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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal February 2015

Last Post 994 days 21 hours ago

Pride goes before a fall !!!!

28 February 2015 20:07:36

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Well I did pick a challenging day to try out the new greenhouse - as darkness fell the wind really picked up and I could hear ominous sounds outside - so after a while I decided to check. Disaster! The greenhouse had stayed in place alright but it must have done some sort of a jump because the shelves had keeped over and all my lovely plants were on the floor trying to get out!

So now all are indoors.

Back to the drawing board!

Where had February gone?

28 February 2015 17:59:36

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I swear I only blinked and it went from January to February and now February is gone too!

Today is windy and showery so instead of venturing outside I tackled a task that has been on the long-finger for a while. Last Summer Elizabeth (Liztai) got her Gazebo glazed making it a wonderful place to protect her precious Fuchsias (at least that was her excuse anyway) This meant that the plastic Greenhouse she had carefully insulated last year was redundant and since her garden is a Bijou Courtyard where every inch counts I agreed to take it off her hands (Ha Ha) and give it a good home. It had to be partly dismantled to fit in my car so when I got home I just shoved the whole lot into the fuel shed and there it rested. Every time I went out for fuel it rebuked me silently, sometimes even falling down on top of me to get its point across.

So this morning when I brought in my fuel for the weekend I decided to have a go at reassembling it. Now several people posted journals about the difficulties they experienced assembling these greenhouses so I was prepared for a struggle. The kitchen seemed the ideal place to carry out this task. I started off with the frame - gave a liberal spray of WD40 to all the joints, spent a while figuring out which piece went where, and then set about assembling it. It had got quite out of shape in its travels so a lot of the time was spent tightening up the joints. Before I put the roof pieces in place I heard Brendan's voice in my ear - "make sure it is square" - so I found one of his many tape-measures and proceeded to measure all sides to see how it was. This resulted in a further session of tightening bits, moving bits in and out and generally fine-tuning the whole operation. 

When I was happy that it was as square as i could make it I turned my attention to the covering. Simplest way to put it on for me was to zip up the door and then put the cover on like putting on a Wedding Dress - starting at the top and gently easing it down. To my utter surprise it fitted!

Flushed with success I put it out on the deck outside the back door - where a gust of wind almost made it airborne! Well, Elizabeth's husband Tony had made some very sturdy deck boards as a floor for it so without delay I fitted them in and the wieght of them did a lot to keep it on Terra Firma. Then I moved in the set of shelves on which I've been trying to mind my Auriculas and a few pretty primorses inside the structure and with the weight of the pots that added stability.

The final step was to move the garden table round so it sort of jams the whole thing in place! The stormy weather forecast over the next couple of days will be a real test of whether my precautions are enough!

Oh and I couldn't resist putting up a whole album dedicated to Helebores!

Too dark .....

27 February 2015 23:54:12

Back to the tidy-up

26 February 2015 23:14:06

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After the exciting work removing giant Pampas etc today saw me getting back to the tidy-up of the garden getting it ready for the new season.

While all the work was going on making the latest paths and removing the Pampas I kept passing by the Aquilegia Bed - and every time I said to myself "that bed is next" so when today dawned sunny and bright I wrapped up warmly and got stuck in. It was great to get down to this kind of job again - it really felt like Spring had arrived - well, except for the occasional hailstones!

I had to put manners on some over-vigorous Japanese Anemones - these are the double ones - I think they are Anemone 'Party Dress' and they had decided to march through this border with great enthusiasm, having no respect for the other inhabitants - a number of pretty Aquilegia - which were getting swamped.

There were also a number of seedlings of Lychnis - but I can't remember if it is the Cerise one or the white!

It is very satisfying to get a border properly ship-shape and ready for the new season and I even got started on the next border before the hailstones finally drove me into the greenhouse.

In the greenhouse I potted up a total of 24 Anemone and a dozen Lychnis as well as a couple of Alchemilla Mollis and some Cerastium (snow-in-summer) to add to the "plants in waiting" for the garden I'm planting up for Olive, Brendan's daughter-in-law!

Happy days!

Job well done

23 February 2015 20:10:46

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I woke this morning to snow - not a lot, but a good sprinkling on the ground and flurries in the air. This was very unfortunate because my wonderful son-in-law has already left Dublin to come down and help me put the finishing touches to the Pampas.

By the time he arrived the snow had stopped and the sun was shining so donning a brand new pair of Wellies and warm socks he set about the difficult task of removing the burned stump of the large Pampas that has totally gone out of control. Although it is magnificent when in full bloom it is very difficult to manage and reluctantly I have decided to get rid of it and replace it with a more civilised version of this dramatic plant (thanks Nuala - its thriving in a pot as we speak!)

We took down all the tools we thought might be useful - Pickaxe, Jemmy, Shovel, Spade, Fork and Rope. We had watched a video on YouTube that showed how these giant grasses could be removed with relative ease as they have a shallow root system. Oh dear! who says the camera cannot lie!!!!

It took fully three hours of hard graft to remove it - eventually it had to be broken into sections with the pickaxe. What a job! By the time it was removed we were more than ready for lunch so we went indoors just in time to avoid a wintry shower.

There was one more task that I had hoped could be done while I had such a willing helper. Down at my composting area a fragment of the rose "New Dawn" had taken root and was growing vigorously through the hedge here - and not content with that, it grabbed very passer-by with its long tendrils - talk about wrong plant in the wrong place!

We had a couple of hours before he caught his bus back to Dublin so we wrapped up warmly as soon as the shower had passed and the lunch was digested to move this rose. I had cut it back a few days ago so it was ready for moving. What we hadn't allowed for was that its roots were entwined with one of the Hornbeams that make up this hedge. When we started the excavation we also discovered that the whole hedge is planted along a low stone wall so there were large stones, almost rocks  to be dealt with. However, it was another success! And he caught his bus on time too!!!

I am so grateful for his help in doing these things that I'm not strong enough to do myself.

And I am now a step closer to the Tropical Oasis! Watch this space :-) 

Lots done - more to do!

21 February 2015 23:44:47

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It was a real Spring day today here so I took full advantage of it. First off I took Fran's advice and raked over one of the large areas of gravel that replaced my lawns in the front garden. I am so imressed that he says he rakes the gravel every two weeks!!!!! This is the first time I've raked it properly since it went in a few years ago ;-)

After that I pruned almost all the roses - I thought I had done them all but sitting here this evening I realised a missed a few of them so that will be top of the list for tomorrow. One of the roses is a New Dawn cutting that sowed itself down near the compost area and has been growing madly throught the hedge - not really in the right place  - it attackes me every time I go down to deal with the compost so it will have to move! I think I'll have to get help with that one - at least it is cut down to size. Don't expect to get much flowers on it this year but at least I have a etter spot for it where it can do its stuff and be seen properly.

The last task was the biggest -  The Pampas Grass! First off I removed the blooms ut it still looks totally overgrown. The problem with the Pampas is that it was never the one I wanted - the label described it as "small" - but it grows to about 9 or 10 feet tall every year! Nuala has given me a seedling of the smaller one "Cortaderia fulvida" so I want to get rid of the giant one and replace it with the more civilised one! So in preparation for removing it I did the traditional burning - this year I checked it out on YouTube but it didn't really make it much easier! Another task that needs help!

 

Has anyone else noticed this?

21 February 2015 20:24:35

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This year I am overjoyed to find that several of my Helebore seedlings are flowering for the first time.

Some are from the Heleborus Niger and the rest are from the Heleborus Orientalis - all from Lidl a few years back.

I was expecting that there would be some colour differences in the seedlings but what I wasn't expecting is that the flowers on the seedlings are larger than their parents.

I'm wondering if anyone else had noticed this?

 

Thank you Jacinta!

18 February 2015 16:00:43

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As Jacinta mentioned I payed a flying visit to her yesterday. I had a busy day in Dublin wth lots of little things to do so when I realised I would be quite close to Jacinta I thought it was a great opportunity to collect the Lamium she had promised to me and to Elizabeth - collect from Jacinta and deliver to Elizabeth - job done!

Jacinta is well ahead of me with her spring tidy-up and her spring bed is looking amazing!

You may have noticed the "love-hate" relationship Jacinta has with her pussycat Holly - I was tickled to see her tucked up in a nice big flowerpot well sheltered from the elements and Jacinta admitted to making this a bed for Holly!

Of course I didn't leave with just the Lamiums - a few other treasures sneaked into my car! Thank you Jacinta - it was good to see you if only briefly!

 

Been a little while ....

14 February 2015 00:27:19

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.... since I posted anything. Been doing a bit most days but there is still lots of clearing up to do. Each day seems to produce a couple of barrows of stuff and I'm afraid it all getting dumped on the "rough" compost heap.

The shredding hasn't got done either - all the trimmings from the pruning of the Hazel Grove are still waiting to be sorted but its a bit cold down that end of the garden. 

To cheer myself up I took advantage of a bit of sunshine to take photos of all the current flowers in the garden - going to put them up as an album shortly.

There is something about this time of year - I begin my annual war on the bittercress. Today it was along the Clematis Walk but the good side was that I uncovered some little bulbs starting to peep through - each one carefully marked with a lollypop stick - but what are they? No idea! won't it be a delightful surprise when they flower!

The photos are my two namesake plants - wonderful catkins on the Hazel and pretty flowers on the (witch)hazel

Yet another path?

03 February 2015 18:52:02
Yet another path?

Yet another path?

I never seem to tire of making new paths in my garden. You know how it is - there is always somewhere that is not easily accessible so the only solution is to make another path!

When Brendan and I designed our new home and he set me the challenge of a garden without a lawn he also wanted to have paths that could be walked all year round so that is what we have.

But I noticed that there was a part of the garden that never got walked and an area that had bits and pieces that never got attention - even from me! So that started the planning of this particular path - along by the shrubbery. Although there was a grassy area beside this it obviously didn't invite people to pass that way.

As well as that, the "no lawn" directive meant that I want to create a new area the  other side of that path - my Tropical Paradise! 

I started to dig out the new path but it proved to be a it much for me so I enlisted some help and this is the result!

Now all I have to do is put manners on the mound of earth the the right of the path and then I'll be ready to plant up the Tropics ...... Plans! Plans! what would we gardeners be without them!

And that leaves only one small patch of grass - not really worthy of the name lawn - that my son wants his daughter to be able to roll on !!!!!

Nearly there!!!!!

 

Does anyone else do this?

02 February 2015 23:41:11
Does anyone else do this?

Does anyone else do this?

Check out my latest attempts to video!

Robin 1

Robin 2

I was out in the garden the other day and my little robin friend was trying to get the worms as fast as I was turning the soil so I thought I'd take a video of him to send to my granddaughter.

When I was checking the videos I realised that I was talking away to the robin - do other people do this or am I losing the plot altogether?

 

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