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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal December 2015

Last Post 753 days 20 hours ago

Helping Hands

31 December 2015 01:29:35

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I have two young students from Germany staying with me for a few days to help me with the garden. We were lucky enough to get a few hours in yesterday and a full day today - (well, THEY did a full day while I did more pottering than anything else!)

I am so thrilled with what was achieved.

One of the feature beds in my original garden design was the Potentilla Garden where I planted as many different shrubby potentillas as I could find with a Tipperary Sandstone mulch - and even though it should have been limestone mulch I still fancied that it reminded me of these pretty shrubs growing in the Burren. I hadn't got round to pruning them the past few years so last year it had become more of a mess than a feature. The lads cut the whole lot back for me and even shredded the cutting too!

I did the cutting back on the main heraceous too but wisely let the weeding till another day!

Today we also gave the Himilayan Blackberry a proper "scientific" pruning and tied in the branches properly so I'm hopeful that I will have a decent crop of blackberries this year. Last year I lost patience with it and just cut the whole thing down so ended up with lots of branches and no fruit!

The roses in the Rose Garden also got pruned - just hoping we dont't get too severe a frost now!


Get-together 2016 - the plan!

29 December 2015 17:54:33
Get-together 2016 - the plan!

Get-together 2016 - the plan!

I hope you have all recovered from Christmas by now, and even though you still have to survive New Year i reckon its time to get down to the serious business of the January Get-together of the Garden.ie Club.

I've had a few requests for minor modifications to the timetable from last year so taking the comments on board here is what I propose - of course, any improvements welcome!

Since we are meeting on Saturday instead of Sunday we are no longer constrained by the opening of the Johnstown car park but don't let that go to your head!

People also felt that the raffles "went on a bit" so I am suggesting that we only raffle the Gift Vouchers that Johnstown give us and Gerry Daly has also kindly offered an Annual subscription to the Irish Garden as our special prize. 

People who travel a distance would like to be on the road home before dark, so I would hope we can get through all our events in a timely manner this year!

So here goes:

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas Road, Naas, co. Kildare

Date: Saturday 9th January 2016

Timetable ( very approximate)

11 to 12.30 - Plant swap in the left-hand car park at Johnstown

12.30 to 1.00 - hand in Kris Kringle gifts

1.00 to 2.00 - Lunch

2.00 to 2.15 - Raffle

2.15 to 3.00 - Kris Kringle

3.00 - Wrap up - leaving plenty of time to take advantage of the 20% Discount available in the Garden Centre.

Have I left anything out?

If everyone is happy with this then I'll send wording to Gerry for the Members Page.

For the moment please don't post this to the facebook group as it is easier for me to keep track of people's comments here. When we are agreed on a timetable I'll put it on the Facebook group too.

I'm just going to let people on facebook know to check here for details.

Thanks a lot



Remembering Brendan 2015

22 December 2015 23:59:28

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Today is the second annuversary of when my lovely Brendan passed to a better world. To celebrate our lives together I planted a tree to commemmorate his passing.

Prunus Autumnalis has burst into flower today to remind me that Brendan's greatest legacy to me is the memories of beautiful Christmases we spent together. He helped me rediscover the magic of Christmas and so in his memory I wish you all a very happy Christmas on this the first day of the new year in the tradition of our very ancient ancestors at Newgrange.



18 December 2015 17:58:50


So sorry to have to make a change to the date of our Get-together. Jim in Johnstown has informed me that they cannot accommodate us on our chosen date as he doesn't have sufficient experienced staff on duty in the Restaurant that day. 

Jim was most apologetic about this and did offer us the following Saturday or Sunday with the offer of giving us the Sale Discount on our purchases but since this was the least popular weekend I reckon we should go with the 9th.

Going back over the votes the runner-up date is Saturday 9th January. It may be that some of you can't come on the Saturday but please do your best to join the party!

Again my apologies for the confusion!



What a day!

18 December 2015 10:20:13

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I was planning last night that I might do a littl bit in the garden this morning. After all, it was a really nice mild day yesterday and I was too busy writing christmas cards to go outside at all.

Will i never learn?

I have lived most of my life in this country, and the past eight years in Sunny Laois. Wouldn't you think I'd have learned the lesson of Carpe Diem - Sieze the day!

The forecast was talking about scattered showers ..... they seem to have all congregated over Gortnalee!

And i HAVE to go out to post those darned cards!

Johnstown Get-together 2016

17 December 2015 14:31:33
Johnstown Get-together 2016

Johnstown Get-together 2016

Well, I didn't have to resort to tossing a coin after all! Sunday 10th January is the winner.

I hope that the people who had a preference for Saturday will still be able to join us and make this years gathering as enjoyable as previous years!

I am inclined to think that we should go with the same formula as previous years but if anyone has any suggestions for change I'd love to hear from you!

As usual I'll be depending on the rest of you to do the hard work - so I'll be looking for volunteers nearer the time.

If you haven't been involved on the day in previous years please consider doing so. I guarantee you the tasks are shared out and nobody gets overworked!

I'm not going to start bombarding you with journals until after Christmas as this still leaves plenty of time to get organised.

But you may wish to get something for the Kris Kringle (maximum value €10) when you are doing your christmas shopping!

Johnstown Date - a tie!!!!

14 December 2015 20:23:39


12 December 2015 20:10:01

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I went walkabout in the garden today during a very brief break in the rain and was rewarded with some more nice things to help to brighten these shortening days.

First there was the surprising discovery of lots of buds on a little Daphne shrub in the Maple Border that I've nursed along since 2012. My database records that it was given to me by a .ier but I have no idea who the donor was! It almost died the first year, but giving it a few feeds of compost seems to have improved it a lot but up to now there has been no sign of any flowers so I was amazed to see all these little buds appearing!

In the same border there is Helleborus 'Atrorubens' which was also a slow developer. It disappeared after it was planted without ever flowering so t see it reappear, and flower is a real joy. It even has its original label! I just let the label there when the plant disappeared in the hopes it might survive and for once neither birds nor adventurous children moved it!

The other treasure in that border is Chaenomeles 'Pink Trail' which is starting into blossom already!

All in all, a very satisfactory walkabout!

Thoughtful Friend

12 December 2015 15:44:26

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I had a visit from a thoughtful friend today and she brought me this pretty Kalanchoe. I thought this was particularly thoughtful as I'm trying really hard not to munch my way through all the cakes and biscuits that other visitors brought :-)

I thought it was interesting the difference it made when I used the flash to take the photos - I was using the phone so there isn't much fine-tuning but the flash turned the flowers a completely different colour!

The true colour is the pink!


08 December 2015 12:16:00


In one of the brief breaks in the storms I took a stroll around the garden and was mentally listing the hundreds of jobs that needed doing when my eye was caught by this little Narcissus.

I have no recollection of this cluster of bulbs flowering last year - I planted them the previous year and they were sold as "summer flowering narcissi" which I thought would be nice. They produced lovely healthy leaves last summer - unusually deep green for narcissi but I just kept watching them carefully waiting for the promised flowers but nothing happened. So no, in December, they are starting to flower!

Crazy or what!

Lets set a date for Johnstown

03 December 2015 00:02:25
Lets set a date for Johnstown

Lets set a date for Johnstown

I'm confined to barrackes at the moment so with nothing better to do with my time I decided it was time to get the Annual Johnstown Get-together Plan under way!

I noticed from my previous post that there are quite a few dates being bandied about to I though we needed a democratic way to arrive at the most suitable dates. I haven't confirmed with our good friend Jim the actual dates for the January Sale that seems to be of some interest ..... can't think why????

So I hope to have that date confirmed tomorrow.

What I propose is that people vote for ANY of the dates they can attend - if for example you are free on more than one day you should indicate that. I'll leave the voting open until the 14th December so if you plan to attend please DO cast your votes!

The proposed dates are:

OOPS! Made a mistake! First two dates are 9 January and 10 January the saturday and Sunday!

Saturday  09 January 2016 y/n
Sunday  10 January 2016 y/n
Saturday  16 January 2016 y/n
Sunday 17 January 2016 y/n
Saturday 23 January 2016 y/n
Sunday 24 January 2016 y/n
Saturday  30 January 2016 y/n
Sunday 31 January 2016 y/n

In the traditional democratic nature of our gatherings I will tot up all votes and the date with most votes will be selected!  Please ONLY  attach votes as comments to this journal  - any other comments can be added to the "Sshhh! Is it tme" Journal posted on 30th November.

I realise that you may wish to wait until we have word about the January Sale before you commit - so I'll post that information as soon as it becomes available :-)

If you haven't attended this event before I strongly recommend it as it is a really enjoyable event!


Garden Walkabout

02 December 2015 23:29:01

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I've been a bit under the weather recently so today was the first time in well over a week that I ventured outside and took a gentle walk around the garden to see what the ravages of recent storms had done. I soon forgot about storm damage because I was so pleasently surprised with the little treasures I found - my pink Kaffir Lilies (Schizostylis) are lasting even better than the red ones - the tiny slip of Lantana that Elizabeth gave me has produced a flower - and well ahead of schedule Iris katharine hodgkin is in bloom!



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