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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal April 2012

Last Post 2034 days ago

tornado time

29 April 2012 23:18:37
Astilbe and Hosta - I like this combination

Astilbe and Hosta - I like this combination

I'm convinced we had a mini-tornado here today - thankfully almost everything was well tied down but a couple of half-empty compost bags went dancing down the garden accompanied by the usual scatter of pots!

I am another wind-hater so I just curled up with my garden mags for the day and watched wht wind doing its worst outside. Towards dusk it started to rain a bit, which helped the wind to drop a little. I'm actually hoping that the heavy rain orcast for tonight will materialise, as I put some "weed and feed" on the front lawns  yesterday and I don't fancy trying to water them in gale force winds!

I'm trying out an idea I saw on one of the gardening TV programs - planting carrots in a pot and keeping it on a table to defeat the dreaded Carrot Fly - I have them sown now and covered with fleece until they germinate - then they'll be positioned on a nice high table. The idea is that the carrots grow very close together and you use the thinnings as soon as they have any size at all. Looking forward to that bit :-)

 

Ready for the new design

28 April 2012 23:41:33
Ready for action

Ready for action

We really were spoilt in March with the beautiful weather so April had been a real shock to the system. After being constantly amazed at the early flowering of some of our plants we are now totally annoyed because things have slowed down a bit! There really is no pleasing us!

I was very disappointed not to be able to make the trip to Mount Congreve - sounds like it was a very enjoyable trip! 

Being confined to the house has allowed me to make a few refinements to the plan for the new "stream pond" so now I'm happy with the design. I have as much of the preparation done as possible and am just waiting for Kevin to come to decide how we go from here. I got a suitable pond liner at a good price in Woodies in Carlow so the rest is down to hard slog and mortar to hold the stones! I reckon Peter's Cherub was definitely paying me a visit as I worked on the most artistic configuration of the stones :-)

Having done as much as I can with this project I took today off to do some "real" gardening and was more than happy with my day's work. It was bitterly cold this morning but after a while the wind died down and it turned into a "proper" April day. There was a piece on weeding tips on the Garai Glas program on TG4 a couple of weeks ago - this guy was doing all his weeding and hoeing using a rake, so today I had a go at his technique. It defintiely was less laborious than hoeing so I'll just have to see how long the results last!

(Anyone interested might like to catch it on 

http://www.tg4.ie/en/tg4-player/tg4-player.html - just search for Garraí Glas   cut and paste from this mail as it needs the "fada" on the "i" in Garrai.)

Got a bit of planting done - some honeysuckle over at the trellis at the hedge, some Hostas divided and moved to the shrubbery in one of the spots where the ground is permanently damp, and planted out the three Cerinthe that germinated from the seeds I got at Johnstown in January - as usual, can't remember who the kind donor was :-(

Also took the bull by the horns and trimmed the Laurel and Buxus hedges in the front garden. The Hawthorn hedge really needs trimming but I'll try to hold off until June to give the birdies a chance. All in all, a good day's gardening - reminding me that is isn't all about digging ponds !!!!!

 (the interesting pipe in the foreground of the picture is from the previous incarnation - smashing it is part of the new project)

Getting ready for tomorrow .....

25 April 2012 17:59:02
Rocks in waiting

Rocks in waiting

What's happening in the Glennon house? The ironing is done, the third load of washing is in the machine, the floors are vacuumed, the dinner is on its way ..... oh yes, its raining! That explains it all!

The past few days were really productive - I had a visit from Nuala on Sunday and enjoyed showing her my various "unfinished symphonies" including the much-altered stream. I have never been happy with how the stream "ended" by disappearing under some rocks (into the resevoir, of course, which unfortunately sounded like someone p***ing into a bucket :-( ) so I've been trying out various ideas to incorporate a pond instead - thanks Elizabeth for the inspiration!!!!

Of course most of these ideas involve varying degrees of small rock moving and different attempts to get it to hold water. The garden insists on holding water everywhere else, but not in this spot! So now I'm back at the drawing board, and hoping to pick up a pond liner when we are on our travels tomorrow.

Surely there can't be much more rain up there, can there? 

Reuse, Recycle .....

20 April 2012 17:50:02
Magnolia Bed

Magnolia Bed

I've been doing quite a bit of planting the past week or so, planted up the new Magnolia Bed - used to be a clover lawn beside the hedgrow but i was never happy with it. Part of that project was to tidy up the base of the hedgerow where I planted a few bits and pieces earlier in the year.

While reviewing this area I had a brainwave! I mentioned in a previous journal that my stepson Michael had made a new fence for me replacing the trellis around the Bamboo Garden (otherwise known as the septic tank :-)) . He had stored the discarded trellis behind the sheds so I had a look at it and although it probably wouldn't have survived another winter being blown to bits on the trellis fence, it is quite happy along the hedgerow! This is the most sheltered part of the garden at this stage so I'm looking forward to having lots of lovely things planted here.

The trellis has worked out very well, with only one panel being badly damaged so I had to effect a bit of "first aid" using a bit of left-over trellis from a previous project - not EXACTLY the same, but you know what they say about men on galloping horses? 

I'm really pleased with this reuse of material that was destined for burning or dumping! The entire fence cost me a packet of cable-ties - and I think it works well to separate the hedgerow from the garden.

Visit to Cobh

13 April 2012 23:03:49
Primroses everywhere!

Primroses everywhere!

As you can see from the journals from Elizabeth and Hosta, Brendan and I took an excursion to Cobh today. It was a truly delightful day from beginning to end! We both enjoy train journeys so the trip itself was enjoyable and Elizabeth kindly collected us from the train and gave us a brief tour of Cobh before heading out into the countryside to her delightful cottage nestled in the hillside with a breathtaking view of the inlet and harbour. Of course, the town is buzzing with "Titanic Mania" just at the moment, so Elizabeths garden was wonderfully calm and peaceful by comparison!

When I look at a garden on this site I tend to form an idea of what that garden will be like in reality and I have to say that to date I have been totally wrong about every garden I've visited so far!!!!

Elizabeths little bit of paradise was no exception. Her journals constantly refer to how "wild" her garden is - but what I found today was the garden of a true artist! What she has created here from a field and farmyard is truly beautiful. 

I think what I liked best was the way Elizabeth combines her planting in a gentle and natural way, giving the garden a lovely calm and peaceful atmosphere - it looks as if it has been there forever as it suits the house and the location very well. 

Elizabeth made us feel so welcome, as did Meg and Maisie (although Maisie was being a little shy) - in fact, Meg decided Brendan was her "new best friend"! Margaret (Hosta) arrived laden down with goodies - both garden and edible - and Elizabeth gave us a lovely lunch - we even qualified for the china cups and saucers since it was our first visit! The chat was great, the company was delightful, and Margaret's photos tell the story very well! Time just flew, and before we knew it we had to hurry off to catch our train home - thanks Margaret for bringing us to the station! Altogether a wonderful day out! 

And I almost forgot to mention that I went down with one bag of plants for delivery from others, and came back with two bags of plants just for me!!!!! 

Getting down to the serious planting

11 April 2012 23:07:42
Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. Started off with a good planting session - loaded up the wheelbarrow with goodies for the woodland areas and got quite a few things planted in between the showers. The woodland is starting to fill up nicely thanks to the generousity of my .ier friends! Bluebells everywhere - lamium in a great drift - comfrey snuggling up to a Hazel and an Oak - and a lovely fern with some little primrose "passengers" (thanks Jemo!).

After lunch we made yet another fruitless journey with the lawnmower. I think I have to admit defeat. I just can't manage motor mowers - not even self-drive with key start. The mower is really easy to start on the pull-start but I can't manage that with my bad shoulder. Only solution is to put it up for sale. Anyone interested in it? Send me a PM if you are interested :-)

After that frustrating episode there was only one cure for me - back out and do more planting! This time it was the turn of the back garden so I potted up some of the candelabra primula, and the helebore seedlings and planted out a few bits and pieces - the Nerines and Crocosmia  - the biggest step forward was planting up some beans in the new veg beds.

I'm at last starting to feel that the "plants-in-waiting" are actually starting to reduce in number :-D 

Pleasant surprise

09 April 2012 17:32:46
Michael's farewell surprise

Michael's farewell surprise

I mentioned to people at Rachel's open day that Brendan's son had been staying with us for a few weeks and had done some very useful work on the fences and things in the garden.

Yesterday I ventured out to do a little bit of lawn maintenance - filling in bare patches and starting on the edging of the Birch lawn. Imagine my surprise when I took my customary stroll around the garden to find this pretty carving - left for me by Michael as a surprise! He has certainly left his mark on my garden!

Speaking of my garden, I've been looking at some of the gardens on the site and am beginning to be a bit nervous about having an open day - so many of the gardens are much larger and much more mature than mine.

In light of the number of .iers who have been kindly saying they will come visit may I just make clear that (1) the entire site is about half an acre, so about half the size of Rachels! (2) it is a very young garden - first tentative planting in 2008 but most dating from 2009 onwards!

 I would hate people to take the trouble to visit and then be disappointed! My main reason for having an open day is to let my .ier friends see how their advice and generous gifts of plants have contributed to the development of this "work in progress" - and of course to benefit from further advice :-)

I was at Rachel's too!

07 April 2012 20:20:39
Some in full bloom and some on the way :-)

Some in full bloom and some on the way :-)

What a lovely day at Rachel's today. Rachel as usual was a great hostess, ably assisted by her lovely family. I was totally impressed by ALL her tulips - even though she modestly claimed they weren't at their best - to me they were stunning! It was great to chat with the other .iers as well as Rachel's friends from her course with Jimi Blake. There was the usual swap mania down at the gate where I ended up with a full boot - not ALL for me, but still a load of great stuff - of course as usual I'm having problems with names - I know I have some plants for Elizabeth from Peter - but there is another pot from someone else .... pink bluebells? There are also some plants for Nuala - again some from Peter and some from who else?

I guess I really need a brain transplant! Got home about 5.30 and spent a happy hour or so sorting out all the goodies - they are all "heeled in" and watered and I am looking forward to a good session in the woodlands with all these great plants! It was also very encouraging to see how relaxed Rachel was, seeming to have time to talk to all her visitors and do what we gardeners do best - chat about plants!!!! Makes me a little less nervous about my open day in June!

I'm inspired by the cocoa shells and will try to source some to try out. All in all, a lovely day and happily Brendan was able to come with me and had a good chat with some of you .... didn't seem to make him want to start digging, mind you!!!  

 

Progress .....

06 April 2012 22:14:05

Haven't I got enough to do????

05 April 2012 23:41:52
New bed planned out

New bed planned out

My Magnolia has been looking most unhappy in its pot so I decided to bite the bullet and move it to a (hopefully) better location in the shelter of the hedgerow to the east of the garden. This is where I made the "Coffee Corner" with Joan's help last year. I planted up the bed with a clover lawn but I have never been happy with how it looks.

Recently I took pity on the Rhododendron (the lime tolerant one) and moved it out of the direct sunshine and replanted it at the bottom of this area. It is looking happier already! I also liked the look of it and this inspired me to think again about this area. It is quite narrow and with the hedgerow down one edge it has taken a few drafts before I'm happy. Against the hedgerow I already planted some tiny Kniphofia from my sister's garden and when she was doing soem seedking for me she divided a clump of White Daisies and they were put in between. Then in belt-and-braces mode she scattered the wildflowers I got from Fran. No sign of the wildflowers yet ....

So this led to the next stage of the plan ... the Rhodo looks a bit lonely in its new home so the idea is to put a few shrubs along the bed, keeping a path along bu the hedgerow so it can be trimmed, and for this year fill the resto fo the space with annuals. Great on paper - all  I need now is the energy to dig over the bed! I'm going to try the little cultivator on it tomorrow!

I can't believe that I've let myself get distracted from the horde of plants waiting patiently outside my greenhouse for their permanent homes .... oh well, onwards and upwards. 

 

 

Disk Space Problem

04 April 2012 22:11:19

Blustery day

04 April 2012 22:07:38

Where do I start?

04 April 2012 01:03:32
Get Planting, Hazel!

Get Planting, Hazel!

This is a picture of the greenhouse at the moment - full of things waiting to be planted - and that's only the half of it! there is nearly as much outside being hardened off! (Must take them in tonight or they might not survive the frost!).

So with all this planting to do what have I been spending my time on? No idea! A bit of weeding, a good bit of clearing up - got a few spuds in, and a few onions over the past couple of weeks but the host of plants inside and outside the greenhouse just keeps getting bigger! Generous gifts from .ier friends are always welcome, and the Blarney stuff is all sorted. I was liberating a Peony from some Badger Bluebells and of course that generated more stuff to plant!

Then, just to put the tin hat on it, today I had to spend half the day taking the mower off to be fixed. GRRR!

However, the good news is that I planted up the disrupted bluebells, all the Lamium from Fraoch, a load of violets this afternoon. It meant getting back into the Winter Sports gear but despite the flurries of hailstones I was as warm as toast with the exertion!

I think that part of the problem has been that Brendan's son has been here and he is doing some much-needed fence replacement and stuff so that has distracted me from the main task in hand, So tomorrow is forecast to be very windy, but dry so I reckon its the ski gear again and then ON WITH THE PLANTING!!!!! After all its less than 3 months to my open day ..... :-((

Blarney Plants

01 April 2012 23:34:09
Mystery plant

Mystery plant

Went out in the garden today with great intentions of making a start on the "plants in waiting" - you know, that collection of pots that seems to grow of its own accord while you aren't looking!

 First of all, the nicest part - sorting out all the lovely "goodies" from the Blarney get-together. I'm ashamed to say I can't remember who gave me some of them, and as usual I'm struggling to identify .... the plant in the photo - seems sort of herbaceaous, a bit like a Geranium .... or maybe an Astrantia .... can anyone put me out of my misery please???

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