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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal October 2014

Last Post 1181 days ago

Thank you for sharing ....

27 October 2014 22:11:11
Thank you for sharing ....

Thank you for sharing ....

I have got so much pleasure out of all the lovely Autumn albums posted recently that I just feel I have to say a big THANK YOU to all the people who took the trouble to share them with us.

I find the darkening evenings very depressing and once the clocks go back I start a mental countdown to when they are changed again in March. Talk about wishing your life away!

And the recent windy weather doesn't suit me either!

So now I'm finished moaning - I'm thankful I have my little greenhouse where I spent a happy few hours potting up some Fuchsia cuttings and starting to bring in those that aren't very hardy. 

And of course, there's the new leaf-blower that will need to come out again next week or so when the rest of the leaves have fallen!

And I have a Birthday Party of a very special little lady to attend on Halloween LOL

Japanese Anemone

25 October 2014 23:27:56
Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone

Fran gave me a small piece of Japanese Anemone labelled " could be pink - or white" a couple of years ago. I was fervently hoping it would be pink as I had just purchased "Honorine Joubert" - a lovely white one!

I planted it in the border at the end of the garden where I collected a lot of plants given to me by my kind friends on this site. It duly flowered and to my delight it was pink - and it is darker than the pink one I have already. It has done really well, but in the way of these lovely flowers it was staging a bit of a bid for World Domination - it had spread all around the poor little plum tree that favoured me with a great crop this year and underneath them I thought I remembered planting a little Box hedge but it had completely disappeared from view!

So all of that led me to tackle shifting this lovely plant today. It took a while .... as anyone who had tried to lift these plants will remember ... but guess what? I got a total of 14 plants from it!!!!

So now I have put some in the same border as Madame Joubert and the pale pink one I have from my mother's garden. I'm looking forward to seeing how these three will look together next year!

And the little Box hedge was quietly flourishing under the whole lot :-)

Fran - do you have a name for this Anemone please? The photo isn't very true to the colour.

Tired but happy!

23 October 2014 21:05:18

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We've been busy the past two days - at this time of year there just seems so much demanding immediate attention before the winter sets in. So I had my daughter and her new husband down to do a bit of a blitz!

There was a list - Apple tree to be pruned, some currant bushes to be removed, inevitably some shredding. And then there was the Wind Plaza beds to be filled, the hedges to get their final trim of the year ... and then there was the leaves!!!!

So we are sitting back now, totally wrecked but with the entire list completed! I so much appreciate when they come down - I really seem to have renewed energy so hope to get the place ship-shape as I expect to have some visitors from New Zealand in early November!

I was asked for photos of the Wind Plaza beds - still a work in progress but looking much better already ...

And then there is a "before" and "after" of some of the leaf tidy up!

I'm all excited ....

22 October 2014 01:01:33

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... I have help coming down tomorrow to do get some jobs done that are getting on top of me. One of them is to refill the raised beds at the Wind Plaza.

They were originally filled with compost and of course the compost has reduced over the past couple of years and the planting had become overgrown. And typical me, I have a plan ..... the existing plants needed to be removed so that my helper can do the refilling! I have a bag of topsoil decorating the drive for the past few months - it will be so nice to have that bit of unfinished business completed - then it will be time to plant the beds up again!

The planters had been overgrown with Campanula Poscharskyana - very pretty but a bit of a thug if not kept under control - and Saxifraga 'Winston S. Churchill' which was also in need of rejuvenation and there were a few other bits as well. So the saxifrage was mostly transplanted and the Campanula, a Carex and a Euphorbia are all potted up! Believe it or not I got 40 plants from the Campanula!!!!

'Cos Fran told me to .....

20 October 2014 21:18:31

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Fran advised me to cut all the leaf bits off my bamboos that I harvested last week and that has been nagging at the back of my mind while I've been doing other stuff in the garden over the past couple of days.

Today's task outside was to tidy up the Willow Arbour weaving in new growth to strengthen the structure. Last year when I made it I didn't have enough really long and strong willows so it needed a bit of repair work. I really enjoy this kind of task - I never tire of ways to persuade my Living Willow structures to do what I have in mind for them!

Just finished this when the rain came down so as it was still early afternoon I decided to tackle the bamboos. So since this was going to be a bit of a tedious job I brought them indoors and sat comfortably in my armchair while I removed all the leaves from each individual cane. It took a while since there were well over 50 of them to deal with but ding them indoors was a good idea - all I had to do was sweep up the debris and bag them and no-one would know I'd been gardening in the Lounge LOL

Trusting the Weather Forecast

19 October 2014 22:19:03
Trusting the Weather Forecast

Trusting the Weather Forecast

This morning was very mixed - great sunshine with very heavy showers in between  so before I ventured out into the garden i checked the "hour by hour" forecast on weather.com and was delighted to see that they thought we should have no more rain after 2 p.m. They were almost right - apart from a downpour at about 3 p.m. we had a really pleasant day here today.

So apart from having to hide out in the greenhouse while the downpour passed over i managed to have a really productive day in the garden!

The recent work on the new path had resulted in lots of earth being tossed up on the Shrubbery border so today I levelled out this area and I'm very pleased with the new level on this border. No photos as I was too busy getting on with stuff - but I'm pleased with the progress on the new area.

In between times I ran the mower over the grass so now i have all the components for my next "Compost Recipe"! - I'm very happy with the "30 minute lawn" that i have now :-)

Having done that I decided to tidy up the Willow Fence and that took me until dark!

Since I have no photos of my progress today this photo is the chutney I made with my own apples!

My Best Plant - Definitely

18 October 2014 09:48:46

Did I feel a drop of rain?

17 October 2014 22:39:47
Even the turf got wet!

Even the turf got wet!

That was my thought when I was out doing a bit more work on the new path. I wanted to get the last bit dug out as Elizabeth is coming down to "test drive" the steps and the path levels before I put the finishing surface on it.

So it is working out well - the soil from the path is being added to the Shrubbery border raising the level a bit which is what I want.

So I was beavering away and delighted with myself - when you are just throwing the earth to one side this kind of digging out is much easier! And the soil is still pretty workable despite the recent rain.

So I'm about two feet from the end of the path when I thought I felt a few drops of rain but I just put up the hood of my jacket and ignored the rain. Unfortunately it wasn't just a few drops - as I dug the last few spadefuls the heavens opened so I had to head indoors. now one of the disadvantages of a fairly large garden is that it is quite a distance from the garden to the house - and as you know, you need to close up greenhouses and sheds and put away tools and empty wheelbarrows before you can go in!

So when I eventually made it to the back door Puss was scolding me loudly - so that meant he had to be fed ..... 

As I filled Puss's dish I could feel the wet on the back of my legs so once he was fed there was nothing for it but to shed the lot! Just as well I live in the country and have no near neighbours to see me streaking!

As you can see in the photo feeding Puss involved walking across the kitchen making interesting footprints across the floor. So glad I didn't clean the floor before I went out to the garden LOL

Best Plants - New, Sulker and best value

16 October 2014 13:27:04

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Fran's journal got me thinking - so I've spent a happy hour or so browsing through my photos for this year but the task he set was too difficult - I couldn't pick one favourite so I'm nominating three plants that gave me much pleasure this year.

Best new plant for me was the Day Lilies. I got some from Jacinta with the various shading of yellow and brown on the different flowers, and another gift from Johnstown from an unknown donor that has magical pink flowers and finally a small yellow one. I love the unexpectedness of them - you think they are finished and then more flowers appear!

The best Sulker is the Hydrangea I have had for 4 years without a flower that suddenly decided to do its thing this summer.

Best value plant for me this year has to be the Cerinthes that flowered their socks off from early Spring and are now producing flowers on this years seedlings! And it has given me lots of "babies" for next year!

But wait a minute .... what about the Helebores that gave me hope in January .... or the Roses that filled me with joy in June .... or the Clematis that adorn the new arches .... or the Fuchsias that are still full of buds .... or ... or ... or ... Definitely an impossible task LOL



14 October 2014 22:04:33

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Having cut back some of the bamboos in the Bamboo Garden (otherwise know as the Septic Tank area!) and since I couldn't persuade the Zoo to give me some cute little Pandas to eat them I had  to come up with another plan.

I was being very virtuous and shredding as I pruned, so the Buddliea were soon dispatched but when it came to the bamboos it seemed a shame to just shred them up so I sorted out any that had a possibility o being used as plant supports in the future and shredded the remainder.

After that I looked at my haul - there were well over fifty of them! Some of them were inclined to curve so I hit on a plan - I tied them tightly in bundles of about 10 or 12 - tying them in three or four places along their length. I'm hoping this will straighten them out.

Now for the question - where is it best to store them while they dry out? 

Any ideas?

And another question - does anyone know will the stems (or are they the Culms?) that I've cut grow back again? The bamboos are Fargesia murielae Rufa and it is a clump-forming one but the clumps are exceeding their alloted space! 

Seize the moment

12 October 2014 21:22:54

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I have commented a few times ( Ok - complained ) about the challenges of working with the heavy clay in my garden. The main problem is how the soil turns into concrete when the weather is warm in the summer and then when the rain comes it turns into such heavy muck that it is impossible to work it - and if you have to walk on this muck you compact it so that the concrete problem is worse!

All in all, not the easiest soil to work with. however, it does have one big plus - if you can cope with the concrete/muck situation the heavy soil holds on to nutrients and when you get stuff to establish it really grows like mad!!!

Well, in between the Concrete Phase and the Muck Phase there is a window of opportunity when the soil is workable - not a very big window, but still a window!

Today fell into one of those windows so I decided to progress the work-in-progress area a bit. I had started it early in the summer but the Concrete Phase caught up on me so it had to be left to its own devices over the summer. Although I sprayed it off the crop of thistles, nettles etc are prolific to say the least of it. This project involves a new path so that it is possible to pass close to the Shrubbery that usually gets overlooked and linking up with the new path through the Lasagne Bed from last year.

It was a pleasure digging out the path - soil removed crumbled up just like REAL soil! Of course as usual time ran out before the path was completely dug out but three-quarters of it is done so I'm feeling encouraged. If I can keep going while the window of possibility remains open it will be great to get this area completed before the winter sets in.


For Doreen

12 October 2014 20:06:01

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Here are a couple of photos of my Centaurea Montana. It usually flowers in June but can continue giving a few blooms right through till the frost kills off the top foliage. i cut mine back when the flowers fade as otherwise it can get very untidy!

Withdrawal Symptoms

12 October 2014 00:08:43

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I've been busy for the past two days - we have had the launch of an initiative "Revive Rathdowney" sponsored by Bank of Ireland aimed at encouraging local businesses  so the lauch was a two-day "Expo" where any local business could participate free of charge promoting their business in any way they wished and with some very inspirational speakers giving sound advice often from their own experience. It was a great success with over 90 local businesses taking part and with some good stuff in the pipeline. I took a small stand to promote my various activites and I was pleased with the amount of interest - might even get some work!!!

But the problem was that this took me totally away from the garden for the two days - and there was quite a bit of sunshine too!!!

So the activities ended about 3 pm so I got home about 4 pm - couldn't wait to get out of the "business attire" into the gardening gear and out to the garden! I definitely was having withdrawal symptoms :-)

So I had a few happy hours tidying and cutting back some of the stuff that the frost the other night had blackened - I love this time of year and get great satisfaction doing this type of gardening!

Because the sun is getting much lower in the sky with the approach of winter I was really happy to realise that my little Coffe Corner comes into its own on Autumn evenings - and guess what? It was warm enough to sit and sip a Coke there this evening. These precious warm interludes are getting fewer so I try to take advantage whenever I can!

Panda Wanted

10 October 2014 01:12:34

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It was very wet here in Laois this morning so I had to encourage myself to go out once the rain stopped. It turned out to be a lovely day so I ended up getting lots done. I potted up all the bulbs I've been acquiring - all in pots this year! I tried a few in pots last year and was very happy with them - and by planting them in pots (with labels!!!) I have some chance of remembering what I've planted! Then if they do well I may put them in the borders next year!

That didn't take too long so I decided to don protective clothing and armed myself with the Elephant gun and ventured into the Bamboo Jungle! (Since it isn't quite finished yet there is only a "before" photo - the "after" will follow when the job is finished)

I didn't get to this area last year at all so it was in a pretty bad shape - also the bamboo, although clump-forming, have started marching across the space which isn't really what I had in mind! Advise please - do I chop off the offending bits? will the middle of the clumps die back? 

So as you can see from the photos what I really need now is a Panda - maybe one of those cute little ones they have in Dublin Zoo!

Harvest in

10 October 2014 00:51:04

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Harvested all the remaining edibles in the garden the other day. The cooking apples were very disappointing this year - most of them have tiny black spots on the skin and many of them had been pecked by the birds so none of them will really keep for long. 

Do people stew them before freezing or freeze them raw?

The beetroot were nice - but way too much for my needs.

The scallions came on very well the past month but alas there was no lettuce to go with them!

I ended up making a kind of soup with some of the produce and it tasted very well! 

The second photo is my goodies from Aldi -I have a new prayer - "Dear Lord, keep me away from Aldi when they get in plants ..... please!!!"


After all that gallivanting...

07 October 2014 23:56:17

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Time to get stuck in and do some stuff in my own garden instead of swanning around looking at other people's gardens!

I've really enjoyed all the garden visits I have fitted in this year and it has helped me though a difficult time - I have felt so supported by all of you garden friends!

So I did a good bit of planting up of the many treasures I acquired on these visits -the "Plants in Waiting" area is down to the last few plants and they have places lined up for them! ( the newly appointed "Plants for Export" is filling up instead LOL)

Like Jacinta I like to clear away plants when they "go over" and with all the gallivanting that regular clearing up hasn't really been happening but now I'm on a roll - several borders have been given a good tidy-up and I've made a mission out of removing all the thistles that appear overnight in my garden! 

Walking around the garden the past week I haven't been beating myself up over the bits that haven't been done - instead I've been marvelling at how well the colour in the garden is lasting into October.

I planted up the bed where the Rhus was removed - I know I'll have to be vigilant and remove any more little bits that appear but the area should fill up nicely nest year. The centre-piece (the tall bamboo canes mark the spot) will be the perennial Sweet Pea I got from Jacinta and it will be surrounded by other plants that will ermind me of this good summer. 

Since Rachel gave me permission to get rid of unwanted self-seeders the border clear-up has been much more successful. 

But am I ready to shut up shop for the winter? Definitely not!

A Jewel of a garden!

02 October 2014 23:21:27

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So I finally got to see Claire (Clara)'s garden today. And what a delight! She constantly says how her garden is only little and so on - but she is far too modest! At first glance it appears to be a small suburban garden with a lovely lush lawn and borders crammed with a great selection of plants all blending together into a regular canvas of colours but that is only half the story ..... down a pathway beside a shed covered with splendid Virginia creeper and you come to the first Secret Garden - here a charming patio has some great plants in pots including a magnificent Aonium and a lovely cascading Sedum. Claire's signature quirky bits and pieces constantly surprise and delight. And as you admire each one she has a little history of how they came to her garden.

So just when I thought I'd seen it all, I followed Joan up some steps and came upon the second Secret Garden - also known as the Winebar - where Claire and Greg have been know to sit and sip suitable beverages out of sight of the world in a veritable Fairy Dell!

Claire, I love your garden! Thank you for sharing it with me!

Indian Summer Swan Song

02 October 2014 22:26:01

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Tomorrow has such a poor forecast that I'm sure today will have been the Swan Song for our lovely Indian Summer. I spent the day the best possible way to spend such a gift of a day.

I met up with friends Rachel, Joan, Claire (Clara) and Fran at Mount Usher this morning and after a reviving cup of coffee we set off around these outstanding gardens. I haven't been there in years so it was a revelation to me. The company was great, and the Autumn colour we went to see was just beginning to make itself felt. However there was still a surprising amount of colour in the borders, particularly the lovely Prairie borders full of Rudebekia and Helenium which I believe are newly planted. Isn't this the true sign of a living garden when an old and mature garden combines its classic planting and structure with new ideas and new plantings. 

The Cornus were the main plants to be putting on their autumn colours and we thought that Claire must have come by this morning with her paint-box the colours were so special!

Of course there was a certain amount of "boot swaps" going on before we went our separate ways, and we did stray into the Greenhouse Plants area - Rachel was so disappointed they weren't selling greenhouses :-) 

I showed commendable restraint and only purchsed some pretty white Cyclamen for my fernery.

Is there a better way to spend a sunny October morning than in beautiful and peaceful surroundings with fellow-gardeners! 

And the day had another surprise for me as Claire invited me to drop by her house to see her garden too .... but that's another story!

Thanks to all of my fellow-travellers for a lovely day!


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