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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal June 2009

Last Post 3121 days 18 hours ago

Tempus Fugit

30 June 2009 18:48:07
Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit

So, today is the last day of June but what a bumper month it was for the garden!

Did a bit of planting and weeding today.

The big thing though was re-finding a sundial I had placed on the hill some years ago. It had become completely covered over with persicaria. I cut the persicaria away but need to cut a bit more away.

The sundial says 'tempus fugit', which is 'time flies' in Latin. And it seems to have done since I placed the sundial up there. It seems that my perception of the centre point, as seen from the kitchen, has not changed in the last while because I placed the Easter Island heads in roughly the same position as the sundial although the sundial was no longer visible at that stage.

More garden photos in the June album.

Hoping to get to the Dillon garden in Dublin tomorrow. However, this is my third year trying to get there so I'll believe it only when I'm actually there : )

Voodoo Lily

29 June 2009 16:25:31
Dracunculus Vulgaris

Dracunculus Vulgaris

And the voodoo lily has also flowered.

This is a great plant but it doesn't flower for long and the wind usually breaks it in the end. I've had these ones for about five years but only got one flower this year.

This is a great favourite with the teenagers becasue of its supposed smell of rotting flesh. I don't get any smell from it myself.

Hypericum Hedge

29 June 2009 16:21:45
Hypericum Hidcote

Hypericum Hidcote

The Hypericum hidcote hedge along one side of my garden has come into flower.

It gives a great sense of gaiety to the place with its bright colour as a backdrop to everything.


28 June 2009 18:10:36
musical chairs

musical chairs

We were extremely lucky with the weather. The rain held off all the way through the party (just one or two drops). We had Joshua's birthday party completely outside, eating and playing games on the grass.

Just after everyone had left and the table was cleared and we were about to move the table back from the garden to the greenhouse - did it finally rain.

Definitely lucky!

Water Hyacinth

28 June 2009 18:05:29
eichhornia crassipes

eichhornia crassipes


For Jacinta.

Springmount Garden Festival

27 June 2009 22:45:22


I had such a wonderful day at the Springmount Garden Festival today. I highly recommend anyone in the Wexford area to go tomorrow.

I got down there early as the first talk I wanted to attend was at 10am. The whole garden centre was transformed with two large marquees, masses of large shrubs for decoration and loads of stalls. The polytunnels had been set up as talk areas with chairs and podium. In fact, it was very well organised and, despite the large numbers of people, there were lots of staff on the ground  to ask you if you needed help or to politely suggest that you sit in the nice shaded seating area to eat your food.

I attended six talks in total by a variety of speakers. Dermot O'Neil did various talks but I particularly enjoyed Carmel Duignan, from the Shankill garden, and of course our own France McDonald of the Bay Garden and Paul Doyle.

Best of all was the free Design Desks, where you could bring your design, planting or landscaping issues for consideration by an expert. I went along to ask advice about re-planting my ex Rose Garden and think I now have the solution. What a wonderful service to get for free!

I was happy to bump into Joybells finally, over at the talk on Coastal Planting, and we exchanged a quick few words before rushing off to the next talks. Only when I came back did I see that Cooper was also there but didn't see her at all.

Of course there was booty. My list consists of Nepeta 'six hills giant', Anthemis cupaniana, Ligularia przewalskii, Nemesia 'confetti' (fabulous scent), 2 Convolvulis sabatius and a Polygala myrtifolia (Carmel Duignan's recommendation - I'll overwinter it in the greenhouse).

So, I'll go to bed tired but happy tonight, fortified for my kids' birthday party int he garden tomorrow, although it looks like rain : (


27 June 2009 22:27:48
stone circle

stone circle

Today the plan was to go to the Springmount Garden Festival. However, when I announced to hubbie that there were six talks I wanted to sit in on, he suddenly wasn't so keen anymore. The result was that he stayed home.

But what a wonderful surprise I had when I came home because the stone circle is all-but-finished.

Water Hyacinth

26 June 2009 17:45:30
Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth

It rained last night and today. That's typical as I spent a good while watering yesterday. However, the garden could well use it so I'm not complaining. The garden is such a joy at the moment. All the time I spy something new that's about to flower. And then there's the joy of the harvest - yesterday we had 7 courgettes and 12 strawberries for dinner.

Today was the last day at school and Joshua gave his teacher a Sweet Pepper plant as a parting present. The teacher's well interested in gardening so I think she should have been pleased.

I didn't do much today as I had to go shopping for Joshua's birthday party on Sunday - 15 kids in total. But when I was out I did drop into the Arboretum in Carlow to pick up a water plant for my new pond.

I have an oxygenator in there already so I needed something to provide the surface cover. I decided to try something different from water lilies so went for a water hyacinth (eichhornia crassipes). Of course it's not hardy but I could try overwintering it in the greenhouse and, if that isn't successful, well it means I've wasted the princely sum of euro3.99.

So, home again, I had to do something about the fact that my new pond wasn't straight. Since it's so tiny, it was easy enough to just take it out and excavate a bit more earth, making use of the spirit level this time. That's the joy of small ponds - it's so easy to fix any problem. But I reckon that hubbie's a bit handier with the old spirit level than I am because it's still not quite right. I decided it was good enough for the minute and put the water back in. In gardening I have two standards - perfect and good enough. I usually aspire to the first but settle for the second.

I planted the two beautiful candelabra primulas that Alison recently brought me, right beside the pond and poured in the water hyacinth. The water hyacinth floats so doesn't need to be planted in a basket. It has great fat buds on it so I'm hoping for flowers soon. I also have some nicotiana planted next to the pond so hopefully it will look nice this year.

By the way, anyone going to the Springmount Garden Festival in Gorey tomorrow? I'm looking forward to a great day.


25 June 2009 19:35:30
Phyllostachys Aur. Aureocaulis 'Golden Crookstem'

Phyllostachys Aur. Aureocaulis 'Golden Crookstem'

When weeding I was surprised to notice a vertical stick poking up on one of my hills in the oddest manner.

I went over to investigate and discovered that my bamboo, having behaved and stayed in the one place for many years, has decided to migrate.

Joshua is in the photo, holding the new bamboo, and you can see the mother clump to the right. And me going to all the trouble of planting persicaria on this hill last autumn when now maybe the bamboo is going to claim it!

Stone Circle

25 June 2009 19:27:10
Stone Circle

Stone Circle


My husband laid more of the stone circle today.

Not too long and we'll be there.

Unfortunately one of the paving pieces cracked - never happens on the Make-Over programs!


24 June 2009 19:34:13
Ganesh & the buxus

Ganesh & the buxus

I've had a mad and wonderful idea, inspired by a new book on topiary that I recently bought.

I have a 3ft box bush in a pot, which I bought at a closing down sale a while ago.

I would really like to clip it into the shape of Ganesh, the Indian elephant god.

I might be just mad enough to try it!

Stone Circle

24 June 2009 19:27:59
Stone Circle

Stone Circle

Got busy on the stone circle area today.

We moved the sand to the circle area - Hubbie shovelled and I wheeled the barrow.

Then I raked and levelled it. We were a bit short so went and bought two additional bags of sand. We then firmed the sand by placing a plank on the area and walking on the plank, to distribute the weight more evenly than you might do by simply stamping on the sand directly. It took a while, moving the plank each time, to eventually cover the whole area. There was a bit more sand adjusting, dictated by the spirit level.

Then we worked out a centre point to the circle, to start laying from there. Hubbie started to lay the pieces, tapping them down with the hammer, on top of a piece of wood, and measuring with the spirit level. This latter is slow and hard going as any dips or heaps in the sand are now obvious and have to be rectified. Despite this area being measured with spirit level at each step, there is still ongoing adjustment : (

So, this job will take a few days, I reckon. Pictures of these steps are in the 'new borders' album for anyone interested.


23 June 2009 21:12:43


Took a relaxing walk in the garden with my son, Joshua, today.

He was in great form and a real joy to be with.

Usually he won't pose for my photos but he obliged today.

Dance, Ballerina, Dance

23 June 2009 20:58:28
Dance, Ballerina, Dance

Dance, Ballerina, Dance

One of the irises I bought last year in France at the Jardins de Brocéliande is in flower.

The Jardins de Brocéliande houses the French national iris collection. As the iris (fleur de lys) is the national flower, I was pleased to visit the collection last year. But it was in summer so there were no irises in flower. I made sure, however, to buy several and now have them in my garden. It is exciting to see the first flower.

Blue Tomatoes

23 June 2009 20:52:44
Blue Tomatoes

Blue Tomatoes

Strangely, today, most of my tomatoes were back to normal!?!

Only one seems to retain the blue hue. 

So, by popular demand, I give you blue tomatoes!

Sunflower Escape

22 June 2009 18:14:15
Sunflower Escape

Sunflower Escape

I took an easy day today. It was very hot. I hosed down the greenhouse but it seems that the plants can't take it either because one of the giant sunflowers is trying to climb out through the roof : )

The poor sunflowers are so tall that their necks are bent and contorted as they scramble along the greenhouse roof looking for the way up. 

The job of carrying plants outdoors daily, for hardening, is now a doddle. Nearly everything is planted so very few need this treatment. Put down netting on the strawberries and made a rhubarb pie from the garden crop.

Oh, nearly forgot, some of the leaves on my tomatoes have gone blue!!! Anyone had that before?

Bay Garden, Camolin

21 June 2009 21:19:07
Bay Garden, Camolin

Bay Garden, Camolin

The morning was spent planting out. I finished planting up the border around where the stone circle will go so, in the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to a visit to the Bay Garden in Camolin.

I visit the Bay Garden every year and it never disappoints. It has so many different sections and different planting ideas that I always come away excited. At this time of year the primulas feature strongly but this year I noticed the most effective use of aeonium zwartkop in several places.

I brought two of my sons. They seemed to enjoy themselves, as you can see from the photos. Afterwards they had to be treated to tea and home made biscuits as this was the agreed pay-off for their company. Everyone has their price!

I, of course, had to treat myself to an aeonium zwartkop and I am delighted with this new purchase. I was also really excited by some of the red/black border planting but had difficulty in naming all the plants. In this picture, it looks like ricinus, astrantia, heuchera flowers and maybe wallflowers?? Maybe someone else would like to offer their opinion?

By the time I got home I was invigorated so did some more planting out. Amazingly, I'm finally finding homes for all this year's seedlings.


20 June 2009 18:15:11


I was pleased to welcome Drumanagh and her family to my garden today.

Despite a little wind, we had good weather for it. The kids seems to enjoy the trampoline and the bell.

It was great yet strange to finally meet in person someone who I've known for such a long time on garden.ie. Alison is one of the few gardeners (and we all know who we are) whose interest is year round - visiting the site (and thinking about gardening) right throughout the winter.

I was somewhat embarrassed, but of course delighted, with the load of plants Alison brought me, among which the two fabulous primulas she recently featured in her journal. I will enjoy finding a special place for them, along with the other gems Alison bestowed.

Wonders will never cease

19 June 2009 21:49:39
Boule de Neige

Boule de Neige

I bought a number of old roses some time ago.

Some of them never did very well for me, one of which was Boule de Neige.

I had high hopes for it but the rose dwindled. Each spring yet another of its main stems was dead and had to be pruned off. Soon I was left with two  spindly stems, covered in aphids and blackspot and not a flower in sight. I'd never seen the famous Boule de Neige. In my experience that is the point when you need to cut your losses and discard the rose. For some reason I did not.

So, you can imagine, what a surprise it is this year to see two beautiful flowers and three new buds on this forgotten rose. The scent is quite delicate but sweet. I can't help but hope that this beauty will now come on for me and deign to grow into a fabulous bush.


19 June 2009 20:02:20



Nearly missed these cute little Spraxis in flower.

Mullingar Get Together

18 June 2009 20:21:43

Aphid Attack

18 June 2009 20:09:33
Sweet Pepper

Sweet Pepper

I declared war on aphids today. Well, I at least made a declaration of enmity.

I bought more aphid spray - Bug Clear, to be precise. It is for use on food crops. There is another brand but it is much more dodgy - you need to leave a certain time lapse before re-spraying and you can only apply a certain number of times to the same food crop. I don't really have organic principals but I have four children and I'd like to keep it that way...

So, I sprayed, using Bug Clear, in the greenhouse. I then took all the potted veg outside and let them sit a few hours and then hosed them over to remove dead or sickly or live aphids. I did the courgettes twice right up close and personal. I cleaned the staging surface with soap before putting the pots back and gave the floor a hard sweep. I also sprayed in the greenhouse border. Now, this is very tricky because I can't get everywhere as it is so packed with leaves at this stage. But I did the best I could, although it will not be enough.

On a positive note, the Sweet Peppers are forming and you can see the biggest one in the photo. I even have my first Cape Gooseberry forming so that is also exciting. The Aubergines are grand bushy plants but no sign of flowers yet. Had courgettes for dinner again - yum, yum.

First Strawberry

18 June 2009 19:53:21
First Strawberry

First Strawberry

There was much excitement today.

A scuffle even broke out.

You've guessed it - first strawberry of the season.

Giant Alliums

17 June 2009 19:06:49
Giant Alliums

Giant Alliums

It lashed rain here today. It was a good excuse for a day off. Besides, the muscles in my hands were acting funny since I clipped the ditch with the shears. The child-safety on the slug pellets defeated me last night, because of the muscle problem, and I had to get my teenager to open it. I'm fine now though. Hubbie says you need to know how to hold the shears properly.

My giant alliums have finally deigned to flower. Are they always so late, I wonder? The ordinary ones have come and gone by now. You can see some white alliums still in flower in the photo. Most of the giant ones were bent in the wind but it looks like they're going to flower anyway on their bent-double stems!

Another thing that's bugging me is why my delphiniums are so disappointing. I grew them from seed and the flowers are very insignificant - nothing like the fabulous blooms featured in the latest Irish Garden. You can see one of mine in flower in my June 09 album - hardly worth the bother. I did buy two Delphinium 'camelliard' this year and they look gorgeous in the photo so I just hope they turn out like the picture.

I added plenty of new pictures today to my albums.

The Ditch

16 June 2009 20:41:22
After the ditch was clipped

After the ditch was clipped

The big thing I did today was to clip the grass on the ditch. We have a 2ft ditch running down one side of the garden.

Yesterday I took what-I-thought-was a lovely photo of my Crambe maritima and some peonies in flower. Only when I uploaded the photo did I notice all the buttercups and long grass on the ditch behind the bed. It's funny how stuff becomes like wallpaper and you don't notice it after a while.

Anyway, today I started to clip the ditch. I hadn't done very much when I decided to fetch the strimmer. It was broken. So hubbie kindly finished the job. You can see the before and after photos in my June 09 album, although the photos only show a small segment of the ditch.

We bought the mortar sand for the stone circle area this morning. Thanks once again to all the very helpful advice I got on this. I could have gotten double the amount of unbagged sand for the same price but decided I really didn't need a large pile of unusued sand decorating the garden so went for the more expensive bagged sand. That's the only progress there today.

Type of Sand??

15 June 2009 21:37:10
Type of Sand??

Type of Sand??

I have a little dilemma.

We hired a compressor today and compressed the area for the stone circle. It was already level, thanks to the efforts of my teenage son.

My daughter (Miss Leaving Cert) then worked out how much sand I need and the hubbie phoned various sand suppliers.  Now that's how to get things done!

The problem is that my books say I need sharp sand. Apparently there are two types in Ireland - plastering or mortar sand. Explanation as to what the sand was to be used for, received no help.

Can anyone advise as to whether we should use mortar or plastering sand for under a stone, paved circle?

Waiting for Planting

15 June 2009 19:26:40
rose & anemone

rose & anemone

Today I noticed a lot of flower behind the kitchen door, where plants sit, waiting to be planted.

There are three bare root roses, which I potted up in February and some Anemone bulbs from the same period.

I felt guilty looking at them in full flower today and still no home for them. 

First Peony

15 June 2009 19:16:45
peony & crambe maritima

peony & crambe maritima

Doing a spot of weeding today, I noticed the first peony is in flower. Isn't it lovely?

One of my tree peonies has also flowered for the first time this year but it is a bit disappointing. That's in the background of this photo - the pale pink, single flower. Close up picture of it in my June 09 album.


Turning a Corner

14 June 2009 21:36:22
bell on pergola

bell on pergola

Oh, dear. Just lost a really long journal entry and don't think I have the heart to re-do it.

I was just saying how I feel that my garden has turned a metaphorical corner over the last two days.

I put down the bark mulch on the 'rose' beds' and was then delighted to see I had lots left. I put it on various borders and it has really improved the cut of the place. I am now debating which one of two borders to put the remaining mulch on.

I have done a lot of planting out and even sunk my second pond today. When I say pond though, please don't compare this to Jacinta's beauty. My second pond is literally a basin. I was inspired by my friend's garden in Germany with lots of tiny ponds. They really attract frogs apparently and, if you'll excuse the pun, she said her garden is fairly hopping with them in the summer.

Mostly what I did today, however, was to tweak! I used my son's skateboard (don't tell him) to move around heavy ceramic pots. I did a lot of placing objects, standing back and then moving them. I haven't had a chance to do that this year and it makes all the difference. The bell in the photo, for example, was bought in France last summer and only now have we put it up!

Oh and hubbie planted out the pumpkins up in the veg area. Peas, beans, lettuce, rocket, Jerusalem artichokes, Swiss chard, cabbage, Pak Choi, strawberries and cucumber are fairly zooming up up there. And hubbie is looking very smug indeed.

Oh and before I forget, encouraged by the news that the Mullingar get-together is going ahead, I took a tour of my garden, collecting various seedlings. They're small now but they should bulk up in pots between now and mid July, providing me with plenty of swaps.

So, that's what I've been up to in the last two days. New photos in the June 09, New Borders and Giant Mums albums.


12 June 2009 18:29:30


I did a spot of weeding today.

My lavender and sambucus are almost flowering. It's such a thrill to anticipate.

The sambucus is in the foreground of the photo - Black Lace, I think. The lavender is all around the tree - Munstead, I believe.

Head Gardener's Demesne

12 June 2009 11:22:35
Liquidambar Worplesdon

Liquidambar Worplesdon

Yesterday morning I was delighted to pay a visit to Head Gardener's domain. Bill had kindly invited myself and Cooper for the grand tour.

We had a lovely morning, strolling leisurely around the garden and hearing about all the plants and trees. Bill's knowledge of Latin plant names is quite astounding and, despite Linda's several attempts to trip him up, Bill did not fail to disappointing, magicking up the required Latin name to our joint amazement.

The backbone of Bill's garden is his trees - sturdy, healthy looking specimens. The vegetable area, complete with Monty Don style fruit cage, is already producing strawberries and his kids' triple raised beds are in immaculate condition. In the greenhouse, I was disgruntled to note how Bill's Agapanthus-from-seed was far more advanced than mine. Tomatoes were looking fine and bushy too. 

We had a good mooch around Bill's shade garden, marvelling over his tree ferns and discovering various unknown perennials. But the highlight for me was the large planted area around Head Gardener's Deck. Although not yet mature, the advantage of looking up at these plants, gives the illusion of maturity. And the sun, hitting the back drop of Stipa Gigantica must be lovely when enjoying the seating area.

So, after two short hours had lapsed, it was time to head home and back to work. 

But as the majority of the gardening day was already gone, I just did some planting, notable planting up the Liquidambar tree, in the picture, which is to remember my mother.

New Home

10 June 2009 19:22:02
New Home

New Home

The gargoyle in Rapunzel's Forest had to come out.

I found a new home for him behind a Buxus Hedge. He looks happier here.

I adore gargoyles and have two stone ones. I think there's something really attractive about having soft, pretty planting juxtaposed with the gargoyles ugliness. Actually I don't think they're ugly - just characterful.

Mind you, I haven't found the ideal place for either of my two gargoyles but I'm working on it... Isn't that the joy of gardening?

Rapunzel's Forest

10 June 2009 19:17:39
Rapunzel's Forest

Rapunzel's Forest

I've put down plastic on the majority of Rapunzel's Forest.

I hand weeded around the remaining shrubs and trees.

Still a bit to do but I'm getting there.

Plastic a go go

10 June 2009 19:15:27
Plastic a go go

Plastic a go go


I've put plastic on the whole of the newly dug section. This means I can leave it until next yeat when I will have the plants and energy to plant it up.

My husband says it looks beautiful.

It looks like it's under control - and that's the biggie!

Actually spider just hit the nail on the head - it's a runway for UFO landings!


09 June 2009 21:18:41
Rose Double Delight & Chives

Rose Double Delight & Chives

What a beautiful day it was - in Wexford at least. Had to take off my cardigan when weeding. I do hope that good weather is back.

I think Rita's magic worked for me yesterday because everything seemed to go much better. Even spraying for aphids in the greenhouse didn't seem so bad. I got a good bit of weeding done and even went around with the old paintbrush, dipped in Gallup, to get the scutch grass, bindweed etc.

I just hope I didn't dab weed which I've moaned about before (still don't know its name). I painted it before but I must have missed a few strands so hopefully I got them today. If I loose a plant, it will be small price to pay for eradication of these persistent weeds - if I manage to eradicate it...

I now also have sufficient plastic membrane to put down over the newly dug area, where I am dividing the garden in two and creating an area for my mother. It is a relief to have the membrane and there are no weeds popping up as yet so hopefully I will get the membrane down tomorrow. Some more photos of this area in my "new borders" album.

Crash & Burn

08 June 2009 17:06:54
Greenhouse Border

Greenhouse Border

The gardening day started off badly.

I put all the bark mulch I had on my 'rose garden' and then realised I didn't have nearly enough to complete the job.

I moved on to Rapunzel's Forest and started removing dug weeds (the digger had been let loose on it recently) and then levelling the whole area. I know of course that the weed problem has not been solved in Rapunzel's Forest so I will need to spray or cover it or both. The thought was very depressing.

I then looked over at the large newly dug bed, which will hold my Liquidambar. I had not gotten around to raking it. I noted that the 'long border' behind it is in need of weeding again. I then thought of other unweeded beds and jobs waiting to be done. These thoughts were utterly depressing.

The wheelbarrow fell over for the second time, spilling weeds over the lawn. I stormed inside in protest and found... aphids on one of the plants in the kitchen!!!

It took my teenage son to jolt me back to reality. He commented that the aphids were only trying to live. It almost raised a smile. I then realised what was wrong with me. I'd gone marching out into the garden and embarked on hard physical work without any breakfast in me.

I had breakfast, had several cups of tea and then some biscuits.

I got the husband to phone and order a lorry load of bark mulch. I then went out and raked the new border over. The bark mulch arrived and will go down tomorrow, hopefully, so then I should be getting back on track. Must remember not to do that again.


07 June 2009 19:21:22



The chiminea, that I recently got my husband to put in the border, has fallen over.

It broke several alliums and part of a large hosta. I don't think it can have fallen as a result of the wind as it is a very heavy thing. It must have just been placed badly.

I guess worse things happen at sea. But probably not to a hosta!


07 June 2009 18:53:00
Costoluto Genovese

Costoluto Genovese

I did a spot of potting on in the greenhouse this afternoon.

I noticed flowers on my edible physalis (cape gooseberry) and sweet peppers. One sweet pepper plant has even set a small fruit.

The Beef Tomatoes are the first to set fruit. That's them in the photo. Can't wait to get my teeth into that! Did a bit of spraying the tomato flowers with a mist of water to assist in fertilisation. Still manually fertilising courgettes on a daily basis.

Can't seem to get rid of the greenfly. They love the courgette flowers and it is very hard to spray all around them without breaking something. I've sprayed three times now and was disgusted today to find a greenfly on my aubergine plants, on the other side of the greenhouse.

There is obviously something about my personality that attracts greenfly. They are the bane of my gardening life! They are even on my Rosa Rugosa this year and I thought the extra cold winter would have helped to knock them for six!

Tombrick Garden

07 June 2009 15:55:18
Tombrick Garden

Tombrick Garden

I made it to Walter Kelly's garden in Tombrick today. This is just around the corner from me so I really had no excuse for not getting there sooner.

It is lovely. What a dense planting - the number of plants in Walter's garden is phenomenal. He told me that, because of the denseness of planting he only has to spend an hour a week weeding. I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Highlights for the kids were the ornamental foul at the beautiful duck pond. Also when Sammy touched an electric fence and the shock passed through him into his brother and father as they were all holding hands. They thought this was hilarious.

Highlight for me, after visiting the garden and getting advice from Walter, was a few purchases - a large Cunningham White Rhododendron, Catalpa Tree, Viburnum Snowball, Libertia, Diacentra Alba & Red Salvia. All very reasonably priced.


06 June 2009 21:40:09


Looks like the weather is back.

Didn't do any gardening today.

Poor peonies & lupins.

Run Around

05 June 2009 19:22:58
Four Vegetable Beds

Four Vegetable Beds

What a run around day!

Spent the morning excavating more earth from the area where the stone circle will go. I knew the area was on a slope but the amount of earth coming out from one side (to make it level) is unreal. My son, Zak, did the final honours and raked it all even, using spirit level. I think we're there now. The next step is to rent some kind of compressor.

I suddenly realised that the Wexford Town Pattern is on Sunday and it is going to rain tomorrow so that means I needed to go down to tend my relatives' graves today. I was not in the mood. It went okay though and I got done quite quickly.

Back at home my husband has gone mad planting veg - we now have 8 veg beds. He sowed more Swiss chard and rocket today and rigged up some CD's to scare the birds - they look kind of pretty. Pumpkins, corn (thanks for the recommendation, Michelle, although I only have 5 plants) and the cucumber plant (form Linda) are being hardened for planting out.

Fell asleep watching Gardners' World.


04 June 2009 18:45:06
rose garden facing west

rose garden facing west

It is said that in life the only real mistakes are ones we don't learn from. I am quite certain that this is also true of gardening.

The time has come for me to admit defeat regarding my rose garden. 

As you can see from the photo, which shows half the rose garden, I created quite a formal area and planted it pretty exclusively with hybrid tea roses. It took a lot of weeding so last year I put plastic membrane down to eliminate the constant weeding problem. However, blackspot and aphids were rife and an overzealous pruning one spring only served to exacerbate the situation. So, the time has come to throw in the towel on monoculture and to think of something else to plant in this area.

Next year I intend to make a brick edging to this area to more clearly define the line between it and grass but in the meantime I need to decide on a new planting. 

I would like to keep the plastic membrane but I will cover it in bark chip. Therefore I need a planting plan that will suit that. Ideally I would like more height in this area - maybe tall grasses, stipa gigantica or angels' fishing rods - something that is tall and billowy and may even form an informal arch over the paths.

Photos of the area from different angles can be found in my "rose garden make-over" album. 

I do hope some of you will help with suggestions - I got great ones last time I presented a problem area on this site. The problem is that often I get quite tunnel visioned with the plants I know but there are so many of you with your own gardening experiences that you could surely help with new ideas.

Many thanks.

The Joys

03 June 2009 18:25:34
my favourite rose

my favourite rose

Another glorious day. We could all get used to this! Isn't it fabulous?

My youngest two, who have the week off school, have gone ferral and are running around the garden all day wearing only t-shirts and factor 30.

Caught up on a few jobs - spot of weeding, levelling of circular area to be paved, husband cut the grass. 

I found greenfly on my greenhouse courgettes while I was investigating hand pollination. It wasn't there yesterday. We've bought a spray now so I'll deal with it this evening when it's cooler. Some of the sunflowers we planted in the greenhouse border are touching the roof already!

I noticed that my favourite rose bush is in flower. It's full of buds and the scent is amazing. The only draw back is that it is not repeat flowering. But it's so worth it. Every time I begin to think that roses are too much trouble, I remember this rose and am forced to repent.

My Daughter's Bed

03 June 2009 00:54:07
Ishtar's Bed

Ishtar's Bed

Despite the fact that she starts the Leaving Cert tomorrow, my daughter planted up her flower bed today. She did it in her study breaks.

She grew the flowers from seed herself this spring but the bed was dug with the digger.

As you can see, she had her own little helper, younger brother Joshua, to assist with planting.


03 June 2009 00:50:39


I discovered, to my delight that I actually have enough plants to plant up the bed around the stone circle.

I planted up most of that today.

Vegetables - advice please!

03 June 2009 00:48:31


My husband planted up more sugar snap peas and mustard greens. The Choi Pak he planted just recently has started to sprout (thank you, Lorraine).

He dug another two vegetable beds (not in the photo) with the digger, That makes eight although the final two don't yet have wood to raise them.

I wonder can anone advise on a problem we have encountered with the greenhouse courgettes. Some of the small fruits are rotten at one end. No other sign of disease. I wonder has it to do with not removing the spent flowers quickly enough so they start to rot and that affects the adjacent fruit! Or is it overwatering?


01 June 2009 00:12:39
Taken by Josh

Taken by Josh

Enjoyed the sunshine today with my kids.

Isn't it fabulous?

I've started a new album - June 2009.


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