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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal September 2014

Last Post 1210 days 13 hours ago

September - where has it gone?

29 September 2014 22:22:49

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I can't remember the last time we had a genuine Indian Summer and I'm certainly enjoying it and making the most of it.

When the weather is good it seems I get twice as much done in the garden and I'm very pleased with my progress over the past week or so. I've tackled a number of jobs that needed doing - the latest being the removal of the last remains of the Rhus I had to kill off because it was raising the nearby patio. I thought I had killed this off when it was cut down in the Spring but it didn't work so there were suckers coming up in every direction. I was frantic in case it started damaging the patio again - having to have it laid twice was bad enough!

So this time I got the most lethal brushwood killer I could find and sprayed it liberally. I hate having to use chemicals like this, but sometimes there is no choice. So all summer I've been looking at this horrid mess as I waited patiently for it to die. The spray also affected some Osteospermum that were growing around the tree but at least I have other clumps of them if I want to replace them.

So yesterday I began the task of removing the mortal remains - not an easy task! I got most of the Osteospermum out without too much difficulty but the Rhus was anothe matter! I forked around a bit but everywhere I dug there were more roots! As the light began to fade I had to leave the task for today!

Day two was more successful. The rain we had last night made the soil much easier to dig. Those of you who also have heavy clay soil will know, there is a short window between the concrete soil of summer and the muck of winter when it is actually possible to work the soil - and today was in that window!

I reckon I got most of the roots - so at least if anything comes up I'll be ready for it! The bed was then dug over and a couple of barrows of compost added so now its all ready for planting again! All i have to do is figure out how to do the planting without compacting the soil :-)

I did actually take a photo of the bed but the phone camera was playing up so its only a thumnail! The second photo shows it in the bottom corner.

So a big thank-you to Cherub, who definitely was on hand as I tugged at those darned roots and also while I repositioned the edging stones that are much heavier tha they look :-)

Plant ID please!

29 September 2014 10:26:01

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I was having a mad potting session the past couple of days and tidying up the pots at the back of the greenhouse I found this plant -or is it a weed? Looks a bit like the tree lupin but I'm not sure - or is it some dreaded monster that will take over my garden? Any suggestions please?


27 September 2014 23:23:07

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How do people decide where to put paths? I began my garden on paper and decided on paths that would lead people to different parts of the garden and these were the first paths to be laid.

As time went by other paths appeared - usually where I had to get access to areas for weeding and pruning. Some paths appeared when little visitors discovered new ways to explore the garden (these are the very best paths!) 

But in the evolution of my garden a lovely L-shaped Pergola was built and I was overjoyed. I now had a lovely route from the deck level down through the lovely new Pergola down past the Native Woodland Shelter-belt .....

Alas! No-one seems to want to walk through my lovely Pergola - they all take a short-cut over the edge of the rockery .....

So I've had to give in to the reality. There is now a "proper" shortcut and the rockery plants have a safer home!

I'm quite pleased with the new path but I still wish that people would walk through the Pergola - and even stop a while on the swing seat LOL

Not-so-little Carlow

25 September 2014 22:26:51

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I got this lovely Michaelmas Daisy "Little Carlow" a couple of years ago but as you can see it isn't really living up to its name!

After my adventures at the Ploughing I wasn't up to much in the garden today - just replanted some bulbs that needed to get back in the ground. They have a new home down near the lower pond - still need to do some more work on it though!

Took a short walk to try and get my poor legs working again and was delighted to see the rich colour on one of the best woodland plants I have - Viburnum Opulus - a native shrub commonly known as teh Guelder Rose!

Its Official

25 September 2014 22:14:13

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I'm now a proper rural resident! Why? Well I went not once but twice to the Ploughing!!!!

Since the Ploughing was taking place in Laois this year I decided I'd have to go along and see for myself what it is all about. Day one I went with a neighbouring farmer and spent the whole day there! Not the original plan, but a veryi interesting if exhausting day!

Day two I went with the friend I originally planned to go with and had a less frenetic day - however I am convinced my legs are at least two inches shorter after all that walking!

It was well worthwhile going the second day as I managed to get a couple of Birch saplings from the Coillte stand!

But the most surprising thing for me was that I didn't catch site of a single plough LOL

He's put on some weight!

22 September 2014 21:15:48

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Doing a bit of shredding today we uncovered my little froggy friend who last appeared in June!

He seems to be dining well in my garden as he has gained quite a bit of weight since then LOL

I've never studied one up close but this guy very obligingly sat motionless for a few minutes so that I could study him carefully. 

Now all I need is for him to find himself a girlfriend so they can gobble up all my slugs!

I suspect my resident fishes are no more - I was working in the garden the other day when a heron took off from the end of the garden. I've never seen one here before so I suspect that he was having his supper in my pond!

Elizabeth's Fuchsias

22 September 2014 00:08:17

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Today I visited my sister Elizabeth (Liztai). Yesterday she was lamenting the demise of her fuchsias due to the dreaded Fuchsia Rust that had taken hold in her garden so I went up to see if we could come up with a better way for her to deal with it. She has been painstakingly removing every single leaf that shows signs of the rust. She was also advised by a friend in the Fuchsia Society tho spray them with a milk solution but it was taking so long each day for her to remove the leaves that there wasn't always time to do the spraying.

I was expecting a wasteland - but this is what I found instead! 

Album to follow!

So we spent a happy few hours in her garden with me busy snapping anything that took my fancy while we worked out a new strategy!

First of all - in fairness, some of the plants have been devasteted by the rust so the suggestion is that these be cut back hard.

Second suggestion - bring the spray around each day and spray after removing the leaves a plant at a time - that way she should be able to get round them all every couple of days!

Third suggestion - enjoy the many plants that are still flowering their socks off!

So Elizabeth, tak a bow! Your fuchsia collection is amazing!

Easily distracted

20 September 2014 22:30:19
Planter ready for Spring

Planter ready for Spring

I went into the garden today fully intending to do some shredding - the compost area is full of prunings to shred and I've been pruning like a mad thing and of course not "shredding as I go" as I vowed the last time I got it cleared.

But you know how it is .... I had got some bulbs in Lidl so they had to be planted ... that meant emptying the planter they are to go in ... Monty Don gave a good demonstration of how to layer bulbs in a planter and top the pot so it looks good between now and when the bulbs appear so mine got topped with a pretty persicaria and a miniature Sedum (thank you Jacinta!) and an Ajuga that was in need of a home. In the centre I put a little plant I got in Terra Nova this summer that has lost its label - I have no idea what it is so it will be interesting to see what develops!

And then there were two blue  Alliums that needed to be planted in the small pond bed alongside the white ones doing well there. Of course when I went to plant them I had to take up a self-seeded Potentilla that was getting too big for its boots. Its potted up now ready for a new home.

At this point I almost made it to the shredder  BUT NO! That Rhus Walk that I started clearing on Thursday would only take a few minutes .... then when that task was completed it was far too late to start dragging out shredders! 

So instead I started the task of clearing along the hedge that caused such problems earlier in the year when Kevin was trimming the hedge for me. I dug like a mad thing trying to get as much lifted as possible before the light went. I concentrated on the Kniphofia first. Dumped them into the wheelbarrow and then of cours had to pot them up or they would perish! I'm helping some people with planting their gardens so these will come in very handy! I think there are about 8 so far - and each of them could be further divided if required.

By the time I finished it was pitch dark and I was working by the light from the shed!

..... and as for the shredding !!!!! Not today anyway LOL

I knew I should have ....

19 September 2014 17:28:12
I knew I should have ....

I knew I should have ....

.... put away that hose!!!!!! Can't actually see the rain bouncing off the deck in the photo but trust me it is! And has been hopping all day! Might even have to do the ironing Ugh!

Nature knows best!

18 September 2014 22:39:51
Nature knows best!

Nature knows best!

The nicotiana and cosmos in the far bed self-seeded - ain't they cute? And the one in the foreground too!


18 September 2014 22:31:28

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I was interested in the recent posting about orange in the garden. Today when I was working there I took some snaps of the orange in my garden - I was really surprised how many there were!

I think that the orange forms a great contrast in most beds!

Those darned birds!

18 September 2014 10:10:29

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I was so happy with my lovely neat Clematis Walk but as you know, pride goes before a fall!

I wasn'g at home much the past couple of days and yesterday when I wnet out to admire my new Walk - the darned birds had scattered the lovely compost all across the path and were trying to dig up the roots of my newly planted little treasures!

So down on my knees again sorting it out and while I was at it planting in some spring bulbs and adding a mulch of stone from the Potentilla Bed to hopefully keep the soil where it should be!

And I'm really happy with the result - just hope it works as a bird deterrant!

More Anenomes

16 September 2014 20:06:34

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I love Anenomes. The ones I pictured a week or so ago are my favourites - but I also have a double one that is a much more vigorous spreader although not quite as tall. And then there is Madame Honorine Jobert .... she is definitely an aristocratic French lady in my book ... can't resist putting up a few more pictures :-)

Mirabilis Jalapa Variegata

16 September 2014 19:54:10
Mirabilis Jalapa Variegata

Mirabilis Jalapa Variegata

Thank you Rachel for this pretty flower. I was impatient to see it come out as I read that it is also known as the "4 o'clock flower". Mine doesn't appear to be able to read the clock yet so it just flowers all day for me!!!


Gardeners World

13 September 2014 12:09:36

Clematis Walkabout

12 September 2014 23:37:12
Clematis Walkabout

Clematis Walkabout

How many Clematis does it take to make a collection? Well, I have been a bit obsessed with Clematis recently and the revamp of the Clematis Walk has enabled me to bring most of the Clematis I have collected over the past few years into one location.

I was so impressed with my database – it actually helped me to identify all the ones that had lost their labels :-)

So having been so organised I took advantage of the kind weather and did a little walkabout with the camera. Now garden.ie won’t let us upload videos so if you want to have a look try this link

Clematis Walkabout

Please let me know if it doesn’t work!!!

Planting time

12 September 2014 01:13:36

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Another lovely day so first off I tackled the new Clematis borders. I wanted to plant something at the base of the border and to edge the path so that the Clematis would get a bit of shelter from the sun. 

Checked over the "plants in waiting" and found a load of stuff - First off I put Cerinthes behind the clematis - if they bulk up properly they will shade the base of the clematis from the aternoon sun.  So 14 Cerinthes. Then on the path side 6 Heucheras, 8 red Saxifrage, 6 pink saxifrage, 10 sedums "green mantle" and last but not least, 9 Geranium Macrorrhizum 'Album'. Most of them were plants-in-waiting but I did have to take some seedlings of the Geranium!

It sounds a lot, but since the bed was all prepared planting them out was a very quick job - and of course, watering was required!

Being in the mood for planting, after lunch I went back to the plants-in-waiting and took out a few to plant - two geraniums I got from Elizabeth and an Anthemis from Clonoghil went to the Buddha bed, a Candelabra Primula and a fern with an illegible label from Deborah and Martin, and an Epimedium I got from Fran that I wanted to bulk up before it got planted - all in the Fernery.

Working in the front garden I couldn't ignore the Oak Border any longer. It was a veritable jungle! I've had to admit defeat on one of the invasive plants in that border. I don't remember who the kind donor was, but I remember some posts about it earlier in the year. Orange Hawkweed - stunning flowers but such a thug! It was in deadly conflict with some Lamium, and riding roughshod over everything else in its way! At least it is easy to dig out when the ground is so dry! I'll be keeping a close eye on that bed in case of resurections! At least I managed to get that border weeded!

And guess where Mr. Hawkweed is? Yes, in the bin!

The second picture is just to console myself that SOME of my borders are full  - what do you think Fran ? LOL

Evening time

10 September 2014 23:49:11

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I love the evening light at this time of year. It seems to have a golden hue and of course our lovely weather at the moment is making it even better!

A few views of the evening light in my garden .... 

Close up and personal

10 September 2014 22:59:55

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I was reaching in behind the big bed of Japanese Anemones which brought me up close and personal with the flowers. I usually enjoy these great autumn flowers from a slight distance en masse but this unfamiliar view just had to be captured!


09 September 2014 11:06:44

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After my brilliant holiday in clare I'm raring to go! Elizabeth stayed on for the weekend and we got cracking on the Clematis Walk. That area has very heavy clay soil not helped by the myplex that was covering it so there was nothing for it but getting down and dirty to improve the soil for the clematis. Probably would have been better to do this earlier, before I planted some of the clematis ..... :-(

Anyway, it is all cleared back now. On sunday we had some younger visitors, Brenda and Aine who took great delight in carrying up buckets of nice compost for Elizabeth (and of course we didn't object one bit!) so one side is dug over and mulched. To make sense of the photo - I used to have the chippings right down to the path and just cut holes in the myplex to plant the clematis but i think this border will work much better.

So now I'm off out into the sundshine to complete the job!

And by some strange process two more clematis seem to have sneaked ino my boot again ....

And the slip Elizabeth gave me of Clematis Alpina has produced a flower!!!!!

Another garden visited

06 September 2014 00:20:10

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This was actually a re-visit for me to Clonoghill Garden (Check out the Laois Garden Trail) and Elizabeth's first visit. This is a splendid garden that featured on Nationwide a while ago. I visited it last time on an Open Day earlier in the year but as is usually the case the creator of the garden was far too busy to give much time to individual visitors but I did promise myself that I would go back. It is always interesting to see a garden in different seasons and this garden was quite different to its midsummer appearance. But the best part was that Enda was this time able to give us a personal tour. She has great enthusiasm for all her many special plants but is also a wonder at putting together more mundane plants with the rare and unusual so that they compliment each other. She is an artist where colour and form are concerned but also a mine of information!

After a welcome cuppa and a lovely chat we headed home with a lovely selection of her special plants.

A lovely day and a special garden cared for by a very special lady! Thank you Enda for being so generous with your time!

Sandhills House Day Three

05 September 2014 02:16:32

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The third day dawned and top of the agenda was Carl Wright's extraordinary garden at Caher Bridge in the heart of the Burren. I have visited the Burren on a number of occasions over the years so was intrigued to hear of a garden created in the Burren landscape. I was not disappointed. The construction of this garden, an ongoing process, is an epic struggle between Man  and Nature on a grand scale. Carl as an Ecologist is always sensitive to his environment and this is echoed in every bit of the garden, from a pond that "mad itself" when he dug a hole to bury rubble, to a tree standing tall and proud with its roots embedded in the rock! No wonder this place is nicknamed "the living rock" - Carl has explored the possibilities of his garden and considers every fresh obstacle as a fresh challenge - like his recent fencing of the site to keep the wild goats from destroying his work! It was wonderful to hear the history of his garden and to see the beauty and experience the tranquility of this very special place.

Unfortunately Carl doesn't have time to have a Plant Sales area but Elizabeth did come away with some interesting Fuchsia cuttings in a jar to keep them fresh! Carl is a gentleman and we really enjoyed our visit there.

After that there was a tasty lunch at An Fear Gorta which is still a great place to eat, and then we headed for Corofin and the Gort road to find Terri and Alan. Such a lovely couple, and such a lovely garden! I cannot believe how mature that garden has become - from the journals I was expecting a garden in its infancy but Terri and Alan have done wonders with their site and it was really a joy to visit. I always enjoy their company, but to meet them in their home was really special! They work very obviously as a team and it really shows! Carl in Caher Bridge had told us of the 1000 tons of soil he shifted and sifted over the 18 years of his garden, but this pair are catching up fast! We did a rough calculation and so far they have shifted well over 50 tons in their first three years!

Apart from all that, I loved the whimsical details that surprised me in this garden reflecting Alan's artistic talent!


Sandhills House Day Two

05 September 2014 01:41:45

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Tuesday Morning Nuala took us round her several gardens - each of them with its own character. Her artistic eye is to be seen everywhere with great use being made of the lovely stones and rocks from the land and the beach near the houses. Making a garden within about 200 m of the sea is a real challenge but Nuala has created some lovely beds and borders using plants that will survive the harsh conditions. The sandy soil is a blessing for drainage but presents other challenges.

Next on the agenda was the Vandeleur Walled Gardens which I really liked. These restored gardens describe in detail the reasons for the planting based on the orientation of the walls of the garden. Here plants are allowed to grow to their full potential and can be seen in their full glory. Unfortunately they have a large Plant Sales area so quite a few more "passengers" found their way into the boot!

After that it was lunch at Biddy's - another garden close to the sea but with very different soil to Nuala. Here the soil is heavy clay, and Biddy grows wonderful vegetables and fruits. She is a busy lady but found time to make us welcome and give us a lovely lunch - joined by Nuala too - in her upstairs kitchen with the stunning view across Shannonside. I was struck yet again by the friendliness and kindness of all the people I have met on this site.

Sandhills House Day One

05 September 2014 01:15:53

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Matt O'Connell, the proprietor of Doolin Garden centre is possible the most enthusiastic plant grower I've ever met! He specialises in plants that will survive outdoors so that they will thrive in our gardens - his tour was a journey through his love for plants - his "6 favourite" plants must have numbered dozens as he described how each of his beloved plants likes to grow - so informative!

We spent a happy hour or so with him and surprise surprise some PLANTS actually ended up in the boot of the car!

We lunched at the Picnic Area he had designed at Doolin Pier and then took the ferry to Inis Oirr fo the afternoon! The journey out was a bit rough but the island was lovely and we managed to chat to a guy gardening in that difficult environment with beautiful roses in his garden!

Our ferry on the return journey was called "The Happy Hooker" but maybe not so happy as we had to be "rescued" by a small boat with outboard motors because the ferry couldn't moor at the quayside! We were very disappointed to learn that this happens a few times a month - so we weren't really the heroes we first imagined! However, it WAS all very exciting!

The Johnstown Prize

05 September 2014 00:23:23

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At the Johnstown Get-together this year I was lucky enough to win the Star Prize of a Mid-week Break in Sandhills House in Doonbeg County Clare kindly donated by Nuala (AitAileann). This week was the week I chose. ..... so ..... 1074 km later here is the story .....

On Sunday evening, The Three Muskateers and D'Artanan (otherwise known as Elizabeth, Joan, Jacinta and Hazel) set off from the Red Cow on a wonderous adventure. First stop was Gortnalee because Hazel had forgotten to put out her bins but after that it was full steam ahead to West Clare and a delightful Holiday House by the sea where Nuala made us very welcome. The house was beautiful, modern, comfortable and generally 5-star so we settled in very quickly. 

After that it was Gardens Galore!

Monday - Matt O'Connells lovely garden in Doolin where he grows all his plants outdoors so you can be sure they are hardy

Monday afternoon - a trip to Inis Oirr of the Arann Islands just for a change!

Tuesday morning - A tour of Nuala's own gardens followed by Vandaleur Walled Gardens

Tuesday afternoon - a visit to .ier Biddy

Wednesday morning - Caher Bridge gardens in Fanore 

Wednesday afternoon - a visit to .ier Terrishoo (Terri and Alan)

Thursday - well - had to pass on the final garden due to lack of time but we did get to a lovely Cottage Garden and Craft Shop between Milltown Malbay and Ennis!

I'll put up journals about the various gardens later but I'm still trying to empty the boot ....


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