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Jan/ Feb issue of The Irish Garden

hilary36's Journal

hilary36's Journal

Last Post 698 days 6 hours ago

Back again

26 February 2013 17:59:02

Can't believe it is almost a year since I last wrote in the journal. Although I have ben following Garden IE on Facebook.

Last year as we all know it was the most awful summer. The garden got away from us as the year progressed. It was just impossible to keep it in order. My husband found grass cutting a trial.

Despite this I had some plants which did well. I actually managed to have a good crop of tomatoes despite lack of sun.

I was out gardening this afternoon as it was sunny and there was a little warmth. It feels good to start tidying beds and seeing all the spring bulbs coming up.


Well this year we are going to have a brilliant summer! Gardeners are always optomistic.


I have ordered my seeds from the Irish Garden Plant Society so hoping for a good gardening year.

Is Spring on the way?

03 February 2012 14:02:41
Last garden photos of 2011

Last garden photos of 2011

Can't believe it is so long since I have written anything. Where do the weeks go? Too much time spent on Facebook.

I have had 3 or 4 sessions in the garden already this year.  Mostly cutting back and weeding. We tackled the Bay Tree and cut off all the dead branches from last winter. All now waiting to be shredded.

I have also been potting up lupins in the greenhouse and penstemons that I grew from cuttings. The penstemons are in the house to protect them from the cold.

The Witch Hazel flowered from Christmas Day and the snowdrops, crocus, primroses and irises are going strong at the moment. Lets hope there will not be much snow.

I have sweet pea seeds ready to sow . This time of the year all the new cataloguies are coming in. Great temptation!

Starting to think about Hillsborough Horticultural Society's Spring Show on 31st March and helping to plan for the Irish Garden Plant Societys AGM which the Northern Group are planning this year 12th and 13th May.

Off out into the garden wwhile the sun is still shining. 

Bay Tree survives

26 August 2011 23:30:07
Bay Tree survives

Bay Tree survives

I thought the Bay Tree had totally died but lots of new shoots are now appearing. Need to cut all the dead branches of now and shred them.

Of the 4 beds we cleared last year I have managed to replant one. This was done in June and has now filled out really well. Cerinthes are especially good.

 Some beds have been in good order this year,others need a lot of work. Liatris flowering at the moment and Verbena Bonarenis . They were covered with Peacock and Tortiseshell butterflies this afternoon when the sun came out briefly.

Have been transplanting Delphiniums, Ranunculus, Echinacea, Foxgloves, Canterbury Bells and Lupins. I have also planted over 100 wallflowers in the border at the front of the house.

We had 20 lbs of strawberries from 2 raised beds.  Just had them for desert every night. Now need to tidy them up for next year. Lots of crab apples this year so jelly making will be on the cards soon. 

1st weekend in September is the Hillsborough Autumn Show so plenty of work to be done before them. It is open to the public from 2 4.30 and is the Village Centre in Hillsborough. Anyone who is up North would be very welcome. Teas and plant stall.

My frozen shoulder is still giving bother but nothing like it was a few months ago. Physio is finished but I am still doing exercises every day. 



16 June 2011 14:22:00

At last new computer is up and running and I am experimenting adding photos of the garden. These were taken last year and this year. More to follow.

Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries this year.


Wounded Wing

20 May 2011 19:36:47

I suddenly realised today that I hadn't posted anything for a long time.Main problem has been that I tripped over a box in the house on the 18th January  and dislocated my shoulder which was excruciatingly painful. This has turned into a frozen shoulder so I am still having physio and doing exercises. I haven't driven since this happened.

Naturally it has slowed up gardening work but it is amazing the weeding you can do with one hand. Fortunately I am right handed. I instruct Jeffrey about what needs moved or lifted.

Our cherry trees were magnificant this year and the lilac is in full bloom at the moment. I lost a lot of plants during the winter. In fact my bay tree which is almost 40ft high is totally brown. There are a few green shoots in the centre but I don't know if it will regenrate.. I have been busy seed sowing in the greenhouse and have cosmos and cornflowers coming up. Edelweis which I grew from seed two years ago have actually flowered this year. The primroses have done well and I had masses of bluebells (native ones) which are just going over. Amazingly enough a fuchsia in the ground has survived and is starting to grow again. We had a wonderful display of daffodils this year. Any planted in pots just rotted but the tulips fared better.

All the fuchsias which were in pots in the greenhouse all died but it gives me an excuse to buy more.

One of the beds we cleared last year is just about ready for planting. We planted 2 raised beds of strawberries last year and there is a mass of flowers on them. Heres hoping we get to them before the birds do.

I have been told it takes nine months to a year for frozen shoulders to come right so I have a little way to go yet. Will do a smuch as I can in the garden.

 I have a new notebook computer so hopefully I will be able to get some photographs posted at last.

If anyone is up North you will always be welcome to come and see the arden. Bye for now, Hilary


New Gardening Year

06 January 2011 14:55:27

I can hardly believe I haven't written anything since July. Where have those 6 months gone. I had a walk round the garden today and noticed some daffodil shoots coming up. Hopefully the predicted snow for tomorrow won't be as bad as last time.  I actually lost plants in the porch at the front of the house. It was just so cold despite heat being on. The plants in the conservatory at the back have so far all survived. Extra heat on there.

My husband hired a mini digger in the summer and we cleared out 4 beds which had got totally weed invested and out of control. Now we need to hire a skip to get rid of all the rubbish. First task for this year and replant the beds which I am looking forward to doing.

 I have been feeding the birds all winter and it is lovely to watch them. Unfortunately one of cats takes a too healthy interest in ornithology. We have pheasants which are bred at the top of the road and come down for extra supplies.

I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon marking up free seed lists ready for this years season. I ususally end up ordering more that I need.

Happy New Year to everyone and lets hope for a super gardening season in 2011. Our local horticultural society show is already being planned for the first weekend in April.

Best wishes,


Past midsummer journal entry

27 July 2010 19:41:37

I don't know where the time has gone since I last wrote an entry. The summer seems to be flying past and the weeds are still growing.

I had a visit in May from 2 garden IE  members who were at Hillsborough and it was great to see them. It was a very warm and sunny day.

Since then we have had a conservatory built at the back of the house. It is now filled with plants. Cacti on one side and streptocarpus on the other. Nice for morning coffee and the odd read in the afternoon.

About a month ago my husband hired a digger and we cleared out 4 beds which were very overgrown. Now we need a skip ffor all the rubbish to be taken away. Then the beds can be rotivated before the fun of replanting.

I have been very busy in the rest of the garden this year and have grown a lot of Wallflowers and Canterbury Bells from seed. Also sowed a packet of carnations which all came up. I am growing beetroot for the first time this year so it will be interesting to see how they do. We also put in 2 raised beds for strawberries and hope by next year we will have a good crop.

I divided my Meconopis (the dark blue one a few weeks ago and have now got 12 plants instead of 3. I n fact the house is starting to look like a garden centre there are so many pots around. I have also provided plants for at least 3 charity sales during the year.

 We still haven't got any photos of the garden on the computer. I am hoping to get a new one before Christmas. This one is too out of date.

Having a weekend in Bristol in the beginning of August and we hope to visit the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Aberglasney. We have been to them both before but it is quite awhile ago.

As I write this the bulb catalogues are starting to come in. More temptation. The Hillsborough Horticultural Society Show is the first weekend in September. More work!!

Back again

13 April 2010 00:22:14

We have been enjoying all this wonderful weather and working every spare minute in the garden trying to cope with 2 years of wet summers and weed growth. I reckon I have still about 5 beds which haven't been touched yet and an area we call the damp garden which needs a lot of work. Although there is a beautiful marsh marigold in flower there at the moment. Next month there should be lots of bluebells out in this area.

Hillsborough Show went well at the end of March despite very few daffodil entries. They  Just weren't out. It was a nice day and we had a lot of floral art entries  and lots of visitors in the afternoon and a successful plant sale. Total collapse for me on the Saturday evening.

The garden has certainly blossomed these past few weeks. Daffodils are out in profusion.  Our Magnolia Stellata is just about to flower and the cherry tree which normally flowers at the beginning of March is just coming out. I have started calling in to our local garden centre down the road to buy compost and plants. Things are definately improving. Our primroses are flowering well in the gravel round the house.

I had ordered some plant plugs, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia and Antirrinhums. These have all been potted up. They are still in the greenhouse just in case of more cold and frost. Most of my mini hostas which were overwintered in the greenhouse seem to have survived and are showing new shoots.

I started watering my cactus plants at the end of March. They are still inside but will evntually go out to the greenhouse or our new conservatory which has arrived but isn't built yet.

Still haven't got any photographs uploaded but hope to get a new computer this year and then we can start putting some on. What I did do for the first 11 years of the garden was to put an album together to show the development of the garden. It is interesting to look back on. All we had when we moved in were a few trees including a lovely mature oak but no flowers whatsoever.

Roll on Spring

01 March 2010 17:08:48

I have been keeping weeding and clearing. We both tackled some overgrown shrubs at the weekend and have acquired more planting space.

I have also been busy with preparations for the Hillsborough Horticulural Society Show which is on the 27th March iun the Village Centre in Hillsborough.  It is open to the public from 2.00pm and there will be a plant stall and teas.The Show will host the  Amateur Daffodil Society of Ireland award.

This week on Wednesday Jekka Mc Vicker will be giving the Horticulural Lecture of the year in the Island Centre in Lisburn.

Saturday we have a National Trust Ulster Gardens Scheme lunch in Mount Stewart.

 In between all these activities I will be gardening as much as I can. We have a local small gartden centre about 5 minutes from where we live. Temptation is great. I wa sin today for bird food and spied a lot of new plants in so I think there will be a return visit this week. I bought the really dark blue poppies from him 2 years ago and they flowered really well last year. Hope they have survived this winter. If they do I will split them this year and start some more.

I haven't sown any seeds yet but will be doing so soon. We are about to purchase raised beds from B and Q for our strawberry plants. I managed to get nearly 40 plants from some seeds which the birds had dropped.

I think it is to be a good day tomorrow so more weeding!


Continuing weed saga

18 February 2010 16:25:37

I have spent quite a few days out in the garden when it wasn't raining or frosty. At the moment a year's neglect seems like Everest. I tacked two beds last weekend which were totally covered with creeping buttercups.  In an 1 1/2 hours  a small area was cleared but I will keep going.

There are lots os snowdrops out and Iris Katherine Hodgkin. Also the Witch Hazel is in full bloom. Much later than normal. It is usually out at Christmas. My purple Hazel has pink catkins.

I am being beguiled by seed catalogues as usual and always end up with more seeds than I sow. We have quite a few trees to plant this year. Never done in a hurry as Jeffrey likes to really think about where the tree is going to go. This could take a year of thinking. These trees have been waiting 2years so far.

I am busy getting the Hillsborough Spring Show organised, judges, schedules, sponsors etc. It is on the 27th March in the Village Centre in Hillsborough. Open to the public at 2.00pm. Teas and plant stall.

I see there is talk of snow and frost tonight again. Hopefully we are almost at the end of this.


Plant Sale

05 February 2010 16:55:20

If anyone happens to be up North on the 29th April, there is a plant sale at Clanmurry, Lower Quilly Road, Dromore. It is from 7.00pm onwards. Proceds to Christian Aid and an orphanage in Bangladesh.

Contact Sara Mc Corkell 028 92 693760

Gardening Book

05 February 2010 16:40:01

Have just read a wonderful book instead of working in the garden!! My excuse is the weather hasn't been too good this week and I had a birthday yesterday having reached that magical age in the Lennon and Mc Cartney song.

It is The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift. Katherine took a lease on the Dower House at Morville in Shropshire for 20 years and has created a beautiful garden. Before that she had worked as a rare books librarian in Oxford and Trinity College.

The book describes the making of the garden but also contains some of her family history. It is in the form of a Medieval Book of Hours. Definately recommended reading.


26 January 2010 13:23:59

Managed to get the first outing into the garden yesterday and spent 3 hours weeding the border at the front of the house. I can now see the bulbs starting to appear such as snowdrops and Iris Katherine Hodgkin.

Lots more weeding and clearing to do.


17 January 2010 15:07:23

I ventured into the greenhouse this week as it was the first time I was able to get the door open. It had frozen. Discovered that all my Aeoniums had turned up there toes. I had about 30 -40 plus 1 of the black ones. It has been so cold here that I shouldn't have been surprised.

However I have a friend who grows them and she will root some more for me.

Witch Hazel is just starting to come out. Normally it is in flower by Christmas. Lots of bulbs appearing. Also my Iris Katherine Hodgkin is nearly in flower.

Went to an interesting lecture by Joan Mc Caughey of the Alpine Society about travels in mountains in a former part of Russia.

Today it feels warm . Hopefully the worst of the cold has gone!! A lot of plant catalogues coming in and lots that I would like to grow this year.

Still waiting waiting for Jeffrey to organise photographs. One of these days.

Looking Foreward

28 December 2009 12:03:54

At this time of the year I start to get itchy fingers and long to be outside in the garden. Not much chance with the weather we have had recently.

I have planted a lot of bulbs in pots and there are actually primroses in flower at the moment. Also my Viburnum  "Dawn" is in full flower.

I am just about to order some free seeds from various socieites that I belong to and earlier this year I bought Edelweiss seeds from Thompson and Morgans after seeing pots of the growing in Switzerland in the summer.

I have lots of photos of our garden which when my husband gets organised we will put on the computer.


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