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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal August 2014

Last Post 1274 days 15 hours ago

.... and now for some more Lasagne

31 August 2014 01:56:54

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Rachel's lovely photos of the plants in her Lasagne Bed are very timely  - I spent this evening working on my Lasagne Bed which was also planted up this Spring.

Now I have to confess that my Lasagne Bed wasn't as carefully done as Rachels. I was extending two borders out to reduce the amount of lawn so I started well - got the cardboard down coveing the area well.

Then I put down the contents of a "finished" compost area. Unfortunately this wasn't nearly enough to cover the beds so I had to use the "half-cooked" compost as well. Still not enough!!!! So then in desperation I put the "rough" compost on top!

Covered it up for the winter and hoped for the best!

Spring came along. The beds looked an awful mess with half composted junk on the top layer - guess I made the Lasagne upside down! I really want to rais the height of this bed so I got a ton of topsoil delivered and gave the Lasagne a top layer.

By now spring was advancing and the Plants-in-waiting for these borders were begging to be planted so without further ado I put them into the new beds - When i was finished it looked like a currant bun instead of a border and I reckoned i would need twice as many plants again!

This border didn't get much attention for a while, but when I came to weed it I was truly impressed with the luxuriant Dock leaves and nettles that had appeared - obviously that compost must have been good stuff!

So this evening I returned to that border and did a bit of weeding. I'm really delighted with how this bed has filled out. I only actually purchased one plant for the bed - the Sambuca - the rest were either my own divisions, gifts from fellow gardeners or self-seeders!

Sometimes a path is just in the wrong place ...

25 August 2014 22:53:52

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I put in a path down along beside the shelter belt when it was first planted and it was vey nice to walk along the path and examine the various native trees and shrubs as they developed.

Recently I realised that this path had actually disappeared! The shelter belt is now flourishing and it extends out beyond where the original path was made. I gave it a good cutting back but still the path didn't appear. 

So what do you do with a path in the wrong place? Why, you move it of course :-)

We had pretty awful weather for the first part of the day but a while after lunch it dried up so I ventured out to sort the path out. It took the rest of the day, but I'm very pleased with the results! I will be topping up the gravel but that will be a small task compared to moving the path - It has migrated only a metre but now I can once more stroll down past my shelter belt without having to take a machete with me!

I will also have better access to the raised beds- its a winner!

Lots done but very little gardening!

22 August 2014 22:54:31
Tidy Pot washing area!

Tidy Pot washing area!

Long threatening comes at last! With the chill in the evenings my mind was concentrated on getting the fuel store sorted out properly! Last year we did a temporary job in the shed - just put up a bit of a partition and stacked the turf up but there was no room for the logs so I ended up having to store them  in the gardening shed. Downside of that was that I haven't been able to get at anything in the gardening shed all summer!

Drastic action was called for - a complete redesign of the layout of shed number one (previously known as Brendan's shed)was called for. It is a large container where all the workings of the water supply for the house are stored but with a bit of reorganisation the back half of the shed is now cleared, the turf is stacked and next task will be to move the logs in - then I'll be all set for winter! And I even might find that really useful one-handed shears I've mislaid:-)

Of course I had help with all this stuff but when it was done, and Kevin had driven off, I was inspired to continue the tidy-up. The area behind the sheds is always a bit of a dumping ground. It has a sink that is usually so full of junk that it can't be used to wash pots which is its real purpose. The pots end up all over the place, and when I need to sort the compost in the "Dalek" the place just gets totally wrecked! 

The clear-out of the sheds meant that there was a spare set of shelves so that was enough for me to get cracking and sort out that area. I'm really impressed with the results! Lets see if I can keep it like that!

Sometimes I can do very silly things

21 August 2014 23:43:33

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... not in the garden, of course, but rather with the PC. I had just written a lovely journal and decided I wanted to look something up before I completed it so I did a "copy" of the journal and then went off to look up the name of that grass that someone kindly gave me on my last journal. So what did I do! I "copied" it ..... DOH! Went back to create a journal and did a "paste" Where was my journal gone? Instead I just had the name o the grass "stipa arundinacea" What a silly!

Now what was I saying? Oh yes, finished tidying the Small Pond bed and removed a beautify but EXTREMELY invasive blue grass from the bed - it was sending up runners up to two feet away from its parent! So they are all in a pot now - and will make a nice filler for the future without destroying all in their path. No idea what it is called and I neglected to take a photo - will post one tomorrow and would love a name for it.

In the meantime here is a "before" and "after" of the other half of the small pond bed!

And the Oxygenator plant in the pond has cute little white flowers on it! It is taking up most of the pond now so I'll have to move some of it to the lower pond where Herbert and Henrietta will enjoy it! I've actually seen them two days running now!

I knew it was there somewhere!

20 August 2014 20:09:08

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I finally got round to cutting back the Lysimachia and the giant daisies in the pond border and as I suspected there was a lovely Agapanthus hiding in the jungle!

Isnt that grass beautiful too! No idea what it is called but it was from a fellow .ier I think!

The Cotinus "Grace" is coming on nicely - might even have to cut it back a bit LOL

Retail Therapy ....

18 August 2014 16:42:58
The hoard of treasures

The hoard of treasures

Ah! isn't Retail Therapy the best! I've been so busy all summer that I haven't really done much retail therapy so today since I needed to go to Portlaoise to get a new phone (Yippee!!!) it was time to indulge myself.

Prompted by Jackie I headed for Heatons first - probably not a great idea as they were making final reductions on some very cute little animals that will no doubt find homes in my garden very soon! They also had the large size kneeling pad that I have wanted to replace mine which was commandeered to make a warm bed for Puss a couple of years ago and of course the labels that Jackie mentioned. I also got some rubberised tying up wire that might be kinder to the Plum tree than the twine I used last evening!

After that there was a bit of a lull - Lidl had nothing interesting, didn't try Aldi but then went fo lunch and then on to sort out the phone. I'm changing network with the intention of using mobile broadband instead of my current slow and unreliable land-line broadband. It should work out cheaper and faster than what I'm paying ofr at present. By the time that was sorted I was ready to head home - but Dealz is directly opposite to Carphone Warehouse in the shopping mall so what could a girl do?

They are winding down this section at this time of year but I did spot the handy wheels for moving pots and the Dibber. I have always felt that a Dibber was for really SERIOUS gardeners but every time I had to go searching around the shed or greenhouse for something suitable for transplanting seedlings I would mutter "must keep an eye out for a dibber" and then promptly forget about it! I reckon that it just "snuck" into my basket of its own accord :-)

Oh and more gloves ..... think I have a bit of a glove fetish going on at the moment LOL

So I'm just taking a little rest before I venture out for a little bit of gardening as the sun is making a good effort to make it a fine day here in Laois. Happy gardening one and all!

New use

17 August 2014 21:23:17

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You know when the nearest and dearest insist on keeping "stuff" that you dearly want to confine to the dump?

Well a couple of years ago our lovely "posh" sun umbrella succumbed to the Gortnalee Wind-tunnel and the cover got flittered and some of the staves broke. I was disgusted as it was a lovely timber one and we had got it as a real end-of-season bargain in Woodies before we had fully moved in to the house. I took it to pieces so it would be easier to dispose of it but before I could get it into the bin Brendan caught me and that was that!

The strong central post was reused as legs for something but the staves were a bit of a problem. They had an arm on each, and the scress holding them were completely rusted and refused to come out to make them into stakes. So they were banished to to the back of the shed and there they were for the past couple of years.

Now fast-forward to today. I went down to check for more ripe plums and realised that plums want to grow on the lowest branches and there are so many fruits on the branches that they are drooping right down to the ground. The situation isn't helped by the underplanting of Japanese Anemones, Eringiums, Bonariensis and Echinaceas! 

So something was needed to prop up the branches ....... Enter the long ignored staves! I don't know if they are clear in the photo but they are just the job! (They are actually slightly less messy in reality!)I struggled and swore at the Bonariensis as they grabbed me when I  was trying to fix up my new scaffolding around the tree!

Now I need advice on how to prune this suddenly prolific tree! Last year's  branches are laden with fruit but seem to have grown "extensions" that if they fruit next year will be unreachable. Gardeners World this month talk about pruning the tree but it is still full of fruit! Does anyone know will it fruit on the same branches next year? It I cut it back to a size I can manage will I have no fruit at all? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

satisfactory day

15 August 2014 23:14:10

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Today was the first day since I got home that I actually got to stay out in the garden without having to run for shelter even once!

I had to send for Cherub to help me as I'm doing a bit of work on the stream pond and area around it. I removed the Lysimachia that was taking over the other day so this means i can now access more of the edge of the pond. I'm tormented with pond blanket weed and it has wrapped itself so well around the plants in the pond that there was no choice but to lift them out to try and clear it off the roots.

Souns simple? Well, there is a large lily that has been doing well sitting in the pond but it blocks the view of the stream entering the pond so i thought I'd take it out and see if there is a better place for it.

This is where Cherub came in - I gave a gentle chug at the lily pot. No movement whatsoever! So Cherub helped me remove several large rocks from the end of the stream so I could see what was holding the lily. The lily has long outgrown the pot it was in and there was a large carpet of roots wrapping around the stones. I pulled that away and eventually had to take the wrecking bar to the pot to dislodge it!

I also fished out some other rocks but the pond really needs a good cleaning. So a new dilemma - what about Herbert and Henrietta? No sign of them while I'm doing all this messing about. No sign of them most of the time! I reckon I'll have to bite the bullet and get into the pond. I'm totally freaked out at the thought that there are fish swimming about and they might touch off me! And Cherub is no help! He doesn't do Rocks in Water so he can just go back to Mr. Scrubber!!!

Decisions Decisions

15 August 2014 12:09:35
Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

Gardening gloves are great. For years I never wore them believing I couldn't work with them but my first Christmas here in Gortnalee several family members gave me a variety of gloves so I felt obliged to try them! Maybe the fact that I was venturing out in February might have had something to do with it ;-)  So I discovered I didn't have to get frostbite or chilblains any more! 

Now there are gardening gloves and there are gardening gloves. I had some pretty flowery ones that lasted 15 minutes weeding. Then there are the leather workman's ones for dealing with brambles. There are insulated ones for winter days and tough ones for general stuff but the ones I use most are the fine ones with the rubber coating that allow me to get hold of tiny weeds! They last me a few weeks and I know I have to replace them when my fingernails look as if I was digging with my bare hands!

Yesterday was such a day. So today I went to my local hardware shop for replacements. They usually stock one type in sizes large and extra large. Today they had a bewildering array and joy of joy they had size Small!!! There were pink ones, blue ones, white ones, yellow ones, black ones and two toned ones. How to decide? Would I be ladylike in delicate shades or practical in black? 

Oh dear! As you can see I really couldn't decide. :-(  

Now I only have to decide which pair to wear today.  ..... Pity to dirty the pink ones ... What a dilemma LOL


In the words of Mr. Scrubber ....

14 August 2014 23:39:22

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...for the past few day I just wed and I wed and I wed. The thistles were actively greeting me each morning and the Cerinthe were staging a second World Domination bid so there was no way out - down on the poor knees and sort them all out!

It never ceases to amaze me that by simply removing the ndesireables in a bed you give it a complete face-lift!

The first bed needs lots more in-fills - far too much bare soil for weeds to take hold. The second one is the Cerinthe domain - I have lifted a few seedlings just in case ... some chance! They are starting their second flowering already!

And the third one is just a tribute to the "upside down daisies" my mother loved so well.

did you know ...

11 August 2014 20:06:33
did you know ...

did you know ...

... that you can edit journals you've already posted and add those photos that wouldn;t load over the weekend? Yes, I know, I'm probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs ......

I've just added photos to my "Plum" journal mainly because I like to know what a journal is about when I look back over them :-)

And this photo is a random one of the Herbaceous Border - taking Andy's advice I've tried to make sure there is nothing distracting in the background!


Plums! Yummy!

10 August 2014 22:47:49

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Ventured down to the end of the garden today (between the thunder and lightening!) and to my delight the plums are starting to change colour! The branches are almost breaking with the weight of the fruit. I'm delighted! this is the first year for it to fruit. It is a Victoria Plum and I planted it to remind me of the lovely plums in my grandmother's garden many years ago.

I found one ripe enough to try so enjoyed my very first plum from my own tree! Happy days!

Home at last!

06 August 2014 13:54:58

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Back from a lovely holiday with my darling Granddaughter and what did I do the minute I got out of the car? Yes, grabbed the camera and took a walk around the garden to see what has happened over two weeks!

What a delight! Things that were only starting to show colour are now in full bloom - some things are doing a second flowering!

I'll put up an album but here are a few to start with - in Photo One if you look closely you will see my little friend the Cerinthe is off again!

Photo two is the second flowering of Clematis "President" (I think)

Photo Three is a real surprise - a few flowers on my Wisteria!


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