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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal May 2012

Last Post 2061 days 23 hours ago

Compost .... from the video

28 May 2012 23:56:32
compost 'cone'

compost 'cone'

Someone posted a great video on making compost in 4 weeks from manure and I was very interested as I had a load of cow manure that I didn't know what to do with. Now the video suggested very fresh horse manure but I have last season's cow manure .... judging by the smell, my cow manure is still quite "fresh"!

This morning I decided to give it a go - so the "cone" is made and the calendar has a reminder of when to turn it!

Guess what? the completion day for the manure is the day after my Open Day on 24th June!  

Wow - I'm exhausted ....

28 May 2012 02:02:36

I'm sunburned :-(

25 May 2012 00:55:37
Pond area all planted

Pond area all planted

But it is well worth the pain - I put the suncream everywhere except the back of my neck ... and now I'm paying the price!

Now I have to 'fess what I got in Newlands yesterday ... Iris Pseudacorus, Typha Latifolia, Stratiotes Aloides for oxygenation, Eichornia Crassipes (Water Hyacinth - a funny floating plant the may flower with luck) another floating plant Salvinia Natans and a marginal grassy plant whose label I can't find just now!

Had to do some stuff this morning (which was a terrible waste of all that sunshine!) but I escaped to the garden by 12.15 and immediately set about installing the new plants into the pond. This time I was too lazy to empty the pond so having made an attempt to lean over and arrange the plants I finally rolled up the trousers and waded in - Jacinta, I can understand how you enjoy cooling your feet in the pond! This made the planting of the water plants so much easier.

Getting out of the pond I realised that I hadn't really thought it through very well .... had to sit for about 15 minutes letting the tootsies dry off - such a hardship with the sun cracking the stones and the temperature heading to a fabulous 23 degrees - no wonder I got sunburned! pottered around a bit more planting various bits that we had placed near their final locations yesterday and suddenly it was half past two and I'd forgotten about lunch! It was very necessary to get in out of the sun for a while to cool down, but I was soon hback out enjoying the fabulous weather. Trimmed the heathers and pruned out the dead bits on the  lavender and did a bit of mulching and hoeing, finishing up weeding and raking the Sedum Bed but only got half of that finished - thankfully tomorrow is another day!

What a bit of inspiration will do!

24 May 2012 01:45:13
VPL gone!

VPL gone!

I was like a woman possessed today, completely inspired by my wonderful sister who was here for the past two days, we got over 50 of the plants in waiting into their new homes. As well as that I plucked up the courage to step into the new pond in the biggest wellies I have. I'm such a wuss when I think of Jacinta wading through her pools full of tadpoles and baby frogs .....:-)

So with Elizabeth's help I sorted out the VPL (Visible Pond Liner) issue with a tasteful arrangement of the plentiful small rocks in the garden! There was a bit of a design flaw in the construction of the pond as the recommended shelf around the edge was omitted so to recitfy that I went foraging around the garden but alas there was a severe shortage of concrete blocks to raise the level. Only two half blocks were found but I did find a pile of of-cuts of the scaffolding planks used in a few recent projects and I thought they might suit.

Unfortunately, dry scaffolding board scraps are very bouyant so Elizabeth got some photos of my efforts to get three boards to hold a rock and submerge into the pond - what a performance! I had emptied some of the water out of the pond so the wellies worked, but of course, I forgot that when you add a number of large rocks, blocks, etc. to a pond the level rises! Happily, Elizabeth realised what was happening and we just pumped a bit more water out of the pond before it came lapping over the top of the wellies!

While I was in the pond I planted some bits and pieces on the inaccessible side along by the Fennel. Now I understand why Jacinta goes wading - sorting out the pond while IN the pond is much easier than lying flat on the ground trying to manipulate rocks and stones without falling in :-)

I dropped Elizabeth home to Tallaght this evening and luckily enough we  arrived at Newlands Cross in time to catch the Newlands Garden Centre before it closed at 6 pm. and a bit of damage was done to the bank balance as I went a bit mad with plants for the pond. The plants in the small pond that might be big enough to divide are infested with blanket weed and I would like to keep the new pond free of this pest as long as possible - well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

No photo of the new plants as it was nearly dark when I got home with my ill-gotten gains ..... and the really good news is that the forecast for tomorrow isn't half bad either! 

Look! Here comes the sun!

24 May 2012 01:39:18
Sun worshippers

Sun worshippers

And my Osteospermum turned their lovely faces to welcome the final arrival of Summer. 

Getting things done at last!

21 May 2012 22:28:37
Love this combination!

Love this combination!

Yesterday and today I've been really enjoying the garden again. The ski-pants have been retired at last and I didn't have to force myself out to the garden! Yesterday I decided to tackle the corner where the Magnolia was in its tub. It was a bit of a disaster zone, because we had moved the bamboos out last year and hadn't done anything to sort it out.

The soil was like concrete so I got out the trusty electic tiller and that made short work of it - but then the dilemma - what to plant there? It is quite sheltered because it is just above the shelter belt, but when I was digging the soil I realised (a) the soil is very poor and (b) it is inclined to be a bit soggy. The solution was to raise the bed a bit so I made use of the off-cuts from the scaffolding planks to do a makeshift bed with a bit of a trench  around the edge of the bed and filled it in with gravel and sand to help the drainage. The bed is now complete - planted up with the long-suffering Tetrapanax, a couple of ferns and some Osterspermum to give colour while the other bits take off.

I got some of that slug stuff "slugclear" and used it on the new bed, and also on the planting down by the stream. Wow! the ground was covered with trails and corpses this morning!

Today was finally calm enough to spray the paths with weedkiller. Hopefully this will be enough for the rest of the season. Whose idea was it to have all those paths anyway? It took a total of 30 litre of weedkiller to cover all the paths in the garden! My back is telling me that 30 litres of weedkiller from a knapsack sprayer is not a good idea - well, not all in the one session anyway!

Tomorrow my lovely sister is coming down to help me reduce the ever-mounting "plants in waiting" outside the greenhouse. It is becoming a nightmare - every time I start to reduce them something happens and I'm off again. This time it is saxigrage - I was trimming the edge of the lawn when I found a clump of saxifrage that must have self-seeded last year so I couldn't just dump it - so about half a dozen plants join the queue. And then there was the Osteospermum - don't even know where they originated in the garden, but there are a few of them sneaking in. And those bulbs I bought on impulse in "dealz" -  put them in seed pots as when I put some in the garden earlier they disappeared. Of course, they are nearly all sprouting so that of course means they will need to be planted ..... and the good news - when I weeded some of the pots in the coldframe the actual plants are alive and well .... so really its all good news, if only I could get around to planting them all!

And look how my Rodgersia Podophylla is enjoying the sunshine! 


For AitAlainn

21 May 2012 21:41:07
Arenaria montana Blizzard

Arenaria montana Blizzard

I couldn't remember the plant with the white flowers but I think this is it - "Arenaria montana Blizzard" - common name "Alpine Sandwort". 


14 May 2012 22:57:46
Colin's Tree

Colin's Tree

The weather today was frustrating to say the least ... I was trying to plant up the newly laid out stream but between the wind and the rain I spent a lot of the day running madly from the end of the garden to the shelter of the greenhouse. While cooped up in the greenhouse sheltering from the weather I tackled the long-outstanding task of the compost.

Currently the compost is in the following state:

Some shredded material still in the  shredder 

A large container full of compost material mainly accumulated from the greenhouse

So what to do?

The material in the container needed to be sieved

The fresh stuff had to be separated out 

There was a lot of bark mixed in with the compost so this had to be separated out

Next step

I mixed the stuff from the shredder with the stuff from the sieve and added a bit of compost accelorator and then came the stoke of genius! I have the old resevoir from the stream no longer in use - a tub with a lid - so I filled it with the mixture and gave it all a good shake-up. This is my attempt at a try-out of one of those fancy compost makers!!! Watch this space!

BUT >>>>>

I would really like to know how other members handle the dirty great SODS of grassy stuff that won't go through the shredder (too much soil) won't break up (soil too heavy) and generally take forever to break down. I'm really trying to keep on top of the compost story this year. I usually end up with a big mound of this kind of stuff and it takes years to break down and lots of really heavy work turning it and breaking up the sods. There has to be an easier way ....

And since compost doesn't make a good picture I'm putting up a happier view of my garden! 

So is all the construction finished yet?

12 May 2012 00:19:26
New pond almost done .....

New pond almost done .....

This was Brendan's rather plaintive question today as Kevin and I got down and dirty on the new pond at the bottom of the stream. We had lovely sunshine here today with just a couple of light showers, although the wind was back northerly again and very cold.

 I am very happy with the results - can't wait for the mortar to dry so I can start prettying up the edges!

While Kevin was doing the hard graft I was busy sorting out some issues on the banks of the stream. An unexpected bonus from the excavation of the pond was lots of soil for these banks, which was much needed ( I hesitate to call it "topsoil" although it actually looks a bit better than the stuff in other parts of the garden - much less stony and very little of the horrible blue clay mixed in) so in a few days I'll be able to liberate the plants I lifted back with a much better depth of soil and also the benefit of the wind-break on the end fence. Isn't it ironic, since that wind-break has been put up to protect the whole stream area from the prevailing south-westerlies the wind had been persistently from the north and north-east!!!!!

I have to confess that this latest redesign of the stream feature was inspired by my recent visit to Elizabeth's lovely garden in Cobh. I hope she realises that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery .... but my pond and stream are a pale immitation of hers!!!! 

When I took the photo onto the computer I'm amazed at the optical illusion - the pond looks absolutely HUGE - but it is actually only a little more than a metre wide! The joys of photography! Who says the camera never lies! 

.... and this is why

11 May 2012 23:57:10


.... it's called "Snow-in-Summer"

Silver lining

09 May 2012 19:51:36
Veronica Gentianoides

Veronica Gentianoides

My trip around the garden did have one bright spot. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but this little plant is very special - it is the VERY FIRST little plant I ever got from a .ier! When I met Rachel and Liga for the first time at the Altamont Snowdrop Week Rachel gave me a tiny seedling of this Veronica Gentianoides. I minded it carefully and eventually planted it out - and there it sat - got no bigger, got no smaller, just sat there - for over a year! And then, this year I saw it starting to grow! It was a lovely surprise to see its flowers had opened while I was away!

Thank you Rachel! 

I'm cold .....

09 May 2012 19:38:15
Magnolia Soulangeana in trouble

Magnolia Soulangeana in trouble

... and fed up coming back from a lovely time in Barcelona attending my son's wedding and of course spending time with my beautiful granddaughter who definitely thought she was the star of the show!

Took a quick stroll around the garden and was horrified with the damage done by frost while I was away. I only went away for 6 days but it seems the weather decided to throw everything it could at my poor garden when I wasn't looking.

I'm most disappointed that my Wysteria that had only a few flowers last year, and had loads of buds this year but the frost seems to have hit them hard.

The other main casualty seems to be the magnolia - as you can see it is really sad .... not sure if there is anything I can do with it. Any suggestions please? 

... and the moral of the story is ....

01 May 2012 22:29:39
Consolation prize for a difficult day

Consolation prize for a difficult day

The trip to Portlaoise turned into a bit of a saga - having dealt with Lidl, Brendan then dropped me off at Tesco while he went off to his barber, the plan being that he would  pick me up at the car park later. 

I took the opportunity to check out that DEALZ shop that was mentioned in previous journals - and the photo tells the rest!

After that it was the boring household stuff in Tesco, all completed in jig time, and then I headed to the rendevous - or at least where I believed the rendevous was ....

This shopping centre has been completely renovated and enlarged in recent times, and the agreement we had was that he would go to the "old" carpark we always used ..... not well thought out, that part!

After about three quarters of an hour I was doubting where I should be so I trudged off to each of the carpark entrances in turn, but still no sign.

Eventually contact was made, and Brendan headed back to collect me - yes, you've guessed - he had left home without his mobile - so he had to go home to find my mobile number in order to call me to find out where I was!!!! GRRR!!!!

When I say that it is over an hour round trip from Gortnalee to Portlaoise, it is easy to see how I came to spend THREE AND A HALF HOURS waiting for my lift home.

Ant the moral of the story - DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THE MOBILE PHONE!!!! 

Shredder saga ....

01 May 2012 22:17:25
Circular Shredder - from Web

Circular Shredder - from Web

Today being the first day of the new month we headed to Portlaoise to do the main "monthly shop" and Brendan was planning to visit the Barber at the same time. First we hit Lidl where I tried to sort out the shredder problem - oh yes, I got one of the "circular blade" shredders last week. I already have the other one that is great for the chopping up of stuff, but the circular one makes  match-wood out of it. I have had a loan of a circular one for a couple of weeks and used BOTH - first the rough chop, and then put the output from this through the second one and Hey Presto - lovely fine shreddings for my compost heap! - so the new shredder was procured, but it was missing that essential little bag of bits - nuts bolts etc. - to put it together! However, the very helpful manager says the Customer Care people should be able to post it out to me - I'll live in hope!

When I got home I rang the Customer Care number - and the very helpful girl who answered the phone said their "service agent" will sort it out - unfortunately they close at 5 p.m. and it is now 5.05 p.m. but she took my details and I am promised a call first thing tomorrow morning from this service agent .... 

Anyway, hopefully the "shredder production line" should be in action before too much longer ....  


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