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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal September 2017

Last Post 143 days 21 hours ago

3 favourites - at least for now!

29 September 2017 00:29:22

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Its so hard to pick three favourite plants or flowers. I love all my plants and each is a favourite for a different reason - so after much soul-searching I've come up with three that are a mainstay in my garden this year.....

The first one is the Native Bluebell. I am still removing any of the Spanish invaders I find and this year there were much fewer - but the native ones decided to march out o the hedgerow into my woodland area making me feel that I must be doing something right there! Once you have seen the native one beside the Spanish one it is easy to tell them apart! That's not to say that the Spanish ones aren't very pretty - but I am lucky enough to have some real native woodland near me and so I treasure these little plants - self-seeding is welcome for them!

The second one is the Montana clematis - there are three different ones in this picture and they are included because they started to make my Clematis Walk live up to its name! 

The third has to be Saxifrage Arendsii - don't know the variety of this one - it is a great pink colour fading to almost white. It loves my garden and has spread itself about in quite a promiscuous way but it is so beautiful in Spring and early summer when in flower and then the lovely moss for the rest of the year! What's not to like?

Boston Ivy for Jacinta

26 September 2017 23:58:45
Boston Ivy for Jacinta

Boston Ivy for Jacinta

This is the Boston Ivy I planted as ground cover a couple of years ago - looking good but you do need to keep an eye on it!

Hope this works!

26 September 2017 23:45:53

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Today I decided to tackle the ailing part of my Willow Hedge. First off I had to remove the dead bits - and there were quite a few of these! Since the rest of the hedge is growing at a phenomenal rate it was no problem to find suitable branches to re-make that part of the hedge. As I stripped out the dead bits I became aware that the extreme weight of the new growth this year on the top of the hedge was causing the whole hedge to sway in the strong breese of the day.

I had to decide what was best for the whole hedge so a combination of  using some of these new growths to strengthen the top of the hedge and cutting back the rest of the hedge. So I now have a veritable mountain of trimmings to shred or cut up for kindling!

But the hedge looks much better but I will have to make sure to water the new bits every day. This is not the usual time of year for planting this kiind of willow hedge but it is generally a good time for taking cuttings so on balance i felt it was better to take the chance of doing it at this time of year so I could strengthen the whole thing against our usual winter gales!

I may have to adopt a new strategy where this older hedge is concerned. The top growth is way beyond what the lower structure can support - some of the branches have put on over 3 metres in the single year and since many of the branches are also very thick and strong!

Only Time will tell if I have been over-optimistic! 

Two days sunshine

26 September 2017 00:28:57

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I know Ireland is renowned for its changeable weather and we seem to suffer  from some sort of collective amnesia when it comes to the weather. Two days of sunchine and we have compeletely forgotten that any other kind of weather exists!

And we are encouraged in this total "living in the moment" by the beauriful butterflies that swarm in our gardens as soon as the sun shines!

So here's to celebrating the sunshine however brief its visit to our county!

I think this is becoming a "Yellow Border"

24 September 2017 22:59:47

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I don't intentionally create borders with a colour theme - well, except for the Hot Border but this border in the front garden is definitely begging to be called the Yellow Border. At this time of year the Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' is looking its best and the Rudbekia are complementing it well. Earlier in the year the Kerria lights up the whole area and the Leucanthemum are a vivd white with a strong yellow centre.  As we go towards Autumn the leaves on the Hazel beside it will take on a lovely buttery yellow colour.

All in all, a Yellow Border whether I intended it or not! 

Of course there are a few bits that don't really go with the Yellow theme .... there's a few lavenders at the edge of the border ..... and a really pretty pink Salvia "Penny Lane" that I got on a visit to Shirley Beatty's garden in 2015 .... and a pink Corydalis that surprises me every year in the Spring-time...

But in September it is definitely Yellow!!!! 

Raspberry conundrum

22 September 2017 22:55:03

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I have a patch of raspberries that fruit wonderfully at this time of year. So fas as I can remember I only planted one raspberry cane and since it came without a label i had to wait till it fruited to see if it was a Summer fruitiing or an Autumn fruiting and since it fruited in August and September and even into October I have treated them as Autumn-fruiting so I cut them to the ground in early Spring. They have increased at a great rate and need to be kept under control or they would take over the world!

So what's the conundrum? Well, this clumb is now about 2 metres by a metre in area but if I was to draw a line through the middle I would have one half covered in fruits, but the other half extremely healthy but not a fruit in sight!

Now I have no recollection of getting a second plant but I am beginning to think that the non-fruiting section must actually be summer fruiting. This could explain the lack of fruit - the summer ones fruit on last year's growth!

Only one answer - I'll have to leave the non-fruiters alone this Spring and see if they fruit!

But in the meantime I'm revelling in the delicious raspberries until the frost finishes them off!

I was at the Ploughing

22 September 2017 22:32:09
I was at the Ploughing

I was at the Ploughing

I am a recent convert to the Ploughing Championship and I really enjoy this crazy festival that marks the end of Summer. I had always heard about the legendary mud and the essential wellies but up to this year I've only been there in good weather!

Well, I did manage to avoid the deluge on Wednesday and went on Thursday. The weather was lovely but Oh! That Mud! and the small lakes! and the indescribable slushy grass! I was sure I was going to end up on my a-hind in that horrible slush!

Other than that - I had a great time and everyone was in great spirits because the sun was shining!

Can't wait for next year!!!!

August Album 2017

20 September 2017 17:36:40
August Album 2017

August Album 2017

I haven't been very good at putting up albums this year - but what do you do on a wet miserable day too wet to garden? Yes, you look at your photos and put up an Album!

I've just been out taking some "After the Rain" photos of the roses in bloom here in September so there's another album going up shortly LOL

Hot Border

20 September 2017 02:00:01

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So apart from the stress of the replacing of my decking with a patio (almost complete thank goodness!) and the upset at the state of my Willow fence, i did actually take time to walk around the garden and I'm very happy with how the Hot Border has come into its own!

Beware of Weed-block!

19 September 2017 21:46:56

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Weed-block seems to be something which people  either love or hate! For me it was a great aid when the garden was first landscaped as I needed to have a way to keep some control of the areas waiting to be planted. The solution we came up with was weedblock everywhere covered with bark and then as each area was planted the weedblock was removed and the bark was gradually reduced.

But there was one area where the approach was a bit different.  When the Willow Fence was first installed way back in 2010 we took the easy way - we just punched through the weed-block to plant the willows and although the weed-block was removed from the rest of that area the piece along the willow fence was left in place and a path was installed to facilitate the annual cutting back of the willow.

This year I noticed that some of the willow failed to come into leaf and today I started a real investigation. To my horror I found that the weed-block was now streteched tightly aroung the expanding trunks of the willow and in some places this strangling of the willows had caused them to be severed at the roots.

So be warned - if you plant shrubs in holes cut in weedblock ensure that the weed-block is cut back to allow for growth in the shrub!

I reckon the best remedial action is needed. The weed-block has to be cut right back, then the soil around the roots has to be loosened and  then a mulch with the best compost I have. I have started this process and got nearly half of the fence done but it is hard work so hopefully I'll get the rest of it done in the next couple of days. I'll probably give it a liquid feed of the stuff coming off the Wormery which is producing very noticeable results elsewhere!

Next job will be to figute out how I can replace the ones that are definitely caput!

So learn by my mistakes! If you use weed-block keep an eye on anything planted through the weed-block! 

Today was an improvement

15 September 2017 23:42:17

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Today was the first day this week that we didn't have to leg it into the greenhouse to shelter from sudden downpours and the Patio project was able to progress a good bit. I actually managed to get a couple of hours in too - I studiously kept my back to the building and just focussed on what I was doing.

I find weeding quite therapeutic so to relieve my building-related stress I weeded the path through the Clematis Walk this evening and I'm delighted to have started on the path maintenance that has fallen by the wayside for ages.


Work has begun on remodelling my raised beds making use of the more sound bits of the decking timber.

Of course this is also maximum Blackberry and Raspberry season so I tried out the traditional method for producing Blackberry Jelly - since my family have complained about the seeds in the Jam!

Have to say the Jam is Yummy!!!!

Tempus Fugit

14 September 2017 23:07:26
Cotinus Grace

Cotinus Grace

No I haven't taken up latin - I just know the odd quotation and this one fits the bill for me tonight. 

I've been so preoccupied with the building project in the garden that I haven't even bothered to catch up on Journals for the past couple of weeks so this evening I remied that. I went back to the last journals I had read and systematically read every Journal so some of you may be surprised to get comments from me for journals your posted ages ago!

It was a real delight to follow all of you through the past couple of weeks - and since I haven't been doing much gardening lately my journals have been scarce too! I don't want to put up photos of the building site - well, not until it is no longer a building site and then I'll be able to do a "before" and "after" journal!

But in the meantime I did get a bit done on the Small Pond area. I realised this year that the Small Pond of the title is now so overgrown that most people are totally unaware of its existance! This brought me to the realisation of the truth of something Helen Dillon and Monty discussed. Why do I annoy myself trying to keep Hostas looking right when I don't like using pellets or other chemical weapons and all my eco-friendly efforts failed miserably so that all my hostas look like lace curtains? No more! Off with their heads! Just going to dig them alll up! So in between taking care of my builders I started on this new policy - anything that I no longer like, or that isn't performing as well as I hoped is on borrowed time! 

One thing that definitely will NOT be going is the beautiful Cotinus Grace! Just have to figure out how I can prune it back a bit but still encourage it to flower ..... 5 years and still waiting!

plant id anyone please?

14 September 2017 00:43:18

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Can't believe I haven't posted in over a week - and now I have the nerve to ask for a plant ID!

This little plant - I think it will eventually be a shrub - came home with me from Johnstown. It has a very clear label saying "Hazel" but that is all! Could the donor please identify (a) who they are and (b) What is the plant called?

The patio is coming along but the place is still pretty much a building site but at least we are on the home stretch!

In between doing errends for the builders, catering fro them and the general state of the place I haven't been feeling very garden focussed but first Monty Don and then our local Garden Club leader advised that this is the right time to take slips or cuttings. So there was nothing for it but to clamber over the debris and escape into the greenhouse where all my equipment for taking cuttings are kept.

So all the salvias I have now have backup cuttings - and so Jack Frost can do his worst and I should still have these pretty plants! And someone asked me for a piece of my Rosemary - so it is among the cuttings too.

Following the advice of the Gurus the cutting are residing under the staging to keep them from getting overheated! So here goes !!!!

Progress ...

05 September 2017 22:32:13
Toad Lily

Toad Lily

...is often one step forward, two steps back!

The Patio project is a real example of that. Some days the work seems to be proceeding at a snails pace, even though its all hands on deck and everyone is working really hard despite rain and storm!

Each day brings its own problems to solve whether it is how steps are going to be constructed or more recently the paving slabs that arrived were not what I expected!

But problems are made to be solved and the replacement slabs should arrive in a day or so ..... so my stress levels have gone way down today!

There is an incredible amount of stuff being moved in wheelbarrows, and the cement mixer is busy too!

I brought home a sample of the new slabs and we were testing it out just outside the back door and poor Puss came along and sat on it, obviously deciding that this is his new home!!! I put his food on it and he was very happy with that small bit of security in a very uncertain world!

My active participation in the project mainly consists of long discussions with the people doing the real work, and removing plants out of the way of the project! I had to lift a lovely Michaelmas Daisy just coming into flower - It has divided itself into 5 plants in the process but I'm not optimistic that they will survive the trauma!

I also did a small bit of levelling out a new path. Apart from that, the Hanging Basket and the pots I planted up for the Open Day continue to demand daily watering but they do bring a bit of cheer to me as I wade through the building site! 

And this delightful litte flower in the photo "Toad Lily"  came out today just to remind me that the GARDEN is what its all about LOL

Thanks to my daughter Ciara who brought it to me from Holland last year!

Things have to get worse before they get better

03 September 2017 15:10:09

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Well, today I'm having a moan so you may want to stop reading now!

I mentioned that my decking outside the house needed replacement and we are in the throes of the project at the moment. Building projects go through lots of phases before the final result is created and that is very true of this one.

When the decking was removed it was very obvious that it was time to do this replacement. Some of the supports were also starting to rot. I have a HelpX Steve working with me on this project and he did a trojan job removing it. It took over a week - partly because it is a big area but also because many of the screws had rusted into the timbers so we now have piles of timbers all round the place waiting for disposal or reuse.

The replacement will be a patio which I hope will be more permanent. So when the decking was removed we called in reinforcements and a digger was employed to dig foundations for the retaining wall for the patio. 

The wall is done and that's what has me in poor humour today! You know how it is, in the middle of a project walls seem to dominate and I feel that Mr Trump would envy this one!!! 

When I'm being rational I know it will only protrude a small bit above the finished patio, but I'm not feeling particularly rational today!

I have now had almost two weeks of clambering in and out of my back door and trudging over rubble and stuff to get to the garden. That's now good for anyone's humour! And it will be possibly two more weeks before normality is restored!

My poor cat is totally traumatised as his little house has been moved round the place to avoid being submerged in crushed stone and he also took exception to the Cement Mixer and various other trucks that have invaded his space! 

No photos of the work in progress - its far too depressing!


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