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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 5 days 11 hours ago

White and Purple

19 May 2017 01:01:41

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Been very lucky with the weather the past couple of days. The forecast was dismal but I took a chance and ended up with long productive days weeding and tidying only having to dash indoors for the occasional shower!

Took a few photos of things that caught my eye and was surprised to find that I seem to be a bit obsessed with white flowers at the moment.

The Purple is my Cerinthes. This year the flowers seem to be an even deeper purple than I remember and I observed several different types of bees taking full advantage - they dived in, gorged themselves and were almost drunk as they headed for the next flower!

Cerastium tomentosum 'Silberteppich' is doing its annual treat for me. In a south-facing spot it nearly explodes with the flowers!

The Irises in the last photo are a real surprise. I planted some Irises along the south borders at random about 3 years ago and only some of them flowered and they were all the deep blue ones. I'm delighted to see that many of the "blind" ones have decided to flower this year - and they appear to be all WHITE!!!

Great to be getting stuck in to the garden again. I may be working myself to a standstill but the satisfaction I am getting when I stand back and view another border "sorted" is the best reward.

Maytime Clematis

15 May 2017 00:28:18

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I actually managed to kill off a Clematis Montana Rubens last year having to move it while some building was going on but I am very happy with how all the Montana children are coming along! They range in colour from deep pink to white - the only one that is a bit of a disappointment is Clematis Monatana Rubens 'Marjorie' which isn't the lovely deep peach colour of the one I saw at Maryjoe's open day a few years ago. It is pretty insipid and the flowers are much smaller. I'll be giving it some extra TLC in case it is an environmental issue.

In the meantime I'm more than happy with the Clematis Walk and I think the Laburnum is going to really enhance that area.

The other star performer at the moment is the Wisteria which is making good efforts to spread along the Pergola.


Veggie time

13 May 2017 23:56:44

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Time was a bit limited today but I was determined to get the veggie bits sorted. Last year the strawberries came to a sad end when a blackbird manage to get inside my caging while I was away for the day and gorged herself on strawberries for the day so she wouldn't fit out the hole she came in!

This year's cage is a new design - lets see if it works! The sides are rigid but the squares are a bit big so I'm afraid we might get another cami-kazi blackbird having a go - so the net is loosely over the top - should mean I can actually get at the plants to harvest them!

I can't secure the net too tightly as at the moment as I want the bees to be able to polinate them!

That was last weeks task - completed one evening in total darkness :-)

I had bought pots of Coriander and Basil in the supermarket so I took them out of the pots and divided up the totally overcrowded seedlings into rows in the raised bed.

Having gone to the trouble of preparing the bed it was time to get brave and plant some seeds - so two kinds of lettuce, some Mange Tout and some French Beans were all planted. Meanwhile Puss was watching me with great interest. He obviously thought I was preparing a Luxury Loo for him! so chicken-wire had to be added - and a little cloches to protect the herbs until they acclimatise.

The last planting was some ordinary peas down in the Vegetable Garden - but this only reminded me of all the work I need to do in that area ..... rasberries gone native ..... thistles invading all paths ..... Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

I've put in a photo of how the redesigned Rock Garden is looking after all the work on it last year - Then you Elizabeth for all your help!

Small Space - Big success

13 May 2017 23:29:24

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My daughter and her husband have the tiniest yard you can imagine in the centre of Dublin.  It is probably about 6 feet by 8 feet in total and has a large manhole in the middle. Not a promising start for a garden then! Last year they both got very interested in making their tiny outside space a more attractive place and they filled the yard with shelves of plants and gained a lot of knowledge of what their plants might like in the challenging conditions of very little light!

When they travelled abroad for Christmas this year they saw and fell in love with the idea of a Living Wall.

So here it is!

First Result!

12 May 2017 00:19:00
First Result!

First Result!

The first of the hot border flowers has opened .....

I;m looking forward to a bit more of a zing as the season progresses!

Remodelling the Hot Border was quite a task but it will be interesting to see how much "zing" can be introduce. I like the idea of lots of the dark red foliage plants but they need the brighter colours to set them off!

Ferns uncovered

08 May 2017 15:33:07

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Having given up on any further work on the Sick Tree I consoled myself by clearing the Fernery. This is a rather grand name for an area where a few ferns struggle to survive amidst thugs such as Helebores and Japanese Anemones not to mention the variegated ivy and the Grape Hyacinths!

However when I ruthlessly thinned out the thugs I was delighted to find these pretty ferns hiding in the undergrowth - well, I supplse that is their preferred habitat!

1. Red Japanese Painted Fern

2. Green Japanese Painted Fern

3. Unknown fern

I never realised that the unfurling fronds could have this lovely down on them!

One very sick tree

07 May 2017 00:26:50

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I have Thujas lining both sides of my driveway and since the start of the year I've been very concerned about one in particular. They are planted about 7 years or so and were all doing well but one of them started to show signs of dying back down one side. I googled it as you would - and it came up with infestations of pests so I sprayed it with everything I could fine but to no avail. Then I thought fungus so I had a go with varios fungicides too but still no joy. I even dosed it for vine-weevil but it just kept getting worse.

Finally yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and do a proper excavation of the root on the damaged side to see if I could find a clue.

Three wheel-barrows full of rubble, cement and hardcore would appear to be at least part of the problem! There was a solid layer of assorted builders stuff a couple o inches below the surface! 

So the great cavern created when the rubble was removed has been replaced with a nice healthy mixture - equal parts of fresh soil, home-made compost and bought-in compost. The roots have been gently encouraged to take advantage of this new environment and now all I can do is wait! Either the tree will recover or the remaining live stem will also die. If that happens I'm already looking at alternatives .....

Very depressing that the only time I've been free to garden this week had to be "wasted" on such a soul-destroying task!!!!

Getting stuck in

29 April 2017 23:41:56

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Back home today the weather was a bit challenging. The morning was interspersed with nasty showers but by lunch time it had decided to stop raining so I ventured out. It was a day of different projects - first off was the Bluebell hunt - I'm still trying to keep my beautiful native Bluebells from hybridising with the Spanish imposters I unwisely planted a few years ago.

I greatly reduced the number of imposters since last year but I still need to keep at them. I dig up as many bulbs as I can and if I'm stuck for time I dead-head them hoping to fool the bees! Today I dug up a clump of tulips that were happily mixing with the Spanish senoritas and so the tulips are now potted up and most of the Senoritas are reposing in a green plastic bag!

Did a bit more digging up of imposters but this is a very tiresome task so I changed direction and worked on one of the front borders cutting back Michaelmas Daisies that should have been done in the autumn and generally weeding. I finished off taking the loppers to some overgrown shrubs. All in all, Im very happy with the day's work - now if only I had someone to do the shredding ......

And the last photo is my Choisya that Elizabeth bought me a few years ago - really looking good this year!

A lot done in a day

29 April 2017 23:23:27

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I visited Elizabeth (my sister) on Friday to give her a long-promised day in the garden. She has recently had a major extension added to her house which involved the total dismantling of her lovely front garden which was a perfect showcase for her Fuchsia collection - although in truth it overflowed into the back garden too!

The new front garden has a completley different character but will still provide a suitable show-case for the Fuchsias! When I arrived on Friday morning it had a certain air of "after the builders" although a lot of the hard landscaping had been done and some of the Fuchsias were in place. The problems tackled were the new entrance to the side gate that had the roots of a removed Rowan tree protruding and providing Elizabeth with lots of opportunities to trip! 

The path was levelled  and the roots were sawed off so they no longer protrude and the whole thing was levelled with sand. One task completed! She will have to get a permanent surface later but for the moment she is safe from trips!

Then I turned my attention to the new area. Her design is very pretty with pavers in a lovely design recycled from the old garden and some interesting triangular raised beds that will show off the Fuchsias to adventage. It was a bit of a 'work-in-progress' with bags of earth and sand still waiting for a home so that was the next project. Elizabeth took very kindly to my bossy ways and accepted my suggestion that we put the new pots in place and fill them with earth so that the bags could be vanished and this is what we did! It made a huge difference and Elizabeth was inspired to plant up two lovely pots that she had bought for the new design! And all the bags of earth were used up!

She was left with one corner to complete and a little bird told me that she has completed that corner already!

It is such a joy working with my sister in her new garden!


I think I'm in love ....

26 April 2017 02:00:10
I think I'm in love ....

I think I'm in love ....

.... with Tulips! Didn't really think a lot of them, just bought random bulbs each year and stuck them in the garden hoping for the best - and last year I had a load of them and planted them at random in a border that needed Spring colour and they are still going strong!

But today .... I was stopped dead in my tracks by these two beauties!

Anyone going to Fota?

23 April 2017 00:01:34

Fingers crossed - some seedlings!

22 April 2017 09:24:29

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Those who know me will be aware that my attempts at growing things from seeds are never very successful. But not being inclined to admit defeat I am trying again this year!

Two packets of seed arrived on one of my magazines - Rudbekia and Cornflower - and then some Sweetpea on another magazine - I know - I shouldn't be getting so many magazines!

Anyway I took the bull by the horns and in they went! and to my utter surprise all three lots germinated well, and two out of three have got to "second leaf" stage - and number three is also looking hopeful!

So now all I need is the time to do the "pricking out" - at least the Sweetpea are in modules so no need to panic yet ....

I'm really chuffed to get them this far but I'm not counting any chickens yet LOL

Gonna take the easy way with some lovely pink poppy seeds and just broadcast them!

And Photo 3 is just for colour! Weeded that edge of the Clematis Walk and i think it is looking good!

My little Maple

21 April 2017 00:47:59
Acer Palmatum

Acer Palmatum

I've been watching enviously as other members posted journals showing their various impressive pictures of their Japanese Maples and I finally got a good photo of my little baby! Each year I watch with bated breath waiting for it  to come back to life!

But at last  I am rewarded! It appears that the hedges are providing the necessary shelter for it!


An Appeal for out Native Bluebells

16 April 2017 10:36:29

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I am very lucky that there are native Bluebells in my hedgerow and they are migrating into the garden at a good rate. 

Many people are not aware of the threat to these beautiful plants from the more spectacular Spanish bluebells which are commonly sold here.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta is our native one and it is a deeper shade of blue - almost purple - than the Hyacinthoides hispanica or Spanich Bluebell.

Our native bluebell also has a perfume which the Spanish one does not. Gardeners World this week had a very good explanation of the diference - Hyacinthoides non-scripta is also native to The U.K.

The problem is the hybridisation between them. 

For the past year I have been systematically digging out anything that looks non-native. Its a pain, but I reckin it is worht the effort.

Yesterday we visited Heywood Gardens and I was blown away with the native bluebells in the woodland and they are not yet fully in bloom but the gentle perfume wafted out to us as we strolled by.

My appeal to you is that if you are buying bluebells please make sure you only buy Hyacinthoides non-scripta and try to preserve this lovely plant.

Just in time for Easter

14 April 2017 22:34:56

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I have mentioned before that I am not the worlds best at House Plants. Most of them survive until the flowers they came with fade. some of them don't even last that long.

There is one exception that I have kept alive for a couple of years - Ok - so it't only a Christmas Cactus that can be successfully grown by your average 4-year-old - but hey - its a success for me!

Rachel posted a great video last year onhow to get this lovely plant to flower at Christmas and I followed her instructions to the letter and was delighted to have flowers right through the Christmas season.

However, something strange has happened - my "Christmas Cactus" has decided it will be an "Easter Cactus" and has burst into flower again!!!!

I'm just hoping that this isn't some sort of Swan Song and that its going to turn up its heels and die on me now!


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