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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal January 2017

Last Post 394 days 23 hours ago

Some "proper" gardening

26 January 2017 00:16:21

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Do other people consider some tasks as "proper gardening" and other tasks not? For me the clean-up of the stuff from the hedge-trimming definitely doesn't qualify as "proper gardening" so when I finished that task I had to do something that DID qualify!

First of all I transplanted the Spring Cabbages and Broccoli to the proper veg beds and just raked over the other empty beds. Then I finally decided where to plant the Nerines that Fleurette kindly gave me at Johnstown! When I opened the carefully packed parcel I was delight to find it also contained some Autumn Crocus, a little Anthemis and a great Aconitum which she says will be 5 feet tall! (Can't wait for that one!) and what a great clump of Nerines! 

I planted the Nerines and the Autumn Crocus in the Main Herbaceous in the most sheltered spot but in full sun  so I have great hopes that I will finally manage to establish these beautiful flowers! the other have been potted up as the clearing of the borders hasn't been completed yet but when the time comes they will  be well established!

Thank you so much, Fleurette! Such lovely plants and all sprouting for me!

And lastly I couldn't resist this photo of another bowl of the Katherine Hodgkins with a couple of stray snowdrops - this mild winter is really suiting them in my garden anyway!

Bit of a clean-up required

25 January 2017 23:56:37

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One of the advantages of having a farmer as a neighbour is that every now and again he decide to trim the hedgerow that is the boundary between us which is not something I can do myself. The hedgerow is at least 100 years old and hasn't been kept in check so it is now several metres wide! As it is also full of brambles it is harly a joy to look at! I planted a Laurel hedge on my side of the boundary for some of it and  I am gradually extending this down the rest of the hedgerow and it is deinitely easier to keep. So when I heard the machine in the field cutting the hedge I rushed in and asked him to trim my piece too!  the plan will be to keep my bit of laurel to a manageable size and let the hedgerow grow up behind it - then every few years the farmer can trim back to the level of my laurel. 

The result of this activity was to make an awful mess all along beside the hedge so today was my first chance to get out to clear it up. This kind of stuff is not very good in the compost heap so the solution was to sweep it up and deposit it into the middle of the hedge where is can take its time dying down!

I think it looks much better now.

But now its back to work!

18 January 2017 19:34:53

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Having enjoyed the discovery of some January Delights it was time for a bit of REAL gardening! The photos really tell the story!

My main herbaceous border needs a good seeing-to at this time of year. I usually start the winter clear-up further away from the house so I have passed this border a good bit over the past few weeks and every time I looked at it I just wanted to attack it but held myself back until today! I've spent what feels like months picking up leaves so for light relief I took out the secateurs and got going!

Three hours later and I had cut everything down and even raked off the worst of the leaves and stuff!

As you can see, Puss was helping too :-)

I found that some Helebore seedlings I transplanted there are now flowering beautifully so its nice to be able to see them! I'm looking forward to doing a proper weeding of the border next! Then it will be mulching time and off we go again into the springtime!

January delights

18 January 2017 19:11:06

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I finally got a good spell in the garden today. I've been busy with other stuff and reading all the busy journals I was really frustrated at not getting out to play!

The first thing that greeted me when I went out was my lovely Hamamelis mollis whch is becoming a nice sized shrub - although it doesn't appear to have a perfume!

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a delicate lilac flower in the Pergola border. I think they  might be an autumn crocus but I have no recollection of planting them! I am always thrilled when this kind of thing happens - of course, the database should tell me where they are but unfortunately the updating of the database can be a bit hit-snd-miss!

It was a good start to a productive afternoon!

Taking advice

17 January 2017 21:42:30

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I read somewhere recently that taking pots of bulb into the house at this time of year can encourage them to bloom. Belonging to the gardening style "give it a go" I went outside to see what I could see.

All I found was a pot of Kathryn Hodgkins iris. i have watched others waxing lyrical over these very early flowers but could never see what they were going on about. To me they were a rather dull and dreary greyish flower with little to recommend them.

Anyway, nothing venture - and very little to lose - so in they came.

Within 24 hours I was completely converted to these beautiful little bulbs. The delicacy of the detail rivals orchids but most amazing was the way the greyish petals are turning a beautiful blue - and look like they may deepen even further!

Resolution fot next year - divide up this pot into several, ignore them all summer and when they start to come back in autumn bring them out of hibernation until the buds form - and THEN - take them indoors and admire!

A whole week later ....

15 January 2017 17:42:21

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...and the excitement of Johnstown is fading from the memory - but going through the journals and photos it all comes back!

And then there is always some gardening to do!

I had a bit of a busy week but managed a couple of short sessions outside potting up some Johnstown Swaps and weeding my existing pots - only half done so maybe i need less pots? 

Most of the time was spent on the unending task of leaves and cutting back of perennials. I had help from Elizabeth and we got one large border done - the one inside the gate where the Oak trees are. 

I took some photos but I'm very disappointed that the photos don't really show the huge clean-up that area needed!This woodland area has a large number of Crocosmia, lots of Japanese Anemone, self-seeding Hardy Geraniums and assorted bulbs.

The Crocosmia leaves had turned to a thick carpet of mushy leaves, the Anemones where keeling over in all directions and the geraniums were aming at world domination again. 

Photo 1 gives an idea of "before" 

Photo 2 is what came out of the border nicley sorted into "for compost" in the foreground and "for leafmould" along the path

Photo 3 shows the "after" photo which to my mind doesn't do it justice at all! The fresh spikes of the crocosmia are clearly visible and the assorted daffodils and tulips are making an appearance too! 

I'm just delighted to have that area "done" for now!

Ah Thanks everyone!

07 January 2017 23:39:41
Plant Swap

Plant Swap

Home from Johnstown - and you know the expression we always put at the end of our essays "Tired but happy" - well that sums it up!

I hope you like the photo - for me it captures what Johnstown is all about - gardeners getting together, swapping plants and talking non-stop gardening!

People are very kind giving me all the credit for this event but really every person who came and in particular everyone who helped out on the day also deserves credit for their contribution!

In my "thank yous" I forgot one very important part of the Johnstown Mafia - Take a bow, Jackie! You played a blinder making sure everyone had a name tag - even those of us who where silly enough to forget to bring our last-years ones with us!

For me the best reward I get for the bit of organising I do is to see people enjoy the day! It was also very encouraging to see so many new faces this year! It has been a pity that the Sundays are no loger available to us at Johnstown as I think a number of members find the Saturday does not suit them as well.

I bumped into Jim Clark as I was wandering round the plant area and extended thanks on all your behalves to him for the excellent way his staff looked after us today. 

And you will be happy to know I still have some of the very generous voucher you gave me to spend the next time I pass Johnstown :-)


The chef wants to know ......

05 January 2017 18:49:14
The chef wants to know ......

The chef wants to know ......

..... are there any vegetarians or other special dietary needs among you please?

Its only two more sleeps so I hope you have all your plants labelled and your Kris Kindle gift wrapped .....

.... Its as good as Christmas!!!!!

Kris Kindle & timetable

04 January 2017 21:17:46
Kris Kindle & timetable

Kris Kindle & timetable

Sorry - I should have put this up sooner!

For newcomers to our gathering at Johnstown we have a Kris Kindle on the day. Participation is of course voluntary, but I assure you it is always good fun!

The rule is simple - bring along a gift to take part - but the gift should be NO MORE THAN €10 in value as we don't want to put anyone under pressure!

On the day ...

12:00 - in the car park for the plant swap! Its a good idea to have your plants for swapping with a label with the person its for, and also your own name (its terrible to arrive home with a lovely plant and no idea who you got it from!!!) People often bring along spare plants that have not been asked for so you may go home with more than your expect!

1:00 - in the Garden Cafe - hand in your Kris Kindle - this takes a little time as we have devised a system to make sure you don't end up with your own gift!

1.30 - Lunch - they usually have a menu for us and serve us at the tables reserved for us.

2.30 - (or when we are finished eating!) Raffle

2.45 - Kris Kindle

3.30 finish up - but probably few of you will go home without taking advantage of the January Sale! LOL

See you all on Saturday!


Volunteers for Johnstown please?

04 January 2017 21:01:23

Are you coming to Johnstown next Saturday?

02 January 2017 00:01:14
Are you coming to Johnstown next Saturday?

Are you coming to Johnstown next Saturday?

A number of you have posted comments on my last update letting me know if you are coming to Johnstown for our annual gathering next Saturday and I have added the names I have so far below. 

If you intend to come but are not on that list please post your name ON THIS JOURNAL ONLY!!!!

We need an approximate number for the Restaurant people so they can reserve a suitable space for us on the day.

Johnstown 2017
Terri & Alan
The H (Hazel)
Gerby - Geraldine
Helen (141220111)
& son!
Mary B
Margie Duffy
Michele Maria



Plant Swaps for Johnstown

01 January 2017 23:41:19
Plant Swaps for Johnstown

Plant Swaps for Johnstown

I hope everyone had the lovely bright sunshine we had in Laois today for the first day of 2017!

I started panicking when I realised that NEXT SATURDAY is our Johnstown Get-together for 2017!!!!

I took advantage of the day to check out what I have available for Swaps or in need of new homes on the plant front and here goes!

5  x  Geranium Phaem Album - Mary B

2  x  LEPTINELLA GRUVERI - ground cover Fern from new Zealand -Fleurette

6  x  Saxifraga Stolonifera - Jackie, Gerby, JoanG

3 x Campanula Poscharskyana - Moya

2 x Geranium Sanguinium Purple flower- Fleurette

1 x Achillea Millefolium 'Smiling Queen' (Pink) - Gerby

2 x Leucanthemum × supurbum Silver Princess (only 50 cm tall!)- JoanN, Gerby

1 x Heleborus Niger in bud -Michele Maria

2 x Alchemilla Mollis

2 x Geranium phaeum  'Samobor'-Fleurette, Mary B

15 x Ajuga Reptans 'Bronze Beauty'

So please let me know if you would like any of these plants!


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