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Gracedieu Lass's Journal

Gracedieu Lass's Journal

Last Post 15 days 13 hours ago

Dahlias, Summer 2017.

05 October 2017 09:21:41

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I was at my local gardening club last evening and was speaking to one of the members, who is a keen dahlia grower. He grows a large amount of dahlias as his wife is a flower arranger and uses a lot of homegrown flowers in her arrangements. He was telling me that it was a disasterous year for him with hardly any flowers and foliage like net curtains. He would grow his dahlias in rows, like veg and not in his garden among other plants, so would be able to see which ones were not doing good and be more critical of their performance. For me this year has been a great year for dahlias, as they seem to enjoy the moist warm weather we had and are still going strong apart from the foliage being a little tatty. They had a long season of flower as well, flowering from late May and were huge plants when I planted them out. My favourite dahlia this year was Dahlia ' Admiral Rawlings' , the colour of the flower is sumptuous. Other favourites are Dahlia 'Bloodstone', Dahlia 'Gloire de Noordvgijik', Dahlia 'David Howard'and Dahlia 'Chat Noir'. Did any other members find this a good year for dahlias?

 

My Best 'Buy' of Summer 2017.

03 October 2017 17:31:06
Lophosoria quadripinnata.

Lophosoria quadripinnata.

Well not a 'Buy', but being in the right place and the right time. I was lucky enough to be given a fern Lophosoria quadripinnata. It has a beautiful large fronds and the underside is grey. It has grown very well with all the rain this summer. 

Foraging.

03 October 2017 17:14:35

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At lunchtime today we were watching a hen pheasant taking a very keen interest in the beautiful berries of Callicarpa profusion. She spent several minitues jumping up and down trying to knock them to the ground and then gobbled them down as fast as she could. Callicarpa is a lovely shrub at this time of year and will develope a gorgeous leaf colour as the month progresses and not to big, so suitable for a small garden.

Best Plants of Summer 2017.

28 September 2017 12:17:32

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My favourite plants of Summer 2017 is Salvia ' Amistad' which seems to flower for ever and I just adore it's dark inky blue flowers.

My second choice is Dahlia ' Admiral Rowlings' which grows to about six feet in height and has the most delicious coloured flowers. It towers over it's neighbours and looks so well in the border.  I bought this dahlia in the UK last year and have not seen it for sale anywhere in Ireland, such a pity, as it would be a huge hit with lots of gardeners.

My third best plant of Summer 2017 is Amicia zygomeris. It has grown so tall this year, it is amazing. I love the formation of the leaves and the flowers, just gorgeous. I got this plant for a very keen gardener, who in her time,  was a very generous lady and it is a reminder of happy times.

This summer has been a great summer for growth with the amount of rain we have had.  Hydranges have loved it and are looking good into the Autumn. The drier weather of the spring and early summer was appreciated by the roses and the dahlias were flowering so early as well. A good summer overall for the garden.

A Visit to Coolwater Garden.

21 September 2017 23:41:09
A  Visit to Coolwater Garden.

A Visit to Coolwater Garden.

We have spent the last few days in Clonlara, Co Clare babysitting our grandson, Ben and last Monday we visited the garden of Kevin Begley in Fedamore, Co Limerick. It was a foggy morning when we left Clonlara, but it had burned off by the time we reached the garden. Kevin was so kind to give us a tour of his garden and it was evident that he was a very keen gardener who went to huge effort to give his plants the growing conditions they required. He has erected a canopy to provide shade for his wonderful selection of acers which were looking fantastic at this time of year. He is also growing an amazing Drimys 'Marina' a plant that's requires an acid soil, but Kevin's soil is alkaline. Troughs are displayed around the garden planted with choice alpine plants that he aquires from nurseries in the UK. He also has a keen interest in ferns which are flourishing throughout the garden.

The back garden has a very large pond at its centre planted with native plants which fits in so well with the landscape outside the garden. Again, Kevin has gone to the trouble of building a shelter for his collection of Agaves to protect them from the weather during the winter. There are plenty of seats in the back garden to sit and view his wonderful creation. We had a lovely visit to the garden and many thanks to Kevin for his welcome. A garden to visit if you are in the Limerick area.

I have to thank Paddy for the photos as one of us had to mind Ben,who after a biscuit from Kevin, behaved himself.

Storm Aileen.

12 September 2017 21:08:24

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Storm Aileen seems to have passed with little rain and not very strong winds. I went gardening this morning thinking that the weather was going to turn terrible by lunchtime. It was not until about three o'clock that the rain arrived and the wind was blustery, but not terrible and by teatime it had cleared away.

The leaves are starting to turn colour now and berries are starting to take over from the flowers of summer. Dahlias are still going strong, but I don't think they will last much longer as the temperatures are starting to fall in the evenings. The hydranges are getting their faded autumn colour when the pink/red ones take on a ruby colour and the blue ones look a little metallic. 

The compost bin is growing everyday with the amount of plants being cut down and the grass growth has not slowed down yet. 

I was delighted today when I discovered Colchicum autumnale Alba just starting to flower. I grow many of the pink ones, but the white one is so clear and white, a real delight. The cyclemen are at their peak now and will go on for a least a month more and their beautiful marked leaves will be there all through winter. We are so lucky to be able to garden most of the year and even in deepest winter there is always a plant for us to enjoy.

The photos accompanying the journal were taken at seven thirty this evening and from the light you can see the nights are drawing in now.

Sculpture at the Botanic Gardens

11 September 2017 14:15:39
Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope.

On Saturday afternoon we visited the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin where the annual Sculpture Exhibition is in full swing. If you look up the OPW web site you will find the times for guided tours of the exhibition. There are some quirky items used in the display this year and it is always worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. I did like the synchronised swimmers in the pond.

Will upload an album later. I use an iPad and email the photos to a laptop to post the photos, hence the delay.

Visit to the Aras.

11 September 2017 12:33:15

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On Saturday last I was lucky enough to visit Aras an Uachtarain with the Irish Garden Plant Society. We had a lovely tour with the head gardener which lasted for over two hours. He was very kind to give us so much of his time and I know all the members enjoyed it. Robert(Rhody) who is a member on the site was also there with his wife Kathleen and as always it is great to meet up with them. 

Jackie, your dahlia, the yellow one with the splashes of orange was growing in the walled garden. We learned from the gardener that it is an Irish dahlia introduced by Christopher White, a well known dahlia breeder and he was selling them at Bloom, where you bought yours. However, I missed the name of the dahlia, typical.

To the side of the house there was a Peace Bell erected to mark the Good Friday Agreement and alongside it were three upright Irish Oaks planted by O'Bama, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Mary Mc Aleese,  the week that they were visiting Ireland. There are lots of trees, mainly Irish Oak, planted by heads of state growing throughout the gardens. 

A fantastic Turner peach house has been restored and is planted with old varieties of peaches and vines. It is wonderful to see the scale of it as it covers one side of the walled garden, but a summer house, also designed by Turner, is waiting to be restored.

I will up-load an album later.

Bulbs Arrived.

08 September 2017 18:08:12

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Well at long last my bulbs arrived from Mr. Middleton and I was very happy with the size of all the bulbs and tuber. I did not buy a lot, but will pick up some tulips over the next few months as the shops start to reduce them. I have also bought some bulbs from Avon Bulbs in the UK, but no sign of them yet. The white foxtail lily that arrived today was planted this afternoon with plenty of leafmould and grit, so fingers crossed it will be in bloom next summer. I also planted up Iris 'Katherine Gold' in a pot and have stored the tulips in a box in the garage for later planting. The tulips I bought were Tulipa 'City of Vancouver' (white) and Tulipa 'Blue Beauty' with the idea that all my pots will be planted with blue, white and yellow flowers for next spring. Well that is the idea anyway.

Gardener's World Tonight.

08 September 2017 13:23:20
Gardener's World Tonight.

Gardener's World Tonight.

I am sure everyone on FB has heard the news that Helen Dillion has been invited to Longmeadow and you can see it tonight at nine o'clock on BBC 2. Would hate anyone to miss out because they did not hear about it. The programme is repeated a few time over the weekend if you don't catch it tonight.You can log into FB pages that are public if you don't use FB yourself.

Sculpture at the Botanic Gardens.

07 September 2017 23:36:35
Sculpture at the Botanic Gardens.

Sculpture at the Botanic Gardens.

It is that time of year when there is an exhibition of sculptures at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. It started on Wednesday last and continues until 20th October, so plenty of time to get there. It has always proved popular with the members on the site. I am hoping to visit on Saturday afternoon as we will be in Dublin attending an event in the morning organised by the Irish Garden Plant Society.

We were in Castletownbere last July staying with Ann Parkinson (Ladygardener)  and we visited a garden near her home,  Mill Cove Gallery. This garden features sculpture that are for sale. It was nice to see them placed around the garden and none of them jarred with the surroundings. Some of them were familiar as they had once been exhibited in the Botanic Gardens. I am up-loading an album of Mill Cove Galley, which is in a most beautiful site on the Berara Peninsula. 

Clematis x triternata rubromarginata

05 September 2017 20:12:43

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Clematis x triternata rubromarginata a big name for a small flowered clematis. Today I was working in a woodland area which is behind the arbour in the front garden when the sent of almond was overpowering from this dainty little clematis.  It grows up over the arbour and also covers a Exochorda macrantha ' The Bride'. It has a white flower with a red/purple margin which only measures 3cm, but it is packed with scent.

This garden is very small and starting to go to sleep now for the winter, however a white cyclamen hedrifolia is lighting up this shady area for the next few weeks. By Christmas Hellebore Niger will be flowering and will be joined by the early snowdrops in January.

Cyclamen hedrifolia 'Ivy Ice'

03 September 2017 10:56:02
Cyclamen hedrifolia 'Ivy Ice'

Cyclamen hedrifolia 'Ivy Ice'

If you watched Gardener's World  over the weekend you would have seen Monty Don plant up Cyclamen hedrifolia 'Ivy Ice', a new cyclamen that has the advantage of having flowers and leaves at the same time. So, as someone who is always tempeted by new introductions, I had a look as to where I could get this beautiful cyclamen. I found it on three sites and on one of the sites it describes it has having leaves and flowers in the first but not in subsequent years, what a disappointment. However, the site Plants for Small Gardens have to be admired for their honest description of the plant.

Autumn Flowering Bulbs.

03 September 2017 09:40:07

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This is the time of year that we start buying our bulbs for the coming spring and spending a fortune on them. I think as gardeners we are always looking forward and that is an nice attitude to have and something I hope I will have for many years to come. However, if you have had a peep in the bulb catalogues at what you could purchase in August and have flowering in September you would have come across these little beauties.

The first one is Colchicum parlatoris which Paddy grew from seed more than ten years ago and during that time we suspect it has self-seeded. It stands up to the rain as it is has a short stems with pink flowers and prominent yellow stamens. It is a native of Greece, so needs very good drainage.

The other colchicum is Colchicum autumnale 'Nancy Lindsay' which I bought only last year from Potterton Bulb Nursery, a U.K. nursery, and was in flower a week after I planted it. This year it has returned and I am very pleased with that result, as I feel if it flowers the second year after buying that I have managed to plant it in the right conditions. 

The Willow Gentian.

02 September 2017 15:40:03
The Willow Gentian.

The Willow Gentian.

Gentiana asclepiadea also know as the Willow Gentian on account of its willow-like leaves and slender graceful growth. It has beautiful gentian blue flowers, which is nice at this time of year, a change from all the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. It is a perennial which grows best in a rich moist soil with plenty of humus and it likes shade, even deep shade. We have it growing in the garden for many years now and it seems to have improved over that time. It grows to about three feet in height and a spread of about the same. A delightful plant and something a little different.

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