo, so many seeds, and more cuttings of a different Tradescantia. I was just browsing journals a few minutes ago, and spotted that you also sent Myrtle seeds. Did you leave any seeds for yourself. Thanks a million. The most exciting of these FOR ME is the annual grass 'Hordeum jubatum'. I saw this during the summer in Rachels and HeadGardeners journals. I absolutely adore it. I know MY efforts of 'impact' will not be anything like yours. All I can do is my best. Looking forward to seeing the results. Oh I just can't wait to start all of this. Rachel, thanks a million. Such a generous parcel.

Bit of a miserable today, weatherwise, but at least it was mild enough. And virtually no wind. Spent a lot of time assessing damage.

Still going strong

13 January 2010 07:32:27
Still looking good.

Still looking good.

This Amaryllis had 2 flower stems. The first stem accidentally broke, so I had to splint it to the second one, so it could continue to flower. However, the first stem has finished flowering, and this morning I had to cut it off. It was beginning to rot. Now that the dying stem has been removed, the new one looks really good. And its great to have it well after Christmas has passed.

I have another small Amaryllis to look forward to also. This one was acquired late in the season. No sign of a flower yet. I shall be very patient. There was no indication of flower colour on the box. I will take what I get and be very happy with it.

My Dream Farm (New Series)

12 January 2010 21:08:39
Monty Don

Monty Don

We haven't been given the pleasure of any gardening programmes worth talking about all over the Christmas. Indeed it has been a good while. So how does this one grab you?

'My Dream Farm' Thursday 21st January 2010.

8.00pm

Monty Don assists six families as they try to realise their dream of quitting the rat race. Dick and Pauline Beijen seek Monty's help as they relocate to a 44 acre property in Devon.

I always liked Monty.

Aldi Bargains

12 January 2010 18:30:59
We might ALL need some of these after this weather!

We might ALL need some of these after this weather!

From Thursday 21st January Aldi have a selection of Evergreen Shrubs for €2.49 each. Includes Acuba, Camellia (Red), Ceanothus (Repens), Cistus (Corbariensis), Cistus (Sunset), Pieris (Forest Flame, Mountain Fire, Flaming Silver), Azalea (Pink, Red, Purple), Photinia (Red Robin), Pyracantha (Red, Orange), Ilex (Variegata), Lavatera (Barnsley, Burgundy Wine, Bendon Springs).

House Plants €4.99 Choose from Jasmine, Rose, or Gardenia.

And lastly, packets of seeds for just 79c. Choose from (who was looking for a meadow in their garden) Cornflower, Cosmos, Marigold, Morning Glory, Nasturtiums, Sunflowers, Sweet Peas, and vegetable seeds Basil, Beetroot, Carrot, Coriander, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Parsnip, Pea, Radish, Runner Bean, Tomato.

Am I mad or what!

12 January 2010 18:03:24
Moulded Giant Ice Cubes

Moulded Giant Ice Cubes

I spent the day out in the garden centre hacking away at all the ice. I probably won't be able to lift my arms when I wake up in the morning. I broke 2 dutch hoes doing the job, my own fault for choosing the cheapest make. You really do get what you pay for. However, the job is done. So it is now safe to venture outdoors.

And it was so wild out there, and freezing cold. My head looked like that of a scarecrow when I came in. Very funny, all the wheelbarrows had collected water, and subsequently turned to ice. So I had 10 nicely moulded giant ice cubes. The ice, even though there has been a thaw for the last 48 hours, was 5inches thick.

We sold out of water containers in work. My house still has only enough water to flush a toilet. No luxuries, I am afraid. It is so wild out there now, and there is heavy sleet, turning to more snow. Need I say anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :(

Gusty weather

12 January 2010 06:44:48
Gusty weather on its way

Gusty weather on its way

Batten down the hatches. It will be windy today with strong and gusty southeasterly winds. It will be fairly dry this morning, but rain will be more persistent this afternoon and evening, and will turn to snow on higher ground. +4 on the thermometer. And that is as warm as it will get. This is for the Dublin area.

 Just out feeding the birds, and it is a VERY biting cold wind out there. Snow is still lying where it was yesterday. Drive safely.

Hope!

11 January 2010 21:07:58
'Alicante'

'Alicante'

There is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel. Our weather hasn't been great recently, to say the least. And people seem to be dwelling on the morbid side of nature right now. But there is always hope.

I sowed some 'Alicante' tomato seeds on Christmas week. They are just beginning to peep through now. I have never grown my own tomatoes from seed before, these seeds were extracted from my own tomatoes last year. I wouldn't have thought that they would come up so early in the year. Great feeling. Now, let's hope I can keep them alive until planting out in the greenhouse. I may have a long wait. Let's hope we get a decent rise in temperatures and light levels.

Dimorphotheca

11 January 2010 19:38:13
Dimorphotheca

Dimorphotheca

In work today, I was thinking of the 'sharing' part of this site. I love Osteospermums. But I decided to buy a packet of seeds of Dimorphotheca as there are 190 seeds inside. Plenty for sharing.

Dimorphotheca (South African Daisy) is like an annual form of Osteospermum. Although Osteospermum used to be called Dimorphotheca, this name now only applies to the annual form. These annuals are also known as 'Star of the Veldt' and are very different to the plant we now know as Osteospermum. The flowering period is not as long as Osteos. They are a hardy annual, so seed can be sown in Autumn and Spring. They dislike root disturbance, and should be grown in full sun or the flowers will refuse to open.

I will probably only use about 20-30 seeds, so if anybody wants to try them, just let me know.

 

Water Water Everywhere, But Not In My House.

11 January 2010 18:05:09
Not A Happy Camper!

Not A Happy Camper!

No shower this morning. No water. People seem to be leaving their taps running in the Dublin Area to prevent their pipes being frozen. So Dublin City Council has rationed water to each household in their area. It's a good job I filled up loads of saucepans the other day when we had that leak.

You'll never guess what? After all the horrible treacherous weather that we had last week, this morning I laughed when I heard a Gritter going down the road. How IRISH is that. They wait until all danger is passed before something is done about treacherous road.

Fraoch!!!!!!

11 January 2010 17:46:05
3 Tradescantias from Fraoch

3 Tradescantias from Fraoch

Got in from work and was handed post. I was absolutely delighted when I opened it to find cuttings from 3 different Tradescantias which Fraoch had promised me last week. Fair play to you, Heather. You certainly didn't hang about. They arrived a small bit squashed, but they are now tidied up and are rooting in water. I am quite confident that they will bounce back. Tradescantias look frail, but are really quite strong.

Heather, thanks a million. I owe you one. Once planted up and growing, I will post another photo.

On the rise!

11 January 2010 05:44:33
Rising slowly

Rising slowly

Snow still all over the garden. Snowman still standing. Roads seem better. It has been raining all night. The forecast for the Dublin area is showers of rain and sleet gradually dying out. Temperatures will vary from 0  to +3 degrees. Temperatures stand at +2 at the moment. Roll on the thaw!

Here Today - Gone Tomorrow

10 January 2010 21:05:25
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

It has been raining steadily here in Dublin since about 6.00pm. The roads seem to be a lot clearer of snow now. But of course, that's only main roads. Side roads and estates are still treacherous. It definitely seems to be a lot milder today. I haven't checked the thermometer. I can't remember whether the weatherman said we would have freezing temperatures during the night. I hope not. Because if we do, I certainly am NOT going to drive to work.

If it continues to rain, Mr. Snowman will melt into a puddle out in the grass. :( 

Identify please!

10 January 2010 13:18:22
Is this a Redwing maybe?

Is this a Redwing maybe?

Just saw this bird in the front garden. There was a blackbird chasing him, maybe marking his territory. They were both rummaging under a shrub, probably for insects or something. The blackbird won the battle though.

This bird was a little smaller than a blackbird, light brown underbelly and a red tinge under the wing area. Not a great photo, he wouldn't come out completely into the snow so not very visible. You might get a better idea from January 2010 album. Is it a Redwing? Forgot to mention that he has a creamy coloured eyebrow, and a speckled tummy.

Definitely a thaw here too.

10 January 2010 09:15:53
Definitely a thaw here too.

Definitely a thaw here too.

In spite of my window thermometer giving a reading of +3, the icicles seem to be thawing out. They are dripping away. How can they be melting at that STILL very low temperature. Mystery.

And this morning I was up at 5.00. Steve's car was covered completely with snow. Now all the snow has vanished from the bonnet. Oh My God, I have just seen a man jogging down the road in a pair of shorts. Come on, now, lads. What's the story HERE?

 

9.30am: I just googled on the thawing of ice. It starts to thaw at .1degree celsius. Didn't know that!

Aroid Alert

09 January 2010 16:44:05
Rare plants

Rare plants

Just remembered my precious aroids which are on a garden table down beyond the greenhouse. How could I forget about them? I have Arisaema griffithii, Arisaema ciliatum, Amorphophallus 'konjac' and Drancuncula vulgaris.

 The toughest of these four is the Arisaema griffithii which can take a maximum low of -20 and Arisaema ciliatum. The others are not as hardy. I have just brushed off all the snow and now they are in the garage where they can defrost slowly.

Resuscitation for Plants

09 January 2010 13:20:19
Just in Time (I hope)

Just in Time (I hope)

Just in from the garden. Had a look in the greenhouse. Everything in there looks DEAD and BROWN. I took in all my little succulents but maybe I should put them into the garage. I don't want them to defrost too quickly. They are looking very watery. Not hopeful for them as they are only small. My Canna lilies and Musa are looking like death warmed up. And my Acidantheras. But, believe it or not, the Cycas revolutas (Sago Palm) that I got in Lanzarote is looking just as good as the day I bought it.

The icicles hanging from the loggia are truly magical looking. But the plants underneath can surely NEVER recover from their ICY ordeal.

Another plant that I hadn't thought to protect before, is my Humilis Chaemorops. It is small too. The ground on the patio is a death trap. I will not be going out again to fill up the feeders. I will just scatter some food and crumbs outside the patio doors.

My leakage is repaired and thankfully no damage done to the house. Things could have been really nasty. I am starting up an album 'Ice Magic 2010'

Leak Update (Not the vegetable kind)

09 January 2010 09:52:53
Frozen Splashes On Window

Frozen Splashes On Window

Water still gushing from the pipe and creating havoc down below on the patio. Icicles all over the loggia. Plants frozen solid. Amongst those that have been frozen are my beloved Agapanthus, Fuchsia, Yucca gloriosa, Nandina domestica (Sacred Bamboo) Buxus, Geraniums, and Zantedeschia. The place is dripping with icicles. Not exactly what I was wishing for yesterday after seeing Deborahs sculpture. I suppose, Deborah, you could now call Martin 'ICEPOP', or 'MR. FREEZE', Ha ha. Gotta hang on to my sense of humour. Things might be a whole lot different, once these plants thaw out.

Plumber on his way over. Hopefully this will get sorted very soon. On a positive note, the pipes in the attic didn't burst last night. Took a few photos with other camera which is on charge right now. Will put up an album later. But here is one photo of the frozen splashes on the kitchen window.

Plant Casualties

08 January 2010 22:35:20
Garlic 08.01.10

Garlic 08.01.10

Had a quick look around the garden this morning. Broad beans are kaput. And I think my cabbages too. I bought a gorgeous lavender in Glasnevin which is not looking too healthy. The garlic was looking a bit dodgy but maybe they will be ok. And even though my sprouts have been weighed down by the snow and frost, they are looking A1. Really looking forward to harvesting them.

We have sprung a leak!

08 January 2010 14:57:16
Coming from a pipe under the gutter

Coming from a pipe under the gutter

Under the eaves of the house (in the back) is a pipe coming out of the wall, just under the gutters. There is water spewing out of it, pouring onto the patio. I have 7 bags of coal there, beside the patio table that I am using for the birds at the moment. The birdcake that I made is one horrible mess with the water pouring all over the table. It looks like a big wet dish of cold porridge, and is being splashed everywhere. Initially I thought that the excess water was coming from the gutters because of maybe a bit of a thaw. I mean, temperatures are at a warm +1 at the moment. But I don't think this is the case. It has been flowing for the last 45minutes. And the flow is as strong now as when it started.

 I am hoping that this water is not being drained from the tank in the attic. It's coming out of a pipe, I don't know what this pipe is for. All I can say is, maybe I will be getting the icicles I wanted, after seeing Deborah's photos earlier. The garden is going to be flooded if it doesn't stop soon. A lot of water is being lost from SOMEWHERE!!!!!!!!!!   Help!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sparrowhawk!

08 January 2010 12:35:32
Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk

Just beyond our garden wall is a big field. I cant say how big it is, as I wouldn't  know what an acre would look like. This field is quite open, but around it are a couple of housing estates. Some quite established estates, and lots of tall trees. So I am sure there are lots more birds around here than I even realize. But yesterday, and just now, I spotted a Sparrowhawk flying overhead. Couldn't get a photo though. Camera was at the kitchen window. And the new camera I bought last week is not good enough for what I want it. The zoom lens is not getting a close-up enough photo for my liking. So at the moment I am using my old AND new camera. Very frustrating.

Here, I will download a photo of a sparrowhawk. They are a beautiful bird. They spot their prey, hover, and dive. I have seen them hovering in this field beyond countless times. I think they are catching voles around here, and field mice. I looked them up on the net, it says that they eat sparrows, obviously, and tits. So a vole would make a nice little appetizer for them. Let's hope the tit population here doesn't decline now.

Garden Jobs (for Now)

08 January 2010 10:02:06
Cotoneaster 'Coral Beauty'

Cotoneaster 'Coral Beauty'

I just cleaned down my patio table that I am using for bird feeds. There were remnants of crumbs, seeds, chopped apple and kiwi lying around. Fruit had turned brown and yeuchy with all the snow. Had to get boiling water to wash it down. No sooner had I poured it, than it froze again. However, it's now clean. And of course I had to sweep up the scattered food on the ground below it. Don't want to attract any rodents. I put out my Bird Cake that I made last night. Can't wait to see them flocking to it. It's pelting snow now, and it is covering my footprints nicely. The garden was magical this morning with the heavy overnight frost. Put a few more photos into January 2010.

I am afraid to go near the greenhouse for fear of finding a lot of fatalities, especially my Musa which was producing new shoots 2 weeks ago. Oh there is going to be SO MUCH lost.

'The Birds'

07 January 2010 20:29:14
Banquet for the Birds

Banquet for the Birds

I have just prepared a tasty treat for them. I used oatflakes, fat, raisins, grated cheese and a mixture of birdseed.

Melt the fat ina saucepan. Slowly add the oatflakes, until most of the moisture is absorbed. Then add raisins, cheese and birdseed. You can mould these in 2 different ways. I chose the latter. You can press them tightly into the bottom of a yoghurt pot and thread a piece of twine or string through, so you can hang them up around the garden. In this instance, all I did was press the mixture into the lid of a pyrex bowl. Now it is setting in the fridge until tomorrow. This big 'cake' will fit nicely into one of the feed trays on my bird feeder. They are NOT going to be able to resist this. And because it is in a feed tray, I can remove it in the evening, to ensure that rodents don't get a free party. I have updated January 2010 album.

Nest Building

07 January 2010 14:03:57
Robin Eggs

Robin Eggs

Robins are one of our earliest birds to nest. The female does the majority of building, although the male may help bring materials to the nesting site. Nesting materials may be gathered from up to a quarter of a mile away. The nest takes 2-6 days to build, and may be started up to two weeks before the first eggs are laid. Good places to find robin nests would be in open suburban areas, in evergreens, or sturdy shrubs, or in man-made nesting boxes.

These can be found as soon as the females have begun to arrive on their breeding grounds. Usually 3 - 4 eggs are laid, blue-green in colour. One egg is laid each day until the clutch is complete. The female does all the incubation, generally staying on the eggs for about 50mins in each hour. If for any reason the eggs are destroyed, a new clutch may be laid within 10 days.

My Mad Cat!

07 January 2010 11:22:59
Crazy Cat!

Crazy Cat!

Oh My God, I am sitting here on the couch with laptop on coffee table. Holly has just been on my lap, and saw the box for CJWildlife on the top right hand of journal. She saw a picture of a bird, then the screen changed to another bluetit at a birdbox. She has just LUNGED at the computer screen. Ha ha. I think it might be time to put her out again.  Crazy thing!

FEED THE BIRDS

07 January 2010 06:39:11
Hungry Birds

Hungry Birds

Yesterday I phoned in sick, as I have a bummer of a headcold. I cossetted myself all day, and only went outside to take a few photos. I was guilty of neglecting my feathered friends. I didnt top up any feeders, I don't think they needed it. And I certainly didnt even melt the ice for them. My legs are my main concern here. It was so slippery even just outside on the step that I wasn't taking any chances. I have a very dodgy knee, and the other one isn't much better.

I didnt even look out to see what bird activity was going on in the garden. Instead I chose to stay in the living room in the front of the house, with a big fire built up for the day. Today, I will spread a mat of some sort, so I can get out to check on them.

Black and white Cat who likes the 'white stuff'

06 January 2010 22:51:20
Happy as a pig in s....

Happy as a pig in s....

Here is a photo of my cat, Holly. Much as I tried to get her in to the heat of the fire today, she just wouldn't move. She is very much an outdoor cat. And seems to love the snow.

For Patiopally

06 January 2010 19:42:18
Illusion of extra space

Illusion of extra space

Ok Patiopally, photo as promised. Photo taken from internet. It turned out much smaller than I had hoped. But this trompe l'oeil trellis gives the illusion of space beyond. Trompe l'oeil is french, meaning 'trick of the eye'.

Mirrors on the walls can do the same. Just slightly different way of creating the same illusion.

Patiopally, you are an artist. You might find it difficult to get one of these trellises. If so, you could actually paint a mural on the wall that resembles this kind of trellis.

Daz Whiteness!

06 January 2010 15:50:47
Whiter than white!

Whiter than white!

It has been snowing here on and off all day. And quite heavily at times. But I never remember having thunder and lightning during snowfall before. Really freaky. This morning the snow and frost was beginning to thaw a bit. Now it's back to square one. But at least it's lovely and bright outside. So bright in fact that one would almost need sunglasses. Beautiful. Everything looks clean and fresh.

A Day for Minding Oneself!

06 January 2010 07:55:02
Having a 'me' day!

Having a 'me' day!

All bunged up with a headcold today. I will ring in sick.

I have just lit a big fire in the living room. But what do I do with all this free time on my hands. Maybe I will bring down the duvet and loll about on the couch and read my new books from cover to cover.

And treat myself to one or two hot brandys.

Can't stay Indoors Forever

05 January 2010 20:42:52
Getting out, regardless of the weather!

Getting out, regardless of the weather!

The weather being so bad would make one just want to hibernate until the first rays of sun shine down on us. But it looks like we are in for a long wait. On Monday morning while waiting for a taxi to take me to work, I saw this man walking, or sliding, down the road holding his ladder and bicycle. He struggled to keep it upright. And failed.

The bicycle fell over into the road and his bucket got squashed by a passing car. But he just picked up the bike, hit the bucket back into shape, and continued on his merry way. I was just thinking to myself, he either REALLY needs an income, or he was suffering from the same sickness as we here on this site: Cabin Fever. But I wouldn't say he had too many requests for window-cleaning.

Sunflowers

05 January 2010 18:59:02
Just 3 varieties

Just 3 varieties

Sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers. They come in so many different shades. from deep yellow, through to russet, burgundy, cream and other rustic shades. They come in dwarf and tall varieties. You can always find one that suits your garden. And they provide an abundance of seeds for the birds too.

This year I hope to sow 7 different varieties; 'Evening Sun' which produces blooms in jewel tones of red and brown with a golden sheen and can grow up to 2m, 'Pastiche' which produces flowers of lovely rustic shades, reds, buffs and some with inner discs of contrasting tones. These grow from 4-5ft, 'Tall Yellow' which grows 6-9ft and the three dwarf varieties that I will be growing will be 'Sunspot', 'Total Eclipse' and 'Pequito Mix'. These dwarf varieties will hopefully be in matching pots according to their varieties. Should be quite eye-catching. And very BOLD.

Planting out Hyacinths

05 January 2010 07:56:31
Planting out Hyacinths

Planting out Hyacinths

Remove faded flower stalks and allow the foliage to die back naturally. They need time after blooming to store energy in the bulbs for next year. Plant into a pot/container. The compost should provide adequate nutrients. Flower size may decline in subsequent years, so some gardeners treat Hyacinths as annuals and plant fresh bulbs each Autumn.

It is important not to store apples or other fruit nearby, as the ripening fruits give off ethylene gas which can kill or damage the developing flower within the bulbs. Plant in the garden AFTER the last frost.

DID YOU KNOW THAT MARCH 7TH IS WORLD HYACINTH DAY!

Plant Identity

04 January 2010 20:21:47
Aloe ?

Aloe ?

I got this photo in my Encyclopedia of Container Gardening. It doesn't specify which Aloe this is. Any ideas, anybody? I think this plant looks very pretty. But I have never seen it anywhere for sale.

Family Addition

03 January 2010 16:32:41
Me and little Harvie

Me and little Harvie

Just back from visiting my brother, Damien and his wife Michelle and their new bundle of joy, Harvie. She is just the cutest thing I have ever seen. Mother and baby are doing really great. I will post a new album 'Harvie' if anyone wants to have a look.

 Did no gardening today, obviously. The big freeze is just starting all over again now for the night. God help us all tomorrow.

Trapped and Lonely!

03 January 2010 09:29:00
Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell

Can you imagine how awful it must be for a feeble or frail old person living on their own right now. Running low on supplies, heating oil etc. I know an older person who is too proud and stubborn to ask for help, not that he is frail in any way. This person is my Dad. Since my Mam passed away last year, he gets very lonely in the house and feels the need to get out in his car. It passes some of the day for him. But even when the weathermen issue warnings to drivers, it goes in one ear and out the other. It is an obsession with him. But put yourself in HIS shoes, and you can understand his huge loss.

Where are our mild winters gone. We used to have fairly hot summers and our winters only involved a handful of frosty days, and possibly snow that lasted one or two days. Our weather actually used to be quite reliable. I only live down the road from my Dad but yet I feel trapped, as I cannot get down to him, unless Steve is here. I WILL NOT drive in this weather, nor would I walk unless I have someone to hang on to.  Mr. Alexander Graham Bell, we have a lot to thank you for.

Spare a thought for an elderly person, check on them in person. It only takes a few minutes out of your day. I am beginning to sound like an ad for AGE ACTION. But how many old people don't actually have someone there for them.

No further showers of snow overnight, but any existing snow is like sheer glass now. People are skidding all over the road outside. Just hope my Dad stays indoors today. It is reading -9 again on the outdoor thermometer.

Baby Harvie 01.01.10

02 January 2010 21:10:41
Little Harvie

Little Harvie

A photo of my newest niece. Her name is Harvie. I just have to share this photo with everyone. I hope to go and visit her, and her proud parents tomorrow.

First Aid works.

02 January 2010 19:05:52
Putting on a bit of growth.

Putting on a bit of growth.

A few weeks ago, I was concerned about one of my Hyacinth bulbs which was making absolutely NO growth. So I gently peeled back some the outer skin in the hope of giving it a bit of a headstart.

'lo and behold' it has worked. You can just about make out the growing tip on this photo. Today, I also potted up one of the two cuttings of Streptocarpus that Liga gave me on 13th December in Carlow. I potted it into Brown Gold because my multipurpose compost in the garden was frozen solid. Hope this is ok. I am still waiting for roots on the second cutting.

For Rachel

02 January 2010 18:13:08
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)

As you can see, it thrives on neglect.

Tidy-up Time!

02 January 2010 15:39:28
Blueberries with new growth

Blueberries with new growth

You will all be absolutely horrified when you hear that I took down my Christmas decorations today, and Steve cut up the tree. The decorations take up way too much space. If my kids were still small, I wouldn't have done it. But they are all adults here. Except maybe me, for most of the time. Anyway, I wanted to get this done before work on Monday.  I put them all back up into the attic. The place looks much bigger already. We should get 3 decent lengths of the trunk to make Ladybird houses, when Steve cuts it up.

I have just been out in the garden, observing. My wallflowers are actually flowering. Bramley, note that. I didnt see them on New Years Day because of the snow. Despite the very cold temperatures, there must have been a slight thaw here today. Everything in the greenhouse looks fine. And I could see new buds on my blueberry bushes. All doing really well. And I am sure my sprouts will taste really gorgeous after this cold spell.

Just had a look at my outdoor thermometer. It has been outside since this morning and is reading -9. So why am I under the impression that there has been a thaw today?

Outdoor temperatures plummeting

02 January 2010 09:12:38
Garden Thermometer :(

Garden Thermometer :(

My youngest bought me this gift as a 'little extra' with my main pressie for Christmas. Looks lovely, now to put it to the test. I don't have any other outdoor thermometer, yet, so it will be interesting what it reads after being outside for an hour. Gotta get me a proper one, though. This one looks too new. I gotta put a bit of dirt on it.

The blackbirds are getting very aggressive outside. Chasing each other down the garden. Are they being greedy with the food, or is this a part of courtship? The garden is a hive of activity at the moment. Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, very aggressive Pigeons, Starlings, Magpies, Crow, 2 Collared Doves, Sparrows and Dunnock. Just spotted a Pied Wagtail. You don't usually see those in gardens. Also a bird smaller than a Sparrow with different markings, similar to a Coal Tit, I think. I couldn't make it out too well as he flew off very quickly. Yesterday I cooked another Ham and put the fat out into the garden. I think that is what is drawing in the crows, and there are lots of gulls hovering overhead but I think they are afraid to land in such a confined space.

Such value for money

02 January 2010 08:43:42
Pure Pleasure

Pure Pleasure

€2.99 for a simple little bulb. Do you remember 2 wks ago I told you all about the Amaryllis stem which was growing at a 45degree angle, plus a vertical. I eased the 45degree one gently, and used the straight one as a splint and tied it up. Stem broke, but flower kept on flowering. Now the 2nd stem is beginning to flower. Where can you go wrong with such a small sum of money and whopping amount of pure beauty and pleasure.

New Year Baby

02 January 2010 08:20:05
Big Daddy and Michelle

Big Daddy and Michelle

My older brother celebrated his 50th birthday in November. Yesterday, on the 1st January 2010, he and his wife, Michelle, celebrated the birth of their first little baby, little girl 6lbs 14ozs. I am an Auntie again. No name as of yet, or photo. As soon as..... 

Anxious to get started

01 January 2010 23:06:26
Chitting Potatoes

Chitting Potatoes

Just reading through The Irish Garden. There is an article on potatoes. Does anyone know anywhere local selling seed potatoes yet? None in my place. I am anxious to start the chitting process.

 

Potmum

01 January 2010 21:14:46
Potmum

Potmum

Fran was giving out earlier as I didn't include a plant of SOME description in my last journal. I wouldn't be too enamoured with indoor chrysanthemums, but this one was given to me as a gift. And it came in a nice pot!!!  Ha ha. Here you go, Fran.

New camera!

01 January 2010 20:05:22
Moment of Sheer Indulgence!

Moment of Sheer Indulgence!

Forgive me if I bore you now. Just testing out my new camera. Not feeling 100% today. Full of a headcold, so now I am having a moment of sheer indulgence. Mmmm.

Out and About 01.01.10

01 January 2010 13:40:54
Out and About 01.01.10

Out and About 01.01.10

We have been out to get a new camera. The roads are lethal. So many people losing control. We took a drive over to Gullivers Retail Park thinking Currys might be open. No. But the scenery is magnificent on the way up. I have added lots more photos into my 'First snow of 2010' album. New camera is on charge.

Bramleys Blooms 2010

01 January 2010 09:17:43
Primroses

Primroses

As promised, here is a count of my New Years Day blooms. A bit meagre, thanks to the cold spell. My geraniums are actually blooming, but when the weight of the snow lifts, I will get a better picture. No sign of the penstemons. They were in bloom last week. I have just some primroses in bloom now and of course the very dependable cyclamen. Mahonia is blooming too. The red berries on the solanum are looking very festive. Grevillea still has lovely flowers. Thats it!

DONT FORGET TO FEED THE BIRDS. I HAVE A GREAT SELECTION OUT FOR ALL TYPES. AND I HAVE DEFROSTED ALL THEIR WATER. LET'S SEE WHICH ONE OF THEM HAS THE NERVE TO TAKE A DIP TODAY.

Happy New Year

01 January 2010 00:06:13

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