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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal September 2012

Last Post 1941 days 10 hours ago

Huh! Sugar Babies!

30 September 2012 21:39:57

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Certain people who I won't name were supposed to be visiting Bay Garden today...... It was raining in Laois this morning but the forecast was that the rain was to clear so i decided to keep the appointment to see this renowned garden and headed off at about 12.15 to make the rendevous. The rain had stopped by then and the sky was beginning to brighten so I was full of optimism that I would be spending the afternoon in a lovely garden in congenial company! Alack and Alas! I was more than half way there when I got a text crying off because of a little bit of rain! I ask you!

Anyway, I continued on my way and was not disappointed by this truly special garden. I had looked at their website but was quite unprepared for what I found there. i suppose because I was seeing it on my own I had no distractions and took my time seeing the many interesting plants and exploring the interesting layout of the garden.

I was struck most of all by the really effective close planting and have got lots of inspiration for filling the gaps in my own garden, not to mention new areas to be covered in the future! I loved the boardwalk and summerhouse. This is how I originally wanted to do my own boardwalk but Brendan was nervous of people falling off the edges so we opted for a "safer" design!

The part that surprised me most was the Barn Garden - described as 

"The most recent addition. Inspired by European perennial planting, the naturalistic beds blend into the surrounding cornfields."

I am not a great fan of Prairie Planting so was not expecting much from this part of the garden but as i was drawn in by the delightful meandering paths I was totally enchanted! So much colour! So many textures! As interpreted in this garden I can finally see why people get so excited about prairie style planting! 

Unfortunately I didn't get to meet the owners of this great garden as they were away but I was well looked after by Michelle, and spent a really enjoyable afternoon there - and guess what? not a drop of rain! Unfortunately the sun waited until I was on the way home to come out so the photos are a little dark ... and I hope the Sugar Babies managed to stay nice and dry !!!!!

satisfying day's work - but not mine!

30 September 2012 00:09:37
Solar Panels extended

Solar Panels extended

Today Gortnalee was a hive of activity - there were a number of tasks requiring Kevin's skills (to those who haven;t met him before, Kevin is my "right-hand man" who gets roped in to any projects that are beyond my strength :-))

1 End fence to be raised in the corner to increase the shelter for the seat there

2. Thujas to be planted

3. Miscellaneous plumbing bits for Brendan

4. Rocks to be removed from the trailer to free it up for use

Then there was the Solar Panel man - we were extending the solar panels we already have so that they can contribute to the underfloor heating as well as the hot water. He had struggled to get them installed on Monday and Tuesday this week in torrential rain, and had to come back today to finishe them off!

I was flitting about doing nothing very spectacular - well,  I did paint the new bit of fencing - when a surprise visitor arrived to see the garden! Alice  is a friend of Kevin's and I had often heard him talk about her!  We spent the rest of the afternoon doing the kind of thorough garden tour that only keen gardeners can appreciate and I was delighted to be able to give her bits and pieces that she hadn't already got! I hope to go see her garden soon!

The reinstatement of the front garden is proceeding apace and I look forward to posting some photos of the finished article before too much longer!

Photo is of the Solar Panels - anyone considering them, if you have a south-facing roof I'd strongly recommend them! I only regret that we didn't go for this option instead of the disastrous Wind Turbine!

New Arrivals

27 September 2012 23:24:13

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Today was a big day in the saga of the front gardens. I went to Timahoe to my newly found Garden Centre "Tree World" where I took delivery of two replacement Thujas, several laurel hedging plants, a Cornus Kousa 'White dream' and a Rhus 'Tiger Eyes' - all fitted in to the boot of the car! Made for an interesting drive home as the two Thujas were trying to get out  through the fron window !!!! - and I'd forgotten that being too close to conifers makes my nose run - so by the time I got home eyes and nose were both streaming :-)

Started to unload the car but had to admit defeat when it came to the Thujas! Fortunately Kevin was able to come over to rescue me - so while I was waiting for him I dug out planting holes for the thujas (which are far too shallow so he will have to rescue me again by planting them!) but I also planted the Cornus, the Rhus, and the contorted Hazels and Robinia (thanks Hazel Lodge) that have been waiting patiently for their new homes!

The re-working of this part of my gardens is a major task and I'm really grateful for the help I'm getting from Kevin - and his girls who were sent to load up stones for me !!! - it is finally feeling like a real opportunity instead of the disaster it was a couple of weeks ago.

Another couple of days and it will be largely completed - all that will be left is to plant out the spring bulbs and other bits and pieces of 'plants in waiting' from my Nursery bed. That part doesn;t feel like work! Its the fun part!


23 September 2012 23:48:10

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Not being privileged to attend posh Fern courses I have to struggle on and devise my own idea of a Fernery. This is a part of the make-over of the front gardens which is still very much a work in progress.

The gravel was laid during the week and is looking well, and there was more than enough in the 10 tons! We even had enough left over to put a layer on the woodland paths! Brendan has taken to strolling in around these little paths which were totally uninviting to him before!

I acquired some lovely logs for the new Fernery - it is the area under the birch trees that I mentioned in a previous journal. The soil in this area is pretty appalling so I've made use of the logs to raise the level of the bed with some topsoil. 

I used thick layers of newspaper under the topsoil to suppress the grass, clover etc. I used this method before with success in the past, so hopefully it will work this time. I didn't want to spray of the grass, and I didn't fancy digging it either! 

The single fern photo is one that I think Jemo brought me? Any chance of a name for it please? I have names for most o the ones I've put in here and I'm afraid all the good advice about which ferns would like this location went out the window - I just went around lifting ferns that were not showing their best and hoping for the best :-D

I also had a few in the "Nursery Bed" that were starting to root through the bottom of their pots.  A couple of pots full of daffodils, bluebells and unidentified spring-type bulbs were scattered about in true woodland manner, and finally some helebore seedlings also found new homes there.


22 September 2012 00:06:46


Look what I found today .... tiny olives on my Olive Tree!!!!!

Has anyone ever got actual edible olives here?

Through other eyes ...

19 September 2012 11:02:05

First steps ....

18 September 2012 23:45:22

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... in getting the garden back in shape after the Bovine Invasion were taken yesterday and today.

Weeding was the first chore - the woodland areas were sadly neglected while the negotiations with the farmer were in progress. Filled three barrows full of weeds between the two days.

This morning 10 tons of gravel were delivered .... along with some weed-block.  More of this later.

Next was the difficult bit - how to get rid of the hoof marks all over the beds. Some of them were about 5 inches deep! They were scattered all over the planted areas and the paths were in a bad way too.

First I raked the paths and leveled them out as much as possible but I think some of that gravel may be called into play to sort them out properly.

Finally I tackled the first of the planted areas. The Hazel Grove was worst so I got cracking on that. The trusty cultivator was called into play and several hours later I can say I have at least ONE of my areas back in shape. and then, just to cheer me up, I spotted this little viola that self-seeded beneath the Hazels!

Heywood revisited

16 September 2012 00:57:27

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Today I went back to Heywood - this time with my visitng son Gerard. We again strolled in the lovely woodland created in the 17th century taking a different route to the one I explored with Elizabeth a week or so ago. Gerard spotted these strange trees where branches seem to be growing in to their neighbouring trunks. Does anyone have an explanation why this happens? Is the the hand of man intervening or do they just do this by themselves?

I'm really getting great enjoyment from visiting my local garden spots this year and appreciating their beauty.

Moving on - watch this space :-)

15 September 2012 00:13:12

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Finally have reached an agreement with the farmer over the damage to our garden when the cattle came calling .... so now it will be all systems go! 

Watch this space!!!!

Sunny afternoon - Steady progress

12 September 2012 23:05:00

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Like Dick I also enjoyed a good day in the garden today. The morning was changeable so i was ducking in and out between the showers, but the afternoon was brilliant! The sun brought the butterfly population out in force and one of the unexpected benefits from my new Sedum Bed is the huge increase in the numbers of these beautiful visitors to my garden! Passing that bed i was surrounded by a virtual cloud of them!

I got the Cosmos all deadheaded and tidied up, and then moved on to the "Inspiration" bed - the one full of gifts from my .ie friends! This bed had pretty awful soil to start with, and I dug in my entire compost heap when it was being planted up. Subsequently I gave it a bit of a top dressing of peat compost. A few weeks ago I spread some fresh shreddings on it but they dried out too much. 

I have a tool that I find very useful - see photo - called a "stand up tiller" that is great for lightly turning over the top of beds so I used it to tackle that bed.  (It is ideal because I could use it without straining the poor wrist) It worked very well to start digging in the shreddings. I was surprised to see how the soil in that bed has improved and I'm hoping that when the worms do their stuff it will finally be decent soil! 

I'm having visitors this weekend and since the front garden is still a mess, I'd like to have the back looking as neat as possible!

... and dead-heading!

12 September 2012 15:40:11

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Today is a day for deadheading. I've hurt my wrist so no "real" gardening is allowed at present. At this time of year there is just such a variety of plants all begging to be tidied up so they can give us their last burst of colour. 

My Cosmos have gone totally ape this year with all the rain - they are in the new bed near the Coffee Corner and are truly the best value for a packet of seeds with oodles of flower buds still to open. they got bashed about a bit so lots of the stems are lying over but once they are stilll attached they just keep on flowering! I actually had to thin them out a bit because they are smothering everything else in that bed!

the sweetpeas are also still giving of their best but need to be deadheaded every day at this stage ...

And then there are the Dahlias!!! I am so proud of them this year as they are plants I grew from seed last year and kept over the winter. deadheading them is a pure joy with the bees and butterflies keeping me company. This little beauty seems to have taken on a faint pinkish hue that I didn't notice earlier....

Rain is stopped now so back out with the secateurs again .... :-)

I love weeding ....

06 September 2012 22:17:56

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... especially on a beautiful sunny day like today!

The sedum bed was where I was weeding today, taking my time and examining the many different little plants in this bed. Weeding really gets me "up close and personal" with my plants and I can even try to memorise the names on labels too!

Many of the sedums are bulking up well, some are already spilling over their boundaries and some are merging together to start forming the carpet that is what I visualised when I first  designed this bed!

Today my weeding was accompanied by clouds of beautiful butterflies fluttering about often within a foot of where I was working - it doesn't get much better than that!

The sedum bed is finished now and won't need attention for a while now. The other tasks for today were dead-heading the dahlias and cutting back the giant daisies by the stream that had collapsed down on top of the other plants in that area. Large chunks of Rosa Rugosa had to be removed so that the path became accessible again. Another wheelbarrow full of stuff for shredding!

I need to start moving my compost heap to where it is needed, but unfortunately it is sp pretty with the Nasturtiums that grew over it that I can't bear to pull them up!

Off to the Independent Republic of Inishown - also known as "God's Own Country" - for a wedding this weekend so the garden will have to look after itself for a few days :-)

Forgotten treasure

05 September 2012 21:34:00

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With all that has been going on recently I had completely forgotten about this pretty Hollyhock! I bought it in Johnstown at the Christmas get-together - Alcea sounded familiar but I couldn't remember what it was! I really need to work on my plant recognition :-) 

But now I am rewarded - and I'm so pleased that so far it has escaped the rust that usually blights these lovely stately plants!

Unexpected presents!

03 September 2012 21:25:30

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On Sunday we visited Brendan's daughter-in-law and had a lovely time with her and her four lovely daughters. She is an "occasional" gardener and this summer she invested in some plants from Aldi but didn't get around to planting them. 

She decided the plants would have more chance of survival in my garden so I was delighted to get a present of some plants. One was a variegated Pieris but the rest are a mystery to me. She says they are climbers so I'd really appreciate any suggestions as to which they might be so that I can plant them in the right place! I know some of you have Aldi nearby and may even have bought the same plants!

Today was a bit busy with other stuff, but I did get a couple of hours outside in the lovely weather. I finally planted the wallflower seeds I bought earlier. Yes, I know! They are over a month late but I reckon that if I didn't plant them I DEFINITELY wouldn't have any walllowers next year, but this way I may be lucky!

I am gradually working my way through the weeding of all the beds in the back garden so that I don't have to face the front :-( 

I hope we can get agreement on the cattle question soon so that I can move on.




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