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Jacinta D's Journal

Jacinta D's Journal March 2016

Last Post 601 days 9 hours ago

A few bits done today

31 March 2016 20:06:02

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Couldn't get my errands done quickly enough today so I could get out to the garden. What a super day, and even a bit of heat in that sun.

Did a bit of tidying up, and weeding down behind the Retaining Bed at the Upper Pond. Still had loads of dead leaves of Crocosmia in at the dividing wall. They look awful, especially when the new shoots are very evident now. In this area I have a lovely Erysimum. It had flopped over into the grass over the winter months. So it had to be staked with two bamboo canes. And of course it was only then that I realized my Roscoea was hiding underneath it all. The Erysimum is about 4ft tall and very bushy. I wonder if I were to cut it back a bit now would I lose the flowers for later on?

Planted out my primulas/primroses beside the Lower Pond, and my Trillium that I bought at the special plant fair a couple of weeks ago was planted where it'll get dappled shade. 

I also planted all my indoor Hyacinths down at the Spring Border. There were a few gaps to be filled.

I did my last clean-up of the Hosta bed beside the Lower Pond, and spread netting (and slug pellets) all over it to deter Holly, or any other visiting cats! But no doubt she'll find somewhere else to go. The new primroses were planted at the edge of the pond. They won't get too much sun even during the summer as they're in close to the North-facing wall. I watered everything in the greenhouse.

What a mess I left on the grass! Although, it's a Happy Mess!

 

Blue!

30 March 2016 21:22:26

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Love this Omphalodes. Have it planted in full shade and it's bulking up nicely now.

Primulas

30 March 2016 20:47:13

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Got two new primulas today in Homebase - P. 'Avondale' which I've had before but lost it, and this lovely Cowslip.

Did you know that Homebase has been taken over by the Australian retail giant Wesfarmers. They'll be churning out blocked stock as quick as it comes in. Prices have also been reduced all around the store since the store was taken over a few weeks ago. So far no reductions in their plants. But definitely worth keeping a check on.

Yay!

30 March 2016 09:31:29

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Whenever I see Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold) appearing, I know that summer is not far away. It's starting to open now in two of the ponds. It's a great little doer.

Premeditated Murder

29 March 2016 21:27:02

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I've had a Fremontodendron here a few years now. It was planted at an angle to the door of the greenhouse. As the greenhouse is West-facing, the sun creeps around the garden. And by the time it gets to the greenhouse (approx. 11.00am), the Fremontodendron no longer casts any shade on it.

However, I was getting a bit fed up with it. Don't get me wrong. It's a great tree, and almost evergreen with a lovely shape and texture leaf. But I have a few shrubs in planters here that also need to be planted out. So last year, rather than dig it up, I just hacked away at it, just leaving the remaining trunk standing about 3ft proud of soil level, thinking it would just rot away. I had also been advised that if you disturb the soil where Tetrapanax is planted, it encourages seedlings to sprout up. And this is right beside the Fremontodendron.

Having recently bought my Edgeworthia, I figured that this would be the perfect spot for it Went out today to have a look and 'lo and behold, the dratted thing is still alive. LOL. I reckon my murder plan went slightly awry. But that leaves me still with the dilemma of where to plant my Edgeworthia.

Today

29 March 2016 18:12:29

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No gardening done here today worth mentioning. 

I was delighted to see the first of my Kennedy Primroses open today, P. 'Drumcliffe' and one that Peter Wiseman gave me a couple of years ago, P. 'Dark Rosaleen', also with dark foliage. I think the dark leaves are a great foil for these pretty little flowers.

Hacquetia

28 March 2016 05:28:32

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Hacquetia epipactus is open now. It's a nice addition to my North-facing border and doing well since planting it here.

Daffs and Roses

27 March 2016 20:41:46

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I got these Narcissus 'White Lion' at a ridiculous price last year, late in the season. So this is a first here for them. I do like them. 

Also my first Rose is open - Climbing Rose 'Iceberg'.

Showery day here.

Phew!

26 March 2016 06:32:04
Phew!

Phew!

I've had a little Ginkgo biloba here in a pot for years. When I say little, I'm not exaggerating. It only measured about 12 inches. So when the cave got finished last year, I decided to give it its freedom papers and planted it at the back wall. Need a bit of coverage at this wall as there is talk about building lots of mixed housing behind us in the next year or two. 

Within a week of planting it out it started to look very sad. I thought it had died as the soil is quite dry over the cave and I hadn't watered it.

Well, 'lo and behold! It's alive!   What a relief!

Can't keep a good little man down!

25 March 2016 20:35:50

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David is staying over for a few days. And Steve happens to have been off yesterday, today, and the rest of the weekend. So David is keeping us both on our toes with garden work.

We took him out to lunch today and walked all around Howth hoping to tire him out. Ha ha!  Yea right!  We were more tired than he was when we got home. Although he stole forty winks in the back of the car. So he was raring to go by the time we pulled into the driveway.

The front door was barely closed and David was out the back door surveying what needed doing.

Firstly, he helped Steve to cut the planks of wood for the raised bed. It will be four planks high and about 6ft in width. Unfortunately it's too late to get the 7 blueberry bushes in before this years crop. But as soon as the fruit has been picked, in they'll go. They should be very happy in their new home. Plus it will be easier to cover the whole bed with netting to deter the birds. Where they are at the moment, in the Acid Quadrant, they are mixed in with decorative acid-loving shrubs. So not so effective. So they both painted the planks with Creocote and they are drying now. Can't wait to see the whole structure in situ. Maybe tomorrow!!!

David cleaned out the Upper Pond, and helped me to cut back U4BA myrsinites in that area (with gloved hands). I did a bit of weeding up on top of the cave. Got the rest of cutting back done.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but the wind picked up and was quite cold at times. Great day to be alive!

 

Camellia

25 March 2016 19:46:40

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I have 6 Camellias here in my garden. All in pots of ericaceous compost. My C. 'Wisley' is the best doer this year. C. 'Berenice Perfection' is coming in a close second. Normally C. 'Margaret Davis' is my best, with its gorgeous white blooms edged with deep pink, and usually the first to open. Forgot to photograph this one today. It's growing in a big half-barrel. As it's a biggy, it got a major cutting back last year. But I reckon too hard. Loads of buds but I think they're way too small to open at all this year. I'm hoping it will reward me next year better than it has ever done. But sadly, won't see anything on it until then. We live and learn.

F.A.O. Tipperary Declan

23 March 2016 20:17:45

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Very kindly got a clump of Declan's Voodoo Lilies last year. Look how well it's doing. I don't mind one bit that the smell will be enough to knock me out. It's planted well away from any seating area in the retaining bed behind the Upper Pond, and well away from the house for it NOT to be a problem. I just like its animalistic markings on the stems. Thanks again, Declan.

Annual out of sync!

23 March 2016 04:22:27

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Can't really say it's MY Nicotiana out the front, as I had discovered it only when it began to flower last year (November). The product of a neighbours seed floating on the wind. It chose my garden to come to life. It has seeded where the dividing wall meets the driveway. I journalled about it on 30th November, but it must have been there a while before that. And it has been flowering constantly since first spotting it, even giving me colour throughout the Christmas festivities. I know that plants are behaving in a peculiar fashion these last few months, but this really takes the biscuit!

It's flowering now just as well now as way back then. And we had some harsh frosts the week before last. Even in an ordinary summer, it would probably have gone over after about three months or more. But it's still going strong. I chuckle at him every time I pass him in the driveway. This is how he looked yesterday. I'm totally gobsmacked by this stoic survivor.

David was going home the weekend before last, and to my horror he pulled up a bit on his way out. But it still bounced back. 

Fritillaria

21 March 2016 20:10:03

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My Fritillaria 'uva vulpis' are beginning to flower now. Pity the crocuses around them are now going off. But the miniature daffs are a good combination. And the Fritillarias are bulking up a bit too.

Lovely Sunday

20 March 2016 20:13:28

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I didn't get much done today. And Dad wasn't available for lunch so myself and Steve headed out to Donabate for lunch - a place that I haven't been to since my early childhood. It brought back so many great memories.

Got some new Dahlias last week - pompom ones (red, yellow and orange) which I've never had before. I just think the petal formation is so perfect and I couldn't resist!

Everything got a good soaking in the greenhouse. Hope we're nearly finished with the frost so I can start bringing stuff outside.

No gardening time tomorrow so I'm promising myself I'll let nothing get in the way for Tuesday.

Plant Fair in St. Anne's Park

19 March 2016 19:41:53

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Cold day today but it was dry so we had a comfortable walkabout all the stalls without having to contend with brollies. 

I shopped very moderately, only buying 4 plants. Finally got a shrub that has been on my wish list for at least four years - Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Grandiflora'. Original price was €30 but I told the seller that I had seen a much bigger specimen for the same price and he reduced it to €25 - and also threw in Narcissus cyclamineus as a goodwill gesture.  Also got an Auricula 'Dusky Girl' and Trillium albidum. Not many plants, but all plants that I'm very happy with.

The flower on the Edgeworthia was knocked off as I put it into the car, but luckily there are two more to come.

Taking stock

18 March 2016 19:04:45

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All I did in the garden today was take stock of stuff I already have, after the heavy frost thawed, and things I'd like to buy for this year. It remained pretty cold all day and the sun didn't appear at all. We've been so spoilt with sun for the last week that now we are expecting it every day. :)

Rare and Special Plant Fair is in St. Anne's Park, Raheny tomorrow. It starts at 10.00 and I hope to be there shortly after the gates open. Going to be very selective in what I buy as I could be called for my new knee any time this summer. Anyone else going?

Gretta's garden

17 March 2016 09:11:56

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Home from Gretta's now and have caught up on any lost sleep. :)  But just looking back on a few photos I took while there and want to share Gretta's meandering pathways with you. Her garden has a very fluid feel to it, and there is nothing about it that would jar the senses.

I particularly love this mirror on her shed, producing a very nice trompe l'oeil effect when everything is in full growth. There was nothing at all in Gretta's garden when she moved down to Meath.

A little knowledge

16 March 2016 12:11:05

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They say a little knowledge is dangerous. But in this case I disagree. I've always loved birds, and things that fly and swim. I've always wanted to see birds nesting in the shrubs in my garden. It hasn't happened yet. Or maybe it did and I was too blind to notice it. 

However a few years ago I got it into my head that I needed a bird box and set Steve to this task as he is pretty handy. I insisted on it being funky, painted in primary colours. And he nailed it up on the wall. It was put up so well that it will NEVER come down. Since making it, the bold colours have thankfully faded with the sun but will probably never house any nests as it's south-facing. But the one in the first photo is one I got in Dealz last year. I thought it had a simple, rustic charm to it. It's hanging out of one of the Oak Fenders but needs to be anchored to it for stability. 

Only since Steve made his one have I discovered that no. 1 - Steve's one is sited in the totally wrong position. Should be on a north or east-facing wall to avoid overheating in hot weather. And no. 2 - to opt for natural materials and natural colours. If it's brightly coloured, the chicks will be an easy target for bigger preying birds. Also if it has a metal or tin roof, the whole nest is at risk of cooking the chicks inside. So in this instance, a little knowledge is rather useful.

 

Cutting back

15 March 2016 21:56:12

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Myself and Gretta visited Ratoath Garden Centre today. John has just cut down his Prairie Border but there was still quite a lot of interest in his show gardens. Couldn't believe his Geums flowering, Pheasant Berry etc. The show gardens must have their own microclimate. Saxifraga 'London Pride' has bulked up enormously. Can you just imagine the dainty sprays of white flowers in another few months. Great clumps of Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'.

This particular shrub/tree Azara was absolutely stunning. I've sold loads of these in the past but have never seen a specimen as beautiful as in Ratoath.

We missed the boat!

15 March 2016 06:23:02

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Well, it is March after all. And so far I haven't been disappointed with the garden. But having acquired all the timber to construct the raised bed solely for my 7 Blueberry bushes, we waited and waited for the weather to improve so we could Creocote the planks before putting them together. The weather has definitely improved now. But it's a bit late to transplant the blueberries as the dormant season is long gone. Lots of foliage on all bushes. So it looks like I'm stuck with the Acid Quadrant for a while longer, although it does still look well. But I wanted to bring that whole bed back to grass to open up that small area.

Apart from the blueberries in this little section, I have dwarf Rhododendron, Leptospermum, Myrtus 'Butterball',  and Pieris. They are going to have a bed of their own, together with one of my Witch Hazels from the front. 

The raised bed will probably be three planks tall and the full width of the greenhouse. It'll be nice not to have to pick up Holly's deposits constantly. And having the bed here won't take away any light from the greenhouse as this side is West-facing.

A bit more

14 March 2016 19:53:48

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Today I basically continued the work I was carrying out yesterday and clearing up after the grass had its second cut of the year. The weed and oxygenating plants that I removed from the ponds yesterday had been left in piles beside the ponds so that any aquatic creatures could safely make their way back in. So the clumps were disposed of today. I also gave the fish their first small feed. I don't think they touched it. But I'd say with this weeks good weather, they will be up and curious and probably hungry.

I've decided to look after my well being and today I took out a stool to avoid having to be constantly bending over while cutting back and weeding. It worked a treat and it's something I will be doing in future.

More and more flowers are opening now that the weather is on the 'up' (for this week anyway). Chionodoxa are opening. Love these pretty little flowers. And the amount of blooms on my peach trees is phenomenal at the moment. Can't wait to sink my teeth into these juicy fruit.

Had a lovely, but too short, visit from Hazel this evening. And of course she didn't come empty-handed. Now where am I going to plant all these lovely Anemones. Thanks a million, Hazel.

Wow!

13 March 2016 19:48:00

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Well now, wasn't that a cracker of a day? I Haven't had such a good workout in a long, long time. Cleaned out three of the four ponds. The fourth one is full of frogspawn so that will have to wait a while. 

Did a lot of tidying up afterwards. Had the greenhouse door open from 8.00am till 6.30. The greenhouse plants must have been heaving a sigh of relief with the ventilation. Everything in there got a good soak, and I tidied up old leaves from Cannas, Pelargoniums and a lot more. My 3 Peach trees have never had so many blossoms on them. Since actually planting them into the soil in the greenhouse, each year they get better and better. 

Dead-headed my Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer'. Still lots more flowers to come so I'm hoping this will extend its display for a while longer.

Planted up a few primroses that had been sitting in their pots since buying them about 6 weeks ago. They brighten up the place no end. 

The Spring Border is giving me such joy at the moment. 

Moved most of my bird feeders down to the back of the garden. They had been placed up near the house so I could witness the birds antics over the miserable winter months. But now that the plants are beginning to shine, they are no longer needed up close.

After a lot of procrastination, Steve finally got round to cutting the grass. That's the only request I made of him today. 

Tomorrow I'll have to get into the frog pond and cut back pond grasses that are very brown and sticking up out of the water like a sore thumb. Once that's done, I'll be happy for a while.

A promise

13 March 2016 11:17:18

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I promised faithfully that I would apply myself whole-heartedly to the garden today. And I reckon that if I ask Steve to do any jobs, he'll be more inclined to join me if I'm out there in full swing too. Need the second cut on the grass to lift all the debris he left behind two weeks ago. It was seriously long then. It's now beginning to green up but has put on a lot of growth since its first cut. I'm determined to be on top of things this year.

11.15 am. Pond number one cleaned out of all the winter debris. Three more to go. Just in for a cuppa. Hope you all have decent enough weather to get something constructive done today. Happy Sunday.

Keep an eye out

12 March 2016 07:15:52

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If you have a Dealz store near you, make it a priority to visit occasionally. They're starting to get their plants in now and you just never know what little gems you may pick up. I was there on Wednesday and got this lovely Polyanthus 'Stella'. I'm normally drawn to strong colours. But these pastel shades were just calling out to me. Unfortunately there was only one left. But I'll possibly be there again today. They may have gotten more stock in.

Love the colour

10 March 2016 21:39:09

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The Spring Border is looking great at the moment with all the N. 'Tete-a-tete's' out in full force, together with Muscari. Scillas are coming up all over the place and I love the way they start to flower as soon as they burst through the soil.

Of all the crocuses I have here, I think the purple ones are my favourite.

Is summer here at last?

10 March 2016 19:28:49

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Well, we could be mistaken for thinking today was summer. Unfortunately I couldn't make the most of the weather in the garden, except for tidying up litter from the front. 

My Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' flowered early in 2015, in January. And then produced more flowers in October. So I thought that it would surely miss out on its correct flowering this year. But look at it today.

The orange one H. 'Diane' is only producing a handful of flowers, and indeed no flowers at all on the leaders. I'm wondering why. Maybe the three of them need a good top-dressing of ericaceous compost by now? Until I just now looked back on my journals I had thought that it was the 'Diane' one that had flowered out of season. But now I realise it was 'Arnold Promise' and I've never seen it perform as well as now. But the orange one obviously needs human intervention!!!

Edgeworthia chrysantha

09 March 2016 18:20:42
Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Just back from a clothes shopping spree and received an e-mail from Johnstown Garden Centre telling me I have won this weeks prize on Facebook. Wahoo! I never win anything. I'm so excited. Can't wait to see what the prize is now, but either way I'm delighted.

The question posed was to identify this plant. Ha ha like, it's only one I have wanted for a few years. Ok, that's not the prize. Or maybe........?

Thank you, Johnstown Garden Centre.

Aeonium tabuliforme

09 March 2016 06:10:07

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The flowers of this took an absolute age to open. But it's happening now. A spray of green flowers, which I love. But very small. Hoping now to collect seed and start all over again. Or I might wait until the Rare and Special Plants Fair in St. Anne's park on 19th March and get another one.

Can anyone help, please?

07 March 2016 21:34:24

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Last week I discovered this shrubby plant coming up in my Acid Quadrant. I've never seen it before. Can anyone help with its id please?

That time of year again

06 March 2016 22:16:37

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From now on we are going to witness the emergence of those gorgeous Acers with their stunning foliage. This one is still only very small but stopped me in my tracks with its fiery colour.

Winter Aconites

06 March 2016 20:47:17

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Kitty (Michelle) kindly sent me some winter aconite corms last year which were duly planted on receipt. Marked them after planting throughout the shady border (North-facing), although the labels have completely faded. Nothing visible except maybe leaves? I'm thinking they are slow to flower from corms. In the meantime I bought a small pot of same. Coming into flower now and not even planted. So how come the flowers are appearing now without leaves on the potted lot. And how long do the corms take before flowering? Can anyone throw any light on this please?

A plant for all seasons

06 March 2016 05:27:01

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Yes, I'm harping on about my U4BA myrsinites once again. What's NOT to love about this plant. It does a great job of trailing over the low wall of the Upper Pond and provides year-long interest.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Sunset

04 March 2016 18:11:05
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Sunset

Beautiful sunset this evening.

Gulp!

04 March 2016 07:29:16

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I really WAS going to do work in the garden today. Oh well, it looks like it's been put on hold yet again.

Drive safely, folks, and keep warm.

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