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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal July 2016

Last Post 537 days 15 hours ago

In Praise of the Invasive

31 July 2016 01:40:55

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There is a flower that strikes fear in the hearts of many gardeners - and that flower is the Jaanese Anemone (Anemone Japonica).

 In my garden they are a signal that the main summer is over and things are starting to move towards Autumn.

I have a tall one with single Mauve flowers that towers in majestic splendour in a flowerbed behind my greenhouse. This is one that my mother and aunt also grew which has come down to me via my sister Elizabeth.

I chose a full and fluffy pink one fro the garden of Brendan's first wife to commemmorate her.

Mdm Jaqueline Jobert is pristine in my woodland and fernery (but didn't want her photo taken!) and last but not least there is a semi-double of a rich pink colour that is busy colonising the area at the end of my garde (Thank you Fran!)

Such tall and elegant plants hardly deserve to be avoided just because they have World Domination in mind!

I wouldn't be without them for sure!


Unexpected treasure

28 July 2016 15:25:13

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Yesterday I took my HelpX Helpers for a little bit of sight-seeing on their last day and one of the places we went was Cahir Castle. Having had a lovely tour of the castle we were just getting back into the car when I spotted an intersting looking footbridge just asking to be explored. 

What a joy!

First thing that caught my eye was a lovely patch of wildflower meadow  and as I explored that I noticed several wonderful sculptures carved out of trees that had obviously been carved more or less where they fell!

Coupled with the great views of the river Suir as it winds around the castle it was a totally unexpected treasure and a great way for my helpers to end their tourist trip!

I've put up an album because I couldn't choose which photo I liked best!

It is call "Inch Field" but i couldn't find any more information so if any of you from that neck of the woods can enlighten me I'd be delighted!

Having Visitors

25 July 2016 21:12:16

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I've been thnking about the whole business of having visitors to the garden. For me is is a great pleasure to share my garden with anyone who takes the time to come by.  I remember the first time I visited the garden of a member of this site - way back in maybe 2009 or 2010 or so and this garden was beautifully kept, perfectly weeded, cleverly laid out and a real joy to visit. I came home with Brendan and discussed with him how I thought our garden would never have enough interest for people to want to see it.

Within a couple of years I plucked up courage and invited my .ier friends to visit the garden and all of you who came have been so encouraging that I have been bold enough to do it more than once!

Last year I had a charity event in aid of Laois Hospice which was succesful way beyond my expectations and the charity really reaped the benefit.

This year I decided to try a "regular" Open Day and see what would happen. I was so happy that so many people came and particularly that they had such nice things to say!

But what I really want to say is that every visit is different - it is a great pleasure to walk in my garden with friends who know it and chat endlessly about the various plants particularly plants we have shared over the years - but is is equally enjoyable to guide newcomers round and tell them the stories that are the part of every garden. And then there is the visit of just one or two friends - this also is a delight!

It is a constant surprise to me when I see what catches the eye of a visitor - plants I pass by on a daily basis take on a new life when a visitor exclaims over them!

So a huge thank you to all of you who have ever taken the trouble to come down to the heart of Laois to share my garden with me - and to anyone who would like to come visitors are always most welcome! 

Ready for the big day!

24 July 2016 00:45:19

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Spent the day getting ready for the open Day tomorrow - grass cut, hedges trimmed, last minute weeding, even the pond got cleaned ..... just as well I have some helpers! Even got a chance to make some buns - and the Weather-man is back on my side again with the weather set to clear by lunch-time!

Do hope to see some of you tomorrow!

Some photos taken in July to show you what to expect ...


21 July 2016 11:04:41

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Last year my dear sister Elizabeth took some cuttings from a shrub growing in the carpark of my local Supervalu. It was a shrub she has admired for a long time and she had found the name "Lantana" for it. some further research finds that is it Lantana Camara and the one in the Supervalu carpark which has pink and white flowers is Lantana Camara "Christine".

She is a champion at getting cuttings to 'take' so I was delighted when she gave me one of her cuttings in the autumn. I minded it carefully through the winter and in the Spring since there was a tiny root appearing through the end of the pot I decided to repot it. 

Tragedy! It wasn't happy! Just turned up its toes and died! So I just stuck it in a corner and forgot about it and confessed to Elizabeth that I had murdered her cutting!

This morning i was doing a bit of tidying (on account of the Open Day on Sunday) and was going to dump the pot thinking it was full of weeds! Imagine my surprise when I saw that Lantana Camara "Christine" has come back to life!!!!!

Definitely a Lazarus!

P.S. Internet photo of what the flowers will be like - some day!

Adrenelin drain

21 July 2016 00:31:45
Adrenelin drain

Adrenelin drain

I am happy to say that my first ever visit of a Gardening Club went much better than I expected. The glorious weather on Monday was a real bonus and the visitors were very complimentary of the garden so the hard slog getting it ship-shape certainly was appreciated!

For most of the time they were here i was having a "bad name" day when I can't remember the name of a single plant but then one of the names came to me and then I was on a roll!

After all that i decided to take it easy on Tuesday and we doing that, just taking a stroll when I realised that there was a pretty Hen Blackbird trapped inside my Strawberry cage! I suppose if you were a blackbird the best place on earth to get trapped is in a strawberry bed! I had to rip off the top of the cage to let her escape but with all of her excitement the whold place was a mess!

So it was Bite the Bullet time and the cage was dismantled - there were no strawberries left so it made sense to clean up the whole bed. I'm happy with the result and hope to have some new plants ready for the autun to rplace some of the older plants.

No photo tonight ....

15 July 2016 00:38:41

Red and White

13 July 2016 22:23:16
Red and White

Red and White

Remembering Elizabeth's husband Tony who passed away last week - the quintessential Cork man.

We got Chilllies!

13 July 2016 22:18:40
We got Chilllies!

We got Chilllies!

so excited! My first attempt to grow chillies - and from seed too! Two little chillies starting to form .....

My Blue Heaven

13 July 2016 22:15:59
My Blue Heaven

My Blue Heaven

It never ceases to amaze me how diferent parts of the garden seem to evolve into something quite different from the original concept. 

My lower pond - also known as the Stream pond was originally conceived as a Hot Border and I filled it with plants to suit the theme - but one plant that pre-dated the stream was a beautiful Geranium Johnsons Blue that was doing so well that I hadn't the heart to move it. 

The result was that the "Hot Border" always had a bit of blue going on. The stream borders stilll have quite a few hot spots at different times of the year but just now it is definitely "my blue heaven" and I am sorely tempted to break into song to celebrate it!

Ah come on lads!

13 July 2016 00:31:26

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I do believe there used to be a path under all that stuff!

I finally got around to working on the Stream Borders as all the paths were as in this photo so I took great satisfaction in tackling the  paths and doing a gereral tidy-up on the area.

The first photo is the "before" view but I was too exhausted when I finished to take an "After" photo - maybe tomorrow!

Another task I tackled recently was to pot on my Auriculas. I had advice (and a little plant) from Helen Dillon on how to treat Auriculas and that they really had to be divided every year so I just though to myself that I'd give it a go. Unfortunately since all the flowers were long gone I really had no idea which was which colour-wise. My original stock consisted of two from Liga, one from Elizabeth, and this year I got another one from Elizabeth and one from Helen Dillon. The second photo shows the result of the re-potting!!!

Open Day at Gortnalee

11 July 2016 17:01:20
Gortnalee Gardens Open Day

Gortnalee Gardens Open Day

Hi Everyone

I'm having an Open Day on Sunday 24th July 2pm to 6 pm so I hope that some of you will be able to come along. My helXers have been very busy with the tidying up of the garden in preparation for the event - and I am a nervouse wreck because I also have my first ever visit from a Gardening Club this month too!

Please check out the details on my website 

Gortnalee House Gardens

If you need directions please send me a PM so I can send you the details.

I hope that some of you will come along - there might even be a cuppa available!



A day of gardens

04 July 2016 01:10:49
Robinia Frisia

Robinia Frisia

I had a busy day today with two gardens widely separated to visit but I'm really glad I made the effort! 

This moring I went with my local gardening club to visit Fancrot Mill and Gardens on the borders of Tipperary and Offaly. This was a really interesting visit to a beautifully restored and operational Mill. The river that drives the Mill Wheel is the boundary between these two counties so while we parked the cars in Tipperary most of the gardens are in Offaly! We had an excellent tour of the Mill with Marcus, the retired engineer who has spent the last 10 years lovingly restoring this large building and getting it back functioning again. We even had some delicious brown scones made with flour milled here! 

The previous owner of the Mill was Angela Jupes and she enlarged and laid out a charming garden over quite and area. I'll put up an album later. The gardens are maintained by Marcus's wife Irene. She claims to know little of plants but in reality the way the gardens are maintained tells a very different story!

Then it was home for a very quick lunch and back on the road to visit Douentza - Rachels beautiful garden! There was quite a contrast between the gardens - while Irene appears to be having to push back the rather exhuberant plants that had "gone native" Rachel's garden is a thoughtfully planted garden with lots of interesting and unusual plants as well as lots of the more well-known favourites! I have visited this garden in several different seasons and it always has lots of interest but I think this is the most splendid time of year to see it. All the tender plants that Rachel minds so carefully in the greenhouse during the winter were basking in sunshine today and looking absolutely splendid! It was great to meet up with LindaB too. Of course there will be an album of this lovely garden too!

And we talked about Robinias while we were there - Rachel has a nice specimen of Robinia "Twisty Baby" which she got having seen a full-grown one in Pady & Mary's garden! My photo is of the Robinia "frisia" that I thought had died this year - I was on the point of digging it out! I'm so glad that I got distracted that day!


First stop the garden!

02 July 2016 12:53:40

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Been away for a short break and got back at 7 pm last night and as usual the first stop was the garden! I hadn't even taken the bags out of the car when I had to just take a "quick walk" to see what has happened in 4 days!!!!

I'm turning into a "veggie" this year - the first photo is the first tomato to appear in the greenhouse - they are Cherry Tomatoes and I'm not sure if they need to be trained the same way as the "ordinary" ones? I've also put some extra tomato plants in the vegetable garden (there's posh!) just to see how they will do.

So even if the tomatoes weren't quite ready for harvesting the Mangetout and the Strawberries were so I came back in with a bowl full of stuff! The cut-and-come-again lettuce is the ideal way to grow lettuce if you have a small family and mine is doing well this year. I also planted out some coriander that I got in the supermarket and it has taken well.

I have a question for all you experienced veg-growers - how do I know when to harvest my onions?

Oh and this Lily had opened while I wasn't looking too!


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