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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal March 2015

Last Post 1061 days ago

That's Better!

31 March 2015 23:36:59

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Well, after all the drama this morning with the results of the storm I took a nice long break but lo and behold - in the afternoon the wind lessened and the sun came out so i was tempted out again!

I am delighted with what i achieved. The area designed for the Tropical Garden is finally ready for planting. I found I had enough nice large stones to edge the new path which will serve this area. I cleared the cobwebs off the Rotavator and it made short work of the soil although I couldn't go near the edges as that would have wrecked the new path! What am I like? Why did I not do things in the right order and save myself work?

Anyway, its more or less ready for planting now.

And having finished that task since I had the long electric lead in the right area I took out the little mower and gave the grass its first cut!

When I was putting the stuff away I spotted these little Violets doing just what I want them to do!

So after a really poor start to the day, I'm sitting back now, exhausted but happy with the way the day turned around!

Admitting Defeat

31 March 2015 14:33:42

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The lovely plastic greenhouse that Elizabeth (Liztai) gave me has met its Waterloo. The gales of last night proved to be far too much for this city-bred item :-)

I thought I heard a few bangs during the night but wasn't prepared to venture out to see what was happening!

This morning in the cold light of day all was revealed. Even the concrete block had been thrown about like corks!

The recycle bin decided to land on top of some plants I had all sorted out to bring to a garden I'm helping with.  The plants were ok but the labels were flattened!

I've rescued all the plants and can now see that the Fresias I had been ignoring all have babies on! and on the bright side, I'll have lots of crocks for future potting on!

The plants are currently recuperating from their ordeal in the greenhouse where they will have to stay!

And the gale hasn't abated here yet.

So what happened to "March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb" ?????


Nice surprises

30 March 2015 00:48:00

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I was away for a couple of days and was totally delighted by the things that had burst into flower for me while my back was turned!

I particularly like the Pulsatilla Pratensis also known as the ~Pasque Flower - it has just started to open on Palm Sunday - the beginning of the Pasque :-)

But the star at the moment have to be the Corydalis Solida which surprises me every year appearing from nowhere when least expected!

The third photo is an attempt to capture the way that my daffodils have really started to bulk up this year.

This time of year is such a joy! However the Spring Gardener still needs the Ski-pants and anorak before venturing outside - or maybe that's just in Laois? LOL


I like Blue too!

22 March 2015 23:00:37

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My Fernery is looking great at the moment - the Anemone Blanda with their wonderful blue flowers seem to like this area as do the Grape Hyacinths - another blue favourite. But I have to say that the intense blue of these Spring lovelies is best set off with the vibrant yellow of the dafodils.

Jacinta has mentioned her love of blue in the garden and I've become aware that I too must be a self-confessed "Blue Plant-aholic"

I had visitors today so no garden work got done, but on the plus side we had a lovely ramble in the garden and I was able to take time to notice stuff - apart from the weeds that were screaming at me!

So after a "day off" I'll hopefully be more energised for tomorrow.

Plant ID please!

20 March 2015 23:26:34
Mystery plant

Mystery plant

I was doing a bit of weeding today and I came across this plant. I really haven't a clue if it is a carefully planted poppy or a weed or something else!

Can anyone identify it for me please?

Surprises in the garden today

19 March 2015 23:41:28

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Sometimes when i go walk-about in the garden I don't take enough notice of the smaller plants - but sometimes a flash of colour draws me to take a closer look.

One of these surprises was my Corydalis Solida which spends most of the year hiding underground - and just when you have given up on them they appear almost overnight and delight me!

The next surprise was the Woodland Anemones that I thought were gonners last year - and there they were - Anemone Nemorosa - White, pretty and dainty!

And the last surprise was when I was tidying up under the Helleborus Argutifolius Corsicus - I had looked in vain for seedlings last year but today I found some well-developed seedlings hiding under the parent plant! Result!

seeds planted at last!

18 March 2015 23:39:16

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I've been itching to get to the seed planting mania that seems to take hold of us gardeners at this time of year. I've been watching peoples journals listing lots and lots of seeds planted, germinated and potted on - and i haven't even started yet!

So this afternoon was  D-Day.

First I filled the 7 little boxes that come with the Lidl version of a seed propagator. Then I took out the tin box containing all my seeds. It was hard to decide which of the packets would be selected but there were a number of priorities. 

First off - I need some Ricinus for my Tropical area. i have some seeds from my previous year's plants so I'm hoping that the seeds are still viable.

Then there were two very desireable packets from Bakker - Datura / Brugmansia ( the internet seems to separate these two versions of "Angels Trumpet"  but I'm having a go from seed either way ) and the second is a mixed Rudbeckia that should be interesting.

Some SweetPeas and a few other bits and pieces - it didn't take long to fill up my seed propagator!

Now I have a question - The propagator is a heated one. Will it be OK in the greenhouse with the bubble-wrap or should I keep it in the house until they germinate? I'm not very clear how these heated propagators work !!!!

Another really good session in the garden - and I got a chance to take these photos of the second smallest daffodils I have :-) The photos don't give an idea of their height but they are quite diminutive - only slightly taller than Tete-a-tete :-)

I hate bitter-cress!

17 March 2015 22:46:30

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I was delighted to get a decent spell in the garden today. It was overcast early on but gradually the sun broke through and the rest of the day was beautiful - sunny and warm! I was able to tackle the job that has been screaming at me all week - do something about the complete carpet of Bittercress that has invaded the Birdhouse border that I had to replant last year after removing the Rhus.

A wile ago when my sister Elizabeth helped me to weed this persistent pest from another border she painstakingly counted the plants she removed - got to 500 before lunch!

I didn't have that much patience but it was the worst infestation I've had this year so it took until almost dark to clear the border. 

5 Buckets of weeds later and it was looking much better and i was encouraged to find shoots of most of the new plants coming through. 

And now my back is telling me I've done a PROPER day's gardening!

New Fence - and new venture

17 March 2015 22:35:36

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I've been very busy since I got back from my trip - mainly because the Pop-up Village in Rathdowney was sprung on me the day I got back and I was persuaded to give it a go with my “Gardening Design & Advice” stand.  I'm putting on a couple of Workshops and some people want advice on sorting out overgrown gardens! It was better than I expected so now I'll be busy with some new clients!

And as usual, it never rains but it pours, so on Saturday, the first day of the Pop-up, was the day my new gates were being hung!

And it was a beautiful day here - and I was stuck indoors minding my stand!

By Monday the new gates were completed so today I put the little greenhouse into a new position in the shelter of the new gates - and taking Fran's advice it is weighted down with concrete blocks! I'm afraid to put anything in it until it gets tested by a bit of wind!

After that I finished off the shredding i started at the end of last week. Great relief to have that done - and I have a load of pretty straight hazel-rods for stakes or other uses in the garden - as wll as some firewood!

Beannacht La Feile Padraig.

Phew! What happened my resolution?

11 March 2015 22:51:58

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I made a BIG resolution last year to Keep on top of the Shredding.

Like that was going to happen! The combination of a major pruning of my Hazel bushes and the spring-cleaning that has been ongoing for months now and the shredder wasn't turned on ONCE!

So today I firmly ignored all the beds that haven't been tidied yet and without looking to left or right made it to the compost area. It had go to the point where I couldn't get to the heaps because of all the stuff for shredding (see photo one)

As I was working my way through this felled forest reducing it to a great compostable heap I kept muttering to myself "SHRED AS YOU GO! SHRED AS YOU GO!". This definitely entertained the little calves that the farmer was just releasing into the field next door!

I managed to get about 80% of it done before darkness caught up with me - Grr.

And I'll actually have a nice pile of firewood too from the branches too large to shred. Now I need to find out how to dry the firewood!

And here is my Mothers Day /St Patricks Day resolution:

K E E P   O N  T O P   O F   T H E   S H R E D D I N G

Shelter Belt - for Kathy (inthewild)

10 March 2015 22:07:37

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Kathy (Inthewilds) asked about the Shelter Belt I planted a few years ago and I went looking for journals but without success so here is a "Brief History of Hazel's Shelter Belt"

In October of 2009 I got a load of manure and dug it into the proposed Shelter Belt - an area about 30 m long and about 2 m wide.

In December I got about 100 "whips" of assorted native trees and shrubs from Coillte and planted them at about twice the suggested density as I wanted it to thicken up fast and was prepared to have to remove stuff if it got too dense.

The plants I used were 

  • Alnus Glutinosa - black Alder
  • Betula pubescebs - Downey Birch
  • Field Maple
  • Salis atrocinerea - Grey Willow
  • Euonymus - Irish native Spindle
  • Malus Sylvestris - native crab apple
  • Sorbus aucuparia - Mountain Ash or Rowan
  • Prunus Padus - European Bird Cherry
  • Viburnum Opulus - Guelder Rose

Because I had problems with rabbits I protected them with pieces of piping for the first year or so.


I have some photos showing the progress up to 2012 but by then I was taking it for granted :-)


It is currently about 4m tall and the mix of trees and shrubs means it stays bushy at the bottom while the trees are giving it height. Even though they are all deciduous they still provide quite a bit of wind protection all year.

I'll put up a small album too.

Looking for suggestions

09 March 2015 10:15:20
Looking for suggestions

Looking for suggestions

As I'm due home tomorrow my head is buzzing with plans for the garden - especially as I catch up on all your journals!

Like Fran I have also been planning a Tropical area - but can anyone suggest a good edging plant - low-growing but spreading - to put alongside the new path? I have lots of edging-type plants but none of them seem to fit very well with the "Tropical" theme. The edge I'm talking about is nearly a foot deep and I'll be tormented with weeds on it if I don't establish an edging.

The tropical plants will include Tetrapanax Rex, Trachycarpus Fortuneii, a more civilised Pampas (thank you Nuala!) some Ricinus if I get to raise the seeds soon and probably Yucca or Kniphofia.

So any ideas please?


Not wanting to gloat but ....

05 March 2015 10:51:08

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It's 16 degrees and sunny in Barcelona! I'm just relaxing and recovering from my birthday celebrations last night!

My dear little granddaughter made me a birthday card and in the photo was explaining how she did it!

The view from the balcony gives an idea of the weather here - although the pople here think this is "very cold weather" !!!

I can't help comparing this little sedum flowering its socks of here with the poor little mite i have at home that is struggling for life!

Spring woodland

01 March 2015 17:50:34

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When I began to design the garden here at Gortnalee way back in 2008 I dreamt of a woodland theme to the gardens to the front of the house so planted lots of native trees and shrubs including enough Hazel trees to justify me calling one section "th Hazel Grove" but the understory was not as quick to come on as I hoped. It seemed to take an age for bulbs to multiply and much translanting of Helebore seedlings was undertaken,

Today when I was going walkabout in the unexpected sunshine i was stopped in my tracks by how the Hazel Grove has suddenly turned into a spring woodland! I hope the first photo gives the idea.

The second photo is up close an personal with the Corylus avellana Maxima Purpurea, othewise known as the purple-leaved Hazel. The leaves of this tree are deep wine, the hazelnuts have a reddish tone too but the catkins are the best - really pink and pretty!

Sun came out as the Rugby started

01 March 2015 16:34:32
Sun came out as the Rugby started

Sun came out as the Rugby started

This morning was miserable - pretty constant rain so when I got back from Church I wrapped up in all the gear and went out to sort out the mess from my greenhouse disaster yesterday evening. Outside the greenhouse the wind howled, and we had hailstones, sleet and rain! I did a bit of tidy-up in the greenhouse while I was trapped there ..... and then the SUN came out!!!

The greenhouse is now in the kitchen and there it will stay until my new gates go up as I think this will create a fairly sheltered corner for it. I'll also take on board Fran's advice about weights to stabilise it.

In the meantime the poor Primulas and Auriculas got repotted and sorted out. They are back on the staging and will just have to do without more protection for the moment. These Auriculas were a gift from Liga a few years ago and they have survived despite the total neglect they have suffered. They have flowered at strange times some years and not at all on others so I decided to try and give them some attention this year ....

I took some more Helebore photos and have added them to the album I put up yesterday

February Helebores

Looking forward to lots more colour now that Spring is finally here!


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