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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal December 2014

Last Post 1125 days 16 hours ago

On Christmas Day

25 December 2014 12:54:12

Can it really be a year?

21 December 2014 21:28:27

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Today was a lovely day. I was dreading it because we were celebrating my lovely Brendan's first Anniversary - in some way this year has flown but in others it has been very long.

I recently completed the album that we began together when Brendan was in the Nursing Home to help him with his failing memory but he passed away long before it was finished. 

To complete the album I had to go through all the photos of the many wonderful events that marked our short life together - many of them were of gardens visited together, garden friends visited. This was a totally joyous task and really lifted my spriits as I was reminded again of how much happiness we managed to cram in to the eight years we were together.

One of the happiest entries is Rachel's lovely tribute to Brendan in the Irish Garden and the seat dedicated to him in Rachel's garden.

My friends on this site have been an enormous support to me during this past year. Some of you may have been surprised that I went ahead with the organising of the Get-together last January but I must say that it was the most loving and supportive event of this year for me. Thank you to all of you who supported me so completely last January and through tis difficult year. You all helped me to find the courage to keep going at that most difficult time.

So again - thank you friends! I look forward to meeting you all in January.

days getting really short now

19 December 2014 00:00:29

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I took a quick walk around the garden when the rain eased up this afternoon. It's getting harder to find brave flowers in the garden as the days are getting really short now.

Like a lot of you  I really dislike these short days so anything that can cheer me up helps. 

In my walk around the garden I was delighted to find flowers on my Mahonia "Charity" which I have had for a few years and which has really struggled. It got hit by some sort of blackspot each year but last year it seemed a little healthier - and now it is rewarding my patience with some pretty flowers.

The other plant that rewards me during the winter is the Helebore. I have a few of these now from seedlings that are getting mature enough to flower. They really seem to like my soil and as they establish the flowers get signifigantly larger which is a great bonus.

And the third photo shows that neither the Pheasants nor any of the other birds have quite finised the Pheasent Berries on the Leycesteria.

Mr Scrubber's Cherub has a lot to answer for!

17 December 2014 02:05:44

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I too have been managing to get out for some garden therapy the past couple of days. I went out with the idea of doing some more of the tidy-up but before I could get started I definitely heard a little voice in my ear saying " what about that path?" I ignored it but then the voice said " you don't seem happy with that hedge of Escalonia you planted round the sedums".

Before I knew it I was lifting the Escalonias and replanting them along the fence behind the Rhus bed. And of course Cherub (for it was all his idea!) made sure there was EXACTLY the right number for the length of the path. Now the path wasn't very pretty being mainly just where we tramp along cutting back the hedgerow, and I have a trailer load of lovely gravel waiting to be unloaded and the trailer is needed for something else ....

Well I didn't get the trailer empty but I did put down some weedblock and spread some gravel. Even had some spare stones to edge the path!

Now the best part was that dusk was falling by the time I started spreading the gravel but you know that Cherub - he just wouldn't let up! "Of course you can get it finished .... its only a bit dark ...."

So I had to wait till this morning to get the "After" photo.

And I am sure I heard a little chuckle as I raked the last of the gravel in almost complete darkness. 

Yes, Cherub has a lot to answer for !

Sometimes I'm a bit stubborn

12 December 2014 22:17:13
Looking better now

Looking better now

No! not really!

Well yesterday I got up and the weather looked a bit damp but not too bad so I togged myself out in the ski-gear and headed out to put the finishing touches to the Sedums. You know how it is - you say to yourself "this will only take a few minutes" .... but alas! not so!

The task was to clear back a few inches along each of the brick outlines for the flower shapes removing the little Green Mantle seedlings a using the to fill gaps where the re-organisation happened the other day.

Started out well - from the end of the "stem" of the flower - got lots of little plantlets from that area and was delighted with myself - down on the knees again but this time I put an extra kneeler on the pad to ease the poor knees - until I felt a few drops of rain!

Looked at how much was still to be done - No problem! I'll get it done in no time! so I picked up the pace a bit - more going into the weed bucket and less going into the plantlets bucket! But the few drops increased  a bit - put up the hood of my jacket and kept going.

As the rain increased I just got pure stubborn - into the house and fetched the big Golfing Umbrella (a tip I got from my big Sister ) 

So with the umbrella jammed into the kneeler I kept going. I'm now about two-thirds way round the flower and there is no way I'm giving up!

That worked well, except when I miscalculated which areas the umbrella was sheltering until I became aware of a certain dampness on my right hip ....

Rounding the final petal of the flower I became aware that the "few drops" was now a full-scale downpour - what to do? Well, I'm nice a snug under my Brolly (so long as I keep track of that right hip) and there are only a few more feet to do .... Aw! what the heck! Go for it!

I'm so glad that no-one saw me when I finally finished - imagine the scene - a wheelbarrow containing two buckets, an upturned kneeler (complete with extra padding!) a spade, a secateurs and a trowel among all the weeds and me trying to keep the large umbrella up over me and at the same time trying to wheel the barrow.  If ever I needed three hands this was the time! And the rain coming down in bucketfuls!

As this wet and pathetic specimen of a gardener made her way back to warmth and shelter Puss stuck her head out of her new 5-star Kennel and meouwed plaintively at me!

As I said - i can be a little bit stubborn ....

But today the sun shone and I was much too busy to be out in the garden - but I finally got out to take a photo of my nice neat Sedum area - after all the pain.

second thoughts are often best!

09 December 2014 20:48:29

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I've been taking advantage of some bright weather over the past couple of days (except today!) and the job in hand was one I do not enjoy - tidying up the Sedum bed! This area that is such a delight from Spring right through Summer does not die back nicely! It becomes a black mess of decomposing petals and leaves and messy stalks.

I have also decided to do a bit o re-organising too. I cleared out the raised beds at the Wind Plaza in preparation for moving the more exotic of the Sedums there where they can be better seen. This involved emptying out the "petals" of the flower shape in the Sedum bed and refilling them with just one type of plant in each - it should make the flower shape stand out better when the bed is in its prime. 

This involved two days down on my knees carefully trimming each plant - what a pain! Then the leaf blower was pressed into service to lift the messy stuff! At least that meant that the stuff was shredded so that it could be added straight to the compost bin.

Aat the end of the two days I had only completed less than half the bed and I was totally fed up with the job.

Nothing like a good nights sleep to get the imagination going - Could I strim the rest of the bed? No - I can't get my strimmer to work properly  - What about the lawnmower? - That sounds a bit crazy - But my lawnmower is a light little electric job that is very easy to manoeuvre - maybe its worth a try ........

So yesterday morning out I went and guess what? It worked a treat! So two days to do the bit in the first picture and less than an hour to do the second! And the mower picked up the messy stuff in one operation, all shredded and ready for the compost bin too!


tidying time

04 December 2014 12:49:40

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I'm a bit obsessed with garden tidying at the moment. With other things restricting my gardening time over the past few weeks it was great to get a good day in the garden on Tuesday. 

I finished the greenhouse - its now all tidy and sorted for the winter. considering that I wasn't intending to overwinter anything this year there seem to be quite a few bits that have sneaked in while I wasn't paying attention :-)

One of the things messing up the greenhouse was the various buckets of materials I was gathering to make a good "Compost Cake" in the Dalek. I had grass cuttings, shredded willow, some half-composted bits from weeding sessions and a load of shredded paper. So I fired up the Cement Mixer and made my "Cake" - the Dalek compost bin is now about half full so lots of room for the stuff I tidy up over the rest of the winter! I find it very convenient to have this compost bin near the house and greenhouse at this time of year. It can feel like a very long walk to the end of the garden after a hard session of weeding and cutting back!

However, one compensation is the way the Willow Fence that screens the compost bins - it was made from cuttings from my own Salix Alba Chermesina.

And the last photo is a rare one of Puss who is generally very camera-shy - Puss was reminding me that it was time to go in and get her dinner for her !!!!

Photos of the year - Gortnalee 2014

02 December 2014 00:35:47

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Peter I love the idea of picking favourite photos. It gives the perfect excuse to browse through the albums to try and pick favourites.

My first choice, like yours, is of spring flowers - Chinodoxa and Scilla Siberica basking in the March sunshine. These little treasures were almost lost when I had to replace the clover lawn with gravel but I managed to rescue a few and they are starting to bulk up nicely.

The second photo is another Spring photo - taken at the beginning of April. I had a picture in my first gardening book of heather planted en masse and always wanted to have this in my garden - it was also one of Brendan's favourite plants. 

The third one is the Herbaceous Border in August - really coming into its own! This was the first area I planted and I can still recall the cold and heavy clay and struggling to get as many plants into the ground as I could and having the rabbits invade and eat the lot on several occasions! This border was first planted in 2008 and I am really happy with how it has matured.



01 December 2014 23:47:23


I finally got around to putting up the bubble-wrap on the greenhouse - I wasn't going to make much use of it this year - or so I thought! But you know how it is - plants just seem to creep into the greenhouse out of the cold when you are not looking ....

So I have a shelf full of stuff to keep frost-free so the bubble-wrap was a must! I'm even thinking of putting a layer of something over the outside too. Since the damage it suffered last year it has been leaking like a sieve!

Memo to self - put up the bubble-wrap BEFORE you fill the greenhouse up with plants :-(

So as I struggled with bubble-wrap binding itself around my legs, and moved the plants from A to B and then to C,D,E,F so I could complete the task! I put up several wires along the length of the roof and they made the job a lot easier but it was still a bit of a chore. While I was playing Musical Chairs with the plants I spotted the little guy in the photo - I didn't think caterpillars were supposed to be around in December ????

He had made his lunch on my Levende steen (Living Stone - thank you Jacinta) but it was too tough for him so he moved on to this little Persicaria and had it for dessert! I regret to say he will not be sampling any more of my plants and hopefully my friendly neighbourhood Blackbird will enjoy the treat :-)

Christmas Shopping - Kris Kringle

01 December 2014 12:00:14
Christmas Shopping - Kris Kringle

Christmas Shopping - Kris Kringle

When you are doing your Christmas Shopping you might like to pick up your Kris Kringle gift - remember ! Not more than €10 please!!!!

Get-together 2015 - Have your say!

01 December 2014 11:56:57
Get-together 2015 - Have your say!

Get-together 2015 - Have your say!

Now that December is here my thoughts are turning to the details for our get-together. I felt the event worked well last year but if anyone has any suggestions for changes please let me know.

The only issue I remember was the lack of a microphone for the raffle, Kris Kringle and speeches. I'm working on this - trying to find one to borrow! If anyone can help on this please send me a PM on it.

And of course the success of the whole event depends on us deciding to participate! 

I would welcome volunteers for the Raffle and the Kris Kringle again this year - and maybe some new volunteers? These items have been run superbly in past years so why not get involved? It is not fair to expect the same people to do it every year so please send me a PM if you would like to do something this year.

From last year the timetable was

11 am to 1 pm - plant swap in the car park

1 pm to 5 pm - Lunch, raffle, Kris Kringle, chat, shop, etc :-)



The Raffle is free for everyone – and I’d like to ask anyone who wishes to donate a prize to let me know.

 Kris Kindle

 If you want to participate in the Kris Kindle please bring along a wrapped gift – (husbands and wives can bring two if they wish!). The gift should not cost more than €10 as we want to make sure everyone can participate. It is of course optional to take part, but it does add to the fun!

 Plant Swap

Nearer the time I expect people will be posting lists of their spare plants for the plant swap. I think its important to say that not everyone will have plants to swap, and some people will have plants they just want to give to a good home, so don't be shy - when someone posts a plant you would like just speak up!


If we had stuff not promised to anyone in particular there is a good cause that would welcome donated plants. Our member Maureendid i is involved with the Daughters of Charity who run services for people with Intellectual disabilities at Weavers in Coolmine. They have an allotment that the clients care for and would welcome our "spare" plants.



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