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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal February 2013

Last Post 1825 days 13 hours ago

Weird problem with the Internet

25 February 2013 20:12:03

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My internet connection went really weird yesterday. I went to log on as usual after tea to see who was around etc. but my browser couldn't find www.garden.ie I tried every trick in the book without success. The really weird thing was that my phone (which has internet from O2) was able to connect without any problems! Unfortunately typing up a journal on the phone is not my idea of fun, so I gave it a miss. Today I spent over two hours on the phone with the Eircom trying to resolve the issue and finally they had to admit that it is their modem that is at fault so I hope to have a new one within 3 days. Bit of a change for me to be at the receiving end of techie troubles!!!

Ok, so I have found a work-around for now, but hopefully when my new modem arrives all will be well.

So when I was finished fighting with the phone people (can't believe I have a second week of phone troubles - who says technology is getting better?) I escaped out to the one place where technology is definitely not needed - my garden! What a beautiful day it was. I began by having a walk around the garden to calm myself after all the stress! 

I was struck by how many of the Sedums have taken on a pretty pinkish hue with the cold weather. Photo 1 is a good example. My Heather Bed is also in full lower. This is such a good-value bed, flowering for months from now right to the summer. Then when the flowers have gone is it still an attractive bed with its gentle mounds of foliage.

Then I got stuck in to a small bed and got it all cleaned up, fed and mulched before darkness fell. I was just starting to tidy up my stuff when I found I had a visitor - the last photo isn't great because it was getting dark but if you look closely there is a cheeky fox in the middle of my garden! He was totally comfortable about ten feet away from me - and when I moved he followed! Must have been there about 15 or 20 minutes! Not sure if I'm pleased or not - just glad I didn't accept the offer of chickens a few weeks ago :-)

I never promised you a Rose Garden .....

22 February 2013 22:27:22

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Well, this week may have been absolutely freezing but it was grand and dry so for the early part of the week I spent as much time as I could in the garden, mainly weeding, feeding and digging over some of the beds. Had some work going on in the house yesterday and today so the garden took a back seat - just as well, as my wrists are complaining about all the weeding!

So what did I get done? Well, the new Rose Garden is coming along nicely - it will be even better when there are more roses planted! I moved any bush or shrub roses in other parts of the garden to the new location, and planted the bargain plants from DEALZ - have to admit they don't look brilliant, there is a sort of waxy stuff on the branches - no doubt to help prevent them loosing too much moisture during tranportation and storage. I presume it will wash off in time. One of them has some buds but they have suffered from lack of light - anyway, if they survive I'll be delighted. 

Got some more roses from Lidl - it's quantity I'm interested in for this new garden as I really just want lots of colour! I used to have lots of roses in a previous garden but the work involved in keeping them looking magnificent was just too much so with this garden I initially didn't plan for ANY roses! But then, before the house was even finished, we got a present of a lovely rose bush from my cousin visiting from New Zealand! Two more presents of roses and I started to weaken .... next thing was I found myself planting climbers and ramblers over the trellis around the lower garden .... and then I came across a rambler that reminded me of my late lamented and much-loved god-mother so that had to get a special place .... and then at my Open Day last year another beautiful and highly perfumed rose arrived and I just gave in completely :-) From that point on I've been considering various options and with the poor results in the vegetable area I came to the conclusion that the perfect place for the Rose Garden is the lower garden and the raised beds will keep the roses in pretty good soil so they have a chance to get established.

Because this area is not "in your face" I reckon I can let the roses do their own thing there with minimal interference from me - well, I suppose an odd bit of food wouldn't go astray .... and the odd spray for blackspot ... and its nice and near to the compost!

So I guess I now have at least the beginnings of a proper Rose Garden!!!!!

P.S. Any suggestions for the pathways?


16 February 2013 22:06:44

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I've spent since Wednesday trying to sort out my new phone - I've been going from Carphone warehouse to O2 and back again without a proper resolution. To put the tin hat on it, when I collected my second replacement phone I forgot to remove the little memory card in the phone I handed in which held all my lovely videos of my granddaughter! Fortunately they still had it in the shop, but as this was my third trip to Portlaoise in as many days I was pretty steamed up when I went back up again today!

Being in such a grumpy mood I decided I needed to be nice to myself, so since I was already half-way there, I headed on to B & Q to get a few of those handy plastic covers for seed trays (€2 each) and also picked up a propagator with a good tall lid for €4.50.

When I had finished with the phone people in Portlaoise it was totally necessary for me to check out what DEALZ had on offer just now ....

Three rose bushes, a Honeysuckle, a couple of Chinese Lanterns and a couple of Echinacea later I was feeling much better!

The new phone is still not working very well, but at least I'll enjoy a bit of planting tomorrow or the next day since the weather forecast is quite good for this area! The one good thing about the new phone is that it has found Rathdowney (our nearest town) so the forecasts should be pretty good :-)

Oh Dear! just listening to the forecast on RTE - hard frost from Thursday :-(

Balmy Spring day

15 February 2013 23:37:07

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Took some photos before I got stuck in to the garden today. The first 'real' daffodil has opened, the Anemone Blanda is just about to open, and the catkins on the Hazels are spectacular this year!

Really enjoyed my time in the garden today although the task in hand was a bit tedious. I'm trying to rid the Small Pond bed of a bad infestation of liverwort. I've read up on this pest and apparently the only cure is to skim off the top layer of soil and bin it - under no circumstances can it go in the compost! 

I always think the Small Pond Bed is small, because the pond is small. It isn't! I did well to get about two thirds of it done. Being down at plant level I was delighted to reacquaint myself with all the nice things in that bed. I moved the Libertia that Fran gave me to a more sunny spot as it has refused to flower were it was before. Clearing the debris from the bed I was delighted to see that the lovely Dicentra has reappeared and there are signs that the paeony is also on its way. It was being crowded out by the Fuschia 'Flashlight' which really took off last year. Elizabeth (my sister) had asked for a piece of this for her growing Fuschia collection so she has a possibility of two full-grown plants!

So having removed the liverwort and any other weeds I encountered I gave the part I cleared a good mulch and some chicken pellets - phew! they certainly pong! - and then I forked over the whole area to try to aerate the soil a bit as it is very heavy clay.

The last bit will be done tomorrow weather permitting!


Myrtle - name please?

12 February 2013 16:56:38

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Last summer, one of the nicest days out I had was the visit to Helen Dillon's wonderful garden in Dublin.

As we left the garden, Myrtle called me and Elizabeth as she had a plant for us in her car. As it was starting to rain we grabbed the goodies with barely time to thank her generousity and a great clump of SOMETHING came home with me. I of course was under strict instructions to divide the spoils with my sister which I duly did.

So for once I in the position that I'm pretty sure who gave me the plant but haven't a clue what it is called!

This is one of the smallest bits but it is too wet to go down on my knees for the ones already planted out!

So please Myrtle, can you name this plant or me?


Not trying to compete ....

10 February 2013 23:54:16

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... but I love my phalaenopsis and it has just rewarded my by starting to flower again! From Rachel's journal I understand that this orchid is really easy to grow, which is just as well, since I tend to be a bit lethal to my house-plants!

One exception is the cactus that I "inheritied" from Brendan's first wife which flowers twice a year for me! I reckon this is just Olive keeping an eye on Brendan and of course on me too!!!!

And by the way, got that rockery cleared of Celandine today in non-raining Laois LOL

Resurrection - and its not even Easter yet!

09 February 2013 22:19:03

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Today I was beavering away in the Hazel Grove when I came upon a great surprise - last summer Mary (Gracedieu) gave me a clump of Cardomine because I had admired it in one of her journals. She assured me it would be happy in partial shade and that it was "pretty vigorous" so I carefully planted it at the edge of the Hazel Grove, watered it well and watched it keenly waiting for the vigorous bit .... it just kind of keeled over and I thought that was that! Imagine my delight when I found a lovely healthy clump has reappeared!

Apart from that, I am happy this evening because today I have finished the first round of the front gardens tidying and weeding. I even got started on the rest! I dealt with the bed where my Tetrapanax is showing signs of waking up - not as advanced as the one in Cork, but I'm just happy that it has survived. That bed also has some ferns in it which have died back. I hope they will recover! One is the ferns is the "Sensitive Fern" Onoclea Sensibilis. The other one is a really pretty tiny one "Miniature Lady Fern" Athyrium Filix-femina Minutissimus. 

My attention was then drawn to the rockery where the dreaded Celandine is staging a take-over! It is appearing not only between but actually mixed in to the poor rockery plants! I made a start on this clean-up but unfortunately the light began to fade so I had to call it a day with less than a quarter of the rockery cleared. Still, it feels good to have completed almost half the garden tidy-up and this is only the second week in February!

Even a short time in the garden is good!

07 February 2013 20:12:58

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I've noticed that days when I have only a short time to spare in the garden I seem to achieve more. The saying that "work expands to fill the time allotted " seems to work in reverse for me - so yesterday when it was lovely and sunny, I could only spare less than an hour in the garden due to other commitments but it was a really happy and fulfilled hour. 

Having decided to stop swimming agianst the tide of the Celandines in the woodland areas I did a great bit of tidying and forking over which would never have got done so quickly if I'd been trying to remove the hundreds of little celandines as well! I am now looking forward to a sea of yellow in a few weeks!

So when my brief time in the garden was finished I stole a few minutes more to take some photos of my dear little helebores. Number one is the wierd one with the two different flowers ! The other two are two I am very proud of because they are seedlings  from my first helebore that have come true and are even better than the original! The flowers are bigger, clearer white. This has encouraged me to take more seedlings this year too! 


Help! What do I do now?

05 February 2013 18:35:58
Help! What do I do now?

Help! What do I do now?

Ok - I know I'm not the best at raising seeds so I decided to try and get ahead of the posse and planted up some seeds on the last day of January. Put them in the propagator and lo and behold - the Cosmos and the schizanthus shot up within a few days. They are is the living room which is probably a bit too hot for them.

Now my dilemma is what do I do with them now? I've removed the lids and taken them off the heat but I'm not sure what to do with them until they grow their first true leaves.

Would they survive better in the greenhouse? I have a frost-heater there so the temperature won't drop below about 5 degrees ....

The other seeds in the propagator are also germinating but don't seem to be in the same hurry as these two!

The trouble with getting all these plants .....

02 February 2013 22:01:56
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

...is that sooner or later they have to be planted!

Laois had lovely weather today but I didn't get outside till the afternoon and decided I would leave the clearing up that I've been concentrating on in recent weeks for a bit of planting!

First to find a home was Trachycarpus Fortuneii that has been waiting to be planted for months! I had it in the greenhouse but have been hardening it off for a while. This plant was a gift from Bakker and is a good size. I've put it in the centre of the flower shape in the Sedum Bed to give it a bit of vertical interest. I hope it survives!

Then I took the Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ that I got in Altamont yesterday and wandered around the front of the house trying to find the best spot for it. Eventually it ended up in the bed nearest the car parking area as this is where we should get most benefit from its winter perfume!

Next were the foxgloves - I already had some from JoanG at Johnstown and she brought some more yesterday so I've made two clumps of them in the new areas in the woodlands. Thank you Joan!

In the wheelbarrow I still had the snowdrops and cyclamen from Altamont and the Kaffir Lilies from Clare. I started on the snowdrops planting them around the conifers next the driveway. This was quite a task as I had to remove lots of Celandine first! I got one side planted up - about 70 or 80 bulbs so far - and the bad is only half empty! Certainly a generous "100 bulbs in the green" from Altamont!!!

Unfortunatley the light was fading by then so the second side will have to wait for another day, as will the Kaffir Lilies - both are safely tucked up in the greenhouse with some nice damp compost to keep them cosy!

Anois teacht an Earraigh

01 February 2013 21:45:27
Anois teacht an Earraigh

Anois teacht an Earraigh

By the Poet Antaine Ó Raifteirí 1784-1835

Anois teacht an Earraigh 
beidh an lá dúl chun shíneadh, 
Is tar eis na féil Bríde 
ardóigh mé mo sheol.
Go Coillte Mach rachad 
ní stopfaidh me choíche 
Go seasfaidh mé síos 
i lár Chondae Mhaigh Eo."

I gClár Chlainne Mhuiris 
A bheas mé an chéad oíche, 
Is I mballa taobh thíos de 
A thosós mé ag ól 
Go Coillte Mách rachad 
Go ndéanfad cuairt mhíosa ann 
I bhfogas dhá mhíle 
Do Bhéal an átha Mhóir.

Translated by Frank O'Connor

Now with the springtime
The days will grow longer
And after St. Bride's day'
My sail I'll let go
I put my mind to it,
And I never will linger
Till I find myself back
In the County Mayo.

In Clare of Morris family
I will be the first night
and in the Wall on the side below it
I will begin to drink
to Maghs Woods I shall go
until I shall make a months visit there
two miles close
to the Mouth of the Big Ford.


What a day for the first day of Spring!

01 February 2013 21:40:47

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I'm with Dick - St Bridgets Day is the start of Spring for me! And what a lovely way to welcome the Spring - in Altamont, that most beautiful of Spring gardens in the company of .IER friends! I headed off this morning paying no attention to maps etc because from previous visits Altamont was always well signposted from the Carlow ring road. Oh Dear! they have taken down ALL the brown signs for the gardens on the Carlos Garden Trail from ALL the roundabouts. I vaguely remembered I needed to head towards Tullow so that was what I did but the road didn't look familiar at all - and I have been there loads of times :-( Eventually panic took over so I pulled in and called Fran. As we were trying to talk on a dreadful line I opened the map on the seat beside me and guess what was the first thing I spotted? Yes, Altamont Gardens clearly marked with a pretty flower. That DEFINITELY wasn't there when I looked at it before .....

Anyway, in the end I actually got there before Fran & Co so didn't feel quite so stupid. 

And wasnt it well worth the trip! I love Altamont at any season but it is particularly pretty in Spring. Strolling around in such congenial company added to my enjoyment and meeting a .IER on his first outing with us was an additional bonus!

My inspiration for my woodland areas comes from Altamont - I'm afraid I still have a long way to go! Still short of some 150-year old trees with moss creeping up their trunks, for example!

Now if I could only have escaped without visiting the Plant Sales .... some hope! i am now the proud owner of a Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’, some pretty Cyclamen Hederifolium and was just congratulating myself on staying within my budget when I spotted the snowdrops "in the green" that I remembered from last year ... Ah well, I didn't buy them last year so I couldn't be expected to be so good today, now could I?

The last thing Brendan said to me when I set off was "Are you going to buy MORE plants?" - probably because the "plants in waiting " area is getting full up again! I also  was the happy recipient of "goodies" from Clare, Fran and Joan for which I am really grateful, particularly as I had nothing to bring to the feast myself this time!

The visit was made even more enjoyable by the bright spring sunshine although the wind was very cold. Adjourning to the Forge for lunch was just the icing on the cake. Thanks Fran for organising the outing! Looking forward to lots more as the year progresses!


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