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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 1 day 18 hours ago

Special Moment

25 February 2017 01:19:40
Special Moment

Special Moment

The highlight of our visit today was captured by Elizabeth when I was formally introduced to my very own Rock in the Scrub!

Visiting

24 February 2017 23:37:32

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Elizabeth is soon to return home so we were trying to plan a visit to a certain garden before she did but we were having difficulty co-ordinating the diaries (as we busy gardeners do). In desperation and to avoid disappointing Elizabeth I suggested we make do with a trip to Altamont. So off we headed bright and early - yese, really bright anyway as the sun was doing us proud! 

Well would you believe it - we had only got as far as Abbeyleix when the phone rang and guess what? the diaries had come together at last so a quick change of direction was called for!

So off we went to the depths of Carlow to finally catch up with Scrubber and Mrs. Scrubber, "Whats new pussycat" and all the denizens of the Scrub! And what a great day! The rain managed to hold off until we drove out the gate on our way home!

Every visit to this lovely garden is a joy. This was my first spring visit and I was not disappointed! Someone kept trying to convince us that the snowdrops had gone over but we didn't believe a word of it! The artfully placed snowdrops in the Lower Lawn, the serendipitous snowdrops here and there through the woodland , the fabulous helebores, all were flowering their socks off! Michilin Dee managed to shake of his autumn leaves but declined to invite us in for tea as Sebina was away for the day! 

We wended our way down the lovely woodland paths admiring once again the astonishing rocks that are such a feature of this area.Making the circuit of the garden we arrived back to the more formal garden at the front of the house where Anna was waiting to invite us in for tea and some of her delicious fruit-cake. so after a lovely chat over the tea we headed for home.

Thank you Peter for a truly lovely day - and definitely much more enjoyable than Altamont would have been :-)

So how was your Doris?

24 February 2017 00:07:21

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Usually when we have a storm here I'm woken by the roof tiles rattling but last night I slept through the whole thing! i had to head to Dublin very early this morning so didn't check for damage till I got home! I should have known there was trouble as Puss cam out to greet me when I got home telling me all about his traumatic night!

So one of the Wheelie Bins had keeled right over- the lovely Camelia that Elizabeth got as her Kris Kindle at Johnstown that has been waiting patiently to go home with her had come completly out of its pot - and that was just as I came in the gate! 

Round the corner and the big box where the cushions for the garden chairs live had been turned on its head and flung right across the deck - and three of the chairs had also keeled over!

Finally I turned round and saw the worst bit - the shelves where a load of recently potted divisions had lived was completely down - and plants well scattered! I should be getting used to this by now! Some sort of whirlwind seems to develop in my garden and nothing is sacred!

Fortunately the rain stayed away long enough for me to rescue my cuttings and divisions and move them to a safer home.

Going into the greenhouse to get the trowel I was greatly cheered to spot my first Auricula showing colour - gonna write the colour on each label this year!!!!

And then a second cheery sight - some tiny iris I bought at Johnstown have been flowering their socks off hidden from view!

So how was my Doris? Not too bad I reckon!

Misty morning

21 February 2017 00:36:51

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Just spent a happy evening catching up on all the journals - can it really be almost a week since I posted?

Haven't been able to snatch much gardening this week but woke one morning to the most fabulous view of mist just being melted away across the fields. My camera really isn't up to these views but the lord loves a tryer!

Another border done ... well, almost!

14 February 2017 20:20:34

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The latest border I tackled is the Small Pond. This border has some stunning planting in the summer when Rogersia and Ligularia vie for attention with a couple of white Agapanthus, some very tall Iris Sibirica Silver Edge all held together by Cotinus "Grace". I always mean to get round to tidying it in the Autumn because none of these plants diebackgracefully!

The first photo tells the sorry story!

So the first day I just cut down all the worst offenders. See Photo Two. Some progress but still a bit to go!

Photo Three is the whole border weeded and ready for mulching - or so i thought! I even brought up a wheelbarrow full of great mulch but just as I was about to tip it out I realised that the weeding and tidying hadn't reached to farthest corner of the border.

As luck would have it I only had an hour to spend in the garden that day so the weeding had to take priority.

And why only "almost" done? The wheelbarrow of mulch is still waiting patiently on the path for me to have another hour to spare - or even only half an hour ....

Chits chitting

12 February 2017 18:32:16

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Well, I don't have a lot of success with potatoes but the Lord loves a tryer so I'm off again. I was very excited to find nice small packs of seed potatoes in Heatons at a real knock-down price so I treated myself to 3 little packets - two earlies and a second early. Wasn't sure about the second early but since the offer was 3 or the price of 2 I thought I'd take a chance.

Well everyone was talking about this "chitting" business so when i got home I fetched the little mini seed tray I got from Lidl a few seasons ago and I reckoned the spuds would be happy in the pots.

I carefully laid each variety in a separate section duly labelled. Next problem was keeping them in the light but frost-free so they moved into my store room. All was well until I was grabbing something in a hurry from said store room when Disaster! I tipped the whole thing onto the floor!  I tried to figure which variety was which but I'm sure there will be some surprises later!

Decided this wasn't the best method so they got moved to the window-sill in egg-trays!

So now for the big question (or questions)

When are my Chits Chitted? When can they be put into the ground? 

There appear to be many different opinions on this important matter so I would appreciate hearing how my fellow .iers manage theirs?

2017 January Album

08 February 2017 23:36:33

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Finally got around to putting up a January Album - a bit heavy on the Helebores but for me these wonderful plants constantly delight me especially at this time of year when I am impatient for everything else in the garden to get going!

Next session in the garden will deinitely see all the helebores having their leaves trimmed 0 except for Helleborus Argutifolius and Helleborus Foetidus. Neither of these appear to suffer from Blackspot but the rest are definitely improved by removing the leaves!And just to make a point - here are a few more of them!

Big job done - with help!

08 February 2017 11:58:13

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The Herbaceous Border below my deck is one big job in Spring to get it cleaned up and tidied. It rebukes me every time I walk past it until I give in and get tidying! It takes nearly a week to get it all done a couple of hours a day but it is well worth it when it is done. There are a number of small early tulips there which really welcome having space to strut their stuff! 

Puss takes a great interest when I'm down on my kneeler weeding but the other day I was really amused - I just stood up to empty the bucket of weeds into the wheelbarrow and Puss - the total opportunist - hopped onto the nice warm kneeler! 

I think that the weeding of this border is time really well spent - it serves as an encouragement to proceed with the rest of the tidy-up! And next year I will DEFINITELY do the cutting back in the Autumn ......LOL

P.S. The Heathers are out too!

Compensation

06 February 2017 19:01:51

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I've been a bit busy the past few weeks oveseeing Elizabeth's renovations. My car can find its own way to Dublin now - and every day going up and down I had to pass my favourite haunt - Johnstown of course! Most days I was in too much of a hurry to stop, or was tired and anxious to get home but one day ... it had to happen ... I wasn't under time pressure ... and Jim in Johnstown had told me the plant i was looking for had come in ... and I still had a balance on my Gift Voucher ... and Elizabeth was with me to lead me astray ... Nuff said.

Exochorda Macrantha The Bride "The Pearl Bush" now lives in Gortnalee! 

Other people do great "un-boxing" videos but I can only manage an "un-wrapping photos" set :-(

We didn't get home till almost dark but I couldn't resist going out and potting it into the spot I had chosen for it beside the Pergola!

Some "proper" gardening

26 January 2017 00:16:21

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Do other people consider some tasks as "proper gardening" and other tasks not? For me the clean-up of the stuff from the hedge-trimming definitely doesn't qualify as "proper gardening" so when I finished that task I had to do something that DID qualify!

First of all I transplanted the Spring Cabbages and Broccoli to the proper veg beds and just raked over the other empty beds. Then I finally decided where to plant the Nerines that Fleurette kindly gave me at Johnstown! When I opened the carefully packed parcel I was delight to find it also contained some Autumn Crocus, a little Anthemis and a great Aconitum which she says will be 5 feet tall! (Can't wait for that one!) and what a great clump of Nerines! 

I planted the Nerines and the Autumn Crocus in the Main Herbaceous in the most sheltered spot but in full sun  so I have great hopes that I will finally manage to establish these beautiful flowers! the other have been potted up as the clearing of the borders hasn't been completed yet but when the time comes they will  be well established!

Thank you so much, Fleurette! Such lovely plants and all sprouting for me!

And lastly I couldn't resist this photo of another bowl of the Katherine Hodgkins with a couple of stray snowdrops - this mild winter is really suiting them in my garden anyway!

Bit of a clean-up required

25 January 2017 23:56:37

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One of the advantages of having a farmer as a neighbour is that every now and again he decide to trim the hedgerow that is the boundary between us which is not something I can do myself. The hedgerow is at least 100 years old and hasn't been kept in check so it is now several metres wide! As it is also full of brambles it is harly a joy to look at! I planted a Laurel hedge on my side of the boundary for some of it and  I am gradually extending this down the rest of the hedgerow and it is deinitely easier to keep. So when I heard the machine in the field cutting the hedge I rushed in and asked him to trim my piece too!  the plan will be to keep my bit of laurel to a manageable size and let the hedgerow grow up behind it - then every few years the farmer can trim back to the level of my laurel. 

The result of this activity was to make an awful mess all along beside the hedge so today was my first chance to get out to clear it up. This kind of stuff is not very good in the compost heap so the solution was to sweep it up and deposit it into the middle of the hedge where is can take its time dying down!

I think it looks much better now.

But now its back to work!

18 January 2017 19:34:53

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Having enjoyed the discovery of some January Delights it was time for a bit of REAL gardening! The photos really tell the story!

My main herbaceous border needs a good seeing-to at this time of year. I usually start the winter clear-up further away from the house so I have passed this border a good bit over the past few weeks and every time I looked at it I just wanted to attack it but held myself back until today! I've spent what feels like months picking up leaves so for light relief I took out the secateurs and got going!

Three hours later and I had cut everything down and even raked off the worst of the leaves and stuff!

As you can see, Puss was helping too :-)

I found that some Helebore seedlings I transplanted there are now flowering beautifully so its nice to be able to see them! I'm looking forward to doing a proper weeding of the border next! Then it will be mulching time and off we go again into the springtime!

January delights

18 January 2017 19:11:06

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I finally got a good spell in the garden today. I've been busy with other stuff and reading all the busy journals I was really frustrated at not getting out to play!

The first thing that greeted me when I went out was my lovely Hamamelis mollis whch is becoming a nice sized shrub - although it doesn't appear to have a perfume!

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a delicate lilac flower in the Pergola border. I think they  might be an autumn crocus but I have no recollection of planting them! I am always thrilled when this kind of thing happens - of course, the database should tell me where they are but unfortunately the updating of the database can be a bit hit-snd-miss!

It was a good start to a productive afternoon!

Taking advice

17 January 2017 21:42:30

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I read somewhere recently that taking pots of bulb into the house at this time of year can encourage them to bloom. Belonging to the gardening style "give it a go" I went outside to see what I could see.

All I found was a pot of Kathryn Hodgkins iris. i have watched others waxing lyrical over these very early flowers but could never see what they were going on about. To me they were a rather dull and dreary greyish flower with little to recommend them.

Anyway, nothing venture - and very little to lose - so in they came.

Within 24 hours I was completely converted to these beautiful little bulbs. The delicacy of the detail rivals orchids but most amazing was the way the greyish petals are turning a beautiful blue - and look like they may deepen even further!

Resolution fot next year - divide up this pot into several, ignore them all summer and when they start to come back in autumn bring them out of hibernation until the buds form - and THEN - take them indoors and admire!

A whole week later ....

15 January 2017 17:42:21

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...and the excitement of Johnstown is fading from the memory - but going through the journals and photos it all comes back!

And then there is always some gardening to do!

I had a bit of a busy week but managed a couple of short sessions outside potting up some Johnstown Swaps and weeding my existing pots - only half done so maybe i need less pots? 

Most of the time was spent on the unending task of leaves and cutting back of perennials. I had help from Elizabeth and we got one large border done - the one inside the gate where the Oak trees are. 

I took some photos but I'm very disappointed that the photos don't really show the huge clean-up that area needed!This woodland area has a large number of Crocosmia, lots of Japanese Anemone, self-seeding Hardy Geraniums and assorted bulbs.

The Crocosmia leaves had turned to a thick carpet of mushy leaves, the Anemones where keeling over in all directions and the geraniums were aming at world domination again. 

Photo 1 gives an idea of "before" 

Photo 2 is what came out of the border nicley sorted into "for compost" in the foreground and "for leafmould" along the path

Photo 3 shows the "after" photo which to my mind doesn't do it justice at all! The fresh spikes of the crocosmia are clearly visible and the assorted daffodils and tulips are making an appearance too! 

I'm just delighted to have that area "done" for now!

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