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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal May 2010

Last Post 2734 days 6 hours ago

Look - No Rabbits!

24 May 2010 12:15:01
Favourite Potentilla

Favourite Potentilla

I got really brave this year and have been gradually removing the "rabbit fences" from around various shrubs that seem to be big enough to withstand having their lower leaves nibbled. I was encouraged by the fact that the rabbit population has definitely been reduced by the harsh winter - I have only seen a few this year as opposed to whole families frolicking among my plants last year.

The surprising thing is that so far there is no evidence of the bunnies sampling the newly liberated plants! They are even leaving the plants they favoured last year alone. I will never understand them!

The Potentilla album is a testament to this - at last my potentilla bed is beginning to look as I planned!

New Stream at last!

24 May 2010 11:52:51
New Stream

New Stream

Thank you all for the encourging messages! I spent the whole day on Saturday working on the stream and it is finally finished! Getting it to run properly without emptying the resevoir completely was a bit of a challenge - I took a break for lunch leaving it running and only made it back in time to prevent the pump being banjaxed! The culprit was one of the little "cascades" - the water was managing to escape under the stones! However all is well that ends well.

 The rocks and stones are all from our own site - when the ground was being levelled I got them to put all the big stones in a heap, and they were subsequently distributed around when I had a guy helping with the landscaping. They make lovely seating by the stream.

 The blue flowers on the right aremy wild flowers from last year - they are doing much better this year! There is a close-up in the May photo album. 

What wonderful weather!

22 May 2010 00:44:49
Water Snail

Water Snail

Isn't this weather truly amazing! In this country we really do need to live our gardening lives "one day at a time"! I found that my lower pond, the one with the stream effect, wasn't really working very well. My oxygenerator was killed by the frost, so the whole area was overtaken by horrible slime. When I tried to tackle the slime I found that I had a thriving colony of water snails in the deep area where I had planted a water-lily. The last straw was when I was clearing great handfuls of disgusting slime I managed to puncture the pond liner so this morning the poor water lily was sitting about 3 inches above the water. I'd had enough! A major rethink was required.

First of all I rescued the poor water lily and clearing off any evidence of the disgusting water snails, I replanted it in the small pond near the house. (I am aware that the water snails are on balance benificial to the pond - I just find them repulsive! )

My original plan when I was desiging the garden, had a meandering stream travelling down the west side of the plot and ending about half-way along the south end. We got a present of a stream system which we wanted to use. Unfortunately our landscaper thought he was building the Rio Grande and built a stream bed about 2 feet deep and extending for about 50 metres - a bit much for our little pump and resevoir! I t also used up a lorry load of sand, an incredible amount of polythene liner, and another lorry load of rounded pebbles. The net result was a miserable trickle of water at the head of the stream that emptied the resevoir before the water had got half way down the stream! 

I had to employ my nephew for a week to dismantle this whole thing and recover as much as possible of the materials!

Phase two was a pond at the corner of the site with a small stream with gentle steps  below the pond - to give the impression that the stream was being fed by the pond. This is the version that has now failed.

The next step was to redesign th whole feature. Back to the drawing board. Problem 1 was the algae. Problem 2 was the leaking deep area of the pond. Solution! Forget about the pond idea altogether. Revert to the original plan and put in a stream. This time, start ffrom the resevoir. We attached a new longer pipe to the pump and found that it could work very well over twice the length of stream the original pipe covered. Then the pond liner was carefully removed - very labour intensive and the nephew is now in college so not available any more! 

Then the mound of earth that had been removed to form the pond was used to fill in the deep bit and landscape the stream bed to a better shape. I have got to the stage where the stream flows where I want it so tomorrow I'll line the area properly to avoid further problems with the liner. Whe the liner is trimmed to the new shape it will be down to just finishing off the edges. I have had a bit of a brainwave - since the stream will only be wet when the pump is in action there is a danger that the liner will be exposed and deteriorate with the sun so I'm going to put a layer of weed-block that is lying about to completely cover the liner, and then put a layer of gravel and those rounded pebbles from the original stream over the weedblock - will post a picture if it works! No picure of the stream for today - I was just too exhausted to get the camera when I finished today!  However I did find a picture of the water snail.......Ugh!!!!!

 

 

Willing Helper

17 May 2010 23:19:30
Joyce - and the vegetable patch

Joyce - and the vegetable patch

Today my friend Joyce visisted and was a marvellous inspiration to me. I had a pile of seed packets making me feel guilty so Joyce got me going and we planted up  a load of seeds. The ground in the designated vegetable area (where the early potatoes are showing some promise) was dry and cracking - so we watered it a bit first to make it a bit more workable and after a hard afternoon's work in the blazing Laois sun we have  several rows of vegetable seeds planted nicely mulched with bark. We planted cabbage, turnips, swedes, chard, spinach, lettuce and mixed leaves. Lets see how many of them survive! I reckon we will probably have the best fed rabbits in the country! Only time will tell.

How lovely it is to  share a day like this. Usually my gardening is a solitary activity so I really enjoyed a shared day in the garden. I was also feeling a bit daunted coming home after a couple of weeks away to find that the garden had gone a bit wild in my absence so Joyces assistance was doubly welcome. She also brought me some lovely bedding plants which she also planted for me! Some white lobelia and another plant that I can't name with lovely purple fluffy flowers ( pictures in the photo album). They will take over from the daffodils now wilting nicely.

The tomatoes survived my absence - the automatic watering is a bit hit and miss - I reckon the tomatoes were more in danger of being drowned than anything else! There are now quite a few flowers on the plants so I am waiting with baited breath for the first fruit to set.....

Now I have no excuse for not planting the rest of the seeds...mostly flowers now ... so I think I might just mix up all the seeds and broadcast them amongst the herbaceous plants and see what happens!

It is great to see that I didn't lose as many plants to the frost as I feared, and is it also encouraging to see that the work we did in improving the drainage in some parts of the garden have allowed the lavender plants that have been struggling for the past couple of years to beging to thrive.

 

 

Holiday pictures

15 May 2010 23:22:20
Beautiful Bougainvillea

Beautiful Bougainvillea

Just back from the holiday of a lifetime in Egypt. The plants and flowers there were magnificent. I searched for a book or even a brochure on the local plants but drew a complete blank. I would love if anyone can identify any of the plants I've uploaded.  Most of them also grow in South East Asia. The only one I'm sure about is the Bougainvillea - it is one plant I really wish it would grow in windy and frosty Laois.

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