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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal August 2011

Last Post 2276 days 21 hours ago

Altamont revisited

31 August 2011 23:11:47
From the Hot Border

From the Hot Border

Thanks to Rachel's great journal and album on Altamont we headed off straight after lunch for a visit of our own! I've seen Altamont in February for the wonderful snowdrops, in the Autumn for its lovely autumn colour but this is the first time I've made it to see it when the borders are so full of colour!

I've come away with my head full of ways to fill my borders so that they brim over with all the exuberance so evident in the Altamont borders. The herbaceous border in the Walled Garden is particularly good at this time of year - one side is shades of blues and mauves, very gentle and peaceful, the other is hot and vibrant with shades of reds wines, yellows and orange.

I enjoyed the woodland walk as well, particularly the ferns underplanting. There was a lovely group of Japanese Painted ferns looking wonderful, and other ferns that I didn't know as well.

What is so really special about Altamont is the peace and tranquility of the place. Sitting in front of the house now sadly decaying, it is easy to imagine the past generations that loved and cared for that special place. Even the peacocks were enjoying the peace! There was a mother and baby roosting together on the balustrade, while the proud father kept an eye on them!

The OPW are doing a great job in maintaining the garden, even down to putting some cheery pots on the steps of the house to soften its poor state. We met some other visitors with small children, who were marvelling at the way their children had enjoyed the visit "even though there were no playgrounds" ... gave me pause for thought - as did their concentration on the sad state of the house and the lack of money to repair it, rather than the magnificent state fo the grounds!!! 

.....And of course I had to visit the Plant Sales .... and got yet another Campanula! 

Taking a leaf from Helen Dillon ....

30 August 2011 22:05:14
Viburnum in its new home

Viburnum in its new home

Today was my catch-up day in the house after Joan's visit so it was afternoon before I got out to the garden. It was time to take Helen Dillon's advice and move a shrub that has been holding up the last bit of lawn sowing.

Ths shrub in question is a Viburnum caricephalum that I got from Gash Gardens last year. It has beautiful flowers really early in the year and the perfume is divine! Unfortunately I planted it down near the stream path thinking I would get the benefit of the lovely perfume when I wandered down to the veg garden. Silly me! What would I be doing wandering down to the veg garden in January !!!!

 The only solution was to move it. I also wanted to remove it from where it was to simplify future mowing of the proposed lawn ....

Took a while to find a better location, but I reckon I have it cracked! It is now settling in to the bed beside the car parking area. I can already imagine the perfume wafting across as we go in and out during the winter! Lets hope that Helen is right about the moving .... 

Thank you Bruno and Hosta

27 August 2011 23:58:47
Anemones in Mallow

Anemones in Mallow

Yet another lovely day visiting the gardens of some .ier friends!

I had no idea Cork was actually so far away, but thanks to the excellent directions Joan and I managed to find first Bruno's, and the Hosta's lovely gardens.

 If you tried you couldn't find two more different gardens, each beautiful and charming in its own way. Bruno's garden which he tells us is less than two years old, was a positive revelation of what can be achieved in such a short space of time. His exotic and interesting plants were a joy to behold and his comprehensive garden tour was excellent. I never really studied exotics before so I found the whole visit very informative. I particularly liked the way he has incorporated the more ordinary plants among the exotics, and his seaside bed full of succulents has given me much inspiration.

Having given us a feast of planting, Bruno and Chris then provided us with a feast of tasty grub, and it was only a pity that we couldn't stay to clear the table, however our second garden was calling ... so in to the cars and off we went, initially in a cavalcade, but Cork traffic got in the way so we ended up making our various ways to Hosta's very different garden near Mallow.

This is a garden showing us "newbies" how a garden can mature into a positive work of art.  The introduction to her garden is a lovely traditional roadside garden which is spreading itself down the road in a delightful way. Then into the "real" garden and a refreshing cuppa to helped us recover from our travels. I couldn't wait for a formal tour so I wandered enchanted through this lovely space being drawn from one discovery to another through various spaces each a delight in its own way but I think what was best about this garden was the tranquility it had, even full of chattering gardeners it still retained this quality. Hosta has brough the "close planting" to an art form, with lovely combinations of shape and texture in the beds. One whole bed spreading along the new fence ( nearly the full length of the garden) had only been planted up in the past year but was already showing the  way her planting schemes allow plants to spread and mingle in a most harmonious way.

I just want to thank both of you for sharing your special gardens with us today and on behalf of my friend Joan who came with me, thanks for making her so welcome in the group. 

Nobody told me .....

24 August 2011 00:27:16
Fence Clear

Fence Clear

... that the electric fence we put up to keep the cattle next door from coming visiting would stop working if anything grew against it :-(

So there was I thinking I and my garden were safe, until I noticed recently that the cattle were starting to munch the hedges again!

 Nothing for it but to clamber over the fence armed with the loppers to sort out the Rosa Rugosa that was lovingly wrapping its arms around the fence.  It was one of those jobs that looks like a half-hour job, but isn't!

The end fence is all Rosa Rugosa and the side fence is mainly hawthorn so all in all, not the friendliest hedges to trim! Of course, I am still in denial about the size of my garden - those two fences, half of the perimeter, are over 100 metres long! No wonder I was bunched when it was finished! The photo was taken hanging over the fence. Hopefully that will hold the tide back for the rest of the season! 

Compost

23 August 2011 00:51:15
Compost sorted - all nice and tidy!

Compost sorted - all nice and tidy!

Is there anything more satisfying than a nice compost heap full of big juicy worms?

Ok - so that makes me the saddest Nerd on this site!!!!

My excuse is that Monty Don says that if you turn your compost heap regularly you never need to go to the Gym!

So a couple of days ago I tackled the compost bin up near the house - it is one of the circular plastic ones - I needed a bit of compost for planting up some pots so the easiest way to do it is to pull the top off and let the compost collapse in a heap! I was delighted with the result - about half the heap was ready for use and the rest was easily shovelled back into the compost bin.

So this encouraged me to tackle the rather larger heaps in the veg garden - I have the traditional three bays made from pallets but I don;t often use them properly. I'm very interested in the suggestion posted a few days ago about mowing the compost - haven't figured out a good place to do this, but I'll definitely give it a try soon ....

There was one bay with compost from last year covered to keep it moist. The next one had the fresh stuff. The third one was empty. So step one was to turn the fresh stuff over into the third bay. As I got down to the bottom of the heap it was clear that it was starting to break down nicely - more of those lovely squiggly worms again!

Next I got brave and took the cover off the  first bay - it is so near to being ready! I gave it a turn also, and then re-covered it. I took a barrow-load up to the greenhouse for immediate use.

Phew! definitely don't need to go to the Gym for  while I guess!!!!!

A New flower

23 August 2011 00:31:25
Sempervivum tectorum

Sempervivum tectorum

I have this Sempervivum tectorum which I kept in the greenhouse last winter (although it survived the previous winter outside!) but it lives outside most of the time. 

I got a real surprise when I saw this pretty flower on it today - I've never known it to flower before!

 

What is this lovely grass I got from Fran please?

21 August 2011 21:13:14
Name please?

Name please?

The plant database is coming along well so I'm afraid there will have to be a few cries for help .......

What's in a name?

21 August 2011 19:24:40
Campanula Poscharskyana?

Campanula Poscharskyana?

I think I'm getting a bit obsessed with this naming business - however, I think I have identified a Campanula that has been a great source of delight to me in the garden. It came from my sister who wasn't sure of its name so I took a close-up of my plant and spent an enjoyable hor or so comparing it to various Campanula first in my gardening books and then on the web. My conclusion is that it is Campanula Poscharskyana - Serbian Bellflower. If anyone has a better idea all suggestions welcome!

Oooops!!!

19 August 2011 16:35:22
Correcting the name - Flashlight, NOT Moonlight

Correcting the name - Flashlight, NOT Moonlight

.... I found the label for that pretty pink Fuschia that I have given to a couple of people .... I had been calling it 'Moonlight' but it is actually 'Flashlight' so off you go and re-label it :-)

Anyway, whatever the name it is a great little plant and has come through the last two winters with flying colours! 

Determined to finish ....

16 August 2011 11:15:42
Una at Dunamase

Una at Dunamase

...the catalogue of my plants! Una (Brendan's granddaughter) has been a wonderful helo to me. She takes photos of each plant in a bed, then uploads them to a folder on the computer, then heads off to do the next bed. I then go through the photos and rename them to their plant names (this can involve a lot of looking up and scratching of heads).  Then the plants are checked off against the database I set up in 2009. It's amazing how many plants never made it to the original database!

Other than that it hasn't been great weather here although Sunday turned out lovely in the afternoon and we took time out to visit the Rock of Dunamase where I took this photo of my great helper! Yesterday was disappointing, but I did get the front lawns cut, but by then the drizzle was running down the back of my neck so time to call a halt!

Today is a little better so we may get some stuff done .... Una wants to try out the shredder and who am I to discourage such enthusiasm! In the meantime we really need to get outside for a while - definite signs of Cabin Fever are setting in:-) 

Saturday - busy day!

14 August 2011 12:55:14
Sheltered corner

Sheltered corner

Yesterday was a busy day - Bill dropped in for a short visit which was lovely - I got some good advice from him and am now hopeful that I will have a Tetrapanax or two in my garden next year :-)

Then Una got going on the photographic catalogue of the garden and I tackled the little seating area we built earlier this year. It is not an easy area to plant as there is a very unattractive hedgrow behind it, but I thought about what Peter (Scrubber) said about Snow-in-Summer being a thug - so I though what better plant to put with the hedgerow! Then I finally got to plant up the half-barrel that has been sitting there for months - filled it with lovely compost and planted it with a Carex, a couple of Geraniums and some Aubretia - all from my own cuttings! It shold look lovely in the spring. I'll stick in some bulbs later as well!

Last job was to tidy up the daisies I stuck in there earlier. All were watered and happy when I spotted the Crocosmia I brought from my sisters last week - I think it makes a lovely contrast with the daisies!

 

Bee's knees!

13 August 2011 22:36:57
Echinacea and Bees

Echinacea and Bees

Brendan's grandaughter Una is visiting us for a couple of days. She is developing an interest in gardening and usually gets involved in one of my projects while she is visiting.

This summer's project is to update my catalogue of plants so this afternoon she  started taking photos of every single plant in each bed. So far she has photographed the first 5 beds and is making a great job of it.

 Looking over her photos this evening I found this little gem .... 

Back to "normal" gardening today

12 August 2011 00:37:28
Stream bed through half-opened shutter

Stream bed through half-opened shutter

Looking at all the journals for today it seems that we are in some sort of alternative universe here - there was no rain worth talking about here at all today! It was good to get back to some more routine tasks in the garden after all the construction work!

While I was busy building my steps the weeds were having a great time so urgent action was needed. It was so satisfying to catch hold of the foot-high thistles and yank them out! I filled the wheelbarrow three times with the results of my assaults on the weeds. The shrubbery bed is tidy now, the shrubs are looking much happier since I took away the weedblock in this area. I gave them a tidy up too, taking off flowered branches. It all looks much better now.

Next bed to be tackled was the bed where I had the Dahlias last year. I planted it up with plants from my good .ie friends - beautiful yellow Aquilegias and Jacobs Ladder - I added seedlings of Alchemilla Molllis, Campanula and my blue Aquilegia. There are some Penstimon, some Lily-of-the-Valley, and a big clump of Snow-in-Summer in that bed so it is filling up nicely.

Last bed to get the full treatment was the Herbaceous border. Thankfully the planing in this bed is getting so close that there isn't room for a lot of weeds, but I had to tackle the viola and marigold seedling that were getting out of hand. I also dead-headed the hostas and removed all the leaves that have been damaged by having petals from the flowers rot on them in the recent wet weather.

All in all a very satisfactory day's work. I hope we will manage to be in the alternative universe again tomorrow :-)

The photo was taken when the camera was acting up - the lens shutters weren;t opening fully, but I like the air of mystery it gives to the stream bed.

 

...for Ladygardener

11 August 2011 13:43:59

All my own work!

10 August 2011 00:06:55
Steps - and a new bed to plant up!

Steps - and a new bed to plant up!

Today was a really good day here so I tackled the steps again. The hardest part of the whole project has been barrowing bricks and sand to the site of the steps. I found that 18 bricks,or about 12 shovels of sand makes a reasonable barrow-load for a 5ft 2 woman! (yet another piece of useless information !)

So taking care to lift each brick with two hands (I know - I'm a bit of a wimp) I managed to lay all the remaining bricks without wrecking either hand! Then I brushed some sand in between the bricks to stabilise the whole thing. I'll leave it for a few days to allow the sand to filter down between the bricks, and will finally brush in some cement into the joints.

I've even tidied up the edges a bit and now I have a new bed to plant up!

This project has given me enormous satisfaction although it did teach me that I need to take this type of heavy stuff at a slightly slower pace, which isn't really my style!  However, every time I use the new steps I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that they really are "all my own work".

Such splendid goodies .....

09 August 2011 00:42:27
I think this is 'Inula hookeriie'

I think this is 'Inula hookeriie'

.... but who gave them to me ... and some of them I don't  remember the names ... 

I've been trying to identify and label some of the recent additions to my garden.  I have a database of plants that I updated at the end of last year but it is badly in need of updating.

 First off, there is a plant that came from my cousins a few months ago and it finally decided to open today (see photo) and I think it is most likely Inula Hookeri  so that is one off the list!

Then there is the Rachel treasures ... and to my shame I can't even remember who gave me some of them, let alone the names!

So here goes ... 

Rudbeckia from Clare - Thank you!  Any idea what variety? or colour?

Polemonium Caeruleum - jacobs ladder - but the leaves are a different colour to the one I got from Liga .... and who do I  thank for this one? 

Geranium with variegated leaves - Rachel dug this up for me (thank you Rachel) but we weren't sure of the variety - and I can't remember what colour Rachel said the flowers were

Japanese Anemone from Fran - I know this is either white or pink - will wait with bated breath for that one to flower :-)

Alstroemeria - I think from Rachel - any idea of variety? 

Tetrapanax Rex from Liz - not looking too happy but I'll see if TLC will help

Chaerophyllum Hirsutum Roseum - from who?

And finally that little plant with the grey leaves that has lovely pink flowers - Fran told me the name but alas it has gone again .... need a label! 

I'm a total disaster when it comes to plant names - the only way I can remember the names seems to be if I get them one at a time and get to know each one as it is planted!

However, I did remember that Gardeners World a couple of weeks ago showed how to sow the green seeds of Candelabra Primula so today I harvested three different ones and carefully sowed them in separate containers and even labelled them so i should be able to know what I have if any of them germinate - could make interesting swaps in a while :-) 

Any suggestions?

08 August 2011 12:48:04

Willow fence ....

06 August 2011 23:28:49
Nice and neat

Nice and neat

....after its haircut!

Some thoughts on the visit to Rachel's garden

06 August 2011 23:23:31
Rachel's pond - small but beautifully formed ....

Rachel's pond - small but beautifully formed ....

First of all, thanks to Rachel and Gordon for the lovely welcome to their beautiful home and garden. I've been going over the day and I've realised that the picture I will keep in my mind of this lovely day is Rachel, with a spade as tall as herself, taking the time, despite all the visitors, to dig up plants to share with her visitors - one of which was me!!!

To me that is the true mark of a gardener, the gererousity of spirit that makes us want to share whatever plants we have grown ourselves!

 I managed to find homes for all my "Swaps" but of coure, as I have come to realise, any gathering of .iers will always result in going home with a boot full of goodies!!! Can't wait to start looking up the varieties of plants - so a big THANK YOU to all my .ier friends and especially to Rachel for hosting the gathering!

Beautiful Buddleia

06 August 2011 00:09:54
Buddlieia

Buddlieia

While cutting the grass today I had to stop to take this photo - this is the buddlieia that i cut down to the base in the spring ... One of the blooms is over a foot long!!!

Today's progress

06 August 2011 00:05:37
Willow Fence before its haircut

Willow Fence before its haircut

Managed to do a bit of the steps yesterday but unfortunately I strained my hand so have had to take a break from that activity so today was more of a "maintenance" day - first cut the lawns - this proved to be much less of a chore than last week as I had only left them for the week. I'll soon have to cut the new area down by the stream :-)  

Then got out the hedge-trimmer and made short work of the bit of hedgerow that I had left last time I was working on it. There is a lovley yellow honeysuckle in the hedge wo I took the time to carefully cut around it so I can still enjoy the flowers.

The Willow Fence has been getting out of hand again - and Brendan is complaining that he can;t see the view any more, so while I had the hedgetrimmer in my hand I went at it full tilt! It worked a treat (last time I painstaking trimmed each individual branch - took me most of a day to do it!) and the task was completed in about an hour.

The only hard bit was trimming the arches as they are a bit high and I need to get up on a step-ladder to trim them so I made the decision that I need to get my nephew or grand-nephew to trim them for me next time! 

This is the "before" photo - didn;t get round to an "after" photo - maybe tomorrow before i set of for Rachels.  I haven't much in the way of exciting plants for swaps but will have some aubretia, campanula and possibly some others in the boot :-) 

A little bit more step ....

03 August 2011 23:35:17
Trip hazard gone

Trip hazard gone

Not a lot getting done in the garden over the past few days as my daughter has been here convalescing so I'm back in "mammy" mode! 

However I did get a bit more done on the steps - taking Brendan's advice on board I lowered the top step so that it is now level with the path - and of course that meant lowering all the others too - back to my original puzzle - does one start at the top or the bottom when building steps! I reckon the answer for me was that I worked from both ends at times!

Anyway - the steps are progressing well now. The timber frames are in place and I've even leveled out most of the soil that was excavated. The next stage will be to lay the sand foundation and then placing the bricks. It will be a bit tricky getting them level but I.m sure if I take it slowly it should be fine!  

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