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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal April 2017

Last Post 297 days 11 hours ago

Getting stuck in

29 April 2017 23:41:56

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Back home today the weather was a bit challenging. The morning was interspersed with nasty showers but by lunch time it had decided to stop raining so I ventured out. It was a day of different projects - first off was the Bluebell hunt - I'm still trying to keep my beautiful native Bluebells from hybridising with the Spanish imposters I unwisely planted a few years ago.

I greatly reduced the number of imposters since last year but I still need to keep at them. I dig up as many bulbs as I can and if I'm stuck for time I dead-head them hoping to fool the bees! Today I dug up a clump of tulips that were happily mixing with the Spanish senoritas and so the tulips are now potted up and most of the Senoritas are reposing in a green plastic bag!

Did a bit more digging up of imposters but this is a very tiresome task so I changed direction and worked on one of the front borders cutting back Michaelmas Daisies that should have been done in the autumn and generally weeding. I finished off taking the loppers to some overgrown shrubs. All in all, Im very happy with the day's work - now if only I had someone to do the shredding ......

And the last photo is my Choisya that Elizabeth bought me a few years ago - really looking good this year!

A lot done in a day

29 April 2017 23:23:27

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I visited Elizabeth (my sister) on Friday to give her a long-promised day in the garden. She has recently had a major extension added to her house which involved the total dismantling of her lovely front garden which was a perfect showcase for her Fuchsia collection - although in truth it overflowed into the back garden too!

The new front garden has a completley different character but will still provide a suitable show-case for the Fuchsias! When I arrived on Friday morning it had a certain air of "after the builders" although a lot of the hard landscaping had been done and some of the Fuchsias were in place. The problems tackled were the new entrance to the side gate that had the roots of a removed Rowan tree protruding and providing Elizabeth with lots of opportunities to trip! 

The path was levelled  and the roots were sawed off so they no longer protrude and the whole thing was levelled with sand. One task completed! She will have to get a permanent surface later but for the moment she is safe from trips!

Then I turned my attention to the new area. Her design is very pretty with pavers in a lovely design recycled from the old garden and some interesting triangular raised beds that will show off the Fuchsias to adventage. It was a bit of a 'work-in-progress' with bags of earth and sand still waiting for a home so that was the next project. Elizabeth took very kindly to my bossy ways and accepted my suggestion that we put the new pots in place and fill them with earth so that the bags could be vanished and this is what we did! It made a huge difference and Elizabeth was inspired to plant up two lovely pots that she had bought for the new design! And all the bags of earth were used up!

She was left with one corner to complete and a little bird told me that she has completed that corner already!

It is such a joy working with my sister in her new garden!


I think I'm in love ....

26 April 2017 02:00:10
I think I'm in love ....

I think I'm in love ....

.... with Tulips! Didn't really think a lot of them, just bought random bulbs each year and stuck them in the garden hoping for the best - and last year I had a load of them and planted them at random in a border that needed Spring colour and they are still going strong!

But today .... I was stopped dead in my tracks by these two beauties!

Anyone going to Fota?

23 April 2017 00:01:34

Fingers crossed - some seedlings!

22 April 2017 09:24:29

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Those who know me will be aware that my attempts at growing things from seeds are never very successful. But not being inclined to admit defeat I am trying again this year!

Two packets of seed arrived on one of my magazines - Rudbekia and Cornflower - and then some Sweetpea on another magazine - I know - I shouldn't be getting so many magazines!

Anyway I took the bull by the horns and in they went! and to my utter surprise all three lots germinated well, and two out of three have got to "second leaf" stage - and number three is also looking hopeful!

So now all I need is the time to do the "pricking out" - at least the Sweetpea are in modules so no need to panic yet ....

I'm really chuffed to get them this far but I'm not counting any chickens yet LOL

Gonna take the easy way with some lovely pink poppy seeds and just broadcast them!

And Photo 3 is just for colour! Weeded that edge of the Clematis Walk and i think it is looking good!

My little Maple

21 April 2017 00:47:59
Acer Palmatum

Acer Palmatum

I've been watching enviously as other members posted journals showing their various impressive pictures of their Japanese Maples and I finally got a good photo of my little baby! Each year I watch with bated breath waiting for it  to come back to life!

But at last  I am rewarded! It appears that the hedges are providing the necessary shelter for it!


An Appeal for out Native Bluebells

16 April 2017 10:36:29

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I am very lucky that there are native Bluebells in my hedgerow and they are migrating into the garden at a good rate. 

Many people are not aware of the threat to these beautiful plants from the more spectacular Spanish bluebells which are commonly sold here.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta is our native one and it is a deeper shade of blue - almost purple - than the Hyacinthoides hispanica or Spanich Bluebell.

Our native bluebell also has a perfume which the Spanish one does not. Gardeners World this week had a very good explanation of the diference - Hyacinthoides non-scripta is also native to The U.K.

The problem is the hybridisation between them. 

For the past year I have been systematically digging out anything that looks non-native. Its a pain, but I reckin it is worht the effort.

Yesterday we visited Heywood Gardens and I was blown away with the native bluebells in the woodland and they are not yet fully in bloom but the gentle perfume wafted out to us as we strolled by.

My appeal to you is that if you are buying bluebells please make sure you only buy Hyacinthoides non-scripta and try to preserve this lovely plant.

Just in time for Easter

14 April 2017 22:34:56

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I have mentioned before that I am not the worlds best at House Plants. Most of them survive until the flowers they came with fade. some of them don't even last that long.

There is one exception that I have kept alive for a couple of years - Ok - so it't only a Christmas Cactus that can be successfully grown by your average 4-year-old - but hey - its a success for me!

Rachel posted a great video last year onhow to get this lovely plant to flower at Christmas and I followed her instructions to the letter and was delighted to have flowers right through the Christmas season.

However, something strange has happened - my "Christmas Cactus" has decided it will be an "Easter Cactus" and has burst into flower again!!!!

I'm just hoping that this isn't some sort of Swan Song and that its going to turn up its heels and die on me now!

Celandine for Jacinta

13 April 2017 23:02:05

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I dug up a few of my very plentiful Celandine to give Jacinta  an idea of the variety of leaves it can have.

Good day in the garden

13 April 2017 00:47:13

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I really feel I'm getting back to myself at last - was out in the garden till 7.30 this evening!!! My HelpX couple are great - Dominik is working his way through all the DIY jobs that have built up over the past few years and Daniela is working her way steadily through all the borders down near the stream! I spent my morning tending to my two sick Thujas and also the Cornus contraversa 'variegata' in the front garden that also has serious dieback. I tried a few things in the autumn but without success so I was advised that it might be a fungus in the soil so I treated them with Bordeaux Mixture and top-dressed with compost. After that I worked with  Daniela moving various plants about in an effort to restore the "heat" in my "hot border" which has been infiltrated by too many blue flowers!

Time will tell if i have succeeded!

But looking good today is this cute little Iris - its only about 10 inches tall and is finally starting to bulk up with about 6 or 7 flowers this year!

And for Dick this is how my Kerria that he gave me has developed! definitely a good year for this plant!

And Tetrapanax Rex is coming along nicely .....

Pathetic Fatsia & friend (id please!)

10 April 2017 21:07:16

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Having arrived home safely after my Dublin trip I did the thing I like best to do - I fill my lungs with good Laois air while I stroll around the garden! 

Having seen that magnificent Fatsia that Jackie (?) posted I went to check on mine and Photo 1 is the result. Definitely NOT a winner!

As I strolled around I spotted this unlikely plant in the Maple border in the front of the house. This is a plant from a generous .ier but I have no idea what it is or what to expect from it. The leaves mostly fell off but it has been back in growth for a good few weeks now and I'd love to know what it is!


Weather Watch for the Summer

10 April 2017 20:51:54

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If the Ash before the Oak

Then you surely get a Soak

But if the Oak before the Ash

Then you only get a Splash

So now it begins - the anxious watching of the Oak and the Ash to see which will break into leaf first!

Well this evening I took a photo of both and neither is showing any signs of opening yet! 


Got the hump

10 April 2017 10:07:44
Got the hump

Got the hump

I'm in Dublin today.  My journey to Dublin took nearly 3 hours because of a crash on the M7. The sun is blazing in the window at me. And I'm WORKING!!!!!


Photo is to remind me how great Tetrapanax looks in Summer and cheer me up. Not working!

Speedy Iris!

09 April 2017 20:23:20
Speedy Iris

Speedy Iris

I walked past this Iris yesterday morning and the bud was tight closed. Came up for lunch as this was how it looked! 


08 April 2017 00:38:05

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My current HelpX Helpers suggested I shoudl compost my kitchen vegetable waste as well as the garden stuff but I'm reluctant to do this because I find that the veg bits result in ppotatoes and carrots appearing the most unsuitable places. 

But I do agree that I hate throwing my kitchen wast in the bin. So I'm going to make a Wormery! The worms are ordered by mail-order and today we spent the day going round all the hardware shops between Rathdowney and Roscrea before we finally got the required plastic crates to construct the wormery. There are many videos on this on YouTube so I'm going to give it a go anyway.

Because the day was over by the time we got back there was no gardening done today but here are a few of the later-flowering bulbs in my garden.

New kids on the Block

07 April 2017 01:27:45

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I've added a couple of plants from my "wish list" this year and they are starting to earn their keep -

Number One is an Amelanchier - haven't the full name in the database yet - It is planted behind the greenhouse and joy of joys I can see the flowers from the house! I'm looking forward to seeing this one's autumn colour also!

Number Two is Exchordia - again no label to hand! This one is also producing more flowers than I expected for its first season.

Finally Number Three is a Laburnum tree. Not flowers out yet as its a bit early but there are definitely buds visible! 

Now I need to record them properly in the database before the labels get lost!


Getting my hands properly dirty

05 April 2017 00:34:17

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I had the plan to finish trimming the willows today - I know, they should have been done two months ago - but I was beguiled into "just tiding up" the Rock Garden. Of course this ended up as a major weeding session which took up all the available gardening time for today - and i didn't even get a photo taken! I did take time to check the roots of a couple of my tardy cabbage and broccoli plants and I am happy to report that Clup Root has been eliminated! I think I have a soil-testing kit that I might use tomorrow and then feed to make up any deficiencies. 

But what I really wanted to do was to put up a photo of my latest Tulip and Daffodil assortment now properly open!

And then there's my little Clematis Alpina which is flowering its socks off! It has started to ramble and has made an appearance at the next arch along the clematis Walk. I really need to prune this plant properly this year as the tangled old growth is not enhancing the fresh new blooms.

And then there is the Ligularia Dentata - Actually managed to snap this before the slugs got 'em!

All in all, a good day's work - and there's always tomorrow for the willow :-)

Strutting their stuff

02 April 2017 23:07:52

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Having slaved all afternoon in the vag garden it was a delight to stroll by the shrubbery and capture these ladies in their finery definitely strutting their stuff!

Spiraea 'Arguta' seems to have recovered from the indignity inflicted on her a couple of years ago - a bad infestation of Vetch meant that she had to be dug up and the roots combed out till all the Vetch was gone - and apart from an occasional little bit sneaking in from the surrounding beds it seems to have been a success! And she is repaying me with her best display ever!

Cornus contraversa 'variegata' - which my lovely Brendan bought me to celebrate our first wedding anniversary - really loves where it is in the shrubbery. I took heed of a suggestion from Mary (Gracedieu Lass) that I clear underneath this pretty tree and just plant a few bulbs - and this is the result!

Photo Three is Colin's Tree - Betula utilis jacquemontii - which used to have a complete carpet of Saxifrage around its base. The saxifrage got completely infested with a nasty spiney grass that couldn't be removed without wrecking the saxifrage so I bit the bullet last autumn and removed most of the saxifrage and planted a random collection of bulbs in its place. I'm happy with the result!

Spuds Planted!

02 April 2017 22:34:53

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They do say that "The Lord loves a tryer" so I'm off again trying to produce something edible from the garden! I put my spuds to "chit" as per Monty Don and they should really have been planted on the traditional St Patrick's Day but life got in the way so I didn't get to them until today. It was definitely a beautiful day to be out in the garden and the raised beds had been topped up with a good layer of compost last autumn so they just needed a little judicious weeding and turning over of the soil and it was a really easy to pop in the nicely chitted spuds. Two lots of First Earlies and one lot of Second Earlies.

Checking out my other vegetables I really am left thinking "why do I bother?". On the sucess side of the scales are the Red Onions and Garlic settts that I planted in the autumn. They all look promising but I haven't been brave enough to look ti see if there is anything going on under the soil, but I did weed and hoe them so at least they look like a "real" veg bed.

The saga of the Winter Cabages and Purple-flowering Broccoli is still ongoing. For once I actually planted the seeds at the right time, did the whole pricking out and transplanting bit but they seem to have gone into some sort of suspended animation.

Having given them a good talking too as I worked, I have banked up both these beds in a final desperate attempt to get at least ONE dinner out of them!

I am totally puzzled about this, as they are growing in raised beds which are regularly mulched with compost, where peas were grown last year (so the soil should be rich in Nitrogen) and they just failed to grow!


Right plant right place I think ...

01 April 2017 23:06:14

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Those of you who have read my journals over the past few years might remember my struggles with my Auriculas. They have been through many adventures - they originated in Rush and came as a gift from Liga - on the occasion of my first ever visit to a garden.ie gardener to they are very precious.

They almost perished when they were planted at the edge of a border and larger incumbents tried to smother them.

They got lifted (and of course divided) and put into pots a couple of years later and I had notions of a regular "Auricula Theatre" but the howling gales that regularly visit us here put paid to those grand notions! Shelving, pots and all ended up in a heap on the ground!!!

So last year I found a sheltered non-sunny spot for them on the wall alongside my side gates and they did well. Full of enthusiasm I divded them vigorously and was delighted to have lots of plants for the Plant Sales this year but alas there were no takers because I had neglected to label them by colour.

So THIS year I'm determined - they are flowering away and I'm labelling each pretty colour as it opens so maybe I'll soon have them sorted. along with Liga's original plants I have acquired a beautiful yellow one from Elizabeth's Fucshia Society and a delicate blue one from no less than Helen Dillon - but it hasn't opened yet!

So here goes for this years Auriculas!



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