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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal February 2014

Last Post 1455 days 12 hours ago

Is it Christmas?

26 February 2014 22:46:56
Is it Christmas?

Is it Christmas?

Knock at the door this morning got me off to a good start on the most Spring-like day we've had here.

At the door was the delivery guy from Bakker completely hidden behind these boxes! Parcels from Bakker are always very impressive, but by now I'm not fooled - a large part of the parcel will be strong brown paper keeping the precious contents safe.

Parcel One contained some Freesias and two free gifts. The Freesias have been potted in the new ceramic posts from Dealz and are safely ensconced in the greenhouse. I look forward to their lovely scent later in the year!

Parcel Two contained another free gift, a tub of their Slug pellets and some herbs and pots. The herbs are still waiting to be potted, and I tried out the slug pellets in the greenhouse - Ugh! They smell of garlic! Very organic no doubt but I'll be using them outdoors only from now on :-)

Spent the rest of the day working on the arches.  I've reinforced the original arches with my latest solution - plumbers piping! The only purpose the original arches have is to keep the "arch" shape for me - and the bits of climbers are still attached!

Then I tried another experiment - making an arch from scratch! Didn't actually get it completed and no photos because the light was failing ....

It felt really good to be out in the lovely Spring sunshine but it got very cold later on and I'm not surprised to hear the rain pelting down once more - rain that keeps off till after dark is the kind I like!

For Kindred Spirit - Rhododendren Kokardia Inkarho

23 February 2014 21:33:31

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Had a quick look back through my photos and found these ones of Rhododendren Kokardia Inkarho.

In 2011 I had it in quite an exposed position and even though it flowered well the leaves started to look a bit sad after the flowers failed so I moved it to a more sheltered spot with a bit more shade. In 2012 it didn't flower as well but it looks much healthier. I haven't any photos from last year but my recollection is that it flowered better than the previous year and certainly looked a lot happier.

Spring yellow

21 February 2014 22:02:00
Eranthis - Winter Aconite

Eranthis - Winter Aconite

... and the daffodils aren't even out yet! i just put up an album of my February photos and I'm quite surprised to see how many of the flowers are yellow - or yellowish! 

When I think of plants for the garden I would seldom deliberately choose yellow but this time of year I have to confess that the patches of yellow glimpsed here and there really lighten the heart! 

The shades of yellow in my garden vary from very pale -almost cream - to in your face egg-yoke yellow and other shades in between.

Although the Helebores in white and all shades of pink are the stars of the show this time of year, the yellow crocus, primrose, eranthis, Winter Jasmine, Hammamelis all contribute in my garden.

Those large Helebores - Argutifolius and Foetida - with their greenish yellow clusters of flowers are lovely too at this time.

I'm noticing that the daffs are growing rapidly so that will be another feast of yellow! I see that some of you have daffs already open so I reckkon I'm back to the usual 3-weeks-behind flowering scheme.

I think there are certain SHADES of yellow that I have difficulty with - but no doubt I can easily be persuaded to give a home to even these - I guess I'm just a sucker for little plants looking for a home LOL

Two-tone Delights

20 February 2014 01:23:17

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I took a few photos today. My two-tone Hellebore is in full flower and I have a couple of seedlings from that plant flowering this year. From Day One it has always produced a mix of white and pink blooms. It was a Lidl purchase a few years ago and I'm no longer sure which one it is supposed to be:


Helleborus Orientalis 'Joy Hybrids'

Helleborus Orientalis 'Red Hybrids'

Helleborus Orientalis 'red spotted Hybrids'

I thought it was either "Joy Hybrid" or "Red Hybrid" but examining the flowers closely today they have spots! Unfortunately, at the time I planted them I wasn't bothering too much with labels:-)

This particular plant is a copious self-seeder and I have brought on a number of seedlings and this year quite a few of them are flowering.

I did remember where I planted out the seedlings so I've been waiting impatiently for them to flower to see will they follow the white or the pink !

First flower to open was the pink - complete with spots! Then today I found another seedling in flower - and it is white with spots!

I don't think I have any others with spots but the two-toned one is very pretty :-)


Spic and Span

19 February 2014 21:04:22

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Spent the morning cleaning and reorganising the greenhouse and I'm really happy with it now. I wonder how long will I manage to keep it this tidy LOL.

The rest of the day I was pottering  happily delighted to be back in the swing of things. 


Almost back in action!

18 February 2014 22:41:16
Greenhouse looking better

Greenhouse looking better

What a beautiful day! And a really positive one too! The trusty Kevin came today to sort out the poor greenhouse as planned. We went off and purchased some sheets of stuff to replace the missing bits but got back to find that we could actually reuse some of the original sheets. By thoroughly searching the garden we located all but one of the panels that had blown out. This meant there was a new plan!

This particular greenhouse has a very unsatisfactory method of keeping the polycarbonate sheets in the frames - there are plastic strips that are supposed toclick into place but over the past couple of years we have resorted to putting screws in the panels instead on a few panels that had lost their plastic strips. These panels stood up to the recent gales so that was the way we went - now all the panels are screwed in place and there is a new door fitted too!

The reason why the greenhouse suffered such damage this time was because the wind caught the sliding door and wrenched it out of its sliders. The new door is hinged and will have a good bolt fitted. It is hinged so that the prevailing wind will keep it closed rather than ripping it off! 

It should be finished completely tomorrow or the next day, but in the meantime since it is empty I can give it a much-needed cleanup and then look forward to regaining a utility room as the plants move back to their newly refurbished home!

Oh - and we got a refund on the stuff we didn't need!!!!


Turned my back for a few days .....

13 February 2014 23:31:38

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....and look what happened!

Due to the near-demise of the greenhouse the plants and cuttings had to be moved into the Utility Room last week. Unfortunately I had to be in Dublin for a few days this week so they couldn't get the kind of TLC they expected - some Lavender seedlings are definitely on the leggy size - the sweetpeas are up - best of all the Lavender cuttings are mostly showing new growth - as are the Geranium cuttings.

Several of the plants that were being "nursed" through the winter are looking good - there is aTrachycarpus Fortuneii that is thriving - can't wait to plant that out! Two Cordyline Indivisa seedlings from Rachel are also doing well - even showing some signs of the reddish lines on the leaves!

There is a little Clematis Alpina that appears to have survived the winter and a few other bits an pieces!

And tomorrow if the promised storm isn't too bad here there may be an attempt to restore the greenhouse!

I must say I was relieved that the house was still in one piece when I got back - more than could be said for the telephone line which is now draped across the far side of the road - and the local mobile transmitters seem to have been affected too so I'm feeling really cut off at the moment - hopefully the mobile broadband will hold up while I upload this journal ......

Moya - look what I found today!

09 February 2014 21:39:32
Moya - look what I found today!

Moya - look what I found today!

I was doing a clear-up on the Oak Woodland today. One of my favourite plants inthat area is the Helleborus Argutifolius Corsicus that Moya was admiring in the Botanic Gardnes yesterday. Weeding under it I was delighted to find this little seedling. It is the first seedling I've got from this lovely plant.

So Moya - your name is on the seedling!

Alternate Universe

07 February 2014 22:43:24

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This past week I feel like I'm slipping between two very different Universes - The Morning Universe is bright, sometimes even sunny, crisp and lovely spring weather, perfect for getting the garden into shape for the new season - then if I was foolish enough to take a break for lunch I would be transported to the Alternate Universe of gales, squalls, thunder and lightening, rivers running down the road, greenhouses flying around the garden!

Today was no exception - but I did get the baby Rhus lifted for Elizabeth, the willows harvested for Moya and the seedling Hazel for Jacinta lifted too! And collected up that barrow-full of leaves from just one bed! I should have loads of leaf-mould next year! 

So which Universe will I be in tomorrow in the Bots?

Cherub was in Laois today

05 February 2014 02:10:21
Euphorbia Amygdaloides Purpurea

Euphorbia Amygdaloides Purpurea

I'm taking full advantage of any dry weather we are having at the moment and today there were quite a few hours before the storm sprang up again.  I spent some time on the Oak Woodland and got about half of it tidied up, adding severl barrow-load of leaves to the leaf-mould pile. After a quick lunch ( was afraid to delay in case the weather changed) I tackled another bit of my latest project - trying to get rid of some more grass and this is involving trying to create a terraced effect where the lawn is at present. Today's task involved putting some pretty good-sized rocks along the edge of the topmost level (no photos till it actually looks like something). 

I have had a pile of large stones and small rocks put aside for just this task. I began by loading a couple of rocks into the wheelbarrow and set off down to their new home and they were quickly positioned and then back for more! At this point I thought I heard a little voice whispering to me "take it easy - two small loads are better than one large one" - of course the explanation was that Cherub had come visiting again! I think he likes my garden because I'm always trying to sort out stones in it too! So paying attention to the esteemed expert in the rock-oving business I took much smaller loads from then on. Next time I needed him was when I needed to move a rock that was too heavy for me to lift. As usual he had the answer - "Come on, silly woman, get the trolley" - so a couple of bigger rocks found their way to their new homes in no time!

And he even managed to persuade the rain to stay away until I got the bit I was working on finished! He is such a help! I hope Scrubber didn't miss him or I'll be in trouble .....

And when the sun was out I spotted this little Euphorbia just starting its lovely Spring rowth of red! Amazing to think that by Summer the whole plant will be a lovely shade of wine!


03 February 2014 18:50:29

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Last nights storm brought me a nasty surprise this morning. My valiant little greenhouse was finally defeated! The door came off completely and several of the panes are either gone completely (no sign of them in the garden or neighbouring fields). First task was to rescue the plants. I thought I didn't have much in the greenhouse, so I decided to bring the plants into the utility room - a bit too warm for some of them but the best available. Even though I really thought I had little or nothing in the greenhouse I still needed to bring in a set of shelves to hold them!

Now the research begins to find a suitable replacement covering for the polycarbonate that was supplied with it. The frame is very sturdy and is bolted to the concrete base so I really don't want to replace the whole thing.

I'm exploring a few options but no decision made yet - in the meantime I really need to try not to kill those plants .......

Proper gardening day

02 February 2014 23:02:44

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Spent a happy day in the garden today. I started off with a good bit of weeding in the Oak bed in the front garden. This is where I removed the Ragged Robin the other day - and wouldn't you know, as soon as I had removed them Elizabeth said she would like one - well, luckily for her I missed a few seedlings - and there are hoards of them in the path .... however, my mission today was to clear up the rest of that bed. It wasn't too bad - and the weeds come up very easily at this time of year. I am benefiting from the paths and gravel areas during this wet weather because it is usually possible to get at most of the beds without actually treading on them! There were quite a few of the wild Geranium that I left last year hoping they might be seedlings of the more civilised varieties but alas not! Once they and the Celandine were removed the bed looked much better so I just hoed it gently to break up the soil. I spotted the first of the Anemone Blanda  peeping through - but still no sign of the Wood Anemone. I live in hope :-)

Then I tackled a job I'd been putting off for ages. I planted a cultivated Gorse the first year of the garden but then just ignored it so it had got far too big and worst of all, it had grown out so that it was beside the path. In summer the foliage of the gorse looks very soft and inviting - and several visitors to the garden attempted to stroke the inviting foliage! What a mistake! I spent the rest of the summer steering visitors away from it!

Well, I don't think it will be happy with the very severe pruning it got - I cut it down to about a foot above the ground - but if it survives I will keep it well pruned in the future. On the other hand, it may not survive this rough treatment in which case I get to develop that bit of the Hazel Grove with new plantings. There are already quite a few plants there that can only benefit from the increased light in that area.

I brought the shredder over beside it and shredded it as I cut it down. Definitely the best way to deal with such a prickly customer! The shreddings were spread as mulch around the trees and shrubs in that area. As I was happily shredding away I spotted hoards of ladybirds on the branches - they must have been over-wintering there. It slowed up the shredding a bit as I had to try and convince them to go elsewhere!

I lifted the leaves in that section and weeded out the celandine. I'm working on pushing back the celandine in the Hazel Grove. Originally the whole section was covered in it - which is very pretty for the few weeks when it is in flower but looks pretty terrible the rest of the time - so I started planting up along the path with various spring bulbs and a few Geraniums. So when the celandine is gone over there is still some interest there. Today I started pushing back from another side so soon the celandine will be confined to under the large Hazels there - which is fine, because I have to tread on that area when I'm harvesting the hazelnuts. 

As usual, the light was gone before I finished so no picture of the new area!

Snowdrop opened

02 February 2014 22:14:35

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I put up a photo of this little snowdrop last week and Paddy immediately came back with a name - Galanthus Woronowii - so I've been waiting impatiently for the flowers to open so I can glimpse the markings inside.

Today was the day!

So here are a few views of it! I've looked it up on the Internet and it looks a bit like it alright - but Paddy - what do you think?

Happy St Brigids Day!

01 February 2014 12:08:19
Happy St Brigids Day!

Happy St Brigids Day!

Anois teacht an earraigh

beidh an lá ag dul chun síneadh,

Is tar éis na féil Bríde

ardóidh mé mo sheol.

St Brigids day, the first of February, always brings this little snatch of poetry to my mind. Although the controversy as to when we count the beginning of Spring breaks out every year, I think the hope expressed in this poem is where we optimistic gardeners feel that Spring is definitely on the way!


Now coming of the Spring

the day will be lengthening,

and after St. Bridget's Day

I shall raise my sail.

To celebrate I'm putting up my January album!

I even went to a class on Thursday to learn how to make a St Brigid's Cross! It was great fun. They are usually made from reeds but can also be made in willow so I think I might be experimenting with that in the future!

Last day of January

01 February 2014 01:24:41

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Today the sun decided to visit Laois for a while this afternoon so I took full advantage - having picked up a few goodies in Lidl it was time for a bit of planting - so the Sarcococca that I got in Johnstown was finally planted along with the latest Helebore and a couple more things - even planted some seeds - Lavender from Lidl. Never grew lavender from seed before so I'll be interested to see what comes up. they are on the heated propagator in the greenhouse so should be ok even if the weather gets cold.

I also tidiied up the helebores - I have quite a few now from my own seedlings and I'm very happy to see that some of the seedlings are definitely Helebores Niger and I'm delighted to see that there are some Helebores Orientalis as well!

The last task - which I didn't finish till dark - was to deal with the pretty Lychnis flos-cuculi otherwise known as Ragged Robin. now people who read my journals will know that I generally welcome invasive and spreading plants - but I have to put my hands up and admit that Ragged Robin was too much for me!

While it has a very pretty pink flower and flowers for quite a long time in the summer, its seedlings were definitely OTT. They formed a dense carpet for about a metre around the parent plant. It was so dense that the other little woodland plants in that area hadn't a chance!  The only solution was down on the knees and pull them all up! Apart from anything else the seedlings themselves are far from pretty.

In removing the seedlings I liberated a number of those pretty snowdrops but sadly I seem to have lost the delicate white Wood Anemones that were there last year. I'll be interested to see in daylight just how good I was at getting the little perishers out!!!!


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