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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal March 2013

Last Post 1792 days 22 hours ago

Its the boring bit now .....

30 March 2013 23:23:15
Evidence - flattened foliage and cut off flowers

Evidence - flattened foliage and cut off flowers

Only got a couple of hours outside today despite the great weather - cold but sunny - and the solar panels were nearly exploding!

First off I inspected the damage the rooks have done to the daffodils under the bird feeders. They seem to be particularly persistent this year, making lots of attempts to get at the food in the feeders - one even managed to squeeze into the birdhouse to get at the seeds in there!

Having recorded the evidence of their marauding I got down to the task in hand. This was the boring bit - I was reorganising the raised beds in the lower garden to accommodate more rose bushes for my new Rose Garden. This involved two weary hours moving heavy clay soil and compost so that the raised beds have sufficient soil to plant out the 6 rose bushes recently delivered from Bakkers.

Just got the job finished when I had to go indoors - Brendan and I were going for dinner in our very favourite restaurant - Fiacri country House near Roscrea. We both had birthdays this month and this place is a real special place for us so now I'm sitting back well fed and sipping a glass of wine ... and of course planning what to do next in the garden :-)

THAT'S not Helen Dillon's garden .....

29 March 2013 12:54:36

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No, it's Jacinta's delightful front garden - such originality in an ordinary suburban garden cannot be praised too much! 

I was so glad that we rearranged out trip yesterday - Helen Dillon's garden will have to wait for summer!

The others have given a real flavour of the day, so I have nothing really to add - Oh except for the Facebook bit ....

Jacinta convinced me I should join the Facebook group for friends from this site. Now I have to say that although I have had a Facebook account for some time I have never bothered much with it as I didn't seem to get the hang of it at all so I somewhat reluctantly went to the site and requested to join that elite group!

Jacinta took a hand here and sent me a load of people to be my "friends" so I clicked away merrily and even managed to have a chat with someone - but then it started ... my phone has a kind of a bird-call every time I get an email, but I now know that it also gives a bird-call every time I get a Facebook notification. And then, since every Facebook message results in an email, my phone was sounding like a demented Blackbird for the rest of the evening .... and some people go online at 6 am. ....

So over breakfast I logged on and did my best to shut these chirpings up!

Having said that, I'll give it a go for a while and see how I get on :-)

 However, I don't see myself giving up on this site any time soon. I like its simplicity and the journals make very interesting reading - so all you Facebook fans - keep in touch here too!!!!

Indoor gardening

27 March 2013 18:28:58

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Yesterday I braved the weather and spent some time in the greenhouse, but even with the heater it wasn't pleasant so today I decided to garden indoors instead!

It took quite a few trips to the greenhouse and shed before I was ready to start work, but what  fun I had!

The little propagators were nearly all empty having been potted on so they got a good wash, and then it was time for planting!

I haven't really got the patiece for seed growing - I just take a notion every now and again to plant up some seeds and am then thrilled if anything somes up!

First I went through the tin of seed packets - putting back the ones that need sowing directly, or that need planting in Autumn (I'm not totally hopeless!)

Half a packet of Sweet Pea were put to soak, then they and the half pack of Cosmos 'Purity' were planted in the big seed propagator. I like this one because it has lots of height in the lid so plants have room to grow a bit.

A packet of Nicotiana Sylvestris that came free with a magazine were next. I already have some Nicotiana Alata that have germinated - they came free with another magazine :-)

I had one lonely seed pod from my Ricinus that Bill gave me that has been sitting in a dish on my worktop for months so I split it open and there was a nice healthy-looking seed inside - now planted and in a plastic bag! Not looking or much - 100% germination LOL.

The Solanum that also came from Bill has struggled through the winter in the greenhouse, and I collected a few fruits from it. They were chock full of seeds so I spread them on paper and dried them in the sun. When they had dried out They were popped in to another of the little propagator trays.

Liga gave me some seeds at Johnstown - Chelone Oblique, and my Kris Kindle included Lychnis Chalcedonica so they were both planted. Googled both these plants and they look great - really hope they come up!

Also did some potting on of house-plants and labelling plants for tomorrows trip.

At the moment all the seed trays are along the south-facing window of the living room but this room is probably far too hot for them so I would like to put them in the cooler bedrooms instead - but which would be best - East facing or West facing?  

Helpful little visitors

26 March 2013 22:05:56

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Yesterday some little visitors came to see us with their Mummy - three delightful little boys aged from 6 down to 3. As they dismounted from the car, the middle guy, Vincent, said "Oh Mummy! The lovely flowers!" He had spotted my spring flowers in the Gardiniere.

They live in the city so when they arrived they were overjoyed to see our neighbouring cows peeing peering over the fence! They galloped down to the end of the garden and had to be dragged in for grub!

After lunch they went out to explore the rest of the garden and really enjoyed themselves - weren't we blessed that it didn't rain!

The eldest lad came to me and wanted to "work" in the garden so I found some little plants for him to plant which kept him happy! Then they wanted the stream working so I turned it on and was happy to find that the pump has survived another winter LOL

I went down to see how it was going and young Pearse was busy rearranging the stones in the stream (see the top photo) because "they were stopping the water from going down"  - I didn't like to say that they were carefully placed in the stream to camouflage the liner .....

So when they tired of the stream and the cows they headed for the front woodlands and some exciting games of chasing ensued. When the grown-ups had to stop for breath the lads found a new game - the branches used for edging paths made great weapons - and could also be used for digging - preferably in the middle of said paths!

So today I wrapped up warm and went out to view the devastation - and spotted this little plant with its coating of "icing sugar"!

So as I went around the garden I had to say "What devastation?" ten minutes putting branches back on path edges , two minutes replacing the misplaced stones! Well worth the delight those kiddies gave us for the day!

Pampas Saga

23 March 2013 22:08:44

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You may remember the lovely photos I posted last October of my Pampas Grass that was really excellent then.

Well, the traditional way to manage this rather exhuberant plants is to set fire to it in the spring, allowing the new growth room to develop. I did this a couple of years ago and judging by the results it was definitely the way to go.

So a couple of weeks ago, off I went armed with a couple of old newspapers and a box of matches. It was a reasonably windy day, which helps the process, so I was quite conident that it would do the same as it did previously - Alas! Not so! the fires sulked, burned off some of it and left a truly horrible mess of half-burned flower plumes and leaves.

Today, I went out to see if I could sort out the mess.

First I tried setting fire to the mortal remains - another couple of newspapers, some cardboard and half a box of matches later and still no joy.

I left it too cool down while I had lunch and then went back to the fray ....

Second idea was to take out the chain-saw I use to trim the hedges. This seemed like a good idea but the strands of the leaves kept fouling up the machine so it was back to the drawing board.

Third idea - secateurs and strong gloves. This worked quite well but was very labour-intensive however I persevered and reduced the plant to a rather jagged mound.

Being me, I wasn't satisfied with this, as it still showed lots of half-burnt bits and was definitely messy.

Finally out came the Hedge-trimmer. Now why didn't I think of that sooner? It was perfect! Tough enough to make short work of the stumps and burned bits so the final result was much neater! Now all I have to do is hope I haven't managed to kill it completely LOL

The entire grass was littered with the debris, so when I'd raked up the worst of it I took out the mower and ran it over the area which picked up almost all the remaining debris. Very happy with the result.

Helen Dillon - Wednesday? Thursday? Friday?

23 March 2013 11:58:41

Garden Thoughts

23 March 2013 11:35:44

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This Christmas I was given a really thoughtful present, a little page-a-day calendar for Gardeners. Each day I delight in getting to a new page and new thought - some of them are a bit mundane but I thought yesterday's was a cracker:

"Who bends a knee where violets grow a hundred secret things shall know" 

This set me thinking about all the little bits of knowldege I've gathered over the years about gardening - you know, the things you just do by instinct like clearing stuff back from little treasures in the garden that might get smothered!

Where did all this come from? 

My mother and her sister were both gardeners and I remember as a young girl that after tea, when the dishes were done, my mother would say "lets walk around the garden". It was a good size suburban garden so as we walked around the garden she would remark about the different plants and what they were doing. Without realising it much of her wisdom must have entered my subconscious.

Years later, as my beloved godmother Ede found her garden a bit much for her, I visited her regularly and helped in her larger and more "native" garden - she and I spent many happy hours taming the wilderness - and appreciating the beauty of the plants she loved. She was also a gifted artist and rendered many beautiful Pastels of her beloved flowers.

Nowadays it is Gardening Magazines, programmes on TV and most of all, the collective wisdom of my Garden.ie friends!

But none of this really answers the question. I believe that when we garden being on our knees weeding and tending our beloved plants THAT is where we really learn those "secret things" in the quotation.

Path Woman Records the Progress

21 March 2013 16:00:07

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Woke this morning to pretty loud wind noises and the forecast was that you people down south were sending up some very nasty showers so I got out into the garden straight after breakfast to ge that darned path finished!

This time I remembered to bring out the little camera - the one that fits in my pocket and works most of the time :-)

I know I'm being accused of being a perfectionist and other such nasty things, but this path was really annoying me - firstly because it was unpleasent to walk on it because it was so up-and-down - but secondly because it is what I see when I look out my kitchen window and it just looked WRONG!!!

So finally it annoyed me so much that I had to do something about it.

Picture One is the  pile of small rocks that Cherub helped me excavate yesterday. Mere pebbles to a Cherub of such experience, but a bit too big for little ol' Hazel to root out unaided!

PictureTtwo is the path properly dug out - next time I want a proper path I'll do this bit first .

Picture Three is the finished project - I even managed to use up some of the excavated stuff to improve the edges.

I'm a happy camper now, the view from my Kitchen no longer annoys me and I even got the rest of the stream bed weeded before the rain really came down! Thank heaven for Ski-gear - waterproof and warm - what more could you want?



Progress on the path

20 March 2013 21:31:07
Path 'Before' picture taken last September

Path 'Before' picture taken last September

Today turned into a lovely Spring day here but unfortunately I had only the morning to give to the garden.

I got stuck in to that path renovation that I mentioned in my last journal. As I skimmed off about six inches of soil it became clear why I have had such difficulty getting this path to level out. As I shifted barrow loads of soil,every now and again I would get that familiar clunk that Peter describes so well! Time to send for Cherub and arm myself with the crowbar - fortunately Cherub seemed to be able to manage bi-location as he was helping me with rocks (mere babies compared to Peter's!) at the same time as he was helping Peter get his monsters into the wheelbarrow in Carlow!

So it took 5 wheelbarrows of soil, 5 large rocks and numerous stones to be removed to give me the level path I've been seeking.

Tomorrow should see the end of this project - just need a bit of weedblock and then rake back the finings I removed yesterday!

No photos of the work in progress - but here is another view of how it looked from a distance - not too bad from a distance, but annoying me because I knew how uneven it was :-(

What next?

19 March 2013 18:30:34

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That's what Brendan said when he saw me today out in the garden transplanting some Violas in the rain ....

I had gone out to do a little bit of maintenance on one of the paths - yes, that's another bit of wisdom from Monty - when making a path the important bit is the foundation ....

I made a path last summer in a bit of a hurry - My Open Day was coming down the tracks fast and if I had any sense I would have left the path till after that day, but when did I ever have sense?

The path was never quite right - it had a kind of hump in the middle that was not very pleasing to the eye nor was it very comfortable underfoot. As time passed, the levels of the gravel got messed up so it needed fixing.  So today I began the task of correcting it by raking off all the stone surface - the grey "finings" I used on all my main paths.

For once, I listened to my back and stopped there!

Beside that path are the nursery beds, so I couldn't resist doing a bit of weeding when the rain started, very gently at fists, so I thought I'd just get the Violas transplanted .... by the time I'd finished it had turned to sleet!

Spent the rest of the afternoon looking at back-issues of Alan Titmarsh "Love your Garden" series on U-tube!

Look what i found in the greenhouse!

18 March 2013 01:21:04
Cardiocrinum Giganteum

Cardiocrinum Giganteum

At the previous Johnstown gathering I got some seeds from a very enthusiastic member - I think it was Jemo - and he was kind enough to write down the name for me - which is just as well! And he did warn me that they might take a long time to germinate - "just put them in the back of the greenhouse and forget about them" - so I did just that!

I very occasionally had a look, and even gave them a drop of water once in a while, but mainly I ignored them.

Imagine my surprise when I checked them yesterday - Cardiocrinum Giganteum 

Has a look in the gardening book to see what to do next - I'll need some patience, I think! Even if the seeds had developed to be little bulbs I would still have about 7 years before they'll flower!

So thanks, Jemo, if it was you - or if not, maybe the kind donor will identify themselves????

Monty says ....

18 March 2013 00:56:01

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....that creating a path is a most satisfying task. I totally agree!

In my garden there are a number of little paths that have kind of evolved as access paths for maintenance. One good thing about having a garden with stoney soil is that you are never short of nice stones to edge paths!

So I've been a happy camper the past couple of days arranging stones as edging, weeding and finally topping paths with gravel left over from the makeover of the front areas. I'm really pleased with the results although the light was fading before I got good photos ...

There are still a couple of paths to sort out, and fortunately there is still a small pile of the gravel, so that's my task for the next few days! There is an urgency in getting rid of the pile of gravel as I'm anticipating a visit from three little boys and the mind boggles as to what they might get up to with such a tempting item right outside the door :-)

...Five days away ....

13 March 2013 23:03:57

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Arrived back from Barcelona and a great few days with the beloved granddaughter late alst night so didn't get to check out the garden until this morning. What a surprise - in such a short time the daffodils had make great strides. as had the little crocusses.

Does anyone else find that Crocus appear in all sorts of unexpected places? I'm finding them this year in places I definitely didn't plant them!

The greenhouse stuff has also had a great spurt so I'll have to get cracking on potting on the seedlings!

No sign of the dahlias sprouting yet, which is just as well! With this frosty weather I'm having to keep lots of stuff in the greenhouse that would normally be toughing it out in the nursery beds so tending them is a bit of a nightmare!

Putting up an album of the things that pleased me when I came home ...

For Dick - although I'm sure he knows it .....

04 March 2013 23:17:08
From the Web - Derwent Water & Daffodils

From the Web - Derwent Water & Daffodils


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

William Wordsworth

Best way to spend a birthday

04 March 2013 23:08:53

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Set off early this morning for Dublin and my sister Elizabeth's garden. I owe her so much "gardening time" so we took advantage of a lovely mild Spring day to do a bit of planning - she has been working very hard getting her garden back in shape after some major work on the house last summer.

Her garden is chock-a-block with plants, and she is a serious compost maker, so there are lots of containers full of compost in various stages of maturity - so all this "brown gold" is taking from the  overall appearance of the garden, so when Elizabeth asked for my opinion I suggested that the most urgent task was to filll up the raised beds with it. 

We made a start by rescuing her Lord Buddha who had sunk down so he was only peeping over the edge of that blue pot! He has been given a suitable seat (otherwise known as an upturned flowerpot) and has been surrounded by gorgeous  compost. There are lots of tulips appearing in this pot, but when last year's compost shrank down the bulbs were starting to appear above the soil! They are now well covered, and even if their flowering is delayed a little it will be well woth while!

Then Elizabeth opened a bag containg her "horrible weed" compost and expressed doubts as to whether to use it - WOW! I have never seen such beautiful compost - rich black and crumbly - alright - it did take a couple of years to get to this stage, but I think any fears she has of a major invasion of weeds from this compost are pretty unfounded!

I look forward to my next visit when I hope all those great raised beds will be filled to the brim with great compost!

Thank you dear sister for a lovely time on my birthday!


I love March

03 March 2013 00:53:53

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March is my favourite month of the year. I celebrate my birthday, mothers day, st patricks day and sometimes even Easter! And today was the best that March can offer - bright sunshine and gentle breeze - so I spent as much time as possible in the garden.

It was planting time for the goodies I've bought recently - so the rose bushes got planted in the new rose garden, the bulbs were too good to pass up - Dealz best - two for the price of one! I've planted them in modules and small pots this year. Last year I got some bulbes from Dealz and planted them all in the ground and spent months trying to figure out which was which :-)

I've reached the lower end of the garden in my progress of cleaning and tidying the various areas in the garden. I'm getting impatient now, as when I'm going down to the latest bed to clear I'm passing by the ones not done yet and their weeds are screaming at me!!!

The bed I was working on today is the one where I planted all the lovely gifts from visiting .ier gardens. Most of them are doing well, and one in particular is doing more than fine - it definitely is aiming for World Domination! And gues who gave it to me? Yes, Bruno, the king of the invasives!!!! It is a really pretty Euphorbia - Euphorbia Sequieriana Niciciana  - which is described as clump forming - but it managed to make a pretty little clump and has sent out runners for about a metre all around it!

I need to move it to somewhere it can spread to its hearts content!

As usual, time ran out before I got finished - really must look into putting in those lights they use for playing football at night :-D


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