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Gracedieu Lass's Journal

Gracedieu Lass's Journal March 2011

Last Post 2425 days 4 hours ago

Lazy Day

30 March 2011 23:04:17
Lazy Day

Lazy Day

We visited a friends garden this morning so when we got back after lunch I was not in the mood to go out and work. Paddy, had a few plants to plant so he was anxious to get them in the ground. Hopefully this little upset in the weather will be short lived and the good weather will return. I felt that I was on holiday over the last few weeks getting up every morning to beautiful sunny weather. I have put up a few more photos in the Mount Usher album of trees and shrubs that were looking good in the garden. I also put a few more photos in the March album of some of our magnolias that are in flower at present. Mary

Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co Wicklow Mar.2011

29 March 2011 23:19:27
Lathraea clandestina.

Lathraea clandestina.

We visited Mount Usher Gardens today and I would recommend anyone who is in the area over the next few day to visit. I have never visited so early in the year but it really surprised us with the amount of colour from the vast areas of spring bulbs. The blue of the scillas and the white of the wood anemones were beautiful and lots of different varieties of daffodils and the delicate dog tooth violets stunning. There were large stands of trilliums and american skunk cabbage growing along the banks of the river. We also came upon  areas of lathraea clandestina which a parasitic perennial. I will put up some photos. Mary

Dear Christo

27 March 2011 20:38:13
Dear Christo

Dear Christo

Finally, a quirky book about a very quirky man, “Dear Christo” which presents a collection of comments from people, gardeners,  musicians, family and friends, who stayed as guests with Christopher Lloyd in his home at Great Dixter. As might be expected, there is a certain amount of repetition and by the book’s end we are certainly aware that they ate well and drank well at Great Dixter and that champagne and olives were a favourite morning snack, particularly as a replacement for Sunday church-going. The book is peppered with examples of Christopher Lloyd’s generosity and of his frequent directness of speech or rudeness. One may gain insights into an untypical childhood, a man who remained a child in his mother’s house and seems to have had his teenage rebellions in middle age. I wondered if his flamboyant gardening style was simply an expression of this. Read it yourself and judge. [Dear Christo, Timber Press, London, 2010, HB, 207pp, £18.99] 

Brenda Colvin by Trish Gibson

27 March 2011 20:36:55
Brenda Colvin by Trish Gibson

Brenda Colvin by Trish Gibson

A very kind lady at Frances Lincoln occasionally sends me a book I had not requested, usually with a comment that she thinks I might like it. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of the subject of the book, Brenda Colvin, but am now glad that I have at last done so. This book, “Brenda Colvin” by Trish Gibson gives a full account of her life and work as a landscape architect. It is claimed with solid justification that Brenda Colvin ranks with Sylvia Crowe and Geoffrey Jellicoe as a pioneer of twentieth-century landscape design in Britain. Much of her work was in what would be described as civic projects – power stations, reservoirs, industrial sites, new towns and national parks, truly works of great public interest and importance. Throughout her career she also worked on many private gardens where her planting style was simple and her ecological approach influential. A very interesting woman and a very interesting read. [Brenda Colvin, Trish Gibson, Frances Lincoln, 2011, HB, 256pp, £35]

Growing Food by Anna Pavord

27 March 2011 20:35:36
Growing Food by Anna Pavord

Growing Food by Anna Pavord

It is probably dreadfully unfair of me to always think of Anna Pavord as somewhat of an academic garden writer. Perhaps my misconception is based on the wonderful array of scholarly books she has written but it is one I must amend as this lady has dirt under her nails. I reviewed her “The Curious Gardener” in the January newsletter, a book which gave me an insight into the very practical gardening aspects of this lady – had I been a reader of The Independent I would have known this earlier. “Growing Food” is a revised and updated version of her book, “The New Kitchen Garden”, and is full of the practical advice on growing fruit and vegetables, ranging from choosing the site, to preparation, planning and design to sowing, growing, harvesting and using the produce. In paperback it is more practical in the hands of the active gardener and is also outstanding value for money. [Growing Food, Anna Pavord, Frances Lincoln, London, 2011, SB, 288pp, £7.99]

Galanthomania by Hanneke Van Dijk

27 March 2011 20:34:26
Galanthomania

Galanthomania

Snowdrops are a particular interest among many gardeners at present and the publication of “Galanthomania” by Hanneke Van Dijk was well heralded and anticipated. It promised a new classification system which would help sort out the now almost innumerable number of named cultivars. However, it did not live up to expectations in this area but other sections of the book are of interest. There are portraits of the well-known personalities in the snowdrop world; actually, this is the largest section of the book. There are several quirky chapters on other aspects of the hobby and at the rear a gallery of photographs, thumbnail size, of about 500 snowdrops. The book is bilingual, Dutch on one side and an exact translation in English across from this. It is nicely presented and the photography is of a high standard. [Galanthomania, Hanneke Van Dijk, Terra Lannoo, Arnhem, 2011, HB, 160pp]

Crocuses by Janis Ruksans

27 March 2011 20:33:02
Crocuses

Crocuses

There are among gardeners those who take a passionate interest in a particular genus. For those with such an interest in crocuses this book is the most up to date account of the genus. The last such complete account of crocuses was by Brian Matthews in 1982 and Janis Ruksans is well qualified and experienced to update our information. He not only has grown almost all of the species and cultivars but has travelled extensively to view the species growing in the wild. It differs somewhat from Brian Matthews treatment as it is not only a botanical treatment of the genus but also an account from the perspective of a very active, enthusiastic gardener and both of these aspects are covered very well – the botanic descriptions and classifications of the plants and the practical advice on growing them. If crocuses are your passion, you cannot be without this book. [Crocuses, A Complete Guide to the Genus, Janis Ruksans, Timber Press, London, 2011, HB, 216pp, £30]

Helen Dillon's Gardening Book

27 March 2011 20:31:31
Helen Dillon's Gardening Book

Helen Dillon's Gardening Book

Helen Dillon’s Gardening Book has been reissued in paperback recently, making it a great value read. As well as her thoughtful and insightful observations on plants and gardens, Helen passes on the experiences of a gardener who managed to achieve that difficult marriage of the plant lover who always wanted something new and the gardener who managed to plant them in a well-designed garden so they all looked well together. [Helen Dillon’s Gardening Book, Helen Dillon, Frances Lincoln, London, 2011, SB, 224pp, £14.99]

The Living Garden - A Place that Works with Nature

27 March 2011 20:13:05
The Living Garden: A Place That Works with Nature  by Jane Powers

The Living Garden: A Place That Works with Nature by Jane Powers

Jane Powers articles in the Weekend Magazine of the Irish Times have been the first part of that newspaper I have turned to for many years. With such an experience in gardening, from her reading, writing, visiting gardens and gardening events and talking to other gardeners, it was always to be hoped and expected that Jane would put her gathered thoughts, experiences and wisdom into a book at some stage. It has eventually arrived. “The Living Garden – A Place that Works with Nature” is essentially a book of garden philosophy, an outlining of an approach to gardening while, at the same time, it passes on much practical advice. Gardening is, after all, a practical activity. Jane urges us to garden in a way which co-operates with and supports the natural systems of our gardens as, be they big or small; they effect and contribute to the general wellbeing of the planet. Her advice, of global importance, is presented with the commonsense of one who has tried it out in her own backyard and so is practical for us all. Experienced gardeners will not find the general gardening advice new but the underlying thought of this book is a guideline to best practice and deserves thoughtful reading. Jane took all the photographs for the book, by the way, and they are excellent; indeed, the whole book is excellent. [The Living Garden – A Place that Works with Nature, Jane Powers, Frances Lincoln, London, 2011, HB, 216pp. £25]

Sparkling in the spring sunshine

25 March 2011 22:20:08
Lysichiton americanus

Lysichiton americanus

We have been spoiled over the last few weeks with the glorious weather we are enjoying and the spring bulbs are giving of their best. The flowers look like little jewels as they seem to twinkle in this lovely sunshine. The trees are all starting to blossom, and the magnolias are my favourite with their huge blooms which stand out against the blue skies. Will have to visit Mount Congreve next week to get my fix of spring blossom. Paddy was busy with the camera today and I have put up an album of  plants that are in flower in our garden. Mary

New Irish Primroses

12 March 2011 09:15:35

Gardener's World Returns

09 March 2011 08:59:50
Gardener's World Returns

Gardener's World Returns

Looking forward to the return of Gardeners World on Friday night. It should be interesting to see the garden of Monty Don. It is always interesting to see the garden of the presenter which is going back to the old idea of the presenters garden being featured in the programme. I think the Glebe Cottage Garden programme showed how dreadful our gardens can be during the winter months which can give us all hope as apposed to always seeing the perfect garden. I hope plenty of new plants will be shown in this latest series. Looking forward to Dermot O'Neill's programm tomorrow evening. Mary

Johnstown Get-together

06 March 2011 13:14:51
Soldanella alpina

Soldanella alpina

We were delighted to meet so many forum members at Johnstown yesterday. It will certainly make using Garden.ie more interesting and more personal than previously. 

A special thanks to those who took on the organising prior to and on the day as it made it so enjoyable.

Thanks to the Kris Kindle we have a lovely set of herb pots on the kitchen window this morning. Mary received a voucher in the Kris Kindle and another in the raffle and went off to get two primulas, a bag of grit and a brush - ever the practical one!

Many thanks to Margaret for an excellent plant of Campanula takesimana 'Elizabeth', a plant we had many years ago but which vanished at some time; and also to Rachel for the nice Abutilon, potted on and in the glasshouse for a while.

We had visited Mount Venus Nursery in the morning before reaching Johnstown and picked up a box of plants, mainly ones for a shady area.

Best wishes to all, Mary and Paddy 

Mount Venus Hellebore Weekend

01 March 2011 17:49:12
Mount Venus Hellebore Weekend

Mount Venus Hellebore Weekend


 
 http://web.mac.com/greville1/MountVenusNursery/SpecialDays3.html
 
Paddy 

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