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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal September 2013

Last Post 1515 days 15 hours ago

New Willow Project

28 September 2013 17:02:27

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Its official - I'm drowning in Willow!

I tackled the willow fence the other day and generated an unbelievable volume of stuff for shredding. I had left the top growth on it when it got its Spring haircut as I had an idea I might want to do another bit of fencing or something. 

Elizabeth, my usual partner in crime, came down for the day yesterday and we set about a new Willow Project. The morning was spent preparing the willow rods we needed and the afternoon was spent beginning the construction.

I had spent the previous evening browsing the web for ideas for a structure or sculpture and finally settled on the idea of an Arbour.

I'm afraid it doesn't look much like an arbour yet, but time ran out on us and Elizabeth had a train to catch .....

The first ".ier" garden I visited a few years ago was Headgardners and they had planted up lots of interesting willow structures - any chance of some photos of how they are now Bill?

Happens to the best of us ...

27 September 2013 22:37:10

More path clearing

26 September 2013 23:59:23

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Today I remembered to do the "before" and "after" photo of one of the paths! i wonder do more of you have the problem I have - when my neighbouring farmer cuts his silage the seeds from the grass give me a great crop of grass on the paths  :-)

Took a break from the weeding to do a bit of pruning and dead-heading so the garden is looking nice and neat now!

Every cloud has a silver lining ......

25 September 2013 22:28:31

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These overcast days really play havoc with my mood - I just kept looking out at the garden, with all the unfinished jobs rebuking me - but couldn't motivate myself to go out and do something about them. However, this afternoon I gave myself a good talking-to (as you do!) and donned the gardening gear and ventured out.

There were pots crying out for a drop of water for starters - but the watering cans were so full of gunk that they kept clogging up the roses so first task was to wash out the cans - felt very virtuous after tha task was completed - and the watering cans actuallly sprayed properly for a change!

After all that excitement I needed a mundane task to ground myself .... so I started weeding the paths - Ugh - and the paving around the Pergola - Double Ugh!

Then, just to put the tin hat on it the rain came down - not heavy, just those widely spaced big drops that soak you without realising it .... and then back in the house I looked out at the garden again and caught sight of the Potentilla Bed - This bed was the first to give me the joy of colour in the garden way back when I started - and look at it! Still giving the longest-lasting display of ANY part of the garden! So out I went with the camera and took a quick shot of it - and then noticed how much colour was left in the Rhus bed ... Happy days! 

Cheered up!

24 September 2013 22:25:21
Cheered up!

Cheered up!

There has been a bit of a large cloud sitting on Laois for the past two days - I'm so envious of the sunshine I've heard about in the Metropolis .... so I was feeling definitely low and in need of cheering up! This little treasure lifted my heart!

Willow Weekend

23 September 2013 01:28:06

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What lovely weather this weekend so I managed to spend most of it in the garden! The grass was a total disgrace so first off I mowed it and distributed the cuttings on the fruit bushes as a mulch. 

After that I planted out over a dozen of the "plants in waiting" - you'd be proud of me - I actually looked up each plant and made some effort to plant them somewhere they migh be happy!!!

I have been thinking how best to manage the willows I have in the garden. First off there are the coppiced ones in the front. They make so much growth that they smother everything nearby and the amount of trimmings take a lot of shredding. When we visited Jimi Blakes garden I took the opportunity to ask his advice on changing from Coppicing (cutting right down to ground level) to Pollarding (training them so that they have a "mop head"). I grow these particulat willows Salix alba Chermesina  because their young growth is lovely reddish orange in the winter so I reckon if I train them up and keep the stems clear of growth I can let the other plants in that bed have a bit of space. The photo gives a bit of an idea .... all I need now is to know what do you paint on cut stems to discourage regrowth? Paint? Candle grease? Any ideas please?

Well, having got into the swing of Willow Taming i started tackling the living fence. I decided when I trimmed it earlier in the year to leave the top growth so I can use it for another bit of fencing but this seems to have encouraged it to sprout much more vigorously than before so it is getting a really severe haircut and I reckon I'll chance doing the new fence in Autumn instead of Spring. Didn't get it all done, but tomorrow is another day .... and then there is the shredding .... saving the thicker branches for kindling in the new stove will encourage me! 

Harvest Time

21 September 2013 01:52:06

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I planted a thorn-free Blackberry in the lower garden two years ago. I suppose the name should have warned me what to expect - Himilayan Giant!

The first year it had about three clusters of berries that the birds got before i realised they were there. I didn't know about pruning it, so in year two I didn't have a great crop although the vigour of the plant was beginning to show - it was reaching up and over the trellis fence!

This is year three - and I have harvested about 18 lb of fruit so far! At this stage I'm fed up making jam, and I've already given loads of berries away, so what's left on the plant is for the birds!

Since the best jam is Blackerry and Apple I've been using my windfall apples from the Bramley Seedling that is fruiting for the first time this year so to finish off the rest of the jam I harvested the remains of the apples today too.

I'm still getting carrots and spring onions from the raised bed, but the tomatoes have a long way to go yet!

All in all, for someone who doesn't "really" do edibles, I'm not doing too bad! I have to confess I took great delight in my bit of harvesting today - but I don;t think I'll be going "self-sufficient" just yet LOL

Fuchsia

21 September 2013 01:38:13

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The past couple of weeks I've been visiting Elizabeth (my sister) giving her a hand with her garden - in some small way to repay her for all her work in mine! Not really much of a fair exchange, as I always seem to come away with lots of plants!

She has been perfecting her technique in taking cuttings and is having lots of success with her beloved fuchsias and also with Clematis. I have been the lucky recipient of some of her Clematis successes and I only hope I don't kill them!!!

Most of our efforts recently have been concentrated in developing the tiered bed to show the fuchsias to full effect. These beds were far from empty, but as you can see, they are fairly high, so we have been like a pair of mountain goats clambering up the beds, clearing out the old planting, filling the beds with compost and arranging the fucshias in their new home.

Elizabeth has put in endless hours on this project, providing the compost needed by another of her new skills - hot composting! Everything is hand-shredded, then mixed to a fairly precise recipe, then left to cook for a couple of weeks! My input has been limited to a couple of hours when I visit but it is really enjoyable working together in this way.

Of course, we sometimes play truant and sneak off to visit gardens ....LOL

 

It's all been said .....

21 September 2013 00:07:29

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My fellow-travellers have really covered the lovely visits we shared to the remarkable gardens of Jimi and June Blake so instead I thought I'd journal about what inspiration I took from them. 

It was wonderful to have the undivided attention of these two knowledgeable people while we toured their well-loved gardens. The close planting is something I'm only beginning to achieve, but both these gardens have mastered the close planting in different ways - sometimes the planting is like a painting - colours carried through the borders uniting different areas of the garden, sometimes it is tightly controlled with a definite "hot border" other times the colours are like a kaleidoscope. One of the borders in Junes garden was mainly yellows but so delicately blended that the effect was soft and gentle. Generally I'm not a great fan of yellow (although it has crept in to my garden quite a bit!) but this gave me inspiration to look again at the yellows I have.

Jimi has a truly magical woodland that I really enjoyed. work on this area seems to be done totally in harmony with the spirit of the place.

I loved June's careful excavation of the old Inn at the bottom o her garden. This has potential to be an amazing feature in the future.

It is so encouraging to meet with people who although they have what we would feel are pretty perfect gardens, are engaged in new projects just like the rest of us!

A really fulfilling day in good company and of course a nice haul of goodies to keep me busy planting for a while! 

Dead chuffed! thanks Jacinta!

15 September 2013 22:28:10

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I met up with Jacinta and Jackie way back in March and Jacinta gave me two great seedlings of Ricinus. I had one of these great plants last year but didn't manage to save any seed so I was really delighted with her gift - they were such healthy looking seedlings that I reckoned even I couldn't go wrong!

I kept them in the greenhouse for a while and they seemed to grow right before my eyes - i was potting them on every two weeks! But I wasnt sure where best to plant them. When I coppiced the willows in the front garden I was left with a good planting space so the little plants had found a home! 

I have to confess that I'm not very good at remembering how big things get - so having cut down the willow i thought I had given loads of space for the Ricinus!

What I didn't bargain for was our first proper summer in years! Those Ricinus just went from strength to strength - I staked them because of my windy site - and had to upgrade the stakes several times as the weeks went by!

I just love them! They are about 6 feet tall and absolutely beautiful! They are the green variety and have great seeds developing so I'm hoping for a repeat performance next year!

By the way - that Willow was cut to the ground in the spring!!!!

Lovely way to spend a day!

10 September 2013 23:36:58

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I missed out on visiting Rachel's lovely garden on her Open Day this year so it was really great to visit it today. I have now seen this garden in three seasons - first time was high summer, second time was spring and today was late summer, almost autumn. 

That garden is such a pleasure to visit, and it was lovely to see how it matures. Rachel gardens on difficult soil, and instead of moaning about it she has managed to persuade the very best out of the hundreds of interesting plants she has!

I was so impressed with the close planting in the borders and the way she manages to create little pictures everywhere - combinations of colours and textures that draw the eye through the garden! 

But the best part of the visit was the chat - how lovely to spend a day wandering through the garden talking plants all the way! and then a lovely lunch and with characteristic generosity Rachel was digging up seedlings and I left with a boot full of plants which will soon be working their magic in my garden!

And watching Rachel & Norman "shepherding" the hens back into their proper place was a hoot! Just a pity I hadn't the camera at that moment ....

Thank you so much for a lovely day, Rachel! And looking forward to Huntingbrookn ext week!

Back on track

10 September 2013 00:37:41

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Moya's journal really struck a cord with me this evening. With one thing and another I haven't been much in gardening mood - and there has been quite a bit of sunshine recently but even that wasn't tempting me out.

The other evening I brought in the Cerinthes that were drying outside and spent a busy few hours separating out the seeds - result - a dish full of next years flowers!

So this afternoon I gave myself a good talking-to so I donned the gardening gear and headed out. Best thing i could have done! I have a trailer-load of turf mould for the garden but it has quite a lot of lumps in it so it needs to be sieved. I did two barrow-loads today and spread them on the Stream Bed. This area has really poor soil so I'm just putting a good layer on top - I did this in the front last year and the soil is completely transformed!

However, in the overall view of gardening, sieving turf mould is not really high on my list of fun - so haveing done two  loads I cast my eye around for a nice small manageable bed to tackle - and there it was! the Pergola bed with the giant Crocosmia Lucifer needing attention! Got at it and lifted all of them (I hope) as this is not a good location for these stately plants - they just fall over in this bed, so while i'm deciding on a new location they are "heeled in" in two large pots to let the foliage die back - must have another look at the Gardeners World bit about the old bulbs ....

Taking them out I discovered that a Clematis I thought had perished was actually showing some signs of life - so a good call to remove the giants! topped this bed up with the peat too and it looks really good now. There are some small sedums in that bed that I reckon will self-seed given the space....

On a roll, I then tackled the Columbine Bed. It is so nice to see how that bed is filling up! The Japanese Anemones are giving the Columbines a run for their money - and the Snow-in-summer and Geraniums are thriving too - meeting up nicely!

I'm so glad I made myself go out - can't wait for tomorrow! 

Visit to the Tropics ....

01 September 2013 21:30:45

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.... otherwise known as Bruno's garden in the Republic of Cork.

What a great day - I was really keen to see how Bruno's garden would look now as it was over two years since I first saw it. I expected it to have matured a bit, maybe have a few new bits and pieces but I wasn't anywhere near the reality!

When I arrived with Maryjoe (thank you for the lift!) the ladies at the gate remarked that they didn't know how many people were in the garden - they just kept going in but no-one was coming out! Not really surprising with all there was to see in this lovely town garden!

The areas that I remember so well, the pretty shady pool, the fantastic jumble of climbers and shrubs cloaking the boundaries, the succulent bed, and silver bed - these I remembered but how they have grown and matured. With his artists eye he has managed to combine some pretty exotic and interesting plants with some very ordinary plants that we all know and love into a tapestry of colour and texture that is hard to describe. 

There were some new areas that weren't there on my last visit - full to the brim with an exhuberant display - starting with pale and interesting whites and creams and culminating in fiery reds and oranges.

I loved how I could recognise plants like Crocosmia and Dahlias but they were varieties I didn't know and all the nicer for that!

Once again, Bruno and Chris made us very welcome - than you for sharing your beautiful garden with us!

 

Short and sweet

01 September 2013 02:02:48
First Acorns

First Acorns

Had to go to Dublin today and only got home at about 7pm but it was lovely and sunny so I quickly changed into the gardening gear and went out to get the city out of my system ...

Between then and nightfall I got a wheelbarrow full of potential compost from dead-heading and tidying the herbaceous border and the small pond bed! It's a bit of a dilemma at this time of year - do I wait until every last flower on a plant has died before it gets the chop? Or do I do the tidy-up when the overall appearance is getting too bedraggled? 

One of the tidy-ups was on the Lysimachia Punctata - all the colour has gone from the flowers and it was blocking the view of the other plants in the Small Pond bed. The dilemma was that if I cut it right down I would have an unsightly gap so instead I just cut it down to half height, leaving a pleasant green mound as a foil to the Sidalcea behind it. No photo as it was too dark!

But the best bit was that a quick walk around the woodland garden earlier and I found that one o my Oak Trees has its very first ACORNS!!!!

Mind you, the leaves don't look great ..... and the companion tree has an outbreak of "Oak Apples" but i understand they don;t harm the tree!

So since it is now after midnight (took a long time to catch up on all your journals!) so Summer is officially over!

Welcome Autumn ......

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