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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal March 2016

Last Post 668 days 21 hours ago

Before and After

25 March 2016 00:51:49

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(Mine, not the garden!) I've been able to put in decent days in the garden recently except when Life gets in the way. I've been sorting out beds and I've even managed to release a few prisoners from the "Plants-in-waiting" this week.

I'm really pleased with the new arrangement of the roses and today I moved all the Candytuft from one of the raised beds and relocated it along the edge of the Rose Trellis.My plan is to surround the recently moved roses with other plants to give a better display. That raised bed is now weeded, raked and covered (to prevent Puss from making a Loo out of it!

During the rest of the week I managed to weed hoe and rake a few areas down near the stream and found the perfect spot for the Leucanthemum I got from Rachel beside the Olive Tree.

But the photos are a Before and After of one particular area. This is the Coffee Corner which used to hav a half-barrel in it. I had one of my helpers move it for me across the garden. I have been looking at this area as I pass it by for well over a month and saying to myself "that's a small bed - should get it sorted in half an hour". WRONG! Four hours later and I was a happy bunny. The cause of the problem was the great number of large stones just beneath the surface and the ivy that had travelled in from the hedgerow, not to mention a Snow-in-Summer that was heading for the hills and a knyphofia infested with Vetch.

However all's well that ends well and the stones have been put to good use to make me a platform to lean on when the hedge needs trimming. I thought I heard Cherub haveing a bit of a giggle to my right as I struggled to excavate all the stones.They were far too  insignificant for him to bother about!

On the move ... again!

21 March 2016 08:52:18

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My mother used to despair of my approach to the garden .... she was known to exclaim "would you not let the poor plants get settled before you go moving them ...." but i was never very good at doing what I'm told!

The history of roses in my current garden is a saga of constant indecision .... 

The first rose I got as a gift before the house was complete had to survive in a pot for ages.

I bought a few more over the next couple of years just because they appealed to me.

Then there was another gift. And then I tried taking "slips" and was surprised when I succeeded with them. By then I felt that a special "Rose Garden" was called for and since my attempts at vegetable growing were less than successful I decided to assemble all the roses in the raised beds in the lower garden. That was in Autumn 2013. It involved moving the roses from various locations and replanting them in the chosen area. 

They seemed happy enough and I minded them carefully for the next two seasons. But guess what?  I wasn't happy with the results. My vision of a massed profusion of roses with the air full of the divine scent just didn't happen. I looked back over the photos from my Open Day and the roses were largely ignored!!!!

On a visit to Gash Gardens last year I was interested to see how they have incorporated their roses into mixed borders so you;ve guessed .... the roses are on the move again! It has taken over a week but most of the roses have been happily relocated! Not much to see yet, and the Rose Trellis border is still to be filled in with various "plants in waiting". More of them are now along the Clematis Arches where they should be able to add to the colour in that area.

Now next task is to get those raised beds ready for another attempt at growing some edibles LOL

When all at once....

20 March 2016 14:14:40

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.....I saw a host of golden daffodils. 

A quote from my favourite poem.

Our journals in the early months of the year tend to have great entries about early arrivals of daffodils of various types as we wait impatiently for them to strut their stuff. So here are what I call "lots of little hosts" - over the years they are bulking up well and every year they perform their magic of banishing the winter blues!

Only an hour to spare

16 March 2016 11:15:19

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With only an hour to spare I got stuck in at the Pergola area. Its an area very close to the house so it has been rebuking me for neglect while other areas were getting the once-over!

I was pleased with the amount I got done.

The little raised bed has several climbers and hardy fuchsias and because it is raised I generally give it a generous top-up of compost. In previous years the blackbirds have had a field day when this is done and I spent much time sweeping up the debris so last year I put a mulch of garden stones on top - problem solved!

So the Spring job is a bit of a pain - remove all the stones, add the compost and then replace the stones! An additional benefit is that there were very few weeds in the border.

To keep the progress well balanced I just turned around and weeded the other side of that path.

All in all, for just over an hour I am delighted with the amount done1

Off out now to tackle the next bit!

Google is my NBF

15 March 2016 09:57:26

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(For all the non-cool people NBF means New Best Friend)

Last year I purchased a new Sedum from Bakker called 'Sedum Sunsparkler Blue Pearl' and duly potted it up and put it with the "plants in waiting".

Then - nothing!

Late in the summer I found this sad little pot with a dry stick protruding and was about to bin it when I checked the label and lo and behold it was "Blue Pearl". Remembering how good Bakker are at replacing failures I decided to give it one more chance so into the greenhouse it went.

Sometime in September the tiniest new leaf appeared.

In January it was looking better.

Now in March it has a healthy little clump of leaves and it has moved outside to the sheltered area behind the greenhouse.

So today I googled it to see what I can look forward too!


14 March 2016 23:00:10

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I paid a few visits to friend in Dublin today and it was great to catch up with folk! Having visited an old school friend I was only ten minutes away from Jacinta so I took the opportunity to drop off the plants promised to her from before Johnstown. Jacinta has been the soul of generousity to me since I joined this site and I have really benefitted when she has decided that a particular plant has outgrown her garden!

Her garden is showing all her hard work. The grass was cut, the ponds were all looking great and spring flowers were in evidence everywhere.

I always love arriving at Jacinta's house because her unique front garden always makes me smile - recently in Barcelona there was a similar idea - this time a rowing boat but not nearly as attractive :-)

And then there are the great ponds - I've never been lucky enough to have frogspawn in my ponds but Jacinta has a great clutch of prospective slug-killers - lucky girl!

And it was good to be able to congratulate the happy couple on their engagement too!

When less is more ....

14 March 2016 00:42:35

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My recovery over the past few months has resulted in me having to do my gardening in much shorter bursts than I used to do. At first I was very frustrated with this big change but I'm beginning to see some definite benefits to this approach - no evenings spent with hot water bottle clutched to aching back - no falling into bed exhausted - and best of all, taking regular breaks I've spent more time walking in the garden than I ever did before and really appreciating every new flower appearing!

And I'm even planning in advance what small task I'll tackle next. This also gives me an excuse to sit down somewhere in the garden to think through the next task!

That's not to say that I don't get distracted from the planned task, but since I only plan for small tasks there is always the possibility of getting a second task done ....

So today was a good example.

The planned task was cutting the grass - that onerous 30 minute task LOL 

And I needed to take some photos to send to Jean-Baptiste in reply to his email!

And my very kind neighbour had mentioned that he would like some Sedum Green Mantle if I had any to spare ....

So that was the plan - cut the grass, take the photos and lift a few Sedums.

So how did reality match up?

Pretty well really!

First I did a walkabout and admired all the lovely spring flowers - Helebores and snowdrops have been joined by more and more daffodils, muscari, crocus, anemone blanda, coreopsis, pulmonaria etc etc etc.

Then the sweetpeas were taken ot for their hardening off process

Then out came the lawnmower and true to form I was putting it back in the shed 30 minutes later! Note taken that I really need to do something about the moss this year!

Then out with the camera and a good selection of photos were next on the list.

Then a little "sit down" in the lower area where the roses are as I thought over my latest thought to move the roses out of this area and distribute them around the garden - planning doesn't use much energy so I was soon ready to do another little bit... 

Digging up the Sedums was next on the list. An easy job as this little sedum is a very generous self-seeder ..... but what about all those bittercress hiding in among the sedums? So the plan went a bit overboard as I ended up weeding the Sedum Garden! On the bright side it was a much easier task than usual because of the great job Jean-Baptiste did tidying up in January.

Then it was pottingup the sedums (and a campanula and an Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigra' and finally putting the Sweetpeas to bed for the night!

Sounds like a lot, but all small tasks and lots of breaks! So LESS is definitely MORE for me these days LOL


What a change a week makes!

10 March 2016 13:33:53

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I'm finally home from Sunny but rather chilly Barcelona and this morning I oculdn't wait to have a stroll around the garden. And guess what? It was every bit as warm and sunny as Barcelona!

Is there anything quite like the pleasure of a stroll round your own garden after a short absence - and is there anything as amazing as how much can change in a short week!

The daffodils are doing their best to be in full glory for Daffodil Day on Friday but some of them didn't like the recent cold weather so I'll have to have a bit more patience!

What really pleased me was how all the other little spring flowers have really opened up while I was away. some of them are so shy and retiring that it is easy to forget about them once their flowers vanish. Many of them like the Corydalis and Anemone Blanda disappear underground so completely that their reappearance every year feels like a regular miracle! 

I'll put up an album but in the meantime here are three that took my fancy this morning. My thanks to Jacinta for the Blue Ensign which is really starting to clump up nicely, and to an unknown .ier who gave me the Sissinghurst White ..... if you would like to own up I'd love to update my database :-)

Suspected return of Cherub

08 March 2016 11:02:28

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There have been some unexplained changes to path edgings at Gortnalee. Previously untidy and uneven edges have taken on an almost military precision. Since the gardener here has a notoriously crooked eye (not a single straight path in the whole garden) it has to be assumed that other forces were at work. 

Cherub is the prime suspect. Particularly since  the military precision didn't last long and a totally new path appeared where the gardener was prone to taking a shortcut!

So if anyone has a sighting of this elusive and very welcome spirit please give him a huge hug from a grateful gardener both for the inspiration and for sending a more earthly pair of strong arms to work the magic.

One step forward eight step back

05 March 2016 22:57:02

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What started out as a simple enough task - moving the lovely weeping conifer given to me a few seasonß ago by Clare - thank you Clare! My half barrel move was one of Victors tasks so it was finally in the right place for this little tree. So the plan was to replace the little conifer with one of the many plant-in-waiting , a very pretty trachleospermum I got in Johnstown in January.

Well this border just happens to be the one that has the great Japanese Anemione clumps that I enjoy each Autumn. So naturally I had to tidy them up. Net result Nine pots of Jap. Anemone join the ever-expanding pots-waiting.

As I said, one step forward and nine steps back :-) 


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