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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal November 2013

Last Post 1512 days 8 hours ago

Still lots to do ....

29 November 2013 22:31:15

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At this time of year I find that my head is telling me that all sane people are sitting by the fire warming their toes but unlike those sane people gardeners are out at every opportunity trying to put some sort of order on the chaos that decends on our gardens at this time of year!

Being a Gardener rather than a Sane Person I was out today sorting out one of the borders - first removing the mortal remains of the annuals that graced this border through the summer - then adding a serious top-dressing of turf mould to the whole border.

Any of you who have people nearby who harvest and burn their own turf will earn their undying friendship if you offer to take the stuff left after they stack/use their turf. This is usually a problem disposing of the dust left behind, but it is actually a great soil improver!

You may need to remove some small bits of turf - but they come in handy for starting your fire - so nothing is wasted!

I used some of this material on my borders last year and my heavy clay soil has been transformed!

I've included a photo of the second lot od seedlings of Cerinthes this year that seem impervious to the recent frosts!

Get-together Suggestion

29 November 2013 17:30:28
Get-together Suggestion

Get-together Suggestion

Hi everyone. Since the consensus seems to be that we go to Johnstown again this year I contacted Jim there and he sent me this link to a video of the new premises.


I also checked and they will be having their usual January Sale finishing on Sunday 12th january.

I suggest we go for the last day of the sale - and Jim assures me that they will also have lots of spring plants in by then.

For people who haven't attended one of these events before we usually meet in the Restaurant for a bit of lunch - and part of the event is the Kris kindle and free raffle.

Johnstown Garden Centre on the Naas Road is the venue and they make us very welcome. They will also put plants from the sale aside for us for collection on the day.

And of course is it also a great opportunity to bring along all those bits and pieces you promised to other members!

But the best part of this event is catching up with our gardening friends for a good chat.

As usual I will be looking for volunteers to help with the various tbings on the day but more of that later!

Please feel free to suggest any variations to the arrangements!


Do ladybirds hibernate?

28 November 2013 01:57:44

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There were three little ladybirds flitting about among the Lisimachia roots today and I was really surprised to see them. Do they hibernate or die off in winter?

It was a grand mild day today and Elizabeth was visiting so we spent a few happy hours potting stuff up, dividing and replanting and getting a bit of weeding done into the bargain. 

We started off with a stroll round the garden with Elizabeth diligently taking notes of the tasks that we spotted on our way round. of course the list is only the tip of the iceberg but it is a good place to start.

A number of plants were identified that Elizabeth would like, so when we were reviewing the list we picked out those tasks first. It was actually pitch dark before i could get Elizabeth to come in - she had started planting up some bulbs I had lifted the other day in the rockery area and was determined to finish them before she came in!

I divided my big blue Geranium (labelled johnson's blue but not sure it is) from the Stream Bed replanted one piece, potted up elizabeth's bit and planted another bit in the Stream bed also. Two more have joined the "Plants in Waiting" corner.  Elizabeth moved the Gaura that was too close to a fairly horsey Stock - the Gaura was getting overwhelmed by the strong brilliant white of the stock. She also lifted a few Centuarea Montana, one for herself and a couple of spares. The lovely Bowles Mauve that I got from a friend recently was also planted. That part of the main herbaceous border is filling up nicely.

I also moved a Francoa "purple spike" that was planted right beside the Salvia Forssakaolii that did so well -but the delicate purple of the Francoa was drowned out by the brilliant blue of this lovely plant.

All in all, a great day's work! It was the first proper gardening day in quite a while since the reconstruction of the compost bays is still under way!

Now I remember ....

25 November 2013 18:25:21
Salix Alba Chermesina

Salix Alba Chermesina

..... why I have this lovely willow in my garden!

Last rose?

22 November 2013 16:23:52

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Out early this morning in the bright frosty sunshine - actually emptying the ashes so I'll be able to get the stove lighting when I get back home - when I spotted this perect rose - New Dawn - definitely the best rose in my garden! It flowers earliest and most consistently all summer long. This year it really excelled itself and still has a few lovely flowers shining in the morning frost.

Of course, having taken the camera out to capture the rose i continued round the garden and found the lovely Sedum Sieboldii Dragon looking splendid in the Sedum Garden.

The last photo is a lovely little variegated  Vinca Minor that really took off this year beside the Small Pond.

Is the West Awake????

21 November 2013 19:40:22
Is the West Awake????

Is the West Awake????

Ahoy there Westerners and Northerners etc.!

During the year a number of people expressed the opinion that they would like the Annual get-together to change venue to somewhere more convenient to them.

Can anyone with an alternative venue suggestion please get in touch as I really need to get going on the organisation if we are to meet in January.

Maybe the delights of Johnstown outweigh the attractions of other locations?

Either way - please contact me here or by private message this weekend so i can get the wheels in motion.


Are we having a Get-Together in January?

20 November 2013 21:19:29
Are we having a Get-Together in January?

Are we having a Get-Together in January?

Looking back at last year's journals I see that by the end of October we had decided two things -

Firstly, we were having a get-together in January 2013

Secondly we had decided on a venue.

Since I volunteered to do the honours this year - unless anyone else wants the job?

So I'm taking as read that we want to have a get-together in January 2014.

For people who have come on board during the year, the annual Get-Together is an opportunity for members to meet up face-to-face usually for lunch with some fun events - a Kris kindle and a raffle  and we also take advantage of the get-together to bring along plants promised to members from far and wide!

Regarding a venue - some members have expressed a wish that the venue might move to other locations to accommodate people who find Johnstown too far to travel to.

Several alternatives have been suggested such as Arboretum Leighlinstown Co Carlow, Fernhill near Athlone, Ratoath Garden Centre or people may prefer to return to Johnstown Garden Centre near Naas.

If anyone has any other suggestions please let me know asap - I'll be checking out if the ones mentioned have a cafe as this is essential for the event.



In the nick of time ....

20 November 2013 01:17:30

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Yesterday, it finally got through to me that frost was expected last night so having an hour or so to spare I hurried out and attacked the remains of my dahlias - i mentioned in an earlier journal that i've decided to let them take their chances this year so each plant had to be cut to the ground, a decent layer of compost on top for a mulch and a final dressing of leaves! They look very strange, these little mounds of leaves dotted through the bed but I'm sure the plants will be pleased!

Took a stroll around this morning and found some pretty flowers still surviving - the yucca flower is still untouched and that kniphofia has been flowering for months!

There are still some other flowers haning on - the Cerinthe in it second flowering is taller and stronger than the original plants, and my rambling rose has decided to burst into bloom again1 I'll put up an album soon with my november surprises! Did another bit of the willow hurdles - it really is slow work - and i may have to prune another willow to complete the project!


18 November 2013 22:02:30

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When I got back from the latest visit to the adored Grandchild I found that there must have been a bit of a storm while I was away - the middle one of my three arches had collapsed!

I was very disheartened as I had only succeeded this year to get stuff to grow properly on the arch! Elizabeth7's musing about visualising is very relevent to this story - I imagined that these arches would be a mass of Clematis, Honeysuckle and Sweetpeas making for a really dramatic feature - well, the first clematis sulked, the honeysuckle finally sent a single tendril skywards and the everlasting sweetpeas gave more leaf than flower - then this year I put in two more clematis and they really started to take off and the sweetpeas flowered their socks off this summer!

It took till today for me to even attempt to sort out the collapsed arch. I did the visualising thing night after night and eventually came up with a plan. I got some very long light metal plant supports in Woodies and using them like splints I managed to repair the broken limbs of my arch! I'm chuffed! Bless the man (or woman) who invented cable ties!


Ricinus Advise Please!!!!

09 November 2013 11:06:30

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I have harvested two bunches of Ricinus seeds as I noticed that some of the casings were starting to split and I didn't want to lose the seeds.

This morning I removed all the split seedboxes and peeled off the outside bit. The rest are still on the branch. 

For the moment I have put both the seeds and the branches on the windowsill to dry a bit more but is this the right thing to do? My plan is to let the seeds dry for a day or so before putting them in the recommended brown envelopes but is this the right thing to do?

As the photo shows I should have loads of seeds for anyone interested - if I don't manage to destroy them!

So can some kind person let me know if I need to do anything different? 

Getting distracted

08 November 2013 22:44:38

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This morning was lovely and bright so I wrapped up warm and headed to the garden determined to do some more work on the willow hurdles/compost areas which have been waiting patiently for me to get back from my gallivanting.

First task is always to open the greenhouse and check if plants need watering. While doing this the "plants in waiting" caught my eye - and I'm convinced I heard them say "Please plant us! Please plant us!" so what's a girl to do? You've guessed, get planting! So there was a tray of Ajuga for the driveway edging that I reckon were the ones doing the shouting as their little roots were getting very cold where they were coming out the bottom of the pots!

Of course, while I was planting them I couldn't just leave all the grass and thistles in the bed - after all, it is the driveway!!!! So when I was at it, it seemed a shame not to  weed the whole of that bed. In the middle of that, my neighbour came by to tell me their news - they have just become owners of an abused Border Collie so that led to a good chat .... and then it was lunch time!

After lunch I headed back out and this time I gave myself a good talking-too so no more distractions - although I was tempted by the collapsed arch and several pretty dramatic thistles - eventually I got down to the REAL task and did a good bit on the hurdles. I think if I had realised how long it would take to weave these darned hurdles I might have chosen another material for the compost area. After three good sessions it is less than half-way! (No photos till it is finished!) 

The weather held until about 4 pm. which was just brilliant! 

Oh! and when I was doing all the weeding I harvested the seeds from the Ricinus - now I just have to figure out what to do with them :-)

What a difference a week can make!

08 November 2013 01:03:34

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Well, Halloween for me now means little Cliona's birthday all the way over in Barcelona! So it was really nice to spend a week in temperatures of 19 to 22 degrees and no rain and only occasional wind - and to have a little 2 year-old princess for company too!

Arrived back late last night and only ventured out for a brief stroll around the garden today - Well, I do have to acclimatise!!!

So it appears that Jack Frost made his appearance while I was away .... and there must have been lots rain .... and wind .... 

How do I know? Well, most of the dahlias are blackened stumps and the nasturtiums don't look too good either! The "plants in waiting" are all a bit waterlogged - and the wind? I didn't actually notice it first time around but one of my arches has been a casualty too!

On the bright side, some plants I put in the greenhouse have rewarded me by producing some really pretty flowers .... and my walk around the garden showed some lovely autumn colours on the Viburnums and a new star in my autumn garden has to be this pretty Gaura that  I got in Bay Garden last year!

Hydroponics isn't new!

07 November 2013 23:12:45


I was interested to read Kitty (Michele)'s journal about hydroponics. In the 70's my late husband Pat had a brief enthusiasm for growing vegetables but wasn't impressed with the hard work involved in digging, mulching etc. so somewhere he came across stuff about hydroponics and set up some very successful hydroponic systems made from recycled materials.

First experiment was indoors. He constructed a long box from scaffolding boards and lined it with very heavy duty polythene. He used gravel and sand for his growing medium (the bit that supports the roots) and he used Phostrogen as the fertiliser. The system was called the "slop" method. It involved a simple syphon tube and a bucket of water with the diluted phostrogen in it. It the morning the bucket is placed above the level of the bed and the tube transfers all the liquid into the bed, flooding the bed. It the evening the bucket is lowered and the tube syohons out the liquid. 

He grew tomatoes and cucumbers using this method. He later used the same system in a greenhouse and grew peppers as well as tomatoes and cucumbers, lettuce and early strawberries!

All that it required was the kind of science that most boys learn in secondary school, and the ingenuity to make the beds out of discarded material! Sadly, Pat passed away in 2002 - he would so have enjoyed the cameraderie of this site!



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