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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal May 2017

Last Post 232 days 22 hours ago

Cotoneaster - for SallySarah

31 May 2017 01:10:47

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When I visited your lovely garden in Westport a few years ago you gave me a slip of your cotoneaster that originated I think in your mother's garden in England because I was complaining that the one I had was refusing to grow!

Well, I put both of them in my Jardiniere hoping they would help to cover the side of my shed.

Well, the result is plain to see - my original one is only about  a foot high  but Sally's one is twice that height!

Thank you Sally! I'll take some slips of the "tall" variety and see if I can get the side of the shed covered!


More planning needed!

29 May 2017 22:35:06

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I've been trying to revitalise my Hot Border at the end of my garden where the little stream is and it is beginning to hot up a little - but today when I was working in the front garden I was struck by this border - maybe the Hot Border needs to move ? Those poppies are the strongest imaginable red and I do have some in the Hot Border but I'm struggling to find other later really red flowers. I'm on the lookout for the Bishop of Llandaff ..... I have one but it's pretty pathetic and didn't flower at all last year!

The third photo is the birds nest I mentioned - but alas I think all the disturbance has caused the little mother to desert her eggs. Haven't seen her on the nest for three days now.

Different kind of surprise

27 May 2017 14:27:31
Evicted plants

Evicted plants

I mentioned that I watered the garden yesterday. I have an area behind the greenhouse where I keep plants-in-waiting and spare plants potted up for Open Days. It consists of the shelving from a plastic greenhouse covered with shading to keep the sun from destroying the plants.

It ihas been filling up nicely since Spring but I wasn't paying a lot of attention to it over the hot weather so when I noticed that a lot of the plants were seriously dehydrated I decided to give them a good soak.

Imagine my surprise when a little bird flew out!

On investigation I saw there was a nest in one of the pots on top of the plant! The pot was on the middle shelf at the back so well camouflaged. Seeing there were eggs in the nest I decided I needed to move as much as possible out of the area and leave Mum to mind her eggs.

I took a bit of time getting shelves free etc so by the time I got back to move the plants Mum was back - and was upset when I started moving the plants and flew off again. since the coast was now clear I quickly moved as many as I could without leaving the nest exposed. I can actually see the nest from inside the greenhouse and I watched all that evening but no sign of Mum.

This morning I took another peep - and she was back!!!! I dashed in to get the camera but when I moved a plant to get a better view she wasn't happy - so no photo of my mystery bird!

I did get a good look yesterday and she has a bright yellow beak and a distinctly speckled breast but that was all I could make out. My google searches have convinced me that she is a Starling. What is it with Starlings? Last year I had one determined to get down my chimney! I'm just hoping that they don't have this compulsion to keep coming back to the same nesting site! They have plenty of trees and shrubs to choose from after all!




My most surprising plant

27 May 2017 13:03:44

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I have often mentioned that the soil in my garden is heavy clay and totally alkaline. In a local garden centre I saw a Rhododendron which they claimed would be happy in this alien environment. I just had to give it a go!

It is Rhododendren Kokardia Inkarho and it has been bringing me great delight for a few years now. Although they did say it would be happy with my limey soil I did give it a bit of extra TLC - I planted it with a fair bit of Ericaceous compost and I do feed it with Rhododendron Feed but this is a small price to pay for such a lovely plant!

Another plant I have that is not so happy with my soil is my Magnolia Soulangeana which took a while to settle in but which now produces a good few flowers but I noticed this year that the leaves were a sickly shade of yellow when it had finished flowering so I gave it a top-dressing of Ericaceous compost and a liberal feed of the same Rhododendron Feed and within a week I can see the green starting to return to the leaves.

And finally how the Cortaderia fulvida is recovering from her move!!!!

Job well done

26 May 2017 00:36:49

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I have a terrible habit of planting things in the wrong place. 

When we visited Ait Aoibhinn a couple of years ago Nuala gave me a piece of her very delicate Pampas Grass which I earmarked for the Tropical Garden. In coastal Clare it is a dainty and feathery plant. In heavy Laois soil it isnt quite so delicate! Of course I had planted it far too close to the path so when visitors were expected it had to get a haircut which I wasn't too happy about - but since it had developed into a truly sturdy specimen I wasn't keen to try to move it.

Enter one HelpX Helper.

Matheus from Brazil has been helping out with various tasks the past couple of weeks so I thought we could have a go at moving this giant.

Step one - wrap up the so-and-so so it doesn't take our eye out or rip us to shreds.

Step two - sounds really easy - go round it first with the fork and then with the spade until it keels over. This involved two hours of hard labour in the remarkable 23 degrees today!

Step three - new location is a big improvement - it now shows to much better advantage is clear of the paths - at least for now!!!

That is if it survives being moved in a heatwave!!!!!

White and Purple

19 May 2017 01:01:41

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Been very lucky with the weather the past couple of days. The forecast was dismal but I took a chance and ended up with long productive days weeding and tidying only having to dash indoors for the occasional shower!

Took a few photos of things that caught my eye and was surprised to find that I seem to be a bit obsessed with white flowers at the moment.

The Purple is my Cerinthes. This year the flowers seem to be an even deeper purple than I remember and I observed several different types of bees taking full advantage - they dived in, gorged themselves and were almost drunk as they headed for the next flower!

Cerastium tomentosum 'Silberteppich' is doing its annual treat for me. In a south-facing spot it nearly explodes with the flowers!

The Irises in the last photo are a real surprise. I planted some Irises along the south borders at random about 3 years ago and only some of them flowered and they were all the deep blue ones. I'm delighted to see that many of the "blind" ones have decided to flower this year - and they appear to be all WHITE!!!

Great to be getting stuck in to the garden again. I may be working myself to a standstill but the satisfaction I am getting when I stand back and view another border "sorted" is the best reward.

Maytime Clematis

15 May 2017 00:28:18

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I actually managed to kill off a Clematis Montana Rubens last year having to move it while some building was going on but I am very happy with how all the Montana children are coming along! They range in colour from deep pink to white - the only one that is a bit of a disappointment is Clematis Monatana Rubens 'Marjorie' which isn't the lovely deep peach colour of the one I saw at Maryjoe's open day a few years ago. It is pretty insipid and the flowers are much smaller. I'll be giving it some extra TLC in case it is an environmental issue.

In the meantime I'm more than happy with the Clematis Walk and I think the Laburnum is going to really enhance that area.

The other star performer at the moment is the Wisteria which is making good efforts to spread along the Pergola.


Veggie time

13 May 2017 23:56:44

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Time was a bit limited today but I was determined to get the veggie bits sorted. Last year the strawberries came to a sad end when a blackbird manage to get inside my caging while I was away for the day and gorged herself on strawberries for the day so she wouldn't fit out the hole she came in!

This year's cage is a new design - lets see if it works! The sides are rigid but the squares are a bit big so I'm afraid we might get another cami-kazi blackbird having a go - so the net is loosely over the top - should mean I can actually get at the plants to harvest them!

I can't secure the net too tightly as at the moment as I want the bees to be able to polinate them!

That was last weeks task - completed one evening in total darkness :-)

I had bought pots of Coriander and Basil in the supermarket so I took them out of the pots and divided up the totally overcrowded seedlings into rows in the raised bed.

Having gone to the trouble of preparing the bed it was time to get brave and plant some seeds - so two kinds of lettuce, some Mange Tout and some French Beans were all planted. Meanwhile Puss was watching me with great interest. He obviously thought I was preparing a Luxury Loo for him! so chicken-wire had to be added - and a little cloches to protect the herbs until they acclimatise.

The last planting was some ordinary peas down in the Vegetable Garden - but this only reminded me of all the work I need to do in that area ..... rasberries gone native ..... thistles invading all paths ..... Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

I've put in a photo of how the redesigned Rock Garden is looking after all the work on it last year - Then you Elizabeth for all your help!

Small Space - Big success

13 May 2017 23:29:24

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My daughter and her husband have the tiniest yard you can imagine in the centre of Dublin.  It is probably about 6 feet by 8 feet in total and has a large manhole in the middle. Not a promising start for a garden then! Last year they both got very interested in making their tiny outside space a more attractive place and they filled the yard with shelves of plants and gained a lot of knowledge of what their plants might like in the challenging conditions of very little light!

When they travelled abroad for Christmas this year they saw and fell in love with the idea of a Living Wall.

So here it is!

First Result!

12 May 2017 00:19:00
First Result!

First Result!

The first of the hot border flowers has opened .....

I;m looking forward to a bit more of a zing as the season progresses!

Remodelling the Hot Border was quite a task but it will be interesting to see how much "zing" can be introduce. I like the idea of lots of the dark red foliage plants but they need the brighter colours to set them off!

Ferns uncovered

08 May 2017 15:33:07

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Having given up on any further work on the Sick Tree I consoled myself by clearing the Fernery. This is a rather grand name for an area where a few ferns struggle to survive amidst thugs such as Helebores and Japanese Anemones not to mention the variegated ivy and the Grape Hyacinths!

However when I ruthlessly thinned out the thugs I was delighted to find these pretty ferns hiding in the undergrowth - well, I supplse that is their preferred habitat!

1. Red Japanese Painted Fern

2. Green Japanese Painted Fern

3. Unknown fern

I never realised that the unfurling fronds could have this lovely down on them!

One very sick tree

07 May 2017 00:26:50

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I have Thujas lining both sides of my driveway and since the start of the year I've been very concerned about one in particular. They are planted about 7 years or so and were all doing well but one of them started to show signs of dying back down one side. I googled it as you would - and it came up with infestations of pests so I sprayed it with everything I could fine but to no avail. Then I thought fungus so I had a go with varios fungicides too but still no joy. I even dosed it for vine-weevil but it just kept getting worse.

Finally yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and do a proper excavation of the root on the damaged side to see if I could find a clue.

Three wheel-barrows full of rubble, cement and hardcore would appear to be at least part of the problem! There was a solid layer of assorted builders stuff a couple o inches below the surface! 

So the great cavern created when the rubble was removed has been replaced with a nice healthy mixture - equal parts of fresh soil, home-made compost and bought-in compost. The roots have been gently encouraged to take advantage of this new environment and now all I can do is wait! Either the tree will recover or the remaining live stem will also die. If that happens I'm already looking at alternatives .....

Very depressing that the only time I've been free to garden this week had to be "wasted" on such a soul-destroying task!!!!


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