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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal June 2011

Last Post 2339 days 7 hours ago

Arches

28 June 2011 00:22:39
New Arches

New Arches

A couple of months ago I bought two garden arches at Lidl with the intention of strengthening my Willow arches but what with one thing and another they never got assembled and the Willow arches are strengthening up by themselves! 

 The arches sat in their boxes in my kitchen until the big tidy-up before our visitors last week! So Brendan promised to assemble them for me and he was as good as his word! They now have a new home, creating "entrances" to the sundial circle.

 It was quite a task putting them together, and erecting them took some ingenuity! The fixings that came with the arches were totally unsuitable for where I wanted to put them. We improvised with steel rods that I used to use for my "bunny defences" last year! It's amazing how many uses I have found for those steel rods!

Having got the arches to stay vertical all that was left was to plant! I put a Perpetual Sweetpea at each arch, and a honeysuckle and a Black-eyed susan as well! I hope they will cover the arches before too long!

 

Admission of defeat

27 June 2011 12:04:00
Aquilegia and Campanula

Aquilegia and Campanula

Finally gave in where the clover lawn is concerned! The problem is that when the clover is allowed to grow a bit it is very moist and clogs up the mower so that every time the grassbox is emptied i have to get down on all fours and clear the soggy mess from the blades - Ugh! This means that it was taking over two hours to cut the lawns and made it a labour-intensive task, despite the super motor mower! 

The last mowing was Tuesday week so the clover had managed to flower with all the rain! Yesterday I tried a different approach. Took the grassbox off the mower and off I went! The whole job took about 45 minutes and that included the bit in the back as well! It was a doddle! I'm having to admit defeat - the easiest way to maintain these lawns is going to be the frequent mowing and no grass collection! Mind you, I may have to rake up the proceeds of yesterday's efforts! Still should be easier than the previous method D

Loving this combination of colours and shapes in the photo - thank you Liga, and than you my sister Elizabeth! 

Yellow Mellow

24 June 2011 11:54:36
Yellow Mellow

Yellow Mellow

This bed with the little pond has taken on a life of its own. I just realised that it has turned itself into a Yellow Mellow bed! I planted some of the yellow plants but uthers self-seeded - and the Hypericum hasn't even come out yet! Maybe I should add some more red stuff and make this my Hot Border as the current hot Border is only hot in spots as of yet!

Name Please?

24 June 2011 11:50:24
Unknown treasure

Unknown treasure

This plant sneaked into the boot of my car when I was at Bill's - I have no idea what it is - anyone have a clue please?

Finished!

23 June 2011 00:49:29
Edging the bark

Edging the bark

Worked hard in the garden today in between the showers. Finally finished spreading the bark on the front woodland areas. As with all plans, modifications are part of the design process :-) The birds obviously thought I had put all that bark out so that they could have fun spreading it across the drive - not really the effect I had in mind! Came up with a solution and just raked back the bark from the edges and planted them up with that saxifrage with the lovely deep pink flowers. I have a couple of these in different places, including one in a terracotta pot that suffered bad frost damage (the pot, not the plant!) so I attacked the plant and got enough plants for both sides of the woodland edges. However, these little beauties will probably take a while to spread, so I filled in the gaps with some bedding dahlias.

Then all that was left to do was put up the barricades - first off, watered the plants with tomato feed, then spread some slug pellets, then decided that my old friends the bunnies might be tempted by these nice juicy plants so I covered the beds with chicken wire. Oh dear! Just thought I should really have sprayed them with Grazer - here's hoping the bunnies are all at a mid-summer night party - I'll do them first thing in the morning!

When the rain came down I hid out in the greenhouse, so I decided to have a task in hand that I could do when it was raining. I uprooted one of the Aubretias and divided the plant and repotted them. I have a very rough-and-ready way of doing this:

1. I pull a chunk of the plant including some of the stems and possibly roots and bundle them up

2. Holding the bundle firmly in my left hand I trim the whole top growth down to a couple of inches

3. Taking a smallish pot, with a small amount of compost in the bottom, I ram the root end of the bundle into the pot, filling it in around the edges with more compost

4. Finally, I firm it down, water well and leave it to its own devices.

Lets see how it works out! I will need lots of these plants and any other ground-cover plants I can propagate if I am to solve this problem of the birds spreading the bark, as it is also making a terrible mess of the paths as well!

Sink - at last!

22 June 2011 01:33:05
Pot sink

Pot sink

Well, the visitors were suitably polite about the garden, and the unfinished bits didn;t look too bad! They seemed to enjoy themselves and we had a really good time while they were here. We  waved them off on Monday and i did absolutely nothing for the day, chilling out after all the excitement!

Today was such a mixed bag weatherwise but I made the most of the fine bits. Brendan finished erecting this very handy sink behind the greenhouse for me to was my pots etc. so I had to try it out today!

Also got a few more barrow-loads of bark moved to the front East Woodland area. While I was in that area I did a bit of weeding - it is an easy task if I don't let it get out of hand.

Another little job today was to plant another Virginia Creeper in the gardiniere in front of the shed. this was a Lidl purchase a few weeks ago and when I examined it I realised it could be divided so I got two for one, I hope! To accomodate these new plants i needed to move a fern out of the way - it is the Sensitive Fern which seems to do well in my garden. It is now planted in the West Woodland and is looking really happy since the downpour that came down as soon as it was planted!

I fled to the greenhouse when the rain came down and was trapped there for about half an hour, so i took the opportunity to plant my peppers in the growbag. there was room for three but I just put two in, and put a Thunbergia in the middle to give the greenhouse a bit of style for the rest of the summer!

All in all, with all those little tasks i was happy with my day's work, and not too exhausted, which is a plus!

PS - Can't upload photo - anyone else having this problem tonight?

All ship-shape and Bristol Fashion!

17 June 2011 00:00:09
Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

I am so glad we have had reasonable weather the past few days - even the showers were not too bad!

I got the opportunity to get the place nice and tidy for the visitors tomorrow - although I'm glad they aren't arriving till the afternoon as there are still a couple of things....

Brendan has put up an outside sink for me behind the sheds (recycled from my sister's house) so I can rinse my pots without filling the septic tank full of peat and soil - I'm told this is very bad for it! I'll have a marathon clean-up when the visitors are gone next week!

Still have some more bark to move to the front woodland areas but it may not get done tomorrow morning !!! Shifted about 12 barrows full today and probably need to shift about 6 or 8 more to go!

Today I did one little job that has been annoying me for some time - you know how it is - you get an idea and it just gets on the  long finger! My shelter belt planted the year before last is really thriving, but I have real difficulty identifying the ten varieties of trees and shrubs planted. I found pictures of the different plants on the web and copied them down to my computer where I created labels for each variety.  All this was done weeks ago but today I finally got around to laminating them today and then had the nice task of matching the labels to the plants. Much easier to identify them at this time of year rather than in early Spring when I mad my first attempt!

All in all, a very satisfying day - all set for the visitors and really looking forward to seeing them!

Thank you Liga!

16 June 2011 23:41:04
Aquilegia

Aquilegia

Beautiful Aquilegia!

Too busy to take photos!

15 June 2011 00:28:00

For Bill and Gabriel - Home at last!

11 June 2011 22:33:47
In the Secret Garden ...

In the Secret Garden ...

What a great day out! Brendan and I set off about 10 this morning (very early start for us, by the way!) and thanks to the excellent directions found Bill and Gabriel's lovely garden without any difficulty. Such a glorious day for an opening! And what a lovely colourful and varied garden!

Making such a feature out of the different levels in the garden took a lot of planning and even more hard work (even with the brother-in-law's digger) and it is really showing the results of your joint labours.

I love the way your garden is laid out to allow a variety of journeys to be made - that little Secret Garden is a delightful surprise - I can't decide which part of your garden I liked best. Was it the Fernery - or the shady area - or the lovely willow structures - or the herbaceous beds aglow with colour - or the exotic bed - or the alpines  .... it is all so lovely.  

Of course it was also lovely to rest the bones and have a cuppa and chat in such surroundings - from the moment we arrived we felt completely at home, so thank you both for your hospitality and for having the generousity to share your lovely garden with us.

We finaly got home about 8 this evening and it was a very pleasant task to settle all the great "goodies" into a safe place to withstand tomorrows promised downpours :-))

For all the Ladies Mantle Fans

10 June 2011 23:33:33
Alchemmilla Mollis

Alchemmilla Mollis

What's not to like?

Midsummer resolution!

10 June 2011 23:30:26
Survivor

Survivor

Well, if we can have New Year resolutions, I don't see why we can't have Midsummer ones!

I spent a couple of hours sorting out my strawberries today - finally got around to putting the weedblock under them. So guess what the resoulution is? Yes, next year I'll put the weedblock down BEFORE the strawberries get going!

In the meantime the strawberries are yummy - even if I lost a few to the slugs... they should be really at their prime for my visitors next weekend!

My spuds are very late this year - no sign of flowers on any of them yet. The onion sets seem to have come to a halt - wonder should I feed them or something? We had plenty of rain the past few days so I don't think that is the problem.

My new gooseberry bush has some fruit - maybe nearly enough for a very small pie ... not sure how I'll know when they are ripe!

Tidied up the willow fence trimmings and in the shrubbery I spotted this beauty - the first bloom on my Philadelphus that I thought had died last winter - it didn't show signs of life until the end of April so I'm thrilled with the flower - and all the buds to come!

Between the showers!

09 June 2011 00:44:45
Hiding its light under a Hypericum

Hiding its light under a Hypericum

Interesting day in the garden today - I know it is recommended that we should take regular breaks when working in the garden, but having to charge indoors to escape the downpours every 20 minutes is a bit much!

Despite this I managed to get quite a lot done. I was tidying up the pond bed when I found this lovely lily hiding under the Hypericum! That is the Libertia in front - still refusing to flower for me!

I was getting complaints from Him Indoors that the willow fence was obscuring his view of the cows so there was nothing for it but to embark on the summer haircut. This was a very satisfying task, carried out with the secateurs. I now have a VERY large pile of willow slips if anyone going to Bills is interested?

The past few days have been taken up with levelling the next clover area to be sown but the weather has stopped that task for the moment - just imagine what my lovely clay soil is like after the recent downpours! Still, the part that is finished looks really good and no doubt I'll get around to the rest of it in due course. Is that me actually being patient? Hmmm!

Lovely evening here in Laois

05 June 2011 22:54:31
Hot Border - getting hotter every day!

Hot Border - getting hotter every day!

This morning was a return of winter - 9 degrees and a bitter wind. Even had some misty rain so I just chilled out with the sunday papers for a couple of hours. Then about 4 o'clock the sun came out! What a change! I have been working on the redesign of the shrubbery wtih Kevin's help on Friday so with the main structure sorted and the new lawn area rotavated it is beginning to take shape. This afternoon I started the big job of levelling the area.

It always annoyed me that this area kind of slid down to one side - not as a graceful slope, more of a lob-sided area! So this is a great oppoprtunity to level things off in a more attractive way. First attempt was to rake to an even level but this was far too exhausting. The better way was to barrow soil from the highest areas to the lowest. So far more than half of it is level so I'm well pleased with my day's work!

Brendan came out to inspect progress - which I suspect is his subtle way of letting me know he is hungry - and was duly impressed with the progress so far! No pictures just yet - I'm waiting till it is finished this time!

Instead, when I packed in for the day I took a stroll around and got this lovely photo of the hot border!  

Hot border warming up

05 June 2011 22:34:37
Poppy

Poppy

The hot border is starting to warm up a bit - the Geums are great this year and the Lysimachia brightens things up too! The star of the show is the poppy!

Some thoughts on Bloom 2011

05 June 2011 15:18:31
Favourite Space

Favourite Space

Went to Bloom on thursday this year with my sister-in-law. Having learned from past years we booked our table for lunch well in advance. We arrived about 12 o'clock and headed straight for the show gardens, then went for lunch at 2.30 and finally hit the plants after lunch. Didn't make it to the food hall and just passed through the walled garden briefly. Perfect timetable, perfect weather and just the right amount of people to cope with.

We got to talk to a number of the prize-winners including the Super Garden winner and the Mount Venus. Because it was the first day of the show these people were fresh and happy to be accosted by the likes of us with lots of questions!

BUT ..... 

Having said all that, what did I think of the show? I really enjoyed the show gardens. There seemed to be a big concentration on woodland type planting which really appealed to me but I felt that overall the gardens were a bit lacking in "zing" and there was a similarity in much of the planting.

It was great to see at least two gardens concentrating on recycling materials for the hard landscaping, but in recessionary times I would have liked to see more focus on planting flowers from seed - even pretty modest incomes can stretch the few euro for a packet of seeds, while much of the planting being demonstrated would have required large budgets to put into practice in our own spaces.

I'm also a bit concerned with some of the discussions about Bloom and whether it is "ready" for export - with an implied comparison with Chelsea. I would hate to see Bloom become a "poor relation" to Chelsea. It is our unique Irish show and should continue to inspire and encourage Irish gardeners to achieve gardens that reflect our climate, and to encourage Irish garden designers to develop ideas and give us all inspiration.

As to the Plant stalls - I also was disappointed to find that many of the plants on display were either sold out or not on sale. This was a missed opportunity for the growers. After all, this was the first day of the show, so it wasn't unreasonable to expect to be able to pick up some fo the great plants on display.

So enough of the gripes! I really enjoyed my day out in Bloom and am already looking forward to next year!!!!

That troublesome shrubbery

02 June 2011 01:27:20
Shrubbery and Snow-in-summer

Shrubbery and Snow-in-summer

Since i have the opportunity of help in the garden on Friday I decided to tackle the preparation for the revamping of the shrubbery. Since the gwound is heavy and pretty sodden under the weedblock I decided to take a chance on moving the shrubs.

When I got down to drawing up the new outline for the bed I found that I could get away with moving only a few of the shrubs. The Ceanothus and Osmanthus Burkwoodii had finished flowering so they didn't seem to mind being moved. The Weigela and the Cornus Controversa were the other two to move. Because of the clay soil these hadn't managed to spread their roots very far so they came clear quite easily. I replanted them in much larger holes with compost and grit mixed in with the clay soil so that should help them to settle.

The hard bit was removing the bark and weedblock. I cleared back the bark from the bed area and removed the weedblock from there, then raked the bark back. The rest of the area is going to be a clover lawn, so the bark needed to be removed. 27 barrow-loads of bark went from the back to the front gardens, and the west woodland makeover  is now complete! Unfortunately, I'm bunched! And there are still about 10 or 15 barrow-loads to move and the weedblock to remove too.

I'm glad I'm going to Bloom tomorrow - I need the rest!!!!

The photo shows the shrubbery with the plants moved. The Snow-in-summer is woth its weight in gold for brightening up this area.

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