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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal April 2014

Last Post 1390 days 6 hours ago

Plants with a mind of their own

29 April 2014 21:57:47

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In my opinion, gardening is a lifelong attempt to impose the will of the gardener on the plants in the garden. The very concept is flawed, but gardeners are also incredibly stubborn and continue to bang their heads against the stone wall of Nature.

Today during my regular stroll around the garden I spotted two lovely examples. Photo One is a pretty little tulip in my Fernery at the front of the house. His siblings live happily in the Main Herbaceous border to the rear of the house. He obviously decided he preferred a more exclusive location - and I love him there although I definitely didn't plant him there!

Photo Two is a saxifrage - a sub-division of my own ones - but where did the white flowers come from?


What a weekend!

29 April 2014 10:06:57

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Isn't it a dream when a whole weekend is spent with like-minded friends doing things you all enjoy!

This weekend was like that. I had already arranged to bring Elizabeth (my sister) to the Alpine society gig on Saturday as a birthday treat when Kindred Spirit (Kevin) posted the date for his Open Day. Undaunted by the fact that one was in Dublin and the other in Limerick I hatched a plan and Jacinta came on board!

So the day began with a little time in my own garden doing a bit of a tidy-up and then it was off to Dublin where Elizabeth and I met with Jacinta at the Alpine gig - thanks Steve for bringing her over - and of course there were lots of other .ier friends there too. Lovely to meet with them and chat for a while. I showed commendable restraint and only purchased two pretty ferns. So then it was down to Laois for the "overnight" - a whole evening of Garden chat - not to mention a little Vino in case the talk dried up!

Next morning down to Limerick where i managed yet again to take the scenic route - but we found our destination eventually and was it worth the trip!

As I have often posted I am gradually eliminating the grass from my garden so i was particularly interested in Kevin's. He was much braver than me and did it in one dramatic event - in his own words he "drew the pond on the back of an envelope" - Pond nothing! Its a veritable lake! I like his style "You don't have to mow water" but what a magical place he has created a haven for wildlife, a place of tranquility for us mortals. We were made so welcome, and meeting with more .iers was a bonus but I was left speechless by both the magic lake and the wonderful paved garden in the front of the house.

Visiting gardens is always a source of inspiration for me and his garden that has evolved so well into a veritable landscape has certainly given me lots of that!

Thank you Kevin for your hospitality and thank you Elizabeth and Jacinta for your lively company!

By the time I saw the two ladies to the train I was in that state we used to put at the end of essays "I got home tired but happy".

Only went out for Milk …

25 April 2014 01:41:35

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....  But look what found their way into my trolley at Supervalu!

Yesterday according to the TV there were heavy showers in the Midlands - Hello? Not in Laois!!! Great sunshine for the whole day!

So with the sun sorted I tackled a job that has been annoying moe for ages. I had that little plant Acaena at the front of the rock garden and the first year it was very pretty but then moss too over and it really wasn't able to cope. It looked absolutely dreadful as you can see in the first picture. The only solution was to remove it completely. When I did I really have to admit that I was lucky to get even one season out of these unfortunate plants! What they were trying to grow in was pretty much sub-soil mixed with some builders rubble!!!!

It took a bit of effort to remove the rubble etc and then replace it with a nice mixture of my own compost and some peat moss but the end result is a place where things might actually grow!

The space is filled with the pansies that came home with me! Looks worlds better.

Spent the rest of the glorious day on my knees weeding LOL

Ooooh! That looks a bit better!

22 April 2014 01:08:44

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When Fran and co visited me last week they must have walked every little pathway in my garden and NOT ONCE did they comment on the disgraceful weeds that adorned many of these paths.

Such totally diplomatic guests! One could not ask for better!

Now Fran, if you would like to make a return visit with Maria and Clare you would find at least SOME paths in a better condition :-)

Don't paths look great when they are weeded!

O course if I hadn't got distracted with other bits and pieces I might have got more paths weeded but ..... tomorrow is another day .....

And one of the distractions was to pot on these three Rose cuttings I took last year. I really hope they will survive - they had good roots on them but my past experience with this potting on business has been very 'hit and miss'.

Also found some self-seeders while I was weeding which also got potted up. 

Took a day off

20 April 2014 23:49:07

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After all the hard work over the past few days today was a day off! I went to Dublin Zoo with my daughter and her fiance (thanks to Tesco vouchers it was a very cheap day out!)

I haven't been to the Zoo for years and was very impressed with all the changes there. The amount of landscaping that has been done has created a much more natural environment for the animals with most of the enclosures attempting to recreate their natural habitat. A very far cry from the Victorian cages I remember as a child.

There have been huge efforts to engage visitors with the whole conservation work carried out by the Zoo and the opportunities to see the many wonderful animals up close.

All in all, a very enjoyable day out!

Meitheal Oibre - (Work Force)

19 April 2014 15:31:15

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Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Mary came down to do a Meitheal on my "plants in waiting". For those who haven't heard of it before, a Meitheal is when friends and neighbours rally round to help you out with a particular task - and in return you give them a good feed! The best part of Meitheal is that people return the favour when someone else is in need of help!

Anyway, we started of nice and early - thank goodness for the lovely weather - first of all doing a survey of the plants ..... nearly 120 plants of all sizes and shapes sitting expectantly beside the house hoping to soon find new homes. Then we took a walk around the garden to get an idea where these plants should go. It wasn't hard to find areas that needed filling up. First off there was the newly extended border near the Birdhouse. Then there was the new Clematis Arch Walk. not to mention the front borders that had been full of annuals last year .... as well as gaps in more established borders and beds.

In some places it was difficult to see where the gaps were due to the prolifferation of Celandine, Bittersweet, etc. We had decided that we should concentrate on planting only stopping to weed where the weeds were actually occupying the space you wanted for the plant.

Next step was to start distributing as many of the plants as possible to near their new destinations, giving us a chance to see how well they would work.

By this time it was almost lunch-time so we just made a start on a few plants before stopping for food. Always a good idea when the brain is working overtime :-)

After lunch we really got stuck in. It was amazing how quickly the pile of empty pots rose up and the plants found their new homes! Some of them were so potbound that when they were liberated you could almost hear the sigh of relief they gave! Of course all that planting meant quite a bit of watering too - so the water-butt got good use. We almost emptied it between the three of us!

We planted in all corners of the garden, and when we were finished we walked around and it was really obvious how much difference the planting has made.

As evening came we were happy to have got through so much planting. The only things left unplanted are things that need a bit more "minding" before they are let loose in the big bad world!

I was so glad I had prepared the curry the night before so we were able to eat as soon as we went in - always a good plan when doing a Meitheal!


Too busy for photos!

17 April 2014 23:19:34

What am I like?

13 April 2014 23:27:12

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Well, a lovely wekend of visitors - including three littel boys who spent their time "fishing" in my small pond but all they came up with was one of those funny swimming insects! - and my Rodgersia will have to start over as they needed to get close to the pond .....

We had a lovely day with them and their Mum and Gran and they all departed about 5.30. So what did I do? Put my feet up? No way! There were still a few hours daylight and I was having withdrawals from the weeding so I quickly "robed" myslef for gardening and got over half the last of the large borders weeded before darkness fell!

Today I also have a visitor and it was nice enough to sit on the swing seat for a while this afternoon. But of course, sitting on the swing my mind turned to tasks still to be done! I try very hard to be a good hostess but sometimes the call of the garden is just too strong .... there was a sprayer already loaded so I excused myself for half an hour and did some strategic spraying along the edge of the lawn to reduce my grass-cutting activities .... and a few persistent weeds in the paths as I was passing - and of course i had the camera (complete with case) in my pocket. Well worth the diversion and my guest forgave me too!

On a roll!

10 April 2014 23:29:12

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Taking the day off yesterday to visit Kilquade really inspired me to get cracking today! I began by planting up some seeds in the propagator that I had been putting off fro ages. They included the seeds I won from Rachel a while ago - Thank you Rachel - I hope I manage to get them to grow as I have often said, I am not the best at raising things from seed - time will tell!

Then, since I was at the seed box I thought I'd plant up a few veggies. I had already topped up the raised beds in preparation since I had got my hands on some sugar-snap pea plants and some dwarf runner beans - also plants. I also planted seeds of cut-and-come-again lettuce, scallions, carrots and beetroot. The beetroot came of its own accord - I collected a small parcel of bits and pieced from Elizabeth yesterday and my crafty sister had sneaked in the remains of her vegetable seeds from last year! So now I'm the one who has to feel guilty if the veg doesn't grow :-(

After that I got another bit of weeding done, and finally tackled the shredding before it got out of hand on me again!

Didn't come in till after 8.30 pm. I'm exhausted - but very satisied with the day!

First visit to Kilquade

10 April 2014 01:57:46
Jacinta's cheery spot

Jacinta's cheery spot

Isn't it amazing how two people going round the same gardens together can take such different photos? :-)

This photo it just a tiny flavour of Jacinta's garden that I saw when I picked her up ....

The album says the rest!


 Thanks for a lovely day, Jacinta and Elizabeth!

White Album

09 April 2014 00:07:44

Creeping Borders

08 April 2014 23:46:05

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My mission to get rid of all the remaining grass in my garden has resulted in a strange phenonemon  known as Creeping Borders with the side-effect of Emerging Paths.

It is agravated by my total inability to say no to offers of small rocks and stones from local farmers clearing fields ....

Once those rocks arrive they shout out that they would be most happy as edging for a bed .... or better still a path.

So what is a girl to do?

Why of course, extend a border and make a path!

Are you fed up with Daffodil photos yet?

08 April 2014 13:32:29

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I have to say I'm not! They are such a stalwart plant in our Spring gardens from the first earlies at the end of Januaray right through St Patricks Day, Mother's Day and nearly always still around for Easter!

Towards the end of the season the more unusual ones make their appearance. Most of my daffodils were bought in bulk, so they are mainly the tall rich yellow "ordinary" ones but I seem to have acquired a few lots of the unusual (although I don't remember when or how :-))

So here are a couple of unusuals - no point in looking for names as any labels are long since gone!

Is this a thug?

07 April 2014 23:36:09

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I am interested to see all the comments on the thuggish behaviour of Japanese Anemones on another journal so I started thinking about the spreaders in my garden and whether I regard them as thugs or not.

I have a lovely pink geranium - I think it may be "Wargrave Pink" - which self-seed prolifically but in my mind they are welcome ground-cover and in no way thugs.

But then there is the Cerinthe. I was told by someone that this plant was regarded as a rarity in the past - well, in my garden a rarity it is not! It even appears in my pots regularly!

I first raised Cerinthe from seeds I got as a gift and was quite disappointed that only three gerninated. I had no real idea what the adult plants would look like so I planted them at the edge of a border so I could keep an eye on them. To my delight they flourished and I had three lovely plants. I understood they were annuals so when they eventually stopped flowering I just pulled them up and that was that - or so I thought!

I liked them so well that I actually bought another packet of seeds and got a much better germination this time. They were planted along the drive in early Spring where their pale green foliage contrasted beautifully with the Ajuga Repens I was growing as an edging. They started flowering in the summer and about September I pulled them up as before. I was amazed to find hundreds of little seedlings in and out through the Ajuga.

I painstakingly removed all the seedlings in the Ajuga but left a few seedlings in the back of the border thinking they probably wouldn't survive the winter.

Now move on to late October.

The original site where they were planted burst forth with wonderful exuberance and I thought I'd leave them alone as they they would probably  be killed off with the first frost.

In addition to that, the few seedlings I left in the front border also took off again !!!

I have had Cerinthe in full flower for almost a full year at this stage -and they look magnificent!

So is this a thug? Not on your life!

Tulips - to plant in the ground or not?

05 April 2014 22:07:38

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I'm really in two minds about tulip planting.

When I started this garden I was give a gift fresh from Holland of some little tulips. Not being a member of this site at that time I just stuck them into the first bed I tried to cultivate in a fairly haphazard manner. For some reason the rabbits left them alone so they and the daffodils (which rabbits don't like either) were among the first flowers i saw in this garden. Each year I promise myself I'm going to lift them so that I won't chop them when I'm working in that bed but I never remember them and when I think of them they have usually disappeared! The photos show how well they are doing!

Then I planted some taller tulips in the front - they aren't near flowering yet - they are a mixed bunch called something jewels because they are all the colours of jewels. They come up faithfully each year but haven't increased yet - maybe they would do better if I lifted them?

My third attempt was a special offer from Woodies a couple of years ago - Can't remember how many in each pack but they were Queen of the Night, Kingsblood and Purissima. The white Purissima is now a big clump, but the other two are a bit patchy - all planted in the same bed!

So when I got some Angelique (beautiful pink ones) I put them in a pot and they have done really well and the pot is now so full I'll have to deivide them when they finish flowering! I also have some yellow ones i got from Elizabeth in a pot and they are doing well too.

I'm wondering would they all be better off in pots? Can the pots be buried in the beds? Do they get lifted when they finish flowering? What conditions do they like while they are dying back?

Any advice welcome!





Shaking the dust off ....

03 April 2014 23:09:29
Shaking the dust off ....

Shaking the dust off ....

Spent a very enjoyable few hours in Dublin today catching up with some family but got home about 5 p.m. 

Thought briefly of doing some housework but the pull of the garden on such a lovely evening was pretty irresistable. Quickly changed into Gardening gear planning to spend an hour or so just to shake the city dust out of my head ....

What am I like? There was still a littl light until 8.45 so of course I stayed out till then!

But I must say it felt really good to unwind after the busy city! Took the opportunity to take some photos of my daffodils which are now in their full glory. I'm so happy to see how they are bulking up each year.

What is it about the daffodil? I think it is the pure gold that seems to be capturing the spring sunshine!

Anyway, got that Rhus walk weeded so a happy camper all round! Small album of Daffodils to follow.

Daffodils 2014

Best of intentions

01 April 2014 23:41:23
Distraction - Maple Bed

Distraction - Maple Bed

Finally escaped to the garden after lunch with the very frim intention of tackling the Rhus Walk - that area alongside the east hedgerow that tends to get a bit out of hand each year ... but you know how it is - going to the greenhouse to collect the tools, stools etc when I spotted a few little cyclamen that i bought in a moment of madness last month but never got to plant them - ok, just pop them into the Maple Border - won't take a minute. But guess what? The Bittersweet was staging a major assault on that bed so of course it had to be removed .... along with other miscellaneous weeds .... and then there was a big bare spot in the middle of the border .... and I just happened to dig up some Japanese Anemones yesterday so they will fit in nicely .... and that Alchemilla Mollis I also dug up could go in there too!

Finally got to the Rhus Walk and started the mammoth task of weeding and sorting that bed. The soil here is dreadful - heavy clay and so far the compost mulching isn't having much effect. I did well to get about a third of it completed. I managed to tie up the Lupin Tree that was a casualty of the recent storms. I've also retained the seedlings of Viola, Tree Lupin and Geranium Maderense. There are lots of them! I also hand-weeded the path in this area.

Gardeners Logic

01 April 2014 14:57:14


I've spent the last few days having a good old weeding session. I don't know if others do this, but I tend to get thinking all kinds of philosophical thoughts as I get on with the mundane task in hand.

My meditations this time relate to how I think of the many little plants that bestow their seedlings so gerenously throughout my garden. There is Bittersweet - who sends his seeds jet propelled when I try to remove him. Then there is Celandine - wonderful yellow flowers but boy does he put himself about! And even digging him out is likely to leave little babies under the soil ...... 

So weeding involves removel of these little strangers from beds where they have no place.

But there is one I forgot to mention - violets! Now they are a different thing - they also spread their seedlings everywhere and pop up in the most unexpected places .... but dig them up? NEVER! 

Now there's logic for you!


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