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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal January 2015

Last Post 1113 days 5 hours ago

Will I never learn?

31 January 2015 23:06:07

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In the words of Oscar Wilde "I can resist anything except Temptation" so what was I doing going into Lidl when everyone on the site was talking about Helebores?????

I said to myself - "someone said there were none in their local Lidl" so having reassured mysel that there was no danger (silly me!) I set off to do a much-needed "big shop" as I hadn't been shopping for ages and all went well till I came to the aisle with the gardening stuff. Showing commendable restraint I just picked up a packet of Carrot seeds and a packet of French Bean seeds and was feeling very virtuous but turning away from the seeds I was confronted  with the healthiest Helebores I've seen in ages. 

So I put one of each into the trolley - four in all. Then I looked at the price - €3.99 each so nearly €12 in total. That was over my €10 budget for this trip so I bravely put back the purple one. But guess what? When I got to the checkout it had miraculously reappeared in my trolley!!!! I blame Cherub. He was DEFINITELY whispering in my ear and distracted me totally.

So to deal with my guilt I went out and planted them as soon as I got home! I know it is very cold at the moment but so far my soil hasn't been frozen and it was quite friable today so in they went!

I've noticed that Lidl and indeed Aldi tend to be a bit remiss in watering their plants so my new little beauties got a good soaking before they were planted!

The varieties I got are all Orientalis Double Ellen - Purple, Pink. White and Picatee - and two of them are flowering! I hope they will self-seed with the same enthusiasm as their single brethren that I have for the past few years!



30 January 2015 21:34:24

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Well, I checked the temperature today and it was showing 5 degrees in the garden. % degrees? I can do that! So into the ski-gear and out I went. Now where to start?I walked around the garden and my attention was caught by some thugs .... yes,, I know, you all warned me that thugs could get out of hand but some of my thugs I love!

The ones I now know I DONT like are the ones that have millions of babies all around them making a nasty-looking matt ..... 

So I did actually have a plan for the thugs - plant them all in the one area where they can battle out.

Number One Happy thug is the gorgeous Euphorbia I got from Bruno - Euphorbia Sequieriana Niciciana - I love this one! I cut it back hard the other day and all the lovely new growth is already showing. It is spreading at a great rate and anywhere it appears that I don't want it I justs chop down with a sharp spade! Easy!

Number Two Happy Thug is Persicaria Elata - thank you Fran! It is doing very well under an Oak tree and although ti disappears completely over the winter it is busy extending its kingdom under the ground! It is so pretty! It is heading on a colission course with the Euphorbia so interesting times ahead!


Number One baddy - Ragged Robin! I had to completely remove it as it was colonising the path as well as the beds and really gave me only a few flowers so from now on it will be treated as a weed!

Number Two baddy - Not sure what it is called - its photo 2 - and although the flowers are very pretty they don't last long and for the rest of the year the plant looks dreadful and Oh the seeds!!!! 

It took two good sessions to get most of the baddy thugs out but I'm really happy with the result!


Good to be home

26 January 2015 23:47:46

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I'm just back from a short break in Malta with Elizabeth. We had hoped that it would be much warmer than home but unfortunately we were disappointed! It was only marginally warmer than here - and there were quite a few showers although we also had some loverly sunshine. 

I was looking forward to the gardens - but they really haven't a lot to offer at this time of year. Mostly they are formally laid out and seem to rely heavily on annual bedding. We did visit a remarkable garden in a privately-owned Pallazzo which I liked better.

When I got home i was delighted to find that my pot of Paperwhite Narcissi on the Lounge windowsill was in full bloom - the gentle scent wafting through the house.

And today I was back in the garden at last! More clearing of leaves and general tidy-up done but it felt absolutely wonderful to be back !


16 January 2015 18:38:58

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Today I went out to the hall at about half past three and the hall lamp was on. This lamp is on a timeswitch and at Christmas I had it coming on at 3.30 because it was so dark in the hall but today the sun was streaming in so it was time to adjust the timeswitch - by an hour! Proof that the days are really getting longer!


P.S. I reduced the size of the photos and they loaded fine.

Lull in the Storm

15 January 2015 21:31:59

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I got up this morning to find that some stuff had got blown around the deck but not too much - and the wind appeared to have dropped and there was even a bit of sunshine so out I went on a mission - how many plants could I get in the ground before the weather broke again.

The Johnstown goodies were the main target. First off were the primula - all settled in now in the rockery and giving it a lovely bit of colour. Next were the Astilbe from Fran, the Centaurea from Rachel and the Geranium from Terri in the Maple border but here a bit of distraction happened - there were so many things needing to be tidied that I got temproarily distracted from the planting. That border has a very enthusiastic Persicaria Campanulata that needed cutting back and a lovely Chaenomeles 'Pink Trail' that needed tieing up so that its pretty flowers can show to best effect. Having sorted these out and done a it of a general tidy-up of that border I moved on to the next thing on the list. Heleborus Silver Dollar now lives in the Fernery and the Euphorbia Mellifora from PeterW  has found a new home in the Buddha bed!

At this point I'd had enough planting so instead I got at my established Helebores and cut back all the leaves on them to show off their flowers and i am very happy with the result. Some of my own seedlings are now coming into flower and I'm delighted that I seem to have a mix of the white Heleborus Niger and some of the pink Helleborus Orientalis 'Red Hybrids' that I got in Lidl the first year of the garden.

At this point the sun had deserted me and there was some sleet on the wind so it was time to go indoors and get the stove going!

All in all, I was delighted I made the effort to take advantage of the bit of sunshine!


Winter companion

14 January 2015 15:04:07

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This little robin and his family have been my constant companions since the summer watching my every move in the hopes of getting some tasty titbits when I turn the soil so I wasn't really surprised when he decided to follow me into the greenhouse. I was getting around to setting up the frost heater (yes, I know is should have been there the past few nights) and in he came. As you can see he took advantage of the heater as soon as it went on gettinghis toes warm before heading off to investigate!


PS. I've compressed the photos using Microsoft Office Picture Manager to the size "document" - even with a pretty modest internet connection they loaded in no time!

Bit of a change

13 January 2015 22:14:02
Bit of a change

Bit of a change

Yesterday was a great day in the garden. I was delighted to be out for most of the day and actually planted the 3 clematis that found their way home in the boot of my car. I had great intentions of planting all the other goodies but the best laid plans ......

In order to plant the first Clematis (Clematis Montana Marjorie) I needed to move a large clump of giant daisies - most of them for export and one piece replanted about a metre from the Clematis Walk. Fortunately this created a great planting hole so clematis number one was quickly planted good and deep. Then I remembered what Joe Swift ( I think) said recently about removing the canes and spreading out the climber along its new supports so that;s what I did. But guess what? I have always taken the opposite approach leaving the canes in place more or less forever! So with my new-found knowledge I had to untie all the clematis already planted and give them the new treatment too!

Going down one side to the arches I found a home for Clematis number two (Clematis Tanjutica) but this area was so covered in Bittersweet bittercress that a bit of weeding was inevitable ..... 

So after lunch I attacked the second side of  the arches and Clematis number three (Clematis Texensis Princess Diana) was fitted in nicely into the border. Of course all of this planting drew my attention to the edging along the path where the  Bittersweet bittercress was completely hiding all the nice little plants I put in to pretty up the edge of the path .... and I just finished it as darkness fell.

I consoled myself with the thought that today would do just as well to plant all those other lovely goodies but ....

Look what today brought!

Winter is Here

So I lit the stove and snuggled up for a cosy day instead!

Videos from Sunday

12 January 2015 22:38:41
Videos from Sunday

Videos from Sunday

Sorry the quality of sound is not great - but here are the videos from Sunday.

Twelve Days Part One


Twelve Days Part Two


Have a look!!!!

My turn to say Thank You

12 January 2015 21:27:58

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You have all been so kind in thanking me for the bit I do to organise our annual event but now its my turn.

Over the years I have often been involved in organising events but nothing has come up to our get-together in terms of the willingness of people to volunteer to help.

I would like to say a big Thank You to the boys who managed the Kris Kindle so seamlessly, Bruno and Peter (PeterW) take a bow!

The girls did their bit as well with Clare (Clara) and Joan (JoanG) doing a superb job of the raffle including the photographs capturing each happy winner - but how come you didn't pick MY ticket ???? 

It was great to see Gerry Daly there supporting us and of course, our own Peter (Scrubber) doing a magnificent rendition of Fran's witty ditty!

And of course we all knew who we were thanks to Jackies lovely badges and her dedication in getting frostbite in her toes waiting for everyone to arrive in the Car Park!

I also want to thank all of the people who donated items for the raffle - having so many prizes makes it much more fun for everyone!

But most of all I want to thank all the people who came - that makes any effort I made in organising it well worth while.

Jim and the staff of Johnstown did us proud again so thanks to them too!

I would also like to express my thanks for the generous voucher you all gave me - I had great fun spending it - so there will be 3 new Clematis on the Clematis Walk this year and my birds will have nice new feeders!

So when is the next one? :-)

look what I found

10 January 2015 12:52:53
look what I found

look what I found

I've been thinking of how excited we are getting about tomorrow and all the great swaps raffle prizes etc. But we need to remember the real reason we go. It is to meet up with fellow gardeners to do what gardeners do best - talk about gardening. 

I would hate to think that anyone might be put off attending because they had no swaps! The Kris Kindle is optional and the raffle is a bonus. So even if you haven't added your name to the list please know you are welcome. All we ask is that you are a member of this online club.


Get-together 2015 - Update 4 .....

09 January 2015 16:38:28

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I was going to call it "Final Update" but no doubt I'll remember something I've let out tomorrow :-)

So Johnstown 2015 is shaping up to be a great day! Just to keep you all in the loop here is the general outline for the day:

Plant Swap

The most important thing about the plant swap is to LABEL the plants you are bringing! The plant name if you know it, the person it is for, and your name so they’ll know when they get home where it came from!

Park in the left-hand car-park near the road and look out for FRAN  who is taking care of the stuff for Weavers (Maureendid). The car-park is actually open from 11 but come along in your own time. We'll be heading indoors for 1 p.m.


JACKIE has kindly stepped in to sort out badges this year so look out for her either in the car park or indoors

Kris Kindle

BRUNO and PETERW are looking after this. You need to hand over your gift when we go indoors. It is a little bit complicated with tickets and names so please be patient!


People are once more being very generous with prizes. AitAileann (Nuala) is donating a voucher for Sandhills house, Johnstown are donating some gift vouchers, Maureendid on behalf of Weavers is donating a handmade rug, and there have been lots of offers of bottles, books and other goodies. Thanks to everyone for your  generosity.

JOANG and CLARA are looking after the Raffle so when we go indoors bring your prizes to the girls.

Now we are all set …..

And only TWO SLEEPS!!!!



Plants for Johnstown - I must be "paddy last"!!!

07 January 2015 11:55:50
White daisy, Inula & Kniphofia in the background

White daisy, Inula & Kniphofia in the background

Finally getting around to this journal - like Fran I have a good few plants reserved for  a family make-over but there are more than I need too so here goes!

First the plants I've promised to people - some need lifting so it depends on the rain stopping for at least an hour :-)

Promised plants

Fuchsia Flashlight - Terrishoos - needs lifting

Geranium Wargrave Pink - LindB - needs lifting Fran

Geranium cantabrigiense Biokovo - LindaB - needs lifting

Geranium Maderense Palmata - Jackie

Moya was hoping my Helleborus Argutifolius Corsicus would produce babies but no luck - however I have a Helleborus Foetidus seedling instead if you want it?

Up for grabs

Japanese Anemone (Single Deep Pink) x 2

Campanula Poscharskyana x 2

Leucanthemum Superbum Becky x 2 - this one grows to nearly 5 ft in my garden                                                    Joann, PeterW

Buddliea - no idea what colour - x 2 AitAileann

Inula "Hookerii" x 4 Doreen, LindaB, Jackie, Joann

Kniphofia (Red) x 1 - AitAileann

Tree Lupins x 2 -Yellow Rose

If the weather clears and I get to lift the promised plants I'll have some of the two geraniums to spare as well.

Ooooh! Only 4 more sleeps!!!!

Get-together 2015 - Update 3 - Kris Kindle

06 January 2015 00:19:09
Get-together 2015 - Update 3 - Kris Kindle

Get-together 2015 - Update 3 - Kris Kindle

Hi Everyone - I can see that excitement is building for our get-together - I'm so grateful that you have all helped me by posting your intentions regarding attending on the "Update 1" journal! Numbers are mounting nicely so

So the next thing i need to remind you about is the Kris Kindle -

There are a few rules:

1. You don't HAVE to participate but it really adds to the atmosphere of the day if you do.

2. Gifts should be anonomous and have an absolute maximum of €10 spend - this is a MAXIMUM

3. When you go in to the Garden Cafe Bruno and Peter will be happy to take them from you!

4. They may ask you to put your name on the back of a ticket - This is VERY IMPORTANT as it helps us to avoid giving someone back their own gift! I kid you not - this actually happened one year :-)

Only 5 more sleeps!

Get-together 2015 - Update 2 - The Raffle

04 January 2015 21:07:23
Get-together 2015 - Update 2 - The Raffle

Get-together 2015 - Update 2 - The Raffle

Thank you all of you who have let me know if you are planning to make it to johnstown.

This journal is about one of the features of our get-togethers.  Each year we have a raffle  for all the attendees and each year the prizes raffled are donated to us.

This year is no exception. 

The first prize we have been promised is from AitAileann (Nuala). She has put up a voucher of €100 towards a stay in Sandhills House where a few of us had a fabulous break last September - click the link to see more!

We have also been offered a second very special prize by Maureendid (Maureen) on behalf of the group of special people she looks after as a way of saying "thank you" for the surplus plants we have promised to them. She is putting up a beautiful hand-made rug.

I am also hopeful that Johnstown Garden Centre will be as generous as in the past and donate some gift vouchers too.

After that I'm sure there will be a few miscellaneous items donated by generous members.

All there is left for me is to thank Joan (JoanG) for offering to look after the raffle on the day and I'm sure there will be plenty of volunteers to help her out!

So have a rummage and see if you have anything you can add to the raffle - the more prizes the better!


Get-together 2015 - Update 1- Are you going?

02 January 2015 14:19:42
Get-together 2015 - Update 1- Are you going?

Get-together 2015 - Update 1- Are you going?

Hi Everyone

I hope you have all had a lovely time over Christmas and the New Year but now its time to get ready for the REAL event of this time of year!

So in case you haven’t got it in the new diary …..

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre Naas Road

Date: Sunday 11th January

Time: 1 pm – 5 pm.

Plant Swap: 11 am to 1 pm

What I need now is for people to put comments on THIS post if you intend to go - and if you are bringing others - I need approximate numbers for Johnstown so they can reserve a suitable section of the restaurant for us.

It you have said in a previous post I still need you to confirm in this one please. It makes my job much simpler. Thank you all for your cooperation.

Really looking forward to seeing you all again.


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