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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal June 2014

Last Post 1241 days 10 hours ago

Paths rediscovered!

30 June 2014 20:49:35

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The end of my garden, where the stream is, hasn't been getting much attention recently. It is supposed to have some nice little paths but the Rosa Rugosa on the fence side and giant daisies on the other side were just two of the culprits.

Yesterday, armed with my Elephant Gun and Mosquito Spray I ventured into the wilderness. 3 hours of hard slog and one path had reappeared but I was covered with scrapes and scratches and had run out of steam.

Enter stage left my brand new son-in-law Jesus .... 

So today another path reappeared, the Willow Fence and arches got trimmed and all I had to do was some shredding!

I have noticed that although the Rosa Rugosa is a nightmare in lots of ways, when handled with leather gloves and shredded it looks like it will make really good compost. 

Sometimes it takes me a while to get things right - I've been carefully making piles of "greens" and piles of "browns" and then doing a major task of building a heap. It never occurred to me until today .... shred a bit, add some greens & compost accelerator..... repeat until heap is built (or I run out of stuff!) - all in one go! As I said, sometimes it takes me a while .....LOL

 

 

 

As others see us ... or our gardens!

29 June 2014 00:52:07
Noel and Jo loading willow

Noel and Jo loading willow

Last week I had a visit from a favourite cousin and his wife. They came to harvest some willow - I know, wrong time of year, but I reckon willow will grow anyway!

So while they were with me they strolled around the garden and took some photos. I always find it fascinating to see which bits of the garden appeal to others - its a real case of seeing the garden through different eyes!

I'll put their photos in my June Album!

Bonus visit!

29 June 2014 00:02:19

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Paddy & Mary had their garden open as part of the Waterford Open Gardens but I'm afraid I had decided to confine myself to visiting just theirs but then when I met up with Anne and she kindly invited me to visit hers I couldn't resist!

I was delighted to get the opportunity to see this garden too - I was really surprised - I hadn't expected such a large garden, nor had I expected so many lovely mature trees - I had the impression that Anne has only been gardening in recent years! I knew she struggled with difficult soil - some very boggy areas in winter, for example. I think she has the same heavy clay soil that I have, so I can appreciate how much effort she has put in to garden in this kind of environment. 

As a busy lady with so many other claims on her time, she is managing to keep her large garden very well. The amount of lawns to be mown, hedges to trim would be daunting for a team of gardeners! And she still finds time to plant up very large island beds that each has a character of its own!

I loved the way she is developing paved areas from beautiful sea-weathered stones collected by degrees over the past while. She has even found a way to keep her rather exhuberant dogs off some areas by the use of lovely white stones that they don't like to walk on!

This is a garden very much in progress but with enormous potential - it has the feel of  a very unified scheme - so well done Anne on your achievements in the garden! And thank you for the lovely mint tea!

Gracedieu is hard to find .....

28 June 2014 23:42:55

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.... but well worth it when you do!

I've often noticed that gardens I think I know from this site can be very different in reality- and Mary & Paddy's garden today was no exception.  I remembered the broad open lawn areas with the richly planted borders but I was totally unprepared for all the lovely little areas that lead one into another till you end up in that area where Paddy's beloved Snowdrops are hiding away till next spring. The garden has so many lovely and unusual trees but each has the room to spread and the underplanting of the trees is lovely too.

I arrived just as Hosta (Margaret) was leaving - I drove past to find a parking place but when I got back they had disappeared :0 Did I do something on them?

However, getting over this upset I just went ahead and enjoyed myself! I loved Mary's new White Garden and althought she was complaining of the damage the recent rains did I could see nothing wrong with it. What I particularly liked was that as you moved through other parts of the garden there were many occasions when the white of this area caught the eye in different ways. With the formal layout and the lush planting it makes a lovely feature.

It is hard to say which part of the garden I liked best - I was lucky to meet up with Anne (Ladygardner) who knows this garden well, so we wandered about and she made sure I didn't miss any of the hidden gems of this garden. I loved the Rose Garden with the lovely Campanulas adding extra colour. The thing I liked most about the garden was how you could follow paths and ways that brought you to new and different surprises at every turn. And as usual Mary had the full names of all the plants at the ready when any questions were asked! Oh! and Paddy made an excellent Gatekeeper :-)

Well done Mary and Paddy on a very successful Open Day.

P.S. Anne invited me to visit her garden too - but thats for another Journal!

As the sun sets .....

27 June 2014 23:56:30
As the sun sets .....

As the sun sets .....

... and the rains stops ......

This caught my eye this evening .....

27 June 2014 23:45:32
Hot Hot Hot

Hot Hot Hot

I managed to get a lot done today despite the showers - had to resort to the raingear but I'm satisfied with what was achieved.  I had about 25 small escalonias in pots since last year that I grew with the intention of creating a hedge but over the winter and spring I kept changing my mind as to where to locate the new hedge. It will be evergreen and what I wanted was something that would ease the wind across the garden.

I finally settled on a surround for the Sedum Bed. This bed is very successful but I want to create a bit of an air of expectation in that part of the garden - at the moment there is quite a broad path and the whole area can be seen from the deck - so give it a few years and there should be a better definition to that area.

On one fo the many trips to the Compost area I noticed a new angle on the Hot Border - the Kniphofia really look like Red Hot Pokers, don't they!

Wildlife Update

26 June 2014 11:03:38

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The darned bird is back this morning. How stupid is that - unless there is a nest of them ..... I think its a starling.

Willows and Wildlife

25 June 2014 23:52:37

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I'm having a bit of a summer of it wildlife-wise. Having found Herbert the Fish in my pond (who still refuses to reappear) and having a visit from my resident Froggie in the compost area and the recent close enocunters with the baby robins I'm beginning to think I'm living in a bit of a menagerie.

Well, I was away all day yesterday and just checked my emails before bed last night, I thought I heard some birds on the roof scratching about but I thought no more about it. This morning the scratching was more pronounced and I realised it was coming from the stove! I had to dismantle the innards of the stove to free the little beggar - out he flew straight into the nearest window almost knocking himself out. I had all doors open but it took three more attempts before he found his way out! What kind of bird? Not sure - could have been a young blackbird or maybe a starling. He was covered with soot so it was hard to see what he was really like!

After all that excitement - reassembling the innards of the stove was interesting - I went outside. Was very happy to get the grass cut and since I had the electric lead there already it made sense to start on the new project with the cultivator! Unfortunatey the rain came down before I got much done. 

When the rain eased I went out to tidy away the tools and things. On my way to the compost heap I got a wallop in the face with a very wet willow .... and just decided that enough is enough! It has been almost impossible to go down that path for weeks due to the phenomenal growth on the Willow Fence. So since i was already in my rain-gear to bring in the tools I just set to and got trimming! The photo with the rose bush shows the completely trimmed fence - done on Monday when the weather was better! the other photos show the remaining fence with today's efforts! Three hours hard slog and it only done on one side :-(

And of course there is now a positive mountain of willow to shred .... I think I need help ..... now who is due to visit me soon ..... LOL

#

satisfying day

25 June 2014 01:16:22

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Yesterday I spent a very happy day weeding and trimming the Buddha Garden. I had visitors at the weekend and was duly mortified by the 3 foot tall thistles in that border! 

I have to say I really enjoy having a full day to myself like this. This border was enlarged a lot after the Cattle Invasion and last year I filled it with mad annuals - namely Solanum Laciniatum, Nicotiana and Cosmos. I pulled them all out in the Autumn as soon as they stopped flowering (yes, I know Fran, I could have left the Solanum but they were way too big!) 

To my delight, when I finally waded through all the weeds I found a single Cosmos self-seeder and a number of the Nicotiana so I "arranged" the Nicotiana in a more organised way and carried on with my tidying.

I also lifted the two clumps of that pretty but very invasive white and green grass - can't remember the name of it - and confined them to pots that are now sunk in the beds. Even if they try to escape they should be easy enough to control from here.

All of this time I was accompanied by a whole family of robins being taught to feed themselves by  their Mummy - she was being very strict, refusing all their efforts to get her to feed them so I think one little fellow decided I was his new Mummy as he spent his time no more than a foot away from where I was digging, finding lots of interesting bits to eat on the disturbed soil!

Periwinkle - Thank you!

23 June 2014 12:04:01
Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

When Brendan and I visited Periwinkle's lovely garden in Donegal two years ago she kindly let me take a few cuttings of her magnificent rose "Queen Elizabeth". It is a dramatic floribunda which often reaches 5 or 6 feet even if pruned hard. I love this rose as it was the first rose I ever had to take care of - many years ago in my garden in London and I have been keeping an eye out for it in recent times without success.

So the cuttings were duly planted along with some other rose cuttings and as usual I got impatient and transplanted them too soon and I thought they had all perished. Imagine my delight when one reappeared this spring - and of course by then all the labels were gone so I waited anxiously to see which of the cuttings had survived - buds  appeared - and then yesterday look what opened!

Its still a bit meagre for a Queen Elizabeth but a bit of rose feed will soon sort that out. I'm chuffed that the cutting survived - and thank you Dorothy for encouraging me to try! 

I never promised you a Rose Garden ...

23 June 2014 11:55:57

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My dearest Brendan - In the words of the song "I never promised you a Rose Garden" but the roses gradually crept in until they demanded a place for themselves .... I know you are looking down on our garden and reminding me to go in and have food every now and again ..... and I'm sure you are enjoying these beauties!

P.S. no point in asking for names - the cat dug up all the labels :-)

Andy - is this what you meant?

19 June 2014 22:56:28
Andy - is this what you meant?

Andy - is this what you meant?

Tried the Delphiniums from another angle ....

Jacinta - It's ALIVE!!!!!

19 June 2014 22:54:34

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I recently visited Jacinta to collect a Laburnum (surplus to requirements) that she had lifted for me. It had wilted rather badly so I took the drastic step of cutting off every bit of greenery to reduce the strain on the plant.

I planted it the minute I got it home, adding lots of homemade compost and lots of water. It looked totally dead and i was really beginning to give up hope.

But today I thought I saw something on one of the branches .... such a minor miracle! Buds have appeared on several branches!

Thank you so much, Jacinta ! I have wanted a Laburnum for ages! I don't  think you realise how your lack of space in your garden benefits the rest of us!!!!

Photos not great - apologies to Andy - I'm a bit of a slow learner :-)

I'm confused!

19 June 2014 02:19:38

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I opened this month's Irish Garden and was delighted to see a feature on my favourite African Daisies ... but ... the name below the photo is  Argyranthemum jucundum but Johnstown Garden Centre have it as Osteospermum Jucundum.

Now I know a Rose by any other name ....etc ... but really!

So who has it right?

I've nicked the photos from the relevant places - meant to take a photo of mine but it got dark before I could.

And another thing .....

17 June 2014 00:53:22

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Photo One was taken with my phone and I think it did ok capturing the bood of this area.

I discovered that if I left the "snow" setting active ( OK - I just forgot to change the setting ) then I got different results. The Wild Rose (Photo Two) really benefited from that setting but the Delphiniums (Photo Three) were definitely not as clear so the solution is (a) remember to re-set the settings I change  (b) see instruction (a).

 

Trainee Photographer .....

17 June 2014 00:38:59

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...... putting up the results of latest attempts.

Photo One is with my phone which has no useful adjustment options.

Photo Two is with the camera using the suggested "snow" setting - Thank you Andy!

Photo Three is just showing off!

 

 

Camera Expert Needed

14 June 2014 14:58:09

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I've been very disappointed recently when I've tried to capture white flowers in the garden. I see other journals with magnificent examples but mine just seem to come out a big white blob.

Now I have to say, I'm not working with anything fancy - its a compact little Nikon Coolpix - you know - pretty much a "point and click" job and this is what I usually do.

Today a thought came to me - maybe some of those funny little symbols on the controls might have the answer.....

So feeling brave I tried changing something called "exposure compensation" and at least I got some different effects. Unfortunately I can't remember which setting applied to which photo :-( 

I used three settings - 0.0 , 0.7 and 2.0. Am I even on the right track? 

I also had the Macro Mode on. This one I change fairly often but can't honestly say I see much difference with either setting.

Can any of you lofty people with highly sophisticated cameras offer me some REALLY simple rules of thumb for (a) close-ups of flowers and (b) more general views. I will be forever in your debt if you do!!!!

Oh and one more thing ... what is the best time of day/ weather condition to get purple flowers to look purple instead of blue? Or is this another "magic button" I haven't found yet?

Then and Now

14 June 2014 09:54:40

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I am constantly amazed at how "in the present" I am as a gardener. I seem to completely forget how the garden looks at other times of year so when I took this first photo yesterday of my small pond area I went back through the photos and found the second one taken from much the same angle in March!

Summer Warmth

13 June 2014 23:32:27

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Took a stroll in the garden this evening - really enjoying this lovely weather with my friend Joan down for a few days.

The garden is a real joy to me at the moment coming into the richness of Summer. With the happiness of my daughter's wedding laid on top of the sadness of earlier in the year the garden is the one constant in my life.

I've decided against having an Open Day this year but I would like to extend a cordial invitation to anyone who would like to come visit the garden - please just send me a PM to arrange a date!

Clonohill Gardens Visit

10 June 2014 01:21:37

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On Sunday I made my way to Clonohill Gardens who were having an Open Day in aid of the Laois Hospice. I have been intending to visit this garden for a few years and was not disappointed! it is unusual in that it has several very distinctive and very different areas giving  the feeling that you have actually visited three gardens at least!

My tour began with the woodland. This is an area of very mature trees and Enda has very cleverly designed her planting amid the roots of these giants. I have never seen such perfect Hostas - one of the specialities of this garden - without a slug-hole in sight! This and the area they called the Squirrels feeding place had all the magic that goes with sensitive planting in tune with nature.

I followed the enchanting "Jacobs Walk" and came out unexpectedly into the sunlight and it was like a different world - immaculate lawns, richly planted beds and borders all protected from the winds of the Slieve Blooms by trees well over a hundred years old! The beds were planted with a tasteful blend of yellows and blues with much use being made of yellow foliage to enrich them.

After that it was the Walled Garden - tucked away behind the house and planted in a traditional way with little box hedges marking the beds - planted up with many interesting plants including a beautiul white geranium  that I think may be the one that Jackie was needing the name of - but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to ask its name!

As I was heading to the Coffee Area for a well-earned cuppa my phone rang - my son was arriving at our local train station so I had to beat a hasty retreat and go to collect him.

This is a garden I defintitely intend to revisit. It is open by appointment all through the summer!

...and talking about Big Leaves .....

06 June 2014 17:11:15
...and talking about Big Leaves .....

...and talking about Big Leaves .....

Tetrapanax Rex - definitely a King!

Lupin for Jackie

06 June 2014 16:53:23

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My tree lupin is standing up well to recent windy weather. I had a good idea it would be quite big ("tree" in the name was the clue :-) ) so I just surrounded it with other thugs - survival of the fittest!

More Wildlife at Gortnalee

05 June 2014 23:21:53

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Only got a short time in the garden today - yesterday I had started turning the compost heap but rain stopped play - so this evening i finished the task. I have to say I get great satisfaction out of seeing the compost heap all sorted out. This time I was mixing in some shredded willow as i was layering it and I finished off with a topping of the shreddings which I think looks really good!

While I was doing this didn't I find the little fellow under some of the willow shreddings. I don;t know who got the bigger fright! He stayed there motionless - pretending to be a stone or something but eventually he went off to find a safer place to live :-)

Having finished the compost I went down to see if there was any sign of my friend the fish - but still no luck! However, I found this lovely Aquilegia nicely contrasting with the Lysimachia Firecracker (thanks Fran) . I think it may be a seedling from one of the ones I got from Liga  a few years ago. It is doing much better than the original plant!

Clonohill Gardens Open Day Sunday 8 June

05 June 2014 09:33:25

Feed it, she said!

04 June 2014 10:16:33

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So now that I appear to have livestock in my pond Jacinta has instructed me to feed it. I reckoned it seemed to be doing ok foraging for itself so far (since I didn't even know it was there till the other day!) but she PROMISED that if I put some food in the pond the fish would come to the surface so I could get a photo.

Being a very obedient girl I went and got some fish food yesterday, and remembering childhood stories of overfed fishes, I put just a pinch of the food into the pond and sat down on the nearby rock with camera poised...... ten minutes passed - no fish ...... ten more minutes passed - great fun watching the pond skaters but still no fish ..... ten more minutes and it was starting to rain - so I took a picture of the pond and if anyone can see any sign of a fish in it I'd be very interested to hear about it! 

Bloom Again!

02 June 2014 21:05:47

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I re-read my journal about my Bloom visit – my I was grumpy that day! Probably something to do with being exhausted – my daughter got married the previous day! I also couldn’t remember ANYTHING I saw there J

So this morning I set the alarm nice and early and caught the train to Heuston. Who did I meet on the train but Nuala (AitAileann) so we spent the journey having a great gardening chat! She was dispatching her young people to the Zoo for the day so I left her to it and headed for Bloom myself. The weather was a bit on the chilly side but apart from a couple of light showers the rain stayed away.

I did a proper round of the Show Gardens first and was amazed at how much more I took in this time! Today I was able to appreciate the more subtle planting schemes as well as the more colourful and I was really impressed with the gardens that allowed you to walk in – it gives such a great feel for the garden when you experience it instead of peering over an imaginary garden wall!

I had a chat with the designer Tim Austen about his garden (Sowing the Seeds of Magic). He is very approachable and he explained that if a garden is entered as a “concept” garden then the designer can choose whether to allow visitors to enter the garden or not! I hope more designers with allow us in to more of the gardens in future. I would have loved to stroll around the Woodies garden – “Gardens Past, Present and Future” – it looked really interesting.

Since this was my second visit I showed commendable restraint only purchasing a pretty Clematis “Mary Toomey” from Mount Venus not yet commercially available and a tiny Rhodonypoxis Milloides from an Antrim grower Ballyrobert Cottage Garden and he threw in a few passes to the gardens too!. Because the weather was better the Floral Marquee was less crowded so it was easier to see the many wonderful displays. Having spent all the money I had brought with me I bumped in to Liga and her lovely family just as I was leaving for the bus – a perfect end to a much better visit!

Tidying up

01 June 2014 22:33:15

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Sometimes I just can’t leave a border  alone until it is tidied up! Recently when we visited Kindredspirit (Kevin)’s garden he was lamenting how the Ajuga in his front garden was a thug that was smothering everything else.  I loftily remarked that all he had to so was cut off the invasive bits!

Today I had to eat my words! I started off at the bed beside the car-park area. Last year Elizabeth and I planted up some Ajuga between the Aubretia and the Carex that had previously edged this bed and we were so happy to see that the Ajuga took so well.  Well, this year I took a long hard look at this edging and realised that firstly the Carex wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do – so out it came! Then all I had to do was sort out the Ajuga and the Aubretia – some pretty severe pruning has resulted in both having the chance to do their own thing without smothering each other!

After that I tackled the Maple Border – that section at the curve of the drive that was home to a lot of annuals last year – I had planted  a number of perennials and shrubs here but had kind of ignored it for a while –a nd yes, you’ve guessed it – the Ajuga was making a serious bid for freedom! However, it was a very simple task to trim off the trailers on the drive, and I’m delighted to see that it is serving its purpose by preventing the birds from scattering the clay all over the driveway!

The rest of that border took a a lot more effort to clear – the grass had come back with a vengeance and I really haven’t nearly enough stuff planted in that bed but it is giving me some great colour just now with the Oriental Poppies “Beauty of Livermere”. Note to self – release some of the “Plants in Waiting” into this area!!!!!

However, the final result of the weeding session on this border is very satisfying!

Pergola almost there

01 June 2014 22:27:37

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It all started because I had nowhere to grow two little climbers that I rescued from a non-gardener. I don’t even know their names – they were bought on impulse in Lidl a couple of years ago and they were adopted by me last year. One of them has a pretty pink flower and the other looks a bit like a Lonicera but hasn’t flowered yet!

To accommodate them I decided to add more trellises to the structure of the Pergola (I posted a journal about it a few weeks ago)

I’m really pleased with how the modifications to the Pergola have worked out. I planted up the raised bed on one side. The climbers now have a home and I have great hopes that they will cover my pergola with magnificent growth …. This is what I have been trying to achieve with some other climbers!

But the main thing is that my Pergola is now a “proper” pergola – a walkway rather than some sort of in-between structure!!!!

Happy Days!!! 

Queen Anne’s Lace

01 June 2014 22:24:44
Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

Couldn’t pass this magnificent display of Queen Anne’s lace on the roadside near my home.

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