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Jacinta D's Journal

Jacinta D's Journal February 2010

Last Post 2825 days 10 hours ago

Feeling Off!

28 February 2010 19:19:42
Arisaema tortuosum

Arisaema tortuosum

Did nothing much today due to a sore throat, and feeling fluish. I have been 'minding' myself all day, and taking hot whiskeys in the hope I can catch this before it takes hold. I do not want to spend my week off like this.

This morning I managed to sow my Arisaema seeds and they will be incubating in the propagator for the next 3 months, but they will take a lot longer to actually germinate. I must develop some patience here. Hopefully the results will look like something out of Jurassic Park.

Thursday Specials

28 February 2010 10:17:28
Thursday Specials

Thursday Specials

This Thursday (4th March) Aldi is offering Garden Buckets for just €4.99. They look like a garden trug so I reckon if anyone is planning on doing some veg in containers this year, these would be less likely to become brittle over time, as plastic containers tend to become. Might be worth checking out.

Begonia Seeds

27 February 2010 23:17:59
Begonia Seeds

Begonia Seeds

I have just been reading Cloncaws journal on sowing begonia seeds and poor germination. I too have sown some begonia seeds today and hope to have some success. My first time for sowing them. Does anybody ever remember years ago that the seed packets contained their own label? However, when I opened mine today I felt something hard inside and thought it was one of these labels. It turned out to be a vial containing the minute seeds. So tiny. I thought the little vial was a great idea as the seeds are so small they would all get clogged up inside the corners of the pack.

Other Commitments

27 February 2010 19:27:03
Other Commitments

Other Commitments

Well, after getting back from Ikea, I spent some time sowing some of the dreaded seeds, to try and make a dent in my collection. My sister headed up for a nap and I took advantage of her absence. Amongst those I sowed were

8 types of Sunflowers

Gazania F1 'Daybreak Bright Orange'

Linum 'Sky Blue'

Leucanthemum x superbum 'Alaska'

Hollyhock 'Nigra'

Hollyhock 'Queeny Purple'

Cornflower (dark red/black)- Rachel

Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' - Rachel

Marigold 'Colossus' - Rachel

Delphinium 'Magic Fountains'

Begonia 'Tomfoolery Mix'

Brompton Stock

Night-scented Stock

Now, let's get that propagator plugged in!  Happy enough with that lot for the time being. Very comforting just looking at all those labels standing to attention like soldiers on parade!

IKEA VISIT

27 February 2010 15:40:43
Beaucarnea

Beaucarnea

I wasnt too keen on going to Ikea earlier. But my sister, who is up from Tralee for the weekend, expressed a wish to go, so I obliged. Unbelievable, and I thought at this stage that the crowds would have died down. The girl at the check-out said that it was actually quiet today.

I must say though I was impressed with their indoor plants. Trollies and trollies containing large and small Bonsai trees. Cacti, succulents (unusual ones too), loads of Phalaenopsis priced at just €7.95, and lots of aquatic plants. I got myself a lovely big Beaucarnea (Elephants Foot Plant, Ponytail Palm) for just €19.99, which could normally cost about €40 to €50 elsewhere, and an earthenware pot for it at just €7.50. Also bought 2 bunches of tulips because I am too impatient for my own ones to flower. Ahhhh! Beautiful.

Oh Dearie Me! :(

27 February 2010 08:30:40
Oh Dearie Me! :(

Oh Dearie Me! :(

Sometimes having choices is just pure dangerous. What seeds am I going to sow this morning. Where will I sow them. Into what will I sow them. Where will I put them when I sow them. I have just gone through all my seeds. Some of them I bought when I worked in Homebase, so I have thrown out quite a lot. They were things that I just had to have at the time and never got round to sowing. Out! Gone! I suppose one could say I have spent the morning 'weeding'. Ha ha Good start to the day.

This is what I am left with. All bought relatively recently. Plus I have lots more seeds that I got last year, and from friends here. Dilemmas, dilemmas!!!!!!!!!!!

Grow It Yourself

26 February 2010 19:38:06
I deserve it if I am feeding the family!

I deserve it if I am feeding the family!

I was always into growing my own. Although I would sow seeds without even thinking about what I really want. And I usually sowed way too many for my use. Since joining this site, I have learnt so much. And most importantly, I have finally learnt that I cannot possibly eat all of resulting crops if I sow more than I need. So far this year, I have sown just very small amounts of plenty of things. ie Chilipeppers, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, different types of Lettuce, gherkins, onions, garlic, potatoes (4 types) I have to be patient now. Have lots of flower seeds on the go too.

Most of the seeds are sprouting up everywhere. Next, I will have to decide where to put them once they are potted on. And then the problem/challenge of trying to keep them in good health until weather permits planting outside or in the greenhouse. I think everything is going to be jostling for space, and they will end up rubbing shoulders with their neighbours for survival.

I sowed some Alicante tomatoes Christmas week. They germinated. I potted them on, gave a few away and kept just 2 for myself. OMG they are DEAD. I discovered them yesterday behind the curtain in the sitting room  as dry as a bone. I am a murderer. However, lesson learned. I sowed them too early anyway. There is still plenty of time to sow more.

Today I bought myself another pressie. I have been meaning to get an electric propagator for years. You will all probably think i was robbed. It cost €59.99. I think it was worth it. At this stage, money doesn't even come into it. I wanted it, and that was that. I couldn't be bothered shopping around for something like that. They came in today. And I snapped one up. Now I can sow some Arisaema seeds. I will be off all next week.

Tonight I will not be doing anything garden-related. I have that Friday Feeling. Sitting in front of the fire, with a drink, in pj's and computer on my lap. I will probably be awake at the crack of dawn anyway, planning and plotting. I have some seeds that I need to send people, so that will receive top priority.

So Cold!!!!!!

25 February 2010 18:12:56
Mushroom (Agaricus) Dry Spawn

Mushroom (Agaricus) Dry Spawn

I haven't been able to get the heat inside me all day. I spent all day yesterday doing the indoor plants so I had no excuse to be inside today. The jobs I was doing didn't call for too much physical exertion. I got really cold. And stayed that way all day. Brrr...

We are doing a good deal in work at the moment : 60litres Compost, 60litres Topsoil and 30litres of Farmyard manure for just €12.00. Dave, we still have plenty left. I was thinking of growing mushrooms. They say manure is best. I was trying to figure out where to put the container to give them the required temperature. It should be at least 12 degrees and in a fairly dark place (garage would be ideal for dark, but its too cold out there) I DID contemplate putting the container in the spare bedroom. Ok if I was living here on my own, I certainly would. But I can't really! So anyway, I got the manure, topsoil and multipurpose compost, and the Mushroom (Dry Spawn). I think they will end up being done under the staging in the greenhouse when/if summer ever comes.

I am sitting here, still in my work fleece, with my sock feet up on the radiator. I have never been so cold for such a long spell. There is a drip on the end of my nose. It is to get down to -2 tonight. And another cold one tomorrow.

Snow Patrol!

25 February 2010 07:17:37
More of the Dreaded White Stuff!

More of the Dreaded White Stuff!

Unbelievable this weather. Good fall of snow again overnight. There should be a law against it. It's a wonder there aren't more people with an increased occurence of depression. Temperatures just 1 degree outside. I hope to God I get a bit of SPRING weather next week for my hols, or I might just volunteer for work instead.

It's starting to snow again as I type this. :(

Holidays

24 February 2010 22:13:19
Tomato 'Black Russian'

Tomato 'Black Russian'

Our holidays go from the beginning of April to the end of March each year. I have ONE more week left, which I will be taking next week.

I hope to get the grass cut, weather permitting. Mimulus that I sowed on 16th Feb are just peeping up today. And I am very sure that even if the weather throws more of the same at us I will sow plenty more seeds. Amongst those that I will sow are Tomato 'Russian Black', Pepper 'Hamik', and Hungarian Hot Wax, Mangetout Pea 'Reuzenzuiker', Melon 'Edonis F1 Hybrid', Phlox 'Delight Mix', and a selection of sunflowers. Gismo I won't be forgetting about sending you some.

€2 Shop

24 February 2010 19:59:06
€2 Shop

€2 Shop

Not to be outdone by everyone else here, I dropped in to the €2 Shop in Northside Shopping Centre on the way home this evening. I thought that I read on someone's journal this week that they were selling dry-packed perennials. I must have been imagining it. But this €2 shop is quite a small one, so maybe they just didn't have the space for them. And just when I started to look around, I bumped into a neighbour. So I was side-tracked. I ended up with just 2 window boxes, 3 small solar lights, 3 packs of horticultural fleece  6Mx1M, a motion detector frog, and a big card of the relevant batteries for him. It all cost just €20. The place was packed to the gills. It was only when I got to the exit that I noticed the stand with all the seeds. 3 packs for just €2. But I really think I have enough to cope with. And anyway, there was a queue down the whole length of the shop. So that was that.

Magic Mushrooms

24 February 2010 18:42:42
Merlin the Magician, with the Magic Mushrooms!

Merlin the Magician, with the Magic Mushrooms!

I have tried to grow mushrooms on two occasions. I failed both times. So I swore that I would never try again. I think it was before christmas when either Lidl or Aldi were selling mushroom kits for something like €5.99. However, I decided not to buy one. My Dad did, though.

Today I called in to him after work and he looked like the 'cat that got the cream'. He produced his first ever mushroom. OMG That means I just HAVE to give it another go. They DO work. I was beginning to have my doubts. He has only got one mushroom to date, but there are plenty more coming up. Well done, Dad.

The Gods are Smiling!

23 February 2010 19:05:35
The Gods are Smiling!

The Gods are Smiling!

After wishing all my Hyacinths and Amaryllis over the past couple of months would be white, my wish came true just 2 wks ago. My final Hyacinth was white. And it produced the best flower of all. It was taller,  plumper, and much healthier looking than all the rest which were pink. Sadly, it seems to be going over the quickest. Not to worry. There's always next year.

And this evening I discovered that this long awaited for Amaryllis is about to open. And guess what colour it is going to be? 

I am checking my seeds every day now. Really getting impatient. It's like watching paint dry!  

Celebrities in our Midst!

22 February 2010 19:29:34
Celebrities in our Midst!

Celebrities in our Midst!

Isn't it brilliant when we pick up a book/magazine and read interesting articles that are written by people who we are in regular contact with? This months Irish Garden has contributions from 4 people I know. Rachel gives us her monthly article which I find very informative and usually very light-hearted. And Cloncaw has graced the pages too in this issue. Usually when I get a magazine, I start off by just 'flicking' through. Then I go back and read it from cover to cover, in depth. Deborah, thanks for article on Contorted Hazels. We are very fortunate to have so many knowledgeable and eloquent people on our site. And then lastly, our very own Gismo's little niece, Faith's, hyacinth jars appears on page 54. This months magazine is definitely one to preserve in the archives.

Well done, Girls.

Not Much Done Today

22 February 2010 16:09:14
Durham Early

Durham Early

Went out to get The Irish Garden. Cloncaw, many congratulations on your appearance. It was great reading it. I find this issue of The Irish Garden very interesting. We no longer need Amaryllis or Hyacinths to stimulate our gardening brains. The growing season is indeed upon us. Great info on veg growing. I also bought Amateur Gardening. Lovely little magazine. And it came with a free packet of seeds Campanula 'carpatica blue'.

Today I pulled up the posts on the veggie bed and took away the netting. During the week I will do a bit of weeding there in readiness for this years crops, although the weeds are quite sparse. I lifted my cabbages which we will have for dinner this evening (Durham Early). In the greenhouse the only things that are looking any way decent are my 4 peach trees. Buds are beginning to break. Very healthy looking.

I potted on my Goji berry into a bigger pot and now have it in the house for the next few weeks. Got a small envelope in the post containing the biggest surprise: 5 different Arisaema seeds; Arisaema consanguineum 'silver centre', A. tortuosum, A. ciliatum, A. speciosum and A. mixed (this envelope contains Arisaema nepenthoides which I am not familiar with). Can't wait to do a bit of research on all of these and start them off. Deborah, thanks a million.

Next Week in Aldi

22 February 2010 12:04:31
Magnolia

Magnolia

Starting on March 4th (Next week)

Bedding Plant Plug Packs

Mini blister packs of bedding ready for the greenhouse, on a bed of hydrated water crystals. Varieties include Geranium, Impatien, Petunia and Lobelia. €2.99

Lily/Freesia Kit

All you need to start growing a lavish display of scented flowers. Varieties include Asiatic Lily, Calla Lily or Freesia. Includes terracotta pot, seeds, compost and growing instructions. €5.99

Spring Heathers

An attractive array of heathers to bring shape and subtle contrast to your garden borders. Includes Erica and Calluna vulgaris. 9cm pots. €5.99

And last, but not least, Magnolia. Varieties include; Soulangiana, Stellata, and Susan. 3yr old plants. Pot size 3 litres. Priced at €9.99.

Will post up album

Edible Crops for 2010

21 February 2010 22:46:17
Blueberries

Blueberries

I have given a list of edible crops (seeds) here for this year. What is everybody else doing this year for the 'Grow-It-Yourself campaign?

Restricted Gardening!

21 February 2010 21:09:27
Blocking out the light

Blocking out the light

Weather stopped all plans outside today. :( So what could a girl do. Just go with the flow. There are always indoor jobs no matter what the weather is doing. Today I sowed some seeds. Physalis (Cape Gooseberry), Mimosa pudica (Sensitive plant), Tumbling Tom 'Yellow, Gherkins thanks to Dave, Mixed Lettuce, Cosmos and Perennial Sweet pea.

To date for the year 2010 the seeds I have sown are

Tomatoes 'Alicante', 'Tumbling Tom' (Yellow), Demidov (Thanks to Dave),  and Costoluto 'Genovese (Thanks Rachel)',

Chilipepper 'Scotch Bonnet', and 'Lemon Drop' (Dave again!),

Sweet pepper,

Gherkins,

Parsley,

Cabbage 'Mammoth Red' (Dave)

Cos Lettuce 'Winter Density', and Mixed,

Lettuce 'Lollo Rossa,

Onions 'Snowball', and 'Stuttgarter Riesen',

Garlic,

Goji Berry,

Pomello,

Potatoes 'Home Guard' (Early)

Maris Peer (2nd Early)

Desiree (Maincrop)

Arran Victory (Heritage variety)

Flowers: Mimosa pudica

Cosmos

Mimulus

Perennial Sweet pea

Rodochiton (Thanks Liga)

and Physalis

and today here was like Central Station with visitors. Maybe I shouldn't count on gardening at weekends because of people calling. Still, all things considering, I got plenty done. Happy enough.

Snow Gardening Today

21 February 2010 07:09:13
Snow Gardening Today

Snow Gardening Today

:( All my great intentions out the window. Who would believe this freaky weather we are having of late. Just when you think it's safe to go into the water......

I guess it will be the text end of gardening that I will be doing today. Better go over to the nearest book shop.

Do Not Disturb!

20 February 2010 18:03:43
Do Not Disturb!

Do Not Disturb!

Up earlier than normal this morning. I sowed some seeds as the ground was too frozen to plant bulbs. I sowed a small amount of tomato seeds, 'Costoluto 'Genovese' (Hope I have spelt that correctly, Thanks Rachel), and 'Demidov. Also I sowed some chilipepper seeds 'Lemon Drop' and Cos Lettuce 'Winter Density'. I potted on some Lollo Rossa which I had sowed a couple of weeks ago. I have some Sweet Pea seeds soaking for sowing tomorrow.

As soon as the ground thawed out, I planted 90 crocuses and 75 miniature Irises (Mixed). One of the Irises looks as if it is about to flower. I dug a series of arcs around the circular pond, the line pole, and the paved circle. These are nice and close to the house, so I will be able to see them flowering without having to venture out in arctic conditions. I managed to get all the lawn edges strimmed. It's funny the way you can get away with not cutting the grass if you strim the edges. The grass is quite long, the last cut was some time in October. Hopefully tomorrow I will get to take out the lawnmower and finish the job.

I was just about to plant all my summer bulbs when visitors called. Arghhhhhh!!!!! :( That was the end of that! I better get a sign made.

Born To Survive!

20 February 2010 04:47:49
Cactus and Succulent Selection

Cactus and Succulent Selection

Yesterday I posted a journal on Lithops (Living stones). Until last summer I didnt even know that there would be a garden centre in Ireland that stocked them. And having acquired a few shortly after the discovery, I have never looked back. So undemanding. Great for a person who tends to neglect house plants. And the same can also be said for cacti and succulents of which I have become a great fan.

 They can be planted up with a selection of different types and I find that a low wide bowl is best to show them off to their fullest. I think more people should try and grow them. Shortly after creating this attractive arrangement somebody dropped something heavy on top of it, breaking off a good portion of the succulent on the top left (Cotyledon undulata). I stuck the broken portion into another pot to see if it would take root. It did. And the original plant is now producing new shoots in the centre.

Brrrr! Welcome to Siberia

19 February 2010 18:41:34
My Little Lithops!

My Little Lithops!

It's funny but in this freezing weather, my Manager actually gets more work out of me, as I have to keep on the move to get a bit of heat inside me. It has been quite a while since I wore my Aldi thermals. Brr! Spent most of the day replacing plants that have died off in planters. So the cold had a better chance of getting a hold of me today. There were lots of small conifers sprayed with snow in planters that came in for Christmas. Yesterday I left them soaking in water to loosen the fake snow. So today all I had to do was hose them down and ease the snow off with my gloved hands. OMG My hands were like 2 blocks of ice.

Luckily a delivery came in this afternoon so there was plenty of toing and froing.

This morning I had a look at my Lithops which have spent the entire winter months out in the cold porch. I should have placed a thermometer out there. I would say, even though it is attached to the house, it probably got down to the same extreme temperatures that the greenhouse were subjected to. However, my Little Lithops are absolutely perfect. What a relief after trying to source them for so long. I would definitely recommend them as a very low-maintenance plant. I may just acquire a few more this year. Very pleased with them, and the visual effect that they create.

Wild Animal in my House!

19 February 2010 18:06:13
Wild Animal in my House!

Wild Animal in my House!

I know I have a lot of houseplants here, but I didn't realize it looked like a jungle.  This is what greeted me when I got home from work. Roar!!!!!!!!!   :) My grandson was dressed in the appropriate attire for his natural habitat.

He's only a PussyCat!

Lidl Offers

19 February 2010 08:12:31
Lidl Offers

Lidl Offers

Next Thursday, Lidl are treating us to Spring Bulbs for only €1.29.

Later Developer!

19 February 2010 06:30:26
Hyacinth Again

Hyacinth Again

Before Christmas I bought some Hyacinths in Homebase which included a lovely pot. Potted them up when I got home and let Mother Nature do the rest. They have been coming on nicely. And 2 out of the 3 have flowered beautifully. Big fat blooms in white (my favourite colour these days) but no flower from the 3rd.

This morning I found compost all over the table and a new flower emerging at compost level. Its not a dud after all. I must say out of all the Hyacinths I had over the Christmas period, these white ones are the biggest, fattest, and most perfumed of the lot. Well worth the wait.

It's Not Really A Lie!

18 February 2010 20:41:19
It's Not Really A Lie!

It's Not Really A Lie!

Tomorrow after work, I will do all my shopping for the weekend so I dont have to waste time needlessly. I get up at 6.00 every morning. Sometimes earlier. But if I have to go out shopping, I must stay clean until the shops open at 9.00. So there is 3 hours wasted already.

And I am not telling anyone here that I have Monday off, as no doubt they will ask me to go on errands etc which will take up more time. I intend having a Marathon session in the garden come Saturday morning until Monday evening. I intend to make the most of my Monday off. I am going to be utterly selfish for once. I won't be telling a lie, just omitting to tell the full truth! Hee hee!

Stocking up

18 February 2010 19:22:42
Stocking up

Stocking up

Today, as promised, I bought the remaining packs of crocuses in work. I also took 3 packs of miniature mixed Irises. 90 Crocuses and 75 Irises just cost €10.50. There were loads of packs of Muscari left, but I don't like them. I also got a pack of Sweet Peas (5 individual packs 'White Ensign', 'Noel Sutton' purple, 'Mrs R Bolton' red, and 'Beaujolais' maroon). I can't wait to plant these into the grass at the weekend. The Crocuses, not the sweet peas. Hopefully the weather will be on my side.

After work, I nipped down to Aldi and bought 3 more seed and cutting trays, enough to do me over the seed-sowing season. And after swearing I wouldn't buy any more seeds, I bought a pack of Cosmos and another pack of mixed Lettuce. I have my work cut out for me now at the weekend what with planting all the summer bulbs too.

Don't forget My Dream Farm tonight on Channel 4 at 8.00pm.

Don't really need it! Just WANT it!

17 February 2010 19:43:25
Makes life a lot simpler

Makes life a lot simpler

Today I decided to buy myself a little pressie. Normally when I am potting up seedlings, I do it on the draining board, or the worktop. And I must admit I do make such a mess. And even though I try really hard, the compost usually ends up all over the kitchen floor. It makes a quick job much longer then, when you have to sweep or mop the floor afterwards.

So today I bought myself 2 of those greenhouse trays that are used to hold compost while potting on. Also, this year I don't seem to be using the multiple cell trays, just individual small pots. It can be very awkward when you have to move them for some reason. So now they will stay on these trays. It makes the job a lot easier. And I always WANTED these trays anyway. They are stackable, or you can hang them up in a garage/shed/whatever. They could also be used for a good few orchids and sit them on top of moist gravel as there is a lip on the edge. But the only thing about that would be you would have to have a fairly large area to stand something that size. I think it was money well spent for only €11.50 each. I will have them forever.

Plans for Spring 2011

17 February 2010 18:42:17
Crocuses in the Carpark

Crocuses in the Carpark

Very cold all day, but so what. It was dry and bright. And there was a very noticeable lift in customers moods. It is amazing the effect a bit of good weather has on people. If you were moving around today it was actually quite warm. When I went out to my car at lunch time, I noticed a big pile of crocuses in the grass bank between the carpark.They looked like egg yolks. How come I never noticed these before. I can guarantee the Manager didn't plant them. And I certainly didn't.

However, I have decided I will plant lots into my grass for next spring. And at least if they are planted in the grass, they will be safe enough so I dont accidentally splice through them. It's a very good time to buy crocuses now. In our place all spring bulbs are reduced by 75% and I think there may be lots of crocuses left. And I will have an excuse NOT to cut the grass over the winter. I have always cut it throughout the whole year.

Frosty Foliage!

17 February 2010 08:20:28
Cotoneaster 'Coral Beauty'

Cotoneaster 'Coral Beauty'

Just out in the garden having a gander at everything. How magical all the foliage is with frost on it. We are heading towards March now, and this weather will just be a memory. Wave goodbye to hardship! Here comes the sun!

Smashing Day!

16 February 2010 16:12:40
More seed-sowing

More seed-sowing

What a beautiful day it turned out to be today once the overnight frost thawed out. I didn't get too much done in the garden as I am not 100% just yet. However, hopefully I will be back in work tomorrow. I get very bored at home.

I opened the greenhouse for the day and got all the dead and rotten foliage cleared away. I managed to sow a small tray of Mimulus seeds that I got free in Amateur Gardening a couple of weeks ago, and another container of garlic. Then I potted on my 4 Scotch Bonnet chilipeppers. Then I watered every one of my houseplants. And that took forever. So glad that's done!

Nepenthes 'Rebecca'

16 February 2010 10:29:47
I think they have 'struck'

I think they have 'struck'

On January 19th I took cuttings of my Nepenthes 'Rebecca', following Rachels detailed instructions. I must say I wasn't very hopeful as cuttings of ANY description don't usually take for me. However, I followed Rachels instructions to the 'T'. I put them in an ideal spot. The fire is lit every day in the front room and this seems to be perfect for them. And as space is running out very fast, I hung them up on the curtain rail, wrapped in plastic, to create a humid environment for them. The curtain rail is great as I never actually pull the curtains in the front of the house, I just close the venetian blinds. So they were never going to get locked in a cold place overnight.

Just had a look at them, and gave them a light watering, to upkeep the humidity. Well, 'lo and behold, it looks like we might just have a success story here. They are looking pretty healthy. However, I will leave them a bit longer and then repot them. Thanks Rachel.

New Person On The Site

15 February 2010 19:24:22
New Person On The Site

New Person On The Site

As you will all have seen, there is a new user on the site. She is one of my dearest friends. Gretta and I used to work in Homebase together years ago. And in fact, she taught me so much about gardening. I know you will all make her very welcome. She is VERY new to computers but is learning all the time, just like all here. Photo on this journal is of her holding my Grandson, David, today when she called in for a quick chat that lasted 2 hours. Ha ha

Feeling Poorly!

15 February 2010 10:49:36
Just what I need!

Just what I need!

Just home from work. Not feeling too well. Had a bad night. But seemed ok when I got up. However, no point in ignoring this. Just feel awful. Going to light a big fire and get into pj's. Just got catalogue for Aldi next week. Great bargains. Will open up photo album (Aldi 25th Feb)

Here We Go Again!

15 February 2010 07:16:03
Here We Go Again!

Here We Go Again!

Which one of us had the first Amaryllis to flower. Think about what a long season we have had from all of them. I have another one here that is about to flower, maybe in a week, standing 2 and a half feet tall. I bought another one in work last week that had been reduced to 50c. It got knocked over by a customer and the stem was broken. But another flower emerging now. Can't go wrong for that price. But it's nearly March, and we are still getting flowers from them. Brilliant.

Re-think on the Shower Tray

14 February 2010 20:03:45

Bad Breath!

14 February 2010 13:50:03
No shortage of onions

No shortage of onions

I think I better stock up on plenty of Tic-Tacs. I have just finished planting my onion set (Stuttgarter Riesen) in all the available containers in my garage. But I also have another 3 really long window boxes of a different kind of onions (Snowball), so I won't have to buy onions for about a year or more. Hee hee.

Rain has just stopped play. I still need to clear up that mess I made while tidying up yesterday. But everything is getting mucky. So, time for a break.

Scotch Bonnet

14 February 2010 11:34:13
What Next?

What Next?

Sowed just 4 scotch bonnet seeds, one into each pot. All four have germinated. Do they look very spindly? What next? Should I pot them on or what? Dave, should I keep them in the warmest room still, or maybe transfer them to a windowsill with more light? Advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for being a pain in the a...

Speaking of Marigolds!

14 February 2010 06:47:09
Marigolds! Mmmmmmm!

Marigolds! Mmmmmmm!

Rachels journal last night about marigolds brought some brilliant smells back into my dormant brain. I would place marigolds, french or african, or tagetes high on my list of 'Must Have' smells in the garden (Maybe I was a snail or a greenfly in my previous life!). People, namely Steve and Zoe, think I am for the Looney Bin sometimes as they witness me drinking in their smell regularly during the summertime. I also adore the smell of geraniums, and tomato plants. Or homemade compost. Maybe this is a sickness. Hope it doesn't become an epidemic. No symptoms to watch out for I'm afraid. Just follow your nose....... :)

What smells turn YOU on in the garden?

Pots

14 February 2010 00:28:31
Handcrafted pot. Hope it doesnt crack or break.

Handcrafted pot. Hope it doesnt crack or break.

I was emptying some carnations out of a few pots today so I could plant some summer bulbs into them and half way through removing the compost I discovered some bulbs growing. I cannot for the life of me remember what is in there. However I just added fresh compost on top of them and planted some freesia bulbs. SHould look lovely in this handcrafted pot.

Clearing a Path

13 February 2010 19:09:27
The 'over the wall' area

The 'over the wall' area

The 'over the wall' area had been completely blocked up because I had been lazy about throwing stuff away. However, today I did Trojan work getting the place cleared. It was a pleasure to finally make a pathway to the 'disposal area' over the wall. It makes life a lot simpler. I used to get very stressed out about where I was going to dispose of my garden waste. But when I consistently witnessed all of my neighbours throwing stuff over the wall I decided to relax a bit. So now, over it goes. That area has now been completely cleared and has given me free access to disposing of green waste.

'crocks'

13 February 2010 18:47:23
'crocks'

'crocks'

Babysat for a short while today, then shopped for my grandson. Got back and straight into the garden. I cleared a lot of brambles and cut back loads of stuff. It was great to have the robin keeping close to me as I unearthed a pile of worms. The corner that I concentrated on today is at the back wall. The field over the wall is planned for apartments (they have been saying that for years) but usually I throw a lot of my green waste over the wall. I would say the quality of the soil over there is second to none at this stage. However, recently when I have been clearing stuff I have just left it all in situ. Today I got rid of it all over the wall. What will I do when the apartments are built.

The place looks so much better. It was a pleasure to be out there today in my t-shirt. And the discovery of galanthus was so unexpected. I fillled up 4 bags of rubbish which Steve will dispose of on Monday. I now have a lot of crocks for drainage thanks to all the broken pots.

A very productive days work. Well pleased with myself.

Snowdrops

13 February 2010 18:32:45
snowdrops (Galanthus)

snowdrops (Galanthus)

I swear to God I never planted these. So where did they come from? I was like a child with a new toy today when I spotted them.

All things Bright and Beautiful

13 February 2010 08:36:30
Tete-a-tetes and Tulips (CZar Peter)

Tete-a-tetes and Tulips (CZar Peter)

What a gorgeous morning here. My garden is in total shade, but all around, the sun is casting warmth and brightness everywhere. I am definitely a 'morning' person. The world is at a standstill, and peace reigns. This is the time of day that I do all my planning. Today I am going to assess the broken pot damage as a whole. It will cost me a fair bit to replace all that was broken, but it will be a gradual process over the next few months. I will collect up all the broken bits and bag them for later use as crocks. The sunshine out there is giving me a push for a big Spring Clean today. I have just been doing small bits and pieces up to now because of the cold. But I feel a change coming on. Enough of this armchair planning. Now its time to get the finger out and tidy tidy tidy.

In the picture here I have Tete-a-tetes and Tulips (CZar Peter). I get the feeling that my tete-a-tetes are way behind everybody elses and they are only beginning to peep out now. But I can wait. Luckily this pot hasn't been affected by the cold weather. Good job too, as I only bought this late in the summer last year and havent planted anything in it until now.

Another favourite

12 February 2010 23:14:31
Agrostemma (Corncockle)

Agrostemma (Corncockle)

another favourite annual of mine, and one which you don't see too often nowadays, is corncockle (Agrostemma). The same applied with this annual. it put up with such abuse, and it stood tallish (about 2-3ft) and erect. And didn't bend or break in the wind. Just swayed!

My Favourite Annual

12 February 2010 22:20:12
Godetia

Godetia

This is something that i sowed and planted years ago when I knew NOTHING about plants. It is a foolproof flower. it provided me with a stunning display all summer long and was no trouble at all. I havent grown it since then. But maybe...... I remember my girls kicking football in the garden and Godetia withstood all those knocks. And always came up smiling!

GODETIA

I was never one for 'pink' flowers. But increasingly, i find that i am being drawn to that colour. Even my admiration for that cordyline 'pink passion' today surprised me.

Cordyline 'Pink Passion'

12 February 2010 20:48:27
cordyline 'pink passion'

cordyline 'pink passion'

This little beauty came in today and i was going to buy 3 of them to plant into one big planter for impact. But just when I got them all on the shelf I spotted a note on the delivery specifiying to take this plant under cover at night. it is frost tender. what a pity. i think we have ALL had enough of tender plants right now!

Grevillia RIP

12 February 2010 20:19:53
Dead as a Dodo!

Dead as a Dodo!

My Grevillea that I bought only recently is dead as a dodo. All its foliage has turned grey, and is falling off whenever  touched. :(. I would have thought that it was a little bit hardier than that. I am a bit disappointed to have lost such a new addition to the garden.

The Humble Spud!

11 February 2010 20:43:35
Ipomoea batatas

Ipomoea batatas

This year I am growing much more types of potatoes than ever before. Garden.ie has a lot to answer for here. :)

Maris Peer (2nd Early)

Home Guard (Early)

Desiree (Maincrop)

And a Heritage Variety called 'Arran Victory'.

But today I was tempted with another. This is a sweet potato called Ipomoea batatas. I was talking with Dave and asking his advice. The sweet potato only has one in the bag. But according to Dave, that should produce about a dozen from just the one. So that was my mind made up. I have never tasted sweet potato before so what am I waiting for?

GIY Ireland

11 February 2010 19:04:34
Spuds and Onions

Spuds and Onions

Yesterdays course touched on the GIY Ireland organization which all of us here know about at this stage. But our company is to play an active role in this practise. We will be giving Workshops for customers during late spring - early summer, giving advice on growing food crops. So I needed to have something prepared. I planted up a window box with onion sets (1 box was only big enough for about 8 onions), and another one with garlic (about 12 were planted into the second one). They have been left outside now. I also sowed some Lollo Rossa lettuce seeds, and sweet peppers into cell trays which are germinating up in the canteen. It should be interesting to see what kind of response we get to this. We did it last year, and it was a complete disaster. The morning that was picked to do it was horrendous with torrential rain and I would say everybody just stayed in bed late that day. Don't blame them. I got just 2 customers in 2 hours. There were some seeds sown in seed trays by the woman in the accounts office, lettuce and peas. But they were kept in the warehouse which is far too dark and cold. And I was on holidays at the time. So there wasnt much to show customers. So it was a good job the day was so bad. I would have been so embarrassed to produce the pathetic seedlings. This year I am more prepared.

I took home a bag of seed potatoes (Home Guard) to start chitting. So hopefully by St. Patricks Day or thereabouts, they will be ready to be planted up. Here's hoping it will be a productive workshop.

Making Way For More!

10 February 2010 21:41:24
'Alicante' tomato seedlings

'Alicante' tomato seedlings

I sowed some 'Alicante' tomato seeds Christmas week which germinated well. I sowed so many that giving away a few didnt really make a dent in the amount. However, this evening my Dad voiced his opinion that he would like to start his earlier than normal. So I offloaded quite a few to him and left myself with just 2 seedlings. That will give me plenty of space for a few new varieties on my list.

Work Gets In The Way

10 February 2010 18:43:41
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Makes sense

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Makes sense

Left here just after dawn this morning and only home 30minutes. I had to go on a day course. No time for gardening.

Had a conversation on reducing and re-using with Manager on the way home, referring to pots from skipped plants. I highlighted a few advantages of the practise of offering these used pots to customers, in order to increase custom, and possibly as a result, sales. He took everything on board, and will raise the subject to the relevant authorities. If he doesn't get back to me within 7 days, I will raise the subject again. So watch this space. I reckon if WE offer this bonus to customers, it won't be long before other garden centres will follow suit. Watch this space. Will keep you posted.

Durable Pots!

09 February 2010 19:47:49
Magnolia 'Susan' in new pot

Magnolia 'Susan' in new pot

I love the look of terracotta pots. They are so natural looking and rustic. However, I have noticed that NONE of my glazed pots have broken or cracked after the rotten weather. So it's no more terracotta. I bought a lovely glazed one today for my new Magnolia 'Susan'. I think the pink blooms will look really well in this colour pot. I potted it up when I got home.

Oops! I must take the price tag off!

Taking over the Shop!

09 February 2010 17:53:09
The Robins are Taking Over!

The Robins are Taking Over!

Yesterday I discovered a nest in the shop. However, the photo on my journal was from our website as I hadnt got my camera with me. Today when shelving a delivery, I discovered another birds nest. This time it was in one of those furry catboxes. Ha ha these Robins really love their comforts. If the Manager sees this, he will destroy all nests he finds. I can see his point really, as the birds are p...ing all over the place and on the crockery section. 

 Earlier in the season i put up a nest box outside in the garden centre for them, and supplied them with a regular supply of bird feeds. They seem to have totally ignored this nest box outside, and opted for warmer conditions for their brood. I told the trainee Manager today to just leave the catbox where it was. Ha ha he actually did what he was told. That's a first. In all fairness, this young Manager is a lot more 'nature' orientated than the Manager.

Tough Little Cookies!

09 February 2010 08:17:32
No Casualties Yet!

No Casualties Yet!

I was just having a close look at both ponds at the weekend. Most of the fish are quite active, although their movements are still a bit sluggish. But I wouldn't have thought that I would see them until at least March, when they tend to come up to the surface for food. It's tempting to start feeding them now, but I will hold off for a while yet.

The small pond is only 20inches at the deepest point. Therefore, I figured the fish there wouldn't really disappear down below for the winter. They have done really well to survive that cold. But did you know that a 'sunken' pond holds onto the heat better than say a raised one. The sunken pond is insulated by the surrounding ground. Therefore the survival rate of the fish in this type of pond is usually better.

Aldi 18th February

08 February 2010 22:21:37
Aldi 18th February

Aldi 18th February

Check out the offers in Aldi on Thursday 18th Feb. Photo Album of same name

Daylight Wasted

08 February 2010 17:45:05
Daylight Wasted

Daylight Wasted

Oh I had great intentions of getting out into the garden after work today as I was off at 4. But I bumped into a neighbour in the supermarket and she wouldn't shut up yapping. Does anybody else ever resent talking to people when you want to get something done in the garden. However, it is now dark. The only gardening I did today was open the greenhouse this morning, and close it just now. :(

Today I bought a gorgeous magnolia 'Susan'. I always wanted a pink one. I could have waited a couple of months when it would possibly be reduced. But it was the only pink on the delivery, so it had to be bought today. I also bought a small shrub to mark the birth of my first grandchild (Viburnum 'Davidii') I have been looking at this for the last couple of months and admiring the tiny blue berries. Very aptly named too!

Then I was tempted with some more summer bulbs, I got a pack of freesia and a pack of Brodiaea 'Queen Fabiola'. I DID get a bit of a bargain with an Amaryllis which came in a very tacky black velvet bag, original price €5.99 but a customer knocked it over and broke the flower so I had to reduce it. Got it for a princely sum of 50c. Can't go wrong there. Another flower bud is just emerging at compost level.

Maybe tomorrow I will get something done. Off at 4 again.  :)

Chez Francois!

08 February 2010 06:39:48
Chez Francois!

Chez Francois!

Steve and I had a great day yesterday. It was as if we were 2 kids, setting out on the Dart, taking in all the scenery as we went. We were met By Fran and taken to his house and garden. You won't find a garden like this anywhere. Not a huge garden by any means, but so original. You can see Frans love of wood everywhere you turn, his talents also shine through inside the house. His family made us feel most welcome from the very start, and as you all know, I am VERY shy:) Frans garden is situated in a beautiful location. He has the city on one side where you can see the tops of houses, but on the left had side, you can see lots of big old trees that are home to such an array of wildlife, the birds are completely at home. He informed me that he also gets the odd visit from some squirrels. :)

What more could one ask for. Perfect hosts, with excellent culinary skills (Maria prepared a sumptuous meal for us) and his 12yr old daughter, Aoife, obviously has inherited her Dad's creative skills, we were given a great display of her handmade jewellery (thanks Aoife for the lovely gift) and great conversation and craic!  What time do you want us there NEXT Sunday. Great day had by all! Thanks a million, Fran, Maria, Colin and Aoife.

Pomello

07 February 2010 12:47:41
Pomello

Pomello

I sowed some Pomello seeds last Sunday. Just looked at them now. They have germinated in 7 days. Ok it's quite difficult to make them out in this photo.

Promises Promises!

06 February 2010 17:23:13
3 new shrubs

3 new shrubs

What happened to all the plans I had for the garden this morning. I was going to spend all day out there. However, I had to go to Dads and we ended up taking a trip to Aldi. I really wanted to see the Spotting Scope for myself, to see if it REALLY looked complicated.  They had none left. Good sign I suppose. But I got loads more bird feeds. Great value there. And I got 3 small shrubs for only €1.29 each. I bought Forsythia spectabilis, Tamarax tetrandra and Deutzia scabra. Well pleased with these three. Potted them on as soon as I got home. I will harden them off over the next two weeks before putting them out permanently. God knows how long they have been stored indoors. Apart from checking seeds and sowing just a few more, that is all I did gardening-wise today. Hmmmm. Not good.

Less is More!

06 February 2010 14:42:12
All 4 up

All 4 up

Some people here might think my seed-sowing so far this year is rather meagre. In past years I have sown so much of one type of seed that I have been left with way too many to look after and half of them (actually MORE than half) have ended up in the bin because I didn't have the space to pot them on. This year, I am going about things from a completely different angle. I have to keep reminding myself that LESS IS MORE! In the photo you will see the 4 small pots into which I just sowed 1 seed into each of Chilipepper 'Scotch Bonnet'. I was curious a few minutes ago and lifted the lid. Wahoo. All 4 have germinated. Such a feeling! Germination took exactly 14 days. And 100% success rate. Ha ha.

Going Up In The World!

05 February 2010 17:58:23
Out of reach!

Out of reach!

Now that I have been blessed with my first grandchild, I will have to rethink where I will locate my indoor plants. We had the kitchen and dining room knocked into one years ago to facilitate putting in a breakfast bar between the two rooms. It also gives the illusion of more space. The supporting beam obviously had to be kept. But now I will be thinking more in the lines of hanging baskets to lift my plants up off the floor level, and away from little hands, and the beam will be the ideal location. It gets good light, but not direct sunlight.

Amaryllis

04 February 2010 19:58:53
Taking Off!

Taking Off!

I have been measuring the daily growth of my amaryllis flower stem. It grows an average of an inch and a half every day. Amazing. It is now measuring 9 and a half inches from compost level to just under the flower bud.

Bits and Bobs

03 February 2010 16:10:02
It had better work! Or else!

It had better work! Or else!

Not much time for the garden recently. But I have just been out watering everything in the greenhouse, bone dry. Gave my 4 peach trees a good soak. Took off all the flower spikes of Anigozanthus (Kangaroo Paw) and cut back some of the Canna lilies. My Musa is one heap of 'mush'. OMG disgusting. I will even at this stage remain optimistic about its survival though.

Blueberries are doing really well. And my Cherry 'Stella' has lots of buds. Onions doing great too.

Has anybody ever tried to grow Canna lilies from seed? I took lots off the ones in the greenhouse. Very interesting seed heads. When my batteries are charged I will try to post a pic of them. Speaking of cameras, I went over about my camera. I was told that the batteries I was using just weren't up to the power that is needed for that particular camera. So I ended up also buying a charger and rechargeable batteries. If it doesnt work later, I am going to bring the whole lot back over tomorrow and DEMAND my money back.

My Grandson, David!

02 February 2010 22:02:08
Bedtime for Baby David!

Bedtime for Baby David!

Well of course he is just THE best. His little cry isnt even enough to make you tear your hair out yet!!! You would hardly know he was even here, only for the mountain of clutter everywhere. And this is only day 4!!!! Can't wait for him to own his very own set of gardening tools, and wellies. Hee hee.

Just gave him his bath. Zoe found it quite daunting, even though the nurse showed her how to do it yesterday. But tomorrow she will do it herself. Oh he smells so sweet and soft. Sorry, I think Grans are allowed to do that for the first few days. Don't worry, folks, I WON'T become a crashing bore!

Bulbs in Pots

02 February 2010 19:48:08
Gladioli and Ixia

Gladioli and Ixia

I had decided last year that instead of planting bulbs in pots I would actually plant in the ground. I made a sketch of the flower beds and marked where I put what so I wouldn't splice them (the reason I planted in pots to begin with). Unfortunately I misplaced that sketch. So I am none the wiser now. So now I am going back to my original idea of planting in pots. I Bought Gladioli 'Mary Housely' and Ixia 'Mixed' today. I only went out to buy baby clothes. Today I potted on my tomato seedlings and buried them up closer to the 2 leaves. Hopefully they will improve visibly as I am fearing for their safety right now. Maybe I shouldn't have been too hasty to sow them in December. However, I have loads of seeds left, so I can always start again at this stage.

I am a bit annoyed with my new camera. It HAD been working grand. Now the USB connection is being very temperamental. And the ON/Off button is not operating properly either. So, I will either exchange it tomorrow, or go for a full refund. This photo of the bulbs is from my previous camera.

For Steno

01 February 2010 22:10:34
Dracunculus vulgaris

Dracunculus vulgaris

Steno, this is what it will look like in its full glory!. Don't you just love it. :)

Surprise Surprise!

01 February 2010 21:54:21
Dracuncula vulgaris

Dracuncula vulgaris

When the weather turned cold again ( in the last few days) I decided to take in my Dracuncula vulgaris once again. It's not worth risking it out in the cold. As you can see, there is a lovely healthy snout standing proudly out of the soil. But if you look closer you will be able to see another tiny snout protruding just at soil level. Wow. Things are looking good.....

The Longest Day!

01 February 2010 15:20:32
Finally!

Finally!

Today seemed endless as I waited IMPATIENTLY for the arrival of my 2 babies. Now I feel like all my Birthdays have come together. They have come home to roost.

New Camera

01 February 2010 11:38:58
Thrush

Thrush

Had a good practice session here with the new camera. Funny how we always wonder how we ever did WITHOUT our latest gadget. Still in need of lots of practice as this camera requires a VERY steady hand.

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