Last Post 511 days 11 hours ago
31 December 2011 19:03:55
Decided to get just 'finger-food' for dinner tonight. Didn't need to be wasting time peeling veg as I had lots of Child's Play making up badges for next Sunday's Get-together. Can't wait until wee Davey can play with the PVA Glue without sniffing it! He was dying to help!
Crockery cleared away now and a few bevvies on the cards for the evening. Happy New Year to all my chums! See you on the 8th.
30 December 2011 20:28:29
I soooo need to get stuff done in the garden. Like Kitty, I am getting serious cabin fever. But at least I can get a bit of a 'fix' in work. Today was very, very wet, but grand and mild. Not one customer came out to join me outside. But it meant I got lots of little jobs done that nobody else would even notice.
My Hippeastrum (not using the name Amaryllis any more) decided to open during the day. It looks like it will only produce 2 flowers. But it's gorgeous, and in my 2nd favourite colour.
My New Year Resolution is to stop buying any Gardening Magazines (except for The Irish Garden, which doesn't really count as I have a subscription anyway), and instead treat myself to a really good book - food for thought on the choice.
28 December 2011 21:33:47
A welcome visitor
This is one of a few Hyacinths I planted up on the Hyacinth jars in October. These are not the 'prepared ones', I had given up buying these as they are more expensive than ordinary ones. I didn't give these a spell of darkness or cold. They just went straight on to the jars and were kept in the house.
I haven't looked at this one in about a week, so it was a lovely surprise this evening when I got in from work and spotted it opening. And it's white!!!! And even though it's only half open, it's filling the air with a delicious scent.
27 December 2011 18:35:11
Hill of Howth
Lots of food consumed here over the last couple of days, so today we decided to shake the cobwebs from our legs and took a brisk trek up Howth Summit. It was a lovely clear day, and lots of people (including tourists) had the same idea. It was a tough trek, but was so worth it, especially being surrounded by Heathers, and Gorse coming into flower already. And of course I stopped a lot to take some nice photos. Will post up an album.
27 December 2011 16:06:51
Kaffir Lilies still blooming
It's been quite a while since I have been happy with the results of my photography. I alternate between two cameras - one which has a really good zoom lens, and the other one which is great at close-up shots (it picks up great detail). However, the better of the two has been collecting lots of blotches of dirt on the lens and it's most annoying. I have tried unsuccessfully to clean it, but don't want to put too much stress on it in case I damage it further.
I am just in from the garden after a short spell of practising with my new camera. Great to see Kaffir lilies in bloom.
I put a few photos up on Facebook for anyone who is interested.
26 December 2011 19:02:07
Loropetalum beginning to flower
Delighted with my new camera. So glad I didn't spend money on one last week when my old one was playing up. I've had great fun all day today snapping my Grandson's play activity with all his pressies, and photographing some good-looking plants in the garden, even though I never got dressed all day. The neighbours are used to seeing me out there in night attire!!! But the hair? Oooh, quite like Phyllis Stiller (is that how she spelt her name?)
26 December 2011 08:25:18
Wee Davey getting overcome with tiredness (bless him)
What a day. It started when I got up at an unGodly hour of 3.10am. It must have been the prospect of possibly catching Santa leaving pressies that had me awake so early. I love CHristmas dinner , not just the food, but having the table dressed so it would be fit for a King (not 'Elvis'). I love the way the light catches the crystal glasses and cutlery. I'm not a great lover of cooking throughout the year, but I do like to make an exception where there is an 'occasion' for it.
We were graced by Steve's Mam and Dad. My own Dad chose to dine with my sister and her family in Skerries. That upset me a bit, but it was his choice. Maybe next year!
Santa was verrrry good to wee Davey. Gosh, so much stuff. Actually I can also say that Santa was very good to everyone. Lots of laughter all day and clinking of glasses, and loosening of waistbands. I spent most of the day playing with my new camera. One or two teething problems, but I think I may have overcome them. As a result I didn't get many snaps of wee Davey opening his presents and his eyes twinkling with the excitement of having so much wrapping paper to play with. But get this, (he's not two yet) he went to one of the kitchen presses and got himself a black refuse sack and came back in to gather all wrappers and tidied up after everyone. Gosh, don't we have him well-trained, hee hee!
I crashed at about 10.45pm, was falling asleep on the couch. Now I have all that washing-up to do (Uuugggghhhh).
Very dark still at this late hour in the morning, but as soon as the washing-up is done and I'm showered, I'll be getting out there to give my new camera it's very first proper session.
Hope you all had a great one!
25 December 2011 03:43:07
Just came down for a glass of water and caught him in the act!!!
AND THERE WAS I THINKING HE WAS A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION ALL THESE YEARS!
24 December 2011 06:37:29
Hot and Dirty Martini
It's Cocktail time once again. Here's a simple one that packs a punch. The chilli vodka provides the heat, the olive brine gives the dirt.
3 measures chilli vodka
1/2 measure dry vermouth
1 tsp olive brine
stuffed green olive to decorate
Shake the vodka, vermouth and olive brine over ice until well-frosted. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and dress with a stuffed olive.
Cheers, everyone. And have a very Happy Christmas.
23 December 2011 19:35:02
Will look up the name tomorrow!
Fuchsias are one of my very favourite plants. When most of the summer bedding has gone over, these absolutely SHINE. I had lots of trailing fuchsias planted on the edge of the 'Island' in the middle of the latest pond. But I lifted them and potted them up, they are now in the greenhouse 'shining' yet again. This one is at its peak too. Dontcha just luv it!
22 December 2011 07:17:21
Climbing fuchsia 'Lady Boothby'
My Climbing Fuchsia is still flowering away in the greenhouse.
21 December 2011 19:46:31
'On, Dancer. On, Prancer'.
Wow, being in my t-shirts sleeves out in the garden centre all day today on the 21st December must definitely be a RECORD-BREAKER.
And it looks like Santa stuck the red nose on the wrong mode of transport!
20 December 2011 20:55:40
It's my party and I'll.....
51 today, and feeling every bit of it. Can't wait for the few days off at the weekend. Was off a bit early today to tend to some personal affairs and when I got home dinner was being made for everyone by my youngest, Zoe. My eldest, Kim, also graced us with her company and it was great to see her for more than just a passing visit. Wee Davey got such a fright when everyone sang Happy Birthday that he became very upset and bawled crying. What's he going to be like next month when we celebrate his second birthday.
Got great pressies and a fun evening. It's good to have everyone together again. And Christmas promises more to come. I just love it.
And just to make this sound a LITTLE bit like a garden journal, my Grandson bought me a big bunch of flowers, and was very reluctant to actually hand them over to me. :)
19 December 2011 18:20:50
Still flowering 19th December
Can't believe the major rise in temperatures today compared to yesterday, and all of last week. One would be inclined to think this photo of my geraniums was taken mid-summer instead of just twenty-four hours ago.
19 December 2011 06:49:55
Here is the one and only snap I took of the moving 'Performing Musicians' in the Beaumont House yesterday. There are two booths completely taken over with the rest of this display that would surely bring out the child in everyone at this time of year. I love it.
Gosh, and it's even a FULL photo! Nice one Craig.
18 December 2011 18:44:14
No gardening here today. Very frosty overnight. Went out to dinner with Dad. This establishment puts on a lovely display every Christmas, mainly big furry, more than life size polar bears performing in a band. Beautiful display and one that I look forward to every year. Got just one photo and camera packed up. Couldn't focus at all, and then the lens refused to retract when I turned it off. Tried and re-tried numerous times to no avail. Went to Homebase afterwards and only then did I realize I had lost a substantial amount of money out of my pocket. It must have fallen out when I had to use my mobile phone to take a pic. Went back to where we had dinner. Luckily someone had handed the money in. My faith in humanity has been restored.
However, I have spent the rest of the afternoon trying to sort out the camera. I can't afford a new one just yet. And Steve picked it up, switched it on, and Hey bloody Presto. He thinks he fixed it. Daw!!! However, I'm a Happy Camper once again. Let's hope the camera continues to work.
18 December 2011 06:58:55
Yesterday dawned cold, and very icy in puddled areas. Shopping trip was put on hold till it had a chance to thaw out a bit.
I was so delighted to be able to get out and survey all the winter mush that is very apparent in my garden right now. Still haven't given the grass its last cut of the year as it is still sooo soggy. But what a gorgeous bright crisp day. Well wrapped up, I did a walkabout noticing lots of new growth on so much. Galanthus are peeping through, which brings hope for Spring. And if we get a cold spell like last year, I know things will flourish with or without any help from me. They will do what they have to do, and we will reap the benefits yet again.
I left the greenhouse open to ventilate everything inside. Then I planted a nice Leucothe into a pot. It was lovely just sifting the fresh compost in my hands. It seems such a long time since I have done that. It was the best feeling.
Steve has the 'beginnings of the cave' under the pergola. It is really annoying me. The tarpaulin over the pergola is constantly flapping about in the wind, and it's hampering my view of further down the garden. So yesterday I loosened its guy ropes, took up the stakes and tied the corners to the front posts of the pergola. It's a bit tidier and the view is somewhat improved. I dismantled the trestles and planks that we were using for painting the fibreglass with resin. Now I have a bit more space to walk around.
Cleaned off all the bird-feeders and refilled them with fresh food and water. I noticed the first of the Goldfinches today. It's only when the weather is really cold that they decide to grace my garden. Sarcococca in a pot is starting to produce its flowers. Brought the pot it's in closer to the patio so I can get the benefit of its delicious aroma. And I noticed a sucker at the side of the pot. I definitely benefitted from the great outdoors as afterwards I came in and got stuck in to some Christmas cleaning like some madwoman possessed. All good, as today my time will be very limited because of family commitments.
17 December 2011 07:48:34
Handy or what!!!!
Very heavy frost on the windscreen yesterday morning and then it snowed on top of that. My hand was numb using a swipecard to remove it. But look what I found when I went into work. Now I can keep my little fingees warm as toast while removing any more ice/frost/snow. Such a simple but very HANDY invention.
Available in Woodies/Atlantic Homecare nationwide priced at just €1.99. It gets the 'thumbs up' from me!
16 December 2011 20:20:11
Ceropegia woodii from Bruno
Bruno left this in my porch a few months ago while I was in work. Happy to say, it's doing really well. Thanks, Bruno.
Wahoo, this cropping really HAS been sorted.
16 December 2011 19:34:42
Thanks to all the Christmas shopping to date, my wee Davey is as happy as a pig in ..... with an empty bag. He goes around picking anything that's moveable and popping it into his little shopping bag, whether he wants it or not. He's obsessed. Not happy until it's full to the top.
I really only posted this journal to test the 'cropping' issue. It has worked. Well done, Team.
15 December 2011 06:16:03
Came home from a gruelling day at work yesterday and was greeted by this gorgeous Phalaenopsis from Zoe, just to say 'Thank you for everything'.
Now let's see if I can keep this one alive.
14 December 2011 20:04:52
Did you know that city birds have developed different accents from ones in the country. Their tweets have become higher pitched to travel further in urban areas and to echo less off buildings. The amazing phenomenon was revealed yesterday by wildlife scientists who analysed birdsong in areas which have many high-rise blocks.
They found common species such as Great Tits had adapted their voices. 'Because sounds bounce and travel in different ways, birds have to use songs that can cope with this. Echoes of higher notes disappear faster so the next is clearer.This study is the first to pinpoint features in a high-rise environment for Great Tits in particular having higher pitched tweets than other birds. They were previously thought to have simply wanted to make themselves heard above the singing of other species.'
Article by Emma Little
The sun (Tuesday, 13th December, 2011)
13 December 2011 18:41:59
Malus 'Golden Delicious' blossom
Could only do very limited stuff on computer last night. Battery charger went on the blink. It's my own fault, as I never unplug it from the socket, just at the port on the computer. However, luckily I didn't throw out the charger from my previous computer and it fits like a glove. A new one would probably cost about €70. And I can do without that expense at this time of year. But now internet has stopped working, although I am still here on garden.ie. But there's a 'box' on top of the text that I am typing (Internet Explorer has stopped working). Very annoying. Don't have access to Facebook. However, not a lot I can do about that.
I cut back some leftover apple trees in the garden centre in October. But today I discovered blossom on all of them - mainly 'Elstar' and 'Golden Delicious'. Amazing!
P.S. I have just discovered that if I log off completely, and log back on to Garden.ie the box will not be on top of the text if I don't click onto the Internet.
12 December 2011 06:54:27
This is the first year I have ever bothered to dig up some of my dahlias. I cut them down, shook all the soil off, and placed them into a tray with dry compost. But now they are sprouting. Is this normal? Do I leave all the new growth in place?
11 December 2011 21:24:13
Carol Singers out on the patio
Not a good day for the garden, and it is still so wet that toing and froing would turn the grass into muck. So it was indoor gardening for me before taking Dad out to dinner.
Cleaned and tidied the potting area in the garage. Was cleaning down the draining board and the pipes under the sink sprung a major leak, spilling out all over the garage floor. Luckily it is a concrete floor so no damage done. Potted up the last of the tulips (kaufmanniana 'Fashion') and some Tete-á-Tetes. Also sowed some huge seeds of some kind of Phoenix (either canariensis or maybe robellini) that I picked up in Lanzarote. I was going to put them into the electric propagator, but no room here what with all the decorations around the place. So they are in the living room (the hottest room in the house) until after Christmas.
Spent a good while watering all houseplants and wiping leaves of dust. All looking bright and shiny now.
Look who has just arrived out on the patio!
11 December 2011 08:11:07
Gosh yesterday was busy. what with grocery shopping, pressie shopping and brunch with Zoe. It was later than normal when we were back home. Lots of cleaning and dusting before pulling out the Christmas decos. But we got there in the end. There's nothing quite like the scent of a real tree. And of course, while we were doing it all, I had to have a wee Bacardi in hand and listen to Christmas songs (much to Steve and Zoe's annoyance, hee hee).
I had promised myself I would put up the bubblewrap in the greenhouse, but sadly that didn't happen. It won't be today either, as I'll be taking Dad out. I've never done it before, and one section of my brain is asking me 'Why this year'. Ah sure, we'll go with the flow for now. Not going to get beaten up over it if it doesn't ever get done.
10 December 2011 20:12:31
This is the bamboo...
.......that I cut down right to the compost level during the Summer It had been looking pretty grim throughout the whole Spring after being struck by last Winters harshness. This is how it looks today. So glad I didn't bin it as it is hiding (well, almost!) the junction box for the electricity that serves the Upper Pond.
09 December 2011 21:05:56
Icicles on Pond (09.12.10)
Only 2 more Fridays to go before Santa arrives.
What a glorious winters day today. Iced up windows on the car this morning but it was fresh, and brisk and dry. Very busy outdoors today with customers. All good. Bought the tree this evening, so looking forward to getting it dressed tomorrow. Hopefully I will get time to insulate the greenhouse tomorrow with bubblewrap, something which I have never done before.
DON'T FORGET GARDENERS WORLD NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
08 December 2011 19:22:46
Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Going back to my earliest days of gardening, I would have regarded anything written by Dr. D.G. Hessayon as my Gardening Bibles. That is no longer the case. I have some here that I would like to swap - as a lot, or separately. They are as follows:
The Houseplant Expert
The Flower Expert
The Flowering Shrub Expert
The Tree and Shrub Expert
The Garden DIY Expert
The Rock & Garden Expert
The Fruit Expert
The New Bedding Expert
The Vegetable Expert
The Flower Arranging Expert.
Ideally I would like a good book on Aroids. But I know that not a lot of people would have anything on this subject. I am open to offers.
08 December 2011 06:47:31
Jasmine 'Clotted Cream'
Took this photo of my Jasmine yesterday. Still flowering.
07 December 2011 21:37:47
'Some for me, and some for you'
Last year my little Grandson was only 11 months old at Christmas. This year is a whole new ball game. He has injected lots more enthusiasm into the Festive Season than since my own girls stopped believing in Santa. Every evening I seem to be coming in with more decorations. He greets me at the door and helps to carry in stuff. He was completely hyper this evening when I brought in this Polar Bear. Christmas lights reduced by 30% now. So I snapped up the last one.
07 December 2011 20:28:22
I refuse point blank to buy a Poinsettia. I see so many of them in my job that I have turned completely off them in the last few years. But today I bought a nice plant, with red berries, for some festive cheer indoors.
Ardisia crenata (also know as Coralberry) is a native of South Asia. It can be regarded as a bit of a nuisance in its home environment. They suggest you plant this one in a group of three. I wonder is it for aesthetics, or for ensuring pollination. However, it makes a nice house plant for the Christmas period. We'll see how it goes.
06 December 2011 20:21:39
Sorry Dan, but you gotta go!
Sometimes I buy gardening books on impulse. Not a book that I have deliberately set out to buy, but not wanting to go home without one. I get it home and realize that it's just not what I wanted at all. And I have NEVER brought a book back for a refund or exchange. I have a few here that I will never read fully so they just sit there gathering dust (of course, I do have lots and lots of books that I would not be without, and reference books which are invaluable).
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has books they never intended buying, or gifts that are unwanted.
What if we were to bring our unwanted books to the Christmas Get-together, and had a bookswap? We could make a list of our unwanted books, and post that list in the next week so people can see what's on offer! Is that a stupid idea?
Here's one by Dan Pearson that I will never read again that could go up for a swap for starters. I would love a book solely on succulents if anyone has one to swap. Tomorrow I intend going through the whole bookshelf and sorting it for once and for all.
06 December 2011 06:14:27
Tulipa 'Celeste' appearing
"It's not time to get up yet. Go back to sleep and I'll call you".
05 December 2011 20:25:13
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE
It has been a bit disheartening of late coming home from work and finding a morning journal posted by me still on the list of Recent Activity. People had been getting a bit journal-shy recently, and I was afraid that everyone had lost their get-up-and-go, even though we are all taking a bit of a back seat in the garden at this time of year. I know it's a gardening site, but I'm sure Gerry would forgive us if we deviated from gardening topics slightly for the month of December. After all, it's the season of Goodwill to all men (and more importantly, women!).
It was a pleasure to log on this evening and find so many journals posted today, and all to do with gardening. Mostly it's the bad weather that stops me getting out there. But sometimes during the winter, after spending all of my working day outside in the garden centre in the rain and cold, the last thing I want to do is go out to my own garden when I get home. I just want to kick off the boots and put my feet up. I try to post some kind of journal at least every day, but it's getting more and more difficult by the day. This weeks' weather is not good. Really cold all week, and Wednesday is due to be the worst day with heavy showers too.
I will buy my 'real' tree on Friday, put it up on Saturday, and then I will become unbearably festive. I love Christmas. I will try to do a bit at the weekend, but won't break my neck doing anything worthwhile.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, GARDEN.IE'rs
AND A BIG HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO GERRY AND TEAM!
05 December 2011 07:08:15
It was nice to see the beaches in the Canaries with Lampranthus amongst the rocks and dunes, instead of our usual Scutch Grass.
04 December 2011 20:28:31
What is this, please?
What a horrible day here. Cold and very wet. It didn't inspire me to even open the patio doors.
However, maybe someone could help me with an id of this lovely ground cover plant in Lanzarote. The leaves remind me a bit of an Anthurium, but the flower resembles that of a convolvulus. Any ideas?
04 December 2011 08:04:49
Geraniums in the front
Normally my summer bedding gets chucked out as soon as it is looking past its best. However, this year I have made a conscious effort to test my patience. It has paid off. I delayed cutting back a lot of stuff until now, and continued dead-heading quite late too. A lot of plants have rewarded me with very late blooms thanks to that.
But this window box in the front seems to have fared off the best. I have never had an entire window box of geraniums that are in full flower in December. On Friday I bought some primroses to replace them. But in all fairness, how could I just uproot them when they are doing so well? They can stay until they decide to give up the ghost (which could be during the week as the temperatures are to plummet). The primroses will get planted elsewhere.
03 December 2011 20:03:01
Knautia macedonica 'Red Knight' today
Wasted a lot of daylight time today shopping and breakfasting with Zoe this morning. So I didn't get a lot done in the garden after all my great plans. But it was good to be out there in the sharp wind. Lovely bright brisk day.
Just before my holidays I spent a long time dead-heading by asters in the hope of more blooms. Sadly, that didn't occur. They are now totally blackened. So they got cut down today with lots of other stuff. Was surprised to still see flowers emerging, like Arctotis, Kaffir Lilies, Osteospermum, Knautia, Brunnera that Paddy gave me, plus lots more. Although, the now flowers are pretty much smaller than when they were in full swing during the summer.
It's not so apparent during my working week as it is only to be expected, but darkness fell really early today. I guess I'll have to do my shopping at night time in future - at least until the shortest day, which is just around the corner.
Made a big stew, and now sitting in front of a grand open fire, and having a few 'bacs'. Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.
03 December 2011 07:33:11
Bamboo-wrapped palms in Lanzarote
If anyone has holidayed in the Canaries, they will be familiar with lots of palm trees lining Motorways and main roads. Maybe they're Phoenix canariensis, or maybe something else - I suppose that's not really important.
But while in Lanzarote recently, I spotted lots of newly-planted palms along a new stretch of Motorway. ANd the trunks were all wrapped with a type of bamboo screen. Curiosity is getting the better of me here. The bamboo screens are very similar to the ones we find in our local garden centres and are pretty flexible, and could almost be described as not being too durable.
Initially I had thought that the bamboo was to give them extra protection until they 'establish' themselves, and also to avoid wind-rock ( Lanzarote is reknowned for its strong winds). But I don't think that's the case here. If anyone can throw any light on this matter, it would be greatly appreciated.
Clearer photos in album posted.
02 December 2011 19:59:47
Gosh, apart from a couple of brief visits to the garden during the week, it's been three whole weeks since I have done a bit of gardening of any description) probably the longest non-gardening spell for me). Looking forward to getting out there tomorrow - hail, rain or snow (hopefully NOT snow). I intend attacking it with great gusto.
Was gob-smacked this morning, while driving to work, with the glorious sunrise. So much so, that I just had to pull in and take a couple of snaps. Pity that there are just buildings around though. I would have liked the photos to be taken by the sea or mountains. But, c'est la vie. Sunrises have been stunning all week.
01 December 2011 19:32:30
Very sad looking
Fran delivered this little beauty given to me by Ruth (Ladybird). And it was in full health when it was handed over. I have it in the house since receiving it. But all the leaves are shrivelling up and falling off, granted the stem is still green. I have a very similar one in the unheated greenhouse that was given to me by Kate which is still healthy and flowering well. Ruth's seems to be planted in clay, whereas Kate's is in multipurpose compost. Is this the reason Ruths is dying?
01 December 2011 06:12:55
This Exochorda macrantha 'The Bride' is starting to flower on bare stems. It's unbelievable what the mixed up seasons are doing to our gardens.
My Camellia 'Wisley White' is also opening.