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Gracedieu Lass's Journal

Gracedieu Lass's Journal

Last Post 3 days 10 hours ago

Down-Loading.

15 December 2017 10:02:27

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The last few days I have been down-loading journals that I put up over the years, but I think that some maybe missing. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem. The reason that I am doing this is because I use the site as a diary for what I am doing in the garden and also a record of gardens I visit. The journals I am missing seem to be between June 2011 to July 2012, but it could be that I didn't write anything during that year. I also noticed when I changed my profile photo a few weeks ago that the number of days since I visited was over 280 which is not right. 

A few photos of gardens I visited this summer on this cold bright winters day.

Snow, Sleet and Rain.

13 December 2017 23:50:48

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The weather over the last week has been a right miserable mix. We had rain on Sunday morning which turned to snow and dark grey skies all day long. The snow was thawing by late afternoon and was gone completely by Monday morning. The nights have been cold and every night this week I have had to cover the plants in the glasshouse with fleece. It was nice and bright today, but very cold winds and followed by rain tonight. I did manage to pick a few Iris unguicularis this morning which I suppose was a bonus. 

On Sunday during the snow showers a heron paid us another visit. This time he seemed to be less frightened by us and spent from about eleven o'clock until darkness staring into the pond which has no fish. It was very easy to take photos of him this time. 

The early snowdrops are well and truly up, but are slow to open when temperature are low. I have also noticed crocus, Iris and early species of tulips pushing through the soil. I have cleared the leaves from the hellebores and the flower buds are swelling nicely. Despite the weather there is a promise of a little colour returning to our gardens before too long.

Looking forward to the get together at Johnstown in Janurary and getting the gardening year started again. I do hope we have a good attendance.

Flying In.

06 December 2017 14:38:47

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A miserable day here in Waterford, but the local herons have been landing in the garden all the morning. If they are visiting in hope of taking fish from the pond they will be disappointed as all the fish have died of old age and they won't be replaced as I only bought them for John when he was a little boy. Photos are dreadful due to all the raindrops on the window and they seem to be a very alert bird.

Mid-Winter Blues.

05 December 2017 07:24:26

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At this stage of the year it is hard to have the enthusiasm for getting out into the garden to do any work. The days are so short now and the garden has little colour, but Spring is just around the corner, so I keep telling myself. I always find it more enjoyable to garden in Janurary than December, despite Janurary been colder. I feel the light is coming back into the days once the New Year is in and of course the spring bulbs are starting to flower. The early snowdrops have already started,  Galanthus 'Faringdon's Double, Galanthus 'Three Ships' and an Irish snowdrop Galanthus Castlegar'.

The greenhouse is about as far as I get these days to water and clean off any dead leaves from plants. At this time of year there is a balance about how much watering to do to keep plants ticking over. Paddy did cut the grass a week ago as it has been reasonably dry and any leaves on the grass were cleared as well. The birds are like children with bricks tossing the leaves all over the place, a constant job collecting them.

With the cold weather forcast for Thursday/Friday, I will have to get out today and cover one or two plants that are a little tender.

I am looking forward to the Get together in Johnstown this year as I missed out last year due to a family celebration.  I hope more members  turn up than are posting on the site at present. Hazel is very good to take on the organising of the event again this year and I hope we have a good turn out and who knows maybe the site will be re-launched on the day. Live in hope.

Christmas Cactus.

17 November 2017 16:42:35
Christmas Cactus.

Christmas Cactus.

I have a few different coloured Christmas  Cactus which I grow. I bought them a couple of years ago when they were for sale in Lidl as small little plants. The white one has been the first to flower this year. All the others are in bud and hopefully should take me up to Christmas Day.

New Delivery.

14 November 2017 09:18:25

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Yesterday my order from Ashwood Nurseries in England arrived. I had ordered a mixed packet of Helleborus x hybridus single flowering plug plants. I am very happy with how strong and healthy the plants are. Each plant has very good roots and so should get established very quickly. I did order plug plants from Ashwood many years ago and they all turned out to be beautiful coloured flowers and some were stunning doubles. With any luck this batch may have some of the apricot shades. The packet of three plus postage cost 13.49stg, so won't break the bank.

Iris unguicularis.

12 November 2017 13:09:25
Iris unguicularis.

Iris unguicularis.

Every year at this time I upload a photo of this Iris which will flower from now until late February early March. I have three varieties of this sweet little flower and this year they are being joined by a white variety. The varieties in the photo are Iris unguicularis 'Mary Bernard' and the pale coloured one is Iris unguicularis 'Walter Butt'. 

Addicted to Bulbs

09 November 2017 16:39:33

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Every August my addiction to spring bulbs surfaces. It has been going on for nearly forty years now and it seems to get worse every year.  I know I am not alone suffering from this problem and I think it is about time we all confessed to what we added to our collection this year. This month should see the end of the credit card bills and it is time to looks forward to all our little treasures popping up in the next few months. 

Here is my list. Allium 'Mount Everest'.  Crocus  sieberi 'Ronald Ginns'.  Cyclamen coum 'Maurice Dryden'.   Eranthis hyemalis 'Schnefelglanz'.  Eranthis hyemalis 'Orange Glow'. Erythronium dens canis 'Old Aberdeen'.  Prepared Hyacinths 'Jan Bos and 'Gypsy Queen'.  Iris reticulata 'Gordon'.  Tulipa clisianna 'Honky Tonk'.  Tulipa 'Blue Beauty'.  Tulipa 'City of Vancoover'.  Tulipa 'Slawa'.  Tulipa humilis 'Persian Pearl'  and two packets of purple and white tulips from Woodies.

I would love to hear what other members have bought this autumn and of course photos of beautiful flowering bulbs next spring. 

Also, it might encourage members to write the odd journal on this site as everyone is very silent these days.

Out of Season.

08 November 2017 15:55:34

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This morning dawned very cold and frosty with a beautiful blue sky and as the morning when on temperatures started to rise, but about an hour ago the rain arrived. Three seasons of weather in less than twelve hours. It is no wonder the plants that we grow flower out of season. Yesterday, I was clearing the borders in my White Garden when I noticed Clematis 'Miss Bateman' with a flower. It had the same green stripes on the flower which lead to much discussion in May when a number of members on the site had it flowering. 

Busy Time in the Garden.

04 November 2017 20:58:56

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This time of year can be one of the busiest times in the garden with bulbs to plant, pruning, clearing herbaceous plants, weeding and of course the never ending collecting of leaves. This week the weather has been ideal for all these jobs and Paddy even managed to cut the grass last Sunday. Finished planting my tulips into pots today and of course I have promised myself not to buy anymore. I have dreaded the Visa bill coming through the letterbox over the last two months as I have bought so many bulbs. 

Had a break from my own garden on Thursday and went on a road trip to Kilmacurragh and Mount Usher and ended up in Wexford at a talk given by John Anderson, former head gardener of Mount Usher. It was a fantastic talk about the  gardens of Mount Usher, Inverewe in Scotland and Exbury gardens on the south coast of England where John has been head gardener until recently. 

I have started picking Iris unguicularis for the last two weeks and these will keep flowering from now until February/March. We are so lucky to live in a country where the climate allows us to have something flowering all year round. 

Hoping the weather continues to be mild for the next few weeks as I have lots more work to do.

Is It Worth It.

30 October 2017 13:22:05

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After spending this morning lifting dahlias I am wondering if it is worth it. I have to say it is not my favourite job with all the muck and water that is involved in the task. Paddy had a hard job lifting the tubers as some of them are very large and the ground now is sticky. After giving them a wash we now have them drying off in the garage and will pack them away in peat, hopefully next week. 

The garden looks dreadful now with most herbaceous plants waiting to be cleared away.  This year the autumn colour has been cut short with the storms of the last few weeks but we did manage to clear lots of leaves with the help of the lawnmower. It was a fast and furious fall of leaves. 

During the hurricane we had a Garrya elliptica 'James Roof', a twenty five year old plant, toppled over, but otherwise very little damage in the garden. Weeds are flourishing in the mild weather, so plenty of work to keep us busy and I still have tulips to plant into containers. The forecast for the coming week seems to be good for gardening, so hoping to continue with the clearing up before winter bites.

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.

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