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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal June 2013

Last Post 1605 days 6 hours ago

Finishing touch

30 June 2013 00:05:27

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The thing about my garden is that it is definitely a work in progress. I tend to get a bit carried away with a new project every now and again but sometimes I have to do stuff in stages .... Now the thing about stages is that there can be quite a while between stages, but as long as I keep the ideal clear in my head, they eventually get done.

I put in some raised beds for my strawberries a few years ago. They were made from scaffolding boards and I gave them a coat of creosote to preserve them which looked Ok the first year but since then they have gradually deteriorated so that they looked pretty drab.

I also had feature beds made from the same material on my Wind Plaza (the location of the late lamented Wind Turbine) and they didn't even get the creosote!

Last year I bought a tin of that outdoor paint that all the trendy garden designers are so fond of, and it sat, with a brand new paintbrush on top, in the corner of the kitchen until this Friday.

So as I said, the stages sometimes have long gaps between them ... but both areas have had their finishing touches at last!

I was hoping to put the finishing touches to the Rose Garden too but unfortunately ran out of bark ..... Stage Two will be when I get more bark next week !!!!

Oh, and I did a bit of a Dash and have put up an album!

Garden Visit or Garden Ordeal?

25 June 2013 23:26:41

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I’ve been thinking about Open Days – probably because I have had two very enjoyable ones in the past week. A chance remark has raised the question – why do we open our gardens to our .ier friends?

So I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject and see what people think.

Last year I opened my garden for the first time and to prepare for this big occasion I nearly worked myself into the ground aiming for perfection – perfect lawns, perfect edges, not a weed in sight etc. etc. etc. but didn’t achieve any of these things completely.

I was very flattered that so many of you took the trouble to visit me on that happy day, and was so uplifted by all the positive comments and helpful suggestions that it carried me through the year on a sort of wave of encouragement. If anyone noticed the odd dandelion hiding among the Geraniums, or the buttercups invading the lawns, or the thistles creeping in from the field next door, nobody mentioned them! All they noticed were my plants, my garden in general and it seemed to please them, weeds and all!

The two gardens I visited this week were truly beautiful, but both my hosts made reference to areas they hadn’t got around to weeding – truthfully, I was blissfully unaware of these areas and the gardens were in no way diminished in my eyes.

Now am I the only one or do others manage to completely overlook the odd weed or the less-than-perfect edging when visiting a friends garden?

Are people put off the idea of sharing their gardens because they feel the bar has been set too high?

Are we trying to win “Super Garden at Bloom” or just trying to share our beloved gardens with like-minded people?

I have a tentative date for an Open Day in August this year – Should I be driving myself crazy aiming for the stars?

Or should I continue with my regular weeding and tidying just giving a bit of an extra push before the day?

Will people stone me to death if my garden isn’t perfect?????

I sure hope not!

My conclusion is that the perfect garden visit is one where I meet up with my gardening friends, we sometimes swap plants, we admire our host’s garden but most of all the craic and chat is the best bit.

Sumjak's Summer Open Day

23 June 2013 23:58:27

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Today was not a very promising day for a garden visit but Elizabeth and I headed off deciding to ignore the weather!

I am so glad we did! I visited this remarkable garden in the spring and was pretty much blown away with the scope and the scale of it, so to see it again now clad in its Summer abundance was a real treat!

Terry and Martin are most welcoming hosts and the garden was explored with great enthusiasm. For Elizabeth it was her first visit and while she loved the whole place her favourites were the black & white Irises and the wide selection of geraniums and aquilegia which are allowed to self-seed throughout the borders.

For me it was the lushness of the whole garden, particularly that bed Mary mentioned above the new pond - in April when I visited that border was so devoid of interest that I didn't even walk past it, and now, three short months later it is a blaze of colour and bursting with life! As Mary said this is an area with great promise already showing through.

These aquilegias are just a few of the many, as you can see they are very beautiful.

As usual, the chat and tea and cakes were memorable! It was great to meet up with Rachel, Norman and the brood, and of course Paddy. so sorry to miss you Mary!

Thanks for a lovely day, Terry!

Summer Rain

22 June 2013 23:49:53

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There is something special about the showers in my garden today - they didn't last long but surprisingly the rain was WET!!!

I was tackling the weeding in the Oak bed today - determined to get it finished despite the summer showers. The first shower I ignored for the first five minutes - it was light drizzle rather than real rain - but ater five minutes I had to admit defeat and retreat to the greenhouse till it passed. This was the pattern for the rest of the morning but the gaps between the showers were long enough for me to get the bit I wanted to do finished so I was a happy camper!

With the recent rain the weeds had really taken off and the skutch grass was the worst but to my surprise they were really easy to take out, with the long roots sliding easily out of the wet soil. 

Mowed the grass in the afternoon - it is really a misnomer calling it grass - it is now a buttercup and clover lawn! I might go mad and give it a weed-and-feed but I'm afraid I'll be left with large bald patches if I do! i also don't really want to spend too much time on it as its days are numbered! The plans are already germinating in my head for that area and the final achievement of the "garden with no lawn" that I promised Brendan when we moved here! Not going to happen this year so the grass needs to be kept in check for this season anyway!

Flowers in other parts of the garden are making me very happy too! 

SallySarah has a lovely garden!

21 June 2013 22:36:34

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Just back from a short break in Mayo - We started the trip with a visit to SallySarah's garden and what a lovely visit it was! In the generally stoney and hilly terrain of Mayo she and Peter have created a beautiful garden on a most unpromising site. When we arrived at the bottom of the drive we could see that this garden is a real triumph. The border of the drive must be at an angle of more than 45 degrees but they have managed to persuade shrubs and plants to cling to the slope and with the good drainage they all seem to flourish! 

On the other side of the drive there are two amazing lawns - similar slope to the other side - manicured and beautiful! I was afraid to ask who did the mowing :-)

They created some flat area by building a high rock bed all from rocks from the site which has become a feature of itself. I love the clever way that  hedges are used in this garden, set back far enough to be unobtrusive, but still providing the essential shelter that garden needs as the wind sweeps across from Croagh Patrick!

On the terrace created above the stone slope we spotted Peter working away at the vegetables! 

Then round the back of the house and a lovely sheltered patio with the healthiest Hostas I've seen in a long time! Sally is gradually conquering the steep bed behind the house encouraging various plants to colonise it. Not an easy task as this bed is almost vertical! 

I even sneaked up above that area to the woodland area where Sally has some lovely Rhodos looking very good! She tells me the site continues back much further up the hill - it is a native woodland and a very suitable backdrop to this lovely garden!

Coming down from the woodland there is a delightful herbaceous bed where Sally is very expert in "managing" the self-seeders she likes in this bed. A perfectly positioned seat lets you take in the lovely garden but protects from the wind!

All in all, we had a lovely time. The tea and chat was most welcome too  and we left feeling we had really made some new .ier friends! Thank you Sally and Peter for  a lovely visit!

SallySarah Open Day tomorrow!

17 June 2013 23:15:13

Singin' in the Rain

17 June 2013 00:22:56

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Its now official - the neighbours think I'm nuts! Got home from the hospital this evening disappointed that the rain had come before I got home so I thought I'd just take a quick walk down to see if my lettuce seeds had appeared .... and just "happened" to grab the camera on my way out the door .... 

Now aren't these flowers just Singin in the Rain

Name please?

14 June 2013 21:06:39
Name please?

Name please?

As usual, the writing washed off the label for this lovely plant - it was featured in a lot of the gardens at Bloom this year and for me its a real winner!

Can anyone identify it for me please? I have now got a proper permanent marker for my labels, you'll be glad to hear!

Native

14 June 2013 21:03:28
Guelder Rose - Viburnum Opulus

Guelder Rose - Viburnum Opulus

Having seen that lovely journal about the Native Orchids I was prompted to put up this photo of my native Viburnum Opulus, the Guelder Rose! They are an important part of my woodland area and this year the flowers are the best I've seen so far!

Looking a bit better

14 June 2013 20:49:47
Looking a bit better

Looking a bit better

I'm a bit scattered at the moment because Brendan is back in hospital for a while,  but I'm managing to get out for short gardening spells between the showers.

Today was the turn of the soft fruits. Last year we put up some nets over the currants, raspberries and gooseberries held up with a very inelegant framework of off-cut timbers. I was frantic to prevent the birds from getting at the fruits and was rewarded with a bumper crop, partucularly the currants! The only disappointment was that instead of one black and one red currant, both were black. And they ripened when I had a house full of guests and no time to deal with them .... and anyway I really prefer red ones .... and when I tried to weed or trim that area I nearly got decapitated by the Heath Robinson kind of framework for the netting.

So this year things were going to be different .... I decided that the birds can have their share of the currants .... so step one was to remove the offending framework. The place looked better already! That was WEEKS ago and every time I went down to the lower garden these bushes were rebuking me - the weeds were taller than the bushes! ... and then there was the unfortunate Rhubarb ... planted rather unwisely at the corner of the path so that it was constantly getting bashed by wheelbarrows etc.

So today it all came together. The rhubarb has a new home in the Lasagne Bed that I finished off to Rachel's recipe this year. The soil in that bed was the best I've seen in my garden in the whole five years I've been cultivating it! I hope the Rhubarb likes its new home!

The late-fruiting raspberries finally got the dead branches trimmed off - they should have been cut right down to the ground in the spring, but that didn't happen so at least they look a bit tidier now.  All looking a bit more ship-shape now!

Now all you birds who are delighting me with your birdsong, don't forget to leave me a few berries ....

Aquilegia

11 June 2013 22:48:58
Beautiful unexpected arrival

Beautiful unexpected arrival

"Aquilegia", according to Wikipedia, is derived from the Latin name for an Eagle because the petals resemble an Eagle's claw. the common name, "Columbine", comes from the Latin word for Dove because the inverted flowers look like doves clustered together.

My late mother-in-law couldn't quite remember the common name and regularly referred to these pretty flowers as "Concubines" much to our amusement!

They always bring a smile to my face, not only for this memory but also for their great beauty!

I've just found this one in the Stream bed - it must have come as a passenger with another plant as I have no others anything like it!

I've put up an album of my Aquilegia, Columbine or maybe even Concubine!

Colour Combinations

11 June 2013 01:03:25

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Gardeners World this month had a big article about colour combinations and how the colours we prefer gives an indication of our personality so I headed out with the camera to have a look at what colour combinations I have in my garden - I'm afraid I don't fit in to any of the categories they describe!

 

A very big THANK YOU!!!!

04 June 2013 22:14:44
A good Voucher's worth

A good Voucher's worth

Way back in January when we gathered in Johnstown to convince ourselves that Spring was on the way some of you very generously gave me a gift voucher for Johnstown - this was totally unexpected and very much appreciated!

I have spent that voucher in my head many times since then, but somehow it always seemed to be that if I had time to stop off in Johnstown I didn't have the voucher with me, or if I had the voucher I only passed Johnstown when it was shut!

However, today I managed to get my act together - a bit of time to spare and the voucher safely in the handbag!

I was like a kid in a sweetshop! Somehow having a voucher to spend has a kind of magical feel for me - and since I'd been planning the spend for months, the whole process was very easy!

My new Rose Garden was short a couple of rose bushes because my "slips" haven't got going very well yet so first off  I headed for the rose section. Imagine my delight to find two roses there that are old friends - Peace and Fragrant Cloud! Rose Garden sorted! Then I chatted with one of the very helpful staff about something for my woodland area to give the Celandine a run for its money. The suggestion was Periwinkle so they were added to the trolley.

There was still a little left on the voucher so three little strawberry plants just filled the bill!

I cannot express how much this kind gift has lifted my spirits - I came home and with such a beautiful day I went straight out and planted the goodies!

So a really big THANK YOU to my garden.ie friends who were so kind :-)

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