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Jacinta D's Journal

Jacinta D's Journal February 2013

Last Post 1723 days 1 hour ago

Confession time!

28 February 2013 21:30:54
Solar butterflies

Solar butterflies

I would suspect that a lot of people own SOME garden ornaments that they possibly think other people would regard as tacky, and are keeping it under wraps. I don't mind confessing that I like a lot of 'tacky' stuff. One of my tackiest garden ornaments is a purchase bought about two years ago. It's an enclosed jar, with solar butterflies. And I think they bring out the child in me. They just ooze youth, in my opinion. 

So what's your tackiest garden ornament that you just would NOT be without?

Bloom

28 February 2013 19:21:58
Bloom

Bloom

I have it on good authority that this will be the last year that Bloom will be in the Phoenix Park. :(((

Hyacinths

28 February 2013 19:03:52
Hyacinths peeping up in the front

Hyacinths peeping up in the front

Over the years I have had many hyacinths for growing indoors, coming up to Christmas. I adore their scent. Most people would buy the specially prepared hyacinths as they are heat treated for indoor growing. I bought just the normal outdoor packs as they are just as reliable, albeit a bit later. They have done well. I normally just chuck them out afterwards. But last Christmas twelve months ago, I planted some out into the front, and others into the Acid Triangle.

Just spotted the ones coming up in the front and almost ready to offer a splash of colour and scent at the front door. There is no sign of the ones in the Acid Triangle. Maybe they just don't like ericaceous compost????

Weather is definitely on the 'up'.

28 February 2013 05:57:20

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But so much so that I am half inclined to start putting out some tenders that have been overwintered in the greenhouse. It's pretty crowded in there at the moment, and I have to stand at the doorway with the hose on spray just to water things in at the back. I need to have a proper look at how things are doing so hopefully at the weekend...

Last year I actually planted my three peaches into the soil of the greenhouse, giving their roots a better chance of spreading and languishing in their newly-found freedom. Also it has made more space as I can now place potted plants right up to their trunks. Already I can see lots more flowers formed than ever before. I think I did the right thing FOR ONCE. 

Now I really must wash down the glass.

Evolving

27 February 2013 19:49:56
Spring Hill

Spring Hill

Last year this small but steep bank was covered with mainly primroses and sedums. Now it is evolving into a proper 'Spring Hill' with lots of bulbs coming up. Slowly but surely most of the primroses are being transplanted to the area behind the Upper Pond, and look really great planted with hellebores, primulas, Gunnera (this WON'T die), tree peony, tiarella etc.

Next to come out of this area are my Pulmonaria as I believe they prefer dappled shade which this slope does not get throughout summer. It's taking shape ALL ON ITS OWN. All I need now is for the last pond to be finished. Hmmmm, getting impatient all over again!

And speaking of Magnolias....

27 February 2013 18:52:13
Magnolia 'Stellata'

Magnolia 'Stellata'

Mine has been in a big pot since buying it about 8 or 9 years ago. This year it seems to have WAYYYY more buds than ever before. Looking forward to these Persil White blossoms very soon.

Pachysandra

26 February 2013 19:59:13
Pachysandra variegata

Pachysandra variegata

This is planted in the raised bed in work. It's a great groundcover plant, without taking over, and takes NO maintenance. A few weeks ago I took some cuttings of it, they got planted last weekend. Looking forward to seeing my baby bulking up as well as this one. 

Hmmmmm!

25 February 2013 20:52:26
Hmmmmm!

Hmmmmm!

I forgot I had planted these crocusses until this evening. They looked lovely in the evening sun.

Another cracker

25 February 2013 18:29:29

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Ok, after a very cold start, the sun came up and melted off all the frost and ice. It turned out to be a spectacular day and it was warm enough for me to working in a jumper. Time to resume painting the shelves. It doesn't look like I'm going to get any help this year. Got the right hand of the G.C. done before we went on holidays. But it has been too wet since we got back to continue. Making steady progress now, thank God.

Look at this mornings sunrise.  

Yay! We have lift-off!

25 February 2013 05:57:24

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A few members were having great difficulties logging on here yesterday. It was so frustrating as I was getting e-mail notifications, but when I clicked in to go to Journal Entry, it was freezing on me.

Yesterday I spent a good 5 hours up in Dad's, as promised. I cut back and pulled up lots of Loganberries, Brambles, Teasels and Ivy, and bagged the lot. The moss was so thick and squelchy on the tarmac that firstly I had to brush vigorously with a stiff yard brush, which I find very difficult to use as it is very heavy, and then scoop it all up in my hands. Still lots there, but I did the best I could for now. Maybe the sun will get on it this week to dry it out a bit and next weekend I should see the finished result. His garden faces north so it doesn't get the sun for long in winter months.

I managed to bag 10 black refuse sacks of overgrowth. And struggled to lift a cup of coffee to my mouth when I got back home.

Dad was so impressed with the difference in the garden. I could actually see a sparkle in his eyes which was brilliant to witness. I won't publish any 'before' photos because it really was an unholy mess (although I may be persuaded, :) . It's a small garden, so hopefully a couple more weekends should see it looking quite ok.

Maybe I should.......

24 February 2013 06:23:48

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Do you remember a few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new growth on my overwintered dahlia tuber. It produced a flower bud, which I promptly nipped out to avoid it having to put extra effort into flowering. But I think at this stage the poor plant is struggling to get a bit more light. I wonder is it too soon to put it out into the cold greenhouse in a week or two, when this cold spell passes????

Well, I've gone and done it now!

23 February 2013 20:41:45
Chioggia Beet

Chioggia Beet

I couldn't wait until the main season for growing seeds. I blame the weather.

Just got  three into pots :    Tomato 'Moneymaker', Cucumber 'Long Green Ridge, and Chioggia Beet that my sister in Canada sent over. 

                                            

Caught in the act!

23 February 2013 10:20:31
Caught in the act!

Caught in the act!

Ooooh! Just in the door after shopping. Holly is munching her way through a bird (don't know what type) and there are feathers scattered all over the place. Unfortunately it's too late to save the bird.

C'est la vie!

Aldi next week

23 February 2013 06:59:27
Magnolias on offer

Magnolias on offer

If you still haven't managed to snap up a nice magnolia at a great price, Aldi are offering them in 3 litre pots next Thursday 28th February for just €9.99. They also have Bedding Plant Plug Packs for just €2.99. Just saying...

A bit of encouragement

22 February 2013 20:53:32
Dad's azalea that needs a proper home

Dad's azalea that needs a proper home

My Dad is sorely missing my Mam, having lost her suddenly 4 and a half years ago. He used to take such pride in his garden. And revelled in the thoughts that he used to feed half the neighbourhood with his super tomatoes right up until at least October. 

We, as a family have always had dogs, and after getting their last dog, they decided to tarmac most of the back garden. They were getting on in their years. The last dog died, then Mam died, and all of a sudden there was an empty chasm in my Dad's life. A chasm that NOBODY could fill.

He has let the standards of his garden drop dramatically and it has been extremely difficult to get him back on track. 

But slowly but surely I think I have given him some incentive to get things in order once again. It has been a long, hard battle. I know how proud he was of his garden. I have coaxed him to start a major overhaul of the two gardens, which will involve a couple of skips. He is a 'hoarder', and I am EXACTLY like him. This is going to be really difficult for him. But I reckon once we get started, he will be anxious to see it through. Also, having him tag along to the Get-together in Johnstown has also sparked a new lease of life in him.

I am just as anxious to start this Operation Transformation, as my weekends in work are about to start again. So on Sunday, while he is at rehearsal with the Band, I hope to get stuck into it. He can help me when he gets home. I hope to have cleared a lot of loganberries that are completely overgrown, and taking up 50% of his pathway down to the greenhouse. He has lots of makeshift  birdfeeders that  need binning and has developed an obsession for solar lights, and so much rubbish that has just been dumped outside. 

 

The Ice Queen

21 February 2013 20:32:50

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Our irrigation system gets turned off from about October till maybe March.

As it hasn't rained in such a long time, I had to manually water every plant in the garden centre. Oh, Crikey, my hands were completely numb and I almost had icicles on the end of my nose. I had to nip in and out of the Ladies to stick my hands under the hand dryer. I laughed when I saw all the check-out assistants huddled over one little portable radiatior indoors. Today was the first day in 7 years that I had to wear a hat, and by God, was I happy that I had it on. The difference it made was unbelievable.

By lunch time the place was swarming with customers outside and it was such a welcome sight. I don't know why they all waited till the coldest day of the year to come out of hibernation, but they were all very welcome. I spent the rest of the day lugging out bags of compost, and reduced plants. I must be getting a bit of sense at last, as I asked the customers to give me a hand with their load. Shoulder blades are now aching. But probably because I haven't had a proper 'breaking in' period between winter and the next growing season. I had better get fit rather quickly if it's going to be like this from here on in. Brilliant day!

Don't walk on frosted grass!

20 February 2013 20:38:35

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I went out early this morning with the intention of getting some nice shots, but there is no way I can compete with Fran's gorgeous Frosty Album. The grass was so frozen and it does it no favours to walk on it when it's so solid. I remember what happened last year. The blackened marks of my footsteps remained in the grass for a good six weeks after. So all I can offer by way of photographs are these two.

It's good to be alive!

20 February 2013 20:02:54
One of two wheelbarrows

One of two wheelbarrows

What a cracker of a day (if you were wrapped up). We could tolerate the cold so long as the rain holds off. And that's just what it did here today.

We have a big huge barrel in work, just outside the front door. Every season I change the planting, bearing in mind not to plant up anything too rare or expensive, as they have a habit of 'walking'. However, having attended a horticultural/retail seminar yesterday in Lucan yesterday, I was asked by the main man to change the planting. In fact, he asked me to 'skip' the barrel and its contents - just a big cordyline (Red Star, I think) and primroses. Lads were too busy to help so I had to scoop up all the compost and throw it in the skip. It made putting it onto my back seat a lot easier (hee hee), and of course I did have the managers permission. So the barrel and its contents went 'skipping' into my car. 

Now we have two nice wheelbarrows outside the front, chained on to the trolley rail. They're not matching, but are very similar. I chose Heuchera, phormiums, Vinca minor, Pachysandra, Cupressus 'Gold Crest' , Ophiopogon, and for seasonal interest lots of primroses, and dutch irises for later on. I think they make a nice change from the boring combination of cordyline just surrounded by primroses. God help anyone who dares to steal any of these plants!!!

Pottering

18 February 2013 20:43:36

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I had the pleasure in having a day off today, so anxious to make the most of the great weather, I did a lot of tidying up. I put lots of garden toys away that the baby has now outgrown at the back, behind the trees. Out of sight, out of mind. 

I spent ages weeding the Acid Triangle. It was literally covered in creeping buttercup. Then I top-dressed the whole lot with three bags of ericaceous compost. Happy that's done as it was becoming a bit of a nightmare.

I also dumped all my old growbags from last year down onto the soil at the back and mixed it up well with the existing soil. Looks nice and fresh. Then I cleaned out the Upper Pond.

The grass is still very sodden, but it was looking a bit like a jungle. The lawnmower was definitely NOT an option, but I did get out the strimmer and do the edges. Wow,  what a difference. And the heron was perched on top of the neighbours roof watching all before him.

At the weekend I hope to get the grass cut, and get the lawn edger out at the borders. So bit by bit, the garden is shaping up.

 

New Galanthus

18 February 2013 19:28:30
Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'

Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'

Just placed a small order for a yellow Galanthus from a GUY in Tipperary. Can't wait.

Are we all sick of Hellebores yet?

17 February 2013 21:17:43

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Well, so be it.

Here is my newest purchase from Johnstown. It got its final resting home today. And it smiled up at me as I firmed in the soil around it. :)

Getting somewhere at last

17 February 2013 20:06:56

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Today I was in my element outdoors. Generally pottering around and weeding the mini woodland border. The soil is sloping upwards towards the back wall, so any small shrubs that I will plant will give the illusion of extra height. Just what I'm after.

However, with trekking up and down planting stuff today, I decided that I should protect the structure of the soil. After all, it's what gives us the best growing conditions for all our plants. I had to scatter paving slabs that had been saved for re-use, after Steve converted the crazy paved circle to what is now the Greenhouse Pond. I planted a good few of the plants gifted to me from Johnstown, and it's beginning to take shape, a shape that I hadn't pre-planned at all. 

These random crazy paving shapes are not what I'm after. But, reflecting on Elizabeth's recent journal about circular paving slabs, I did buy just 5 of them last year, purely because I liked the look of them. I didn't have anywhere in mind for them. It was an impulse buy, you know, like?????

However, the existing ones may be replaced by these circular ones. But the circles look too contrived, so I will surround them with random pebbles of different sizes, and let plants spill out over them, disguising their original shape. I think it should work out pretty nicely.

Climb every mountain

17 February 2013 19:16:59
Laburnum alive and well

Laburnum alive and well

No, I'm not about to burst into song.

But today I decided that it was time to address the problem of the dislodged Laburnum up on the hill of soil over the cave. Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago, with all the heavy rain, we woke up one morning to a major landslide, and most of the soil over the cave had ended up in the hollow that had been dug out for the pond. However, it has been way too wet recently to even think about sorting out this setback. But with the lovely weather we have had over the last week the soil has had a chance to dry out somewhat. 

I climbed up very warily today to inspect the damage and firm the tree in again. Happy to say the damage hasn't been as bad as I had thought. New buds on it, so it looks like we're on track for a nice bit of summer colour against that horrible brick wall.

RYSI GOLD

16 February 2013 22:10:17

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I got this perennial wallflower last year and it hasn't disappointed. Today it was shining like a beacon in the February sun. 

I like the name too - the middle syllable of 'Erysimum', which is what it is.

I love the two colours in the opening buds.

Rose cuttings

16 February 2013 21:05:52

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I had never tried this before. So, armed with Dick's sound advice, last October twelve months, I took just 3 cuttings and just literally 'plonked' them into the ground in the hope that they would take. 'Lo and behold, they did just that. They should have been rightly trodden on last year with all the work going on with the new pond. But I surrounded them with some blocks to alert Steve that they were actually plants, not weeds. 

I took three. Two have taken. This is how they look today. Well pleased with the results so far. Will leave them in the ground for the foreseeable future.

Fairly productive day

16 February 2013 19:59:06

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Up at the crack of dawn as usual this morning. Had downstairs floors mopped, a wash on, bathroom cleaned and the shopping done by 09.45. Ready for action. What a great day. Warm enough to be out in t-shirt sleeves. Got the remaining tete-a-tetes planted, and some hepatica, bargain primulas, and the Kennedy primroses from Johnstown planted and a few other things.

Got myself some seed potatoes in Aldi this morning for only €1.99 so they are now chitting. Also got onion set (Red Baron) which I planted into a lot of window boxes. Still some left over, but these will be given to Steve's Dad.

Had the door and window of the greenhouse open all day after giving everything a thorough soak. It's been a while.

I spotted my first butterfly of the year today, and a bee that was so intent on seeking out pollen. Unfortunately he landed nowhere near me so I couldn't get a shot of him.

Also, on Sally's advice, I pruned two of my clematis - Polish Spirit and The President. Looking decidedly better. Thanks, Sally.

One man's poison......

16 February 2013 18:38:27

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A couple of months ago I pulled into the carpark in work, and spotted this hanging basket that some customer had obviously decided to dump on the grass verge. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I decided to transfer it straight into my car. I could see some bulbs coming up. Luckily I am always first in, apart from a manager. So my reputation wasn't in jeopardy. 

Today, I spotted some crocusses coming up, and tulips beginning to flower. I will discard the basket, but will transplant the bulbs into the garden. The Early Bird and all that....

Oops!

16 February 2013 17:13:18
Oops!

Oops!

I posted a journal yesterday about bulbs I had planted, that appeared to be tulips, rather than what the label suggested. Ooooh, I was so embarrassed today when I had a closer look. In my effort to re-cycle, I had turned old labels of Narcissus 'Bridal Crown' around and wrote the name of the bulbs that I planted on the reverse side. They are, indeed, tulip 'Johann Strauss'. Silly me!  :)

Lethargy

16 February 2013 17:02:37

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This does not apply to me. But this dove that landed on the feeder today puffed himself up so much that the sparrows couldn't get to the bird seed that I put out this morning. I went out to scare him off. But he didn't move. I came to about 2ft of him, and only then did he take flight. Has he been poisoned, or has he just come close to the end of his life span. 

It pays to be hygienic with bird feeders, as if they are not cleaned regularly they can harbour diseases which can prove fatal to our feathered friends.

Sarcococca

16 February 2013 07:35:40

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NoelFitz posted a journal about his Sarcococca and it got me wondering which one mine was too. Mine is in full flower at the moment, and the scent is to die for. I originally decided to plant it in a pot so I could have it up by the patio doors. But the entrance to our doorway is so choc a bloc with bags of coal and fuel that it's kind of difficult to spare a place for a planter. With the weather being as it was, we needed quick access to heating material. So Planters got pushed by the wayside over the last few months. 

Now that the heating is on less, and the weather is difinitely picking up, I want ALL my plants close at hand. And access to ALL areas. Methinks it's summer! LOL (or nearly)!

Anyway, look at my Sarcococca. The leaves are very yellow. Is this because it needs a good feed, or do sarcococcas turn this way in pots after a while. And if it needs a feed, would Blood Fish & Bone do the trick? I think I heard someone here saying that if it's planted out in the open, it would 'sucker'. Is this true?

Can anyone tell me is this sarcococca 'humilis', 'hookeriana' or 'confusa'?

Sorry, that's a lot of questions!  :)

Deadly Nightshade

15 February 2013 22:42:58
Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna)

Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna)

Unfortunately I had to uproot my beloved Deadly Nightshade last summer when Steve came home with the beautiful Bog Oak fenders from the River Liffey. 

However, I rooted a bit of it, as I think it is a 'deadly' plant. And not for its toxicity. Hazel expressed a wish to acquire some so I potted some up. Here is todays result. Hazel, it's alive and well. Possibly some for Elizabeth if she would like some????

Not what it says on the tin

15 February 2013 21:32:24

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As you can see, I still have the label of these bulbs. But despite the label stating Narcissus 'Bridal Crown', they're looking awfully like tulips to me.

Nandina domestica

15 February 2013 21:18:47

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Or otherwise known as Heavenly Bamboo, or Sacred Bamboo (no relation to bamboo). I have one in my garden and it is providing gorgeous coloured foliage right now. But this is one in the garden centre and all the foliage is completely green. Never knew it produced berries. Not a sign of any on my one. 

Feeding a multitude

15 February 2013 19:14:53

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You probably all know by now that our cat, Holly, is an 'outdoor' cat. Her food gets left out during the day while I'm out at work. Not only does it feed her, but also a whole host of garden birds - pigeons, blackbirds, robins, doves, magpies, sparrows, starlings, even the odd crow, and sparrow hawk. 

This morning before heading out, I spotted this new visitor. I think it's a Blackcap. But Google photos don't quite match up. Maybe it's a juvenile. But whatever it is, he is very welcome here. I was so excited to have caught him on camera.

This is the start...

14 February 2013 20:29:03

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What a smashing day. I was even able to work for a good while without my jacket. And with the glorious spring sunshine, people came crawling out of hibernation in an effort to get their own little gardening fix. Ooooh, it's great to see it. It makes such a difference to be able to share the great outdoors with people. I haven't had much/any company outside all winter. Business has been really bad here for a long time now. Just hoping that our store won't be next on the 'hit list'.

I reduced a lot of stuff today, and there were plenty of happy campers going out clutching their bargains. I got a bargain too. These little primulas for my mini-bog bed for just €1. Hope to get them into the ground on Saturday, as the forecast isn't too bad for the weekend.

Hairy Molly

14 February 2013 18:39:14

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Found this caterpillar in the garden centre today. My Dad used to call these Hairy Mollys. I'm not sure if it's the caterpillar of a moth, or a butterfly. Any idea, anyone?

'Bronco'

13 February 2013 21:23:22
Sempervivum 'Bronco'

Sempervivum 'Bronco'

This little sempervivum has withstood the test of time. It provides year-round colour and is extremely hardy. I planted this single plant up about three years ago (it came through the two harsh winters unscathed), and surrounded it with terracotta balls for a different effect. As time has gone on, the sempervivum has expanded and I have had to remove some of the terracotta balls.

As you can see, even in the depths of winter, it still provides me with a bit of life, colour, and many more years. It may get planted into a larger container as soon as I can get my act together. I highly recommend this one.

Turning a corner

13 February 2013 20:32:51
Turning a corner

Turning a corner

It's no secret that I HATE winter. I suffer from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

But it looks like we may have finally turned a corner and I'm hoping the worst of it is over. Now, maybe my mind can produce something positive for the garden for this year.

"Reasons to be cheerful"

13 February 2013 20:11:07

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Another little dote that put a smile on my face today was to finally see my snowdrops open. Fran gave me some, and I bought some in B & Q a couple of years ago. I like the backdrop of Bergenia to give them a bit of contrast.

"Shines Bright like a Diamond"

13 February 2013 17:31:55
'Shines Bright like a Diamond'

'Shines Bright like a Diamond'

I love that song by Rhianna. Had a really rotten day today for a lot of reasons. But when I got home and spotted this little crocus (my first one to open) shining bright like a diamond, it jolted me out of my bad mood, even if it was only for a couple of minutes.

Thank you, Mother Nature!

Corydalis

12 February 2013 19:20:23

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I had a couple of Corydalis here and killed them. I think it might prefer a damper site than where they were planted.

Let me clarify that this one is NOT growing in my garden. It's been sitting on the shelf in work since probably the end of September. Don't know why nobody has snapped it up. And it's looking better now since Christmas. Love the leaf shape, colouration, and the added bonus of flowers at this time of year, and blue. I think it deserves to be bought tomorrow.

Rhododendron

11 February 2013 21:01:18

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This is one that has really been through the mill in my garden. It used to be in a big pot. When I went to plant it out, it wouldn't budge. So I called in Superman. He pulled and pulled, and snapped off half of the small rhodo. Shock, Horror, Despair!

However, I did a bit of doctoring and tidied it up somewhat before planting it into the front garden. It has done really well, and even grown noticeably, whereas it had been frozen in time whilst in its pot before that. It is covered in big fat buds at the moment.

The photos show two very distinct markings on the old, and the new leaves. And when it flowers, boy does it flower! Beautiful lilac flowers. It's R. 'Goldflimmer' and I love it!

Soft and gentle

10 February 2013 20:37:32
Saxifraga 'Peter Pan'

Saxifraga 'Peter Pan'

I love the way this little saxifraga forms a small hummock. Everything about this plant reminds me of softness and gentleness. Even the little fowers, which should appear soon, are gently pushing upwards, and swaying in the breeze. Bulking up nicely too.

Pass the custard please!

10 February 2013 19:08:20
Pass the custard please!

Pass the custard please!

I grew rhubarb here many moons ago, and most of it was wasted as I am the only one who eats it. It was dug up and given away to a friend.

However, I couldn't be without it and ended up buying more. It doesn't grow too large if kept in a pot, so nothing is wasted. Lots of lovely fresh growth on it yesterday.

Anticipating the 14th

09 February 2013 21:03:48
Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'

Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'

Right on cue - Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine' in all its splendour.

Glorious

09 February 2013 20:41:20
Yucca gloriosa 'variegata'

Yucca gloriosa 'variegata'

Sorry for hogging the site tonight. But I get a bit carried away when I have a productive day in the garden. While weeding and cutting back the pond/greenhouse border today I couldn't help but notice how much growth this teensy weensy yucca has put on since planting it about 4 years ago. It sailed through the two bad winters, and has at least doubled in size since planting it. Gotta be worth considering for a low maintenance planting scheme.

Love

09 February 2013 19:40:06
Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue' (Speedwell 'Oxford Blue')

Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue' (Speedwell 'Oxford Blue')

This is a relatively new plant to my garden. I love it mainly for its gorgeous tiny blue flowers. But I hadn't realized that its foliage would be evergreen?????  Maybe not in a harsh winter though.

Like

09 February 2013 19:07:12

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I do like this pulmonaria 'Pink Haze'.

What's an hour out of 24?

09 February 2013 16:53:17
What's an hour out of 24?

What's an hour out of 24?

I had been putting off this job until it got a bit milder. Today was the day. Donned the waders and went for a paddle.

The right hand side of my Wildlife Pond is on the outside of my greenhouse and has very little access. It's easier from the actual pond. Cut back stuff that has already been cut back, only more severe this time, now that the weather is becoming that bit milder. Dierama needed a good combing through to rid it of all dead growth. I did it in the comfort of sitting on the edge of the pond and was very surprised that after an hour in the pond, my tootsies weren't the slightest bit cold. And of course, I exercised a bit of caution so as not to disturb the hanky panky of the frogs. Hoping to see lots of 'culchie' frogspawn again this year.

€29.99 for the waders was definitely money well-spent. I cleared the pond of lots of pond weed without any discomfort.

It just keeps on bouncing back.

09 February 2013 15:20:56

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Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer' is a delight. I don't have many rhodos here but this is one definitely worthy of a place in any garden, be it in a pot or the soil. It was looking great shortly after I got back from my holidays at Christmas and then it was knocked back a bit by sharp frosts.

Today, after a spell of mild (ish) weather, it's back on track. And even better than ever. No regrets on this purchase.

Welcome the 'Aldi' Season

08 February 2013 19:26:13

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Dontcha jus' luv dis time of year when Aldi come up trumps with their gardening products. 

This coming Thursday (14th Feb) they are selling Mediterranean plants for €19.99 (Olive, Lavender, Lemon, Calamondin, Chinotto (what's that?), and Kumquat). Chinotto might be worth a look at. 

Also 3/4 Tiered greenhouses €22.99, Cold Frames €29.99, Raised Borders €9.99, Riddles €6.99. It's onwards and upwards.

And the Lord said "Let there be light"

08 February 2013 17:40:11

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I won't say I love this time of year. But I DO love heading out to work in daylight, or almost. The front of my house is facing East, and that's where I get my lovely sunrises. This morning was the first of those mornings, now that we have a bit of extra daylight. But one of these days I'm going to get a bulldozer and knock down those lamp posts and electrical cables. I mean, they are just spoiling my sunrises.

Day off!

07 February 2013 06:27:02

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And that's exactly what I did yesterday. I was shattered after the stocktake. It seems to be taking more out of me each time. And none of us are getting any younger. 

It was very cold, and my legs were feeling pretty weak so all I did was a quick tour of the garden. Everything is coming along nicely, but I'm still waiting for my snowdrops to open, and tete-a-tetes.  Spring has definitely sprung. 

Senior evening!

05 February 2013 20:54:10

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Every time I see this coming up in the mini bog-bed I think it's Paris quadrifolia. Of course I am ALWAYS mistaken. Isn't it funny how certain plants names just refuse to become embedded in the brain. A bit brain dead this evening. But not to worry, instead of paying overtime, they have given me tomorrow off.  :)

Any suggestions? 

Hosta?

Early Retirement!

04 February 2013 22:45:55
Variegated planter

Variegated planter

No, the shop is not closing. But after a thirteen hour shift on my feet stocktaking, I wish it was. Another long day tomorrow. Maybe when I get a good nights sleep I will be glad I have a job. :(

I planted up this big pot at the end of autumn, with ornamental kale (which I hate, but was prepared to give it a go), two types of salvia, trailing thyme and Astelia 'Silver Spears'. It's primarily a variegated planting, and they make a good combination with the steely grey pot. It's still looking today. Glad I chose them.

Does it do what it says on the tin?

03 February 2013 22:28:58
Celandine?

Celandine?

Fran kindly donated this to my garden last year, and warned me that it is invasive. However, when I have my heart set on something, NOTHING will stop be from acquiring it despite all the warnings I may receive.

It is reappearing. And I'm soooo looking forward to it.

A bit of a change

03 February 2013 20:42:22

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Didn't get a whole lot done today. In work at 7.00am for stocktake and it was thoroughly miserable scanning all plants in the rain, my fingers ended up numb. But I managed to finish ahead of schedule, thankfully.

Came home and had a bite to eat. Wasn't in the mood to do much after that. But I did pot up some of that lovely ground-cover sedum for Keego, Bruno and Hazel.

Then I potted up the dahlias that had been over-wintered out in the garage. Sweet pea seeds are well and truly sprouting up at this stage. 

I bought this nice plant on Friday which I transferred to a bigger pot. Very tactile. It didn't have a label on the pot, but I know it is a peperomia, I just don't know which one. Let's hope I don't kill it.

A favourite of mine.

03 February 2013 10:30:04
Malus 'Red Sentinel'

Malus 'Red Sentinel'

Nice well-behaved little shrub, without being too 'shrubby'. Leaves during the growing year, ornamental juicy looking apples in winter, and looking forward to lots of flowers very soon now. Some people have been bothered by birds eating the inedible apples, but that hasn't been the case here, thankfully.

When the soil around the new cave/pond is sorted, I hope to finally plant this one out where it can take on a small bit more growth.

Another ID

03 February 2013 06:00:02
Lovely fern

Lovely fern

I was going to ask could anyone give me the name of this fern. But I won't. I probably would forget to write a label anyway, and it's a fern. That's all I need to know. I have it here about two years and it has really bulked up well.

Here we go again!

02 February 2013 20:41:02
What am I, please?

What am I, please?

No matter how diligent I am at labelling plants, there are ALWAYS a few that I miss. Spotted this one today and haven't a clue what it is. It's leaves are quite velvety. Does anyone know what it is please? As you can see, it's not far from flowering.

It's good to be alive!

02 February 2013 19:42:16

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Wow! Today was cracker here in Dublin. And by the sounds of it, throughout the four corners of the country too. Didn't get the opportunity to get outdoors until this afternoon due to family commitments. But as soon as I got home, I wasted no time in changing into my gardening garb, while Steve watched the Rugby. Spent a good five minutes just observing what needed doing. Started off by cutting back all the old growth that I had left on a lot of plants for 'winter interest' and chucking it 'over the wall'. The sun shone on my back, and before long I was stripping off a layer. Planted a few pots of 'tete-a-tetes' down at Primrose Hill (soon to be re-named). And rejoiced in seeing how well my cyclamen coum have spread out since buying them last year. My Leucojum are coming up goodo, as are Fritillaria 'Uva vulpis'. I had bought some more of these a few weeks ago in work as they had been reduced to half price. So they should look really good in a couple of years.

Pulled up ALL my myosotis (forget-me-nots) as they had become quite blackened with frost. I never want them again, even though their flowers are my favourite colour. Plus, they seed all over the place, and I'm fed up with them. :)

I staked my Hellebores, scooped up the leaves and tied them up and now they are looked less sprawly. I also finally got round to planting a beautiful double hellebore that I got this time last year. It smiled at me as I was firming the soil around it, and thanked me profusely.

The middle and upper pond remained frozen all day so work on those will be deferred to a later date. Lots of pond weed to be removed.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are ALMOST open. Just gotta be patient! But my Rodgersia, in the same area, is showing signs of life already. Also spotted new growth on my tree peony. It still had it's withered foliage on, so that got cut back too. Planted out a new (ish) euphorbia in the shady border. It actually looks more like a sedum.

The bird feeders were a hive of activity all day, and it wasn't long before I had to top it all up. At one stage there were magpies, starlings, sparrows, goldfinches, collared doves, robins, and dunnock at the feeders at the same time. Dontcha jus' luv it!

The greenhouse was opened early today to give it a badly need ventilation. What a brilliant day!

That time of year again in work with stocktake, so have to be in for 7.00am. But I reckon I'll get done pretty pronto. No commitments for tomorrow, so once I get home, my time will be spent in the garden again. 

 

Back to normality

02 February 2013 11:46:14

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Jeez, what would we all do without the internet. I had none last night from about 9.00 and Steve was out for the night. Had great pleasure watching Carol Klein, and then straight afterwards Monty Don (it's really only News, and gardening programmes I watch on T.V.). After that, I headed to bed with a good book.

Very cold yesterday, as all who visited Altamont would agree. But at least the showers kept light and infrequent. I had my little companion following me till my work shift ended.

Couldn't believe when I got home from work seeing that my Hostas are already making a comeback.

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