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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 4 days 20 hours ago

Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

14 December 2017 00:05:29
Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

So the clear favourite for our January Get-together is Saturday 13th January in Johnstown Garden centre.

I am assuming that the format will be unchanged - so for new members or those who haven't come along before ...

1. This event is open to all garden.ie members and their chosen companions.

2. Someone mentioned they felt they couldn't attend last year because they hadn't been putting up journals - Putting up journals is not in any way a requirement - it is a meeting of friends old and new!

3. We do a Kris Kringle event each year - if you want to participate bring along a vaguely garden-related preferrably wrapped gift of maximum cost €10 

4. Anyone coming along is welcome to bring along their surplus plants to swap with other members - you can sort all this out on the site before the event!

5. We abandoned the idea of a big raffle as it ended up delaying people wanting to get on the road home before dark.

I'll be putting up more details after the New Year but for now I'm off to tuck in to some mince pies and won't be putting up anything more about this event until then.

Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

13 December 2017 00:42:11
Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

I heard from O'Meara's today. They usually close their Cafe in January but could open it for us if we wanted it but they could only offer soup and sandwiches or paninis and with people travelling it probably isn't a runner. However it might be somewhere to consider for during the year. I liked their sugestion that a visit to Belvedere House could be combined with a visit to their garden centre. The guy who spoke to me today said that although they do not offer a discount to groups he maintains that his plants are more keenly priced than Johnstown! 

So lookinig at the feedback so far it appears that  Johnstown even though it is a Satruday is favoured by most people. Indeed some people are saying that Saturday suits them better!

I'm hoping that we will have a big turnout this year as I feel that we could very easily lose the bond we have developed through the disappointing technical problems on the garden.ie website, which after all is what brought us together in the first place!

And thanks to all of you who have said such nice things to me! I really quite enjoy organising this event - it is a lot easier than having an Open Day, I can tell you!!!! And what makes it all worthwhile is meeting up with all my lovely garden.ie friends old and new for a natter - and seeing everyong having a good time!


Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

11 December 2017 18:22:47
Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

I have been looking at an alternative venue that might actually be able to accommodate us on a Sunday - I'm waiting to hear from them if they can.

It is 

O'Meara's Garden Pavilion near Mullingar

Just click the link below to see what its all about.

So the main points - it is near the M6 and M4 motorways - find it on Google Maps to see what your journey would be like.

They seem to be able to accommodate us on a Sunday in January but this hasn't been confirmed yet.

They only have a cafe rather than a restaurant and for a group such as ours could probably only offer soup and sandwiches.

Two options for this time of year:



Johnstown Garden Centre


O'Meara's Garden Pavilion
Saturdays only May be able to do Sunday
Full restaurant Coffee Shop - probably only soup and sandwiches
Sale discount available to us on the day Haven't discussed discount yet.

Please state your preferences on this journal. I'll post more details if they become available.


Winter Wonderland at Gortnalee

11 December 2017 01:04:23

Get-together 2018 - consensus so far

11 December 2017 00:30:16
Snowman at Gortnalee

Snowman at Gortnalee

Just in case you think I've disappeared - Thanks to all the people who expressed an interest in our get-together in January.

Here is an update of the story so far ....

Day: People would much prefer a Sunday to a Saturday. I am still looking around for a venue that can accommodate us on a Saturday. I hope to have an update on this in the coming days.

Date: Whether it ends up as Saturday or Sunday there seems to be a consensus around the weekend of 13th/14th January.

Venue: Johnstown does seem to be a preferred location but if i can find somewhere who would accommodate us on a Sunday we might reconsider. I have spoken to Jim in Johnstown and he is happy to give us the Sale Discount on that date although the Sale will actually be over. He also mentioned that some of the new season's stock would be available on that weekend. However, they cannot accommodate us on a Sunday.

Other events during the year:

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in gatherings throughout the year so I provisionally suggest Ratoath for a late Spring event Easter is horribly early this year - 1st April - so maybe the May Bank Holiday might be a good time to visit Ratoath particularly if John Lord is prepared to give us a talk and a tour of his garden.

Arboretum in Carlow is another good suggestion. They have an excellent restautant so maybe a September event here might be of interest?

Regarding the other events - provided it is just a couple of phone-calls and some journals I am happy to co-ordinate these events throughout the year unless someone else wants to do it instead?


So then the REAL snow came!

10 December 2017 23:52:28

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I kept consoling myself saying in 2010 Dublin had a couple of feet of snow and we had little or none - just low temperatures (Well, -17 is low in anyone's books!) but alack and alas - I woke to a different story ... I took a short video that gives an idea of how it felt - Boy! Was I grateful for my sheltered area outside the back door! 

Snow at Gortnalee 9.30 on Sunday

But a few photos too - just to give you the flavour!

My problem is that I have two very willing HelpX workers here until the end of the week so hibernating is not an option!!!!

And today they had great sport making snowmen!

So this was just a warning ....

10 December 2017 23:32:24

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.... of things to come! This delicate dusting of snow was very acceptable - and I suppose I should have known when Puss didn't want to sit on the cold ground - that things might get a bit more interesting later ....

Update to follow!

Get-Together 2018 - Options - please let me know!

05 December 2017 19:38:41
Get-Together 2018 - Options - please let me know!

Get-Together 2018 - Options - please let me know!

Hi everyone. Since there have been no volunteers queuing up to take on the get-together I'll just carry on!

Last year we had to move our get-together to Saturday rather than Sunday and this didn't really suit a lot of people.  Johnstown weren't able to reserve the area we needed in the Cafe on the Sunday. So I looked around for another centrally located venue and came up with Ratoath Garden Centre - also easily accessible from the Motorway network, has a cafe, so a possibility. I visited them recently to see if they could accommodate us - but guess what? They also couldn't accommodate us on a Sunday either!

Apparently the entire population now "dine out" on Sundays!!!!!

So the choices are:

Johnstown Garden Centre - Saturday January 13th - their Sale is still on then

Ratoath Garden Centre - Saturday January 13th - they will also give us a discount on any plants purchased.


Ratoath made a suggestion we might like to consider - we could visit there as a group in the Summer and John Lord would give us a guided tour of the gardens and a talk (free of charge) as a second event for the year!

So lets see if we can make this the best ever gathering - just to prove that our "real" club and friendships are not dependant on either a website or a Facebook group but these online connections, particularly garden.ie continue to provide a valuable resource to us on our gardening journey!


Good day's work

25 November 2017 20:26:36

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We were gardening today in the bright but cold day! My helpers, Laura and Loic worked away on the second redundant raised bed and got the whole thing sorted, planted and mulched today!It is quite a change from what was there before and I can't wait to see it in flower!

And in case you get the impression I was taking it easy, I started the annual clean-up on the Sedum Garden. This is a painstaking down-on-the-knees job because all the plants need to be cut right down to ground level and the resulting debris removed! It takes a couple of sessions to complete as the area is quite large, but that is really the only time spent on this part of the garden so a small price to pay!

My efforts today covered the first corner and part of the "flower" design and resulted in a full wheelbarrow of debris! But is was great to see how few weeds there were, although a few dandelions had made their home there!

The last photo is how it looks before it is tidied - so I think maybe I'll be showing Laura and Loic how to do this work too!

May not look much but ...

25 November 2017 00:30:22
May not look much but ...

May not look much but ...

The photo shows the results of a fair bit of hard work by my HelpXers - the removal of the first of the redundant raised beds beside the shelter belt. These beds have been suffereing from lack of sun since the shelter belt grew so well so now that I have the new posh ones in the Vegetable Garden I thought it was time to dispense with these ones. The surplus soil has helped to fill the new raised beds and today this one got the full treatment - including planting up! It may not look much now, but just wait till late Summer! Michaelmas Daisies, Double Japanese Anemones, Crocosmia Lucifer, Helianthus Decapetalus, White Phlox, Lychnis Coronaria  Alba and a fair number of Alchemilla Mollis and Sedum Green Mantle!

Might just stick in a few spring bulbs just for fun tomorrow :-)

And of course, a good deep mulch of leafmould to complete the task!

I enjoyed working alongside them, having given them free rein in the planting I only had to intervene when Lucifer was being placed at the edge of the border!

The next project will be the second bed. I'm hoping that this will transform this pathway which is the most-used path going down into the garden and it is providing a good home for the plants dislodged by the recent renovation of the Main Herbaceous border.

P.S. I'm going to try Jackie's tip about using the Facebook Icon on the journal! Alway game to try something new!

Thinking about the Garden.ie Club

24 November 2017 00:16:39
Thinking about the Garden.ie Club

Thinking about the Garden.ie Club

Chatting withe Jacinta today we talked about this Garden Club and how it has evolved. We both joined in 2009 so our histories of the club are pretty similar. As far as we can work it out, the club got off the ground about two years before that - making this its 10th year!

This is a unique online club because of the transformation of the online club into a group of people from the four corners of the island who have mede the journey once a year to our annual get-together. The friendship that have grown out of the club are cemented by visits to gardens of members, or smaller group outings throughout the years.

Add to that the way that most of our own gardens, big or small, have been enriched by plants, cuttings and seedlings shared byt the generous people on this site.

But we also need to honour the effort, the enthusiasm and the constant advice and encouragement we have all shared on this site.

Recent technical issues with the site has seen very many members of this group abandoning the site and although they still meet up on the Facebook Garden.ie Friends Group, what Facebook offers is a completely different concept and lacks the continuity of our journals which allow us to look back on previous journals, not just our own, but also those of all other members, to find that bit of advice you remember reading a while back about that particular problem plant ....

There are also a number of members who find the different format of Facebook daunting in the extreme. Garden.ie may not be very fancy, but it has always been relatively easy for newcomers to the world of the Internet to put up journals and photos that map their garden journeys. 

So where to for the next 10 years? Without the regular interaction on the site is there still sufficient connection for people to want to meet up for a get-together?

Please respond and let me know your views.

Many thanks


A day off

23 November 2017 23:39:00

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I have been going pretty much flat out with my helpers for the past while working on the Zen garden it was great to take a day off today. Even better, it was great to spend that day with a fellow-gardener. Jacinta and I spent a lovely day chatting, relaxing and paying a visit to Ratoath Garden Centre, which I have been wanting to visit for a long time! 

Even in November there was still plenty of colour to enjoy as we wandered around, ending up having a lovely lunch in the Wild Flower Cafe!

But before we set off, Jacinta showed me her amazing Nicotiana - still flowering away after two years! This has to be some sort of record!

Thanks for your company today Jacinta! Really enjoyed the whole outing!

Da Dah!

21 November 2017 18:15:10

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It's finished!

The new non-lawn was completed today between the showers - thanks to the help of my two current HelpX friends Laura and Loic from France!

It was quite a project and took some real hard work to complete but I'm utterly delighted with it!

I hope the photos are pretty self-explanatory but just in case you miss the point - its a ZEN GARDEN - for contemplation when I'm not gardening. Oh but when am I not gardening? Usually when its raining or I'm away from home!

I just might have to designate a special time for the contemplation bit - I can always pretend I'm gardening as I rake the gravel into whatever shapes takes my fancy .... I reckon the granddaughter will also enjoy making patterns - much mor fun than grass!!!!

Friendship plants

20 November 2017 21:29:30
Sidalcea - may be 'Party Girl'

Sidalcea - may be 'Party Girl'

The recent post from Glenellen had set me thinking about friendship plants in my garden. So many of my plants have been given to me by friends and family that the whole garden is a testament to Friendhips of all kinds. The original trees and shrubs were wedding presents to Brendan and me and are a constant reminder of that happy occasion.

 But perhaps the most precious ones are plants that have come through several gardens to arrive in mine! An example is a lovely Sidalcea that originated in the garden of Cousin Ede - a maiden lady who was very kind to me as a child. When she died many years ago I took a slip of the sidalcea (not even knowing its name) and planted it in my garden in memory of her.  That garden is long gone from my hands but the Sidalcea was shared with my sister Elizabeth and she had it for many years. When I began the garden at Gortnalee I was delighted to get a piece of it from her and it is thriving here! In her recent renovations she has lost her plant but I have a replacement ready and waiting for her whenever she wants it. 

There are other plants that Elizabeth gave me including slips of a pretty white Clematis Montana that originated in our mother's garden.

But I have also planted some things because I remember them from childhood gardens and they also celebrate freindship and love.

I really like Glenellens description of freindship:

That most valuable of emotions combining as it does, or ought to, affection, fondness, attachment and love around which our lives turn.

And just to illustrate what I mean here is that Sidalcea in all its glory!

At least its a start!

20 November 2017 00:05:35
At least its a start!

At least its a start!

I am so in awe of the beautiful Christmas Cactus Mary posted earlier. This pot of mine actually contains three plants but so far only one has any sign of flowers! The others are pink as far as I remember but I love the delicate colour of this one. 

Looking forward to seeing some buds appear  on the other plants too!


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