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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal December 2011

Last Post 2216 days 5 hours ago

All quiet ....

30 December 2011 22:29:46

Another great day with helpful visitors

30 December 2011 00:06:28
Mick,Chiu Hung and Joey

Mick,Chiu Hung and Joey

Today was a bit mixed weatherwise but my visitors were determined to help me with the next stage of the Sedum Garden before they head back to the Big Smoke. Taking Bruno's advice, I have gone for the gravel solution for this area so the first task was to get Brendan and the trailer to collect a load from the local Glanbia.

In the meantime the visitors were laying out the brick design (no photos, as this area is still under wraps). With four of us working at it, two trailer loads of gravel have been spread over this area in a few hours! It is incredible how quickly we get through these really tough jobs when team-work is the order of the day.

The sedums in the greenhouse need a bit more TLC before they will be ready for planting out, but at least the area is prepared so I can plant them at my leasure over the next few months.

I am so much indebted to these kind visitors, so I thought I'd put their photos up and let them take a bow themselves! 

Many hands make light work .....

28 December 2011 11:01:52

I must be bored or something ....

26 December 2011 18:58:20
What it's all about !!!

What it's all about !!!

Just posted some photos to my NOVEMBER album  - better late than never - and in the December album all but the first three photos were taken today - 26th December!!!!!

Calm after the .....

26 December 2011 18:15:52
December Rose

December Rose

.... very busy few days of Christmas. We had a lovely Christmas largely due to a bit of sanity finding its way into Gortnalee ... Instead of our usual mad dash around the various family members on Christmas day, we made all the trips beforehand and so Christmas day was totally stress-free.

Then we spread the Christmas Dinner over about 5 hours - starters at 2 p.m. Main Course at 4 p.m. (because the bird was larger than expected and took longer to cook:-)) and Dessert at 6 p.m. - result - very happy campers and no bloated tummies, all set for a few bevvies when the neighbours called by at 8! A perfect day!

So now I'm sitting back relaxing after all the excitement, including a visit from two of Brendan's grandchildren who had a lovely time exploring the garden. It was so mild that we were even able to sit on the swing-seat for a while so they and I really enjoyed it. 

When I had waved them off I took the camera out and was charmed to find this pretty rose still bravely flowering on St. Stephen's Day - certainly a record for my garden!

I hope all of you enjoyed the day whatever you chose to do - and if you are in the "non-christmas" camp I hope you survived the day too!

Now it's the count-down to Johnstown ..... :-) 

Aw Shucks - I missed it!

21 December 2011 11:47:20
Hazel's Hazel

Hazel's Hazel

It's here at last - the Winter Solstice! Last year I got up early to watch Newgrange on the TV - they were disappointed because they had cloud, but I was happy because the sun rose beautifully in Laois and I had a grandstand view from my armchair. So this year I thought I would do the same but unfortunately I slept in, so no Solstice Sunrise for me this year! Instead I've been catching up on the journals and then ventured out to see how my garden grows .... and it does! 

Today it is 10.8 degrees outside - we had colder days than this in  the summer! I took some pics too - this one I particularly like as it shows the last Hazelnut still on the tree while the catkins are heralding next year's crop.

So Dick, and all the other .iers who have been waiting patiently for  this - it gets better from now on!

Happy Christmas to all - and a particular thank you to Jacinta, Rachel, Bill, Bruno and Hosta who made me so welcome to their lovely gardens during the year! 

The Winter Gardener

17 December 2011 13:47:41
Winter Cheer

Winter Cheer

I am sitting taking a well-earned rest after a mammoth pressie wrapping session and enjoying the lovely sunshine today.

What came to mind is how I have gradually moved into Winter Gardening mode. The first couple of bad days when I couldn't get out I was like a caged lion - truly frustrated. Then there were occasional good days that let me get out but as the days shortened the length of time gardening shortened too - nature's way of making sure I didn't stay out too long in the cold.  And so to today - the garden is about 95% tidied for the winter and the last bit is out of sight from the house so isn't annoying me. 

The greenhouse is allowing me to indulge the Garden Urges  but in a nice relaxed way - particularly since the wise gardeners on this site keep reminding me to leave the poor little plants alone at this time of year!

And it all fits in nicely with the build-up of the Christmas preparations - since it is too cold to garden, the indoor chores can get done without stealing valuable Garden Time. 

And right outside my window is this little Winter Jasmine, flowering its socks off in the sunshine. That little voice in my head is saying "you should have put up the wires to support it" but I am telling that little voice "it will do just as well in the spring!".

Only one important task to keep up at this time of year - looking after our feathered friends with a constant supply of food and water! 

Cropping fixed!

16 December 2011 01:05:23

Christmas Cactus

15 December 2011 18:27:13
Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

I have had several of these great plants over the years. Usually they were presents, and arrived covered in flowers. They would survive for years, but never, ever flowered again. Other people had great success but it always eluded me.

That is why I am so thrilled with this little beauty. I was buying a small one for a present last Christmas  and just picked one up for myself as they were such good value. Mine had three little branches with a flower each. It lived all summer on the windowsill and suffered the same neglect as all my houseplants - very intermittent watering and occasional turning towards the light.

Imaging my delight when the buds started to appear a few weeks ago!

And now look at it! 

The conclusion I'm coming to is that houseplants actually like living in a Passive House :-) 

 P.S. This cropping of photos is getting very annoying.

Brave little campanula

14 December 2011 17:30:30


Busy day today - haven't been near the garden for the past week because we had several lots of visitors - not to mention the weather! 

I was taking care of the little cordaline at the end of the garden today when I spotted this little Campanula producing two flowers!

I was reminded by one of the posts over the past few days to take action with the Cordaline. When I first moved in my sister gave me three little cordaline seedlings and they were planted in the area next to the back fence. Two of them came on well over that summer but the third one was a bit small. Winter 2009 gave a terrible hammering to them. They disappeared completely. That spring all three reappeared and looked really good but then along came Winter 2010 - the two larger ones gave up the ghost, but the smallest one came on again this year and has reached about two feet so I reckon it deserves a bit of care at this stage! I saw on one of the gardening programs that tying up the leaves over the crown helps to keep it frost-free. This was accomplished without too much dificulty, and then, just to be sure, the whole plant is wrapped around with fleece.

Now I have another worry - when do I set it free from its winter protection? 

While I was at it I "fleeced" two Hydrangeas that barely survived last winter and didn;t flower this year. Dick has promised me a slip of his hydrangea which seems to be a much sturdier one than mine!

Finished up in the greenhouse putting Vermiculite on some more of the sedums. The temperature in there was 10 degrees today - much better than out of doors!

I've really been paying attention to Journals today - so the Dahlias (sprouting) were taken out of the compost, shaken off and put undet the bench in the greenhouse as per Dick's advice.


New Neighbours

14 December 2011 17:10:14
New Neighbours

New Neighbours

We have some new neighbours in the field beside the house. I have never lived close to horses before and am taking great enjoyment out of watching then, particularly when they decide to go for a gallop over the hill!

The photo got cropped a bit - there is a rather handsome white horse to the left of the picture!  

 Very strange, when I look at the photo below (while I'm editing) the whole thing is there. Must ask Craig can he fix this!

Another "Sisters day"

10 December 2011 00:32:10
Elizabeth getting ready for work ....

Elizabeth getting ready for work ....

today it was my turn for Elizabeth to help in my garden. Although it was a lovely bright day here but it was very cold. When Elizabeth arrived on the 10 am train we took our usual stroll around the garden, still in hats coats and gloves! She is so encouraging when she visits, taking an interest in every little change in the garden! We finished our tour of the garden by inspecting where she planted the daffodils under the beech hedge - and we were delighted to see them peeping up already!

By this time we had realised that it was way too cold to work outdoors so we escaped into the greenhouse!

I've been a bit concerned about the sedums because a lot of them were planted in heavy clay from the garden and had got totally waterlogged before I took them into the greenhouse. After two weeks they still hadn't dried out so I had got some Vermicullite to sort them out. So that was a good task for today - we started repotting them into a nice light compost mixture of peat moss, vermicullite and a little sand. It was quite time-consuming as each little plant had to be carefully cleaned of the clay soil before it could be repotted.

We got about 30 plants sorted today - only about 200 to go!!!!!

I was so glad of Elizabeth's help today. 

Something to see ....

05 December 2011 23:36:07
New little Sedums

New little Sedums

I was struck by the recent journals about it being hard to motivate ourselves to put up a post on days that have not been garden days. I find that I get a bit philosophical on those days .... unless I'm letting the imagination run away with me and I started planning more projects for next year.

So what about today! Well, today was a nice bright day in Laois, although very cold - so the ski-pants and winter gear were donned and out I went (in daylight this time) to tackle the end fence bed. Got a good bit cleared but had one of those awful moments of doubt. There were a load of plantlets - were they weeds? or were they Primula Florindae seedlings? I eventually found one with a flower on it and was able to confirm that they were weeds! Phew!

Today I didn't stay out till dark - I have now cleared more than half that section. I measured it roughly and this bed is over 25m long! No wonder it is taking a while to sort it out!

But the photo is something completely different!  These little sedums are really enjoying the cosy greenhouse and have rewarded me by sprouting so well. The bubble-wrap is really doing its job. It was 22 degrees in the greenhouse the last sunny day and I had to open the door to cool it down a bit!!!!

...and now it's December!

04 December 2011 23:23:48
Gardening in the dark.....

Gardening in the dark.....

....and the weather is getting a bit wintry. However, despite the heavy showers we have had some sunny spells and I have been trying to take advantage to get the last of the tidyingup done, I managed to get the lawnmower working and gave the grass a quick run-over yesterday. I tidied up the Bamboo Garden clearing away the nasturtiums and doing a bit of weeding too. The nasturtium seeds are thick on the ground - I wonder will they grow if they aren't covered over? The soil is too soggy there to attempt to do anything with it.

The remaining tidying to be done is along the back fence. I've made a start on it but darkness over-took me. Am I the only one gardening in the dark these days????

The back fence has rosa Rugosa along it. IT is very exposed and I think I may need to plant something else among the roses to break the wind a bit.  Still considering the options .... I'm tempted by Hornbeam because they hold their leaves and grow faster than beech - but would they be too vigorous for me to manage? I wouldn't want something to block our lovely view but I really need more shelter along this boundary - it is the south aspect so gets the full blast of the prevailing wind.

Has anyone grown Hornbeam that might be able to give me some advice ....



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