Last Post 1335 days 20 hours ago
26 September 2009 00:34:12
Persicaria going red
And my Persicaria is taking on its autumn hues.This photo is for anyone who was asking about it.
It is turning red although there's still quite a bit of pink visible. You can compare the photo of the Persicaria at the beginnig of the "September 09" album to this one, at the end.
This is probably my last journal for a week. Happy Gardening.
26 September 2009 00:30:11
Just in case anyone wants to see what this plant looks like!
You'd never guess, would you?
24 September 2009 19:48:42
I have treated myself.
I can only blame it on parcel envy - hearing of everyone getting their bulbs and me with none on order : (
I've gone for a rare plant called Amorphophallus konjac. It is a brother to the giant Titan lily that flowered in Kew Gardens a while ago. My plant is from a 5cm tuber but, as 6cm up is flowering size, I will have a while to wait to see this giant Voodoo Lily.
The plant originates in Borneo and the flower is exotic and monsterous. The smell is supposed to be pretty bad too, another indication of its exoticism. I have also ordered a Colocasia 'Ruffles' (giant elephant ears) and Hedychium 'Tahitian Flame' (ginger lily).
My order was shipped from the nursery in Norwich yesterday afternoon and, according to the tracking info, has been in Birmingham since late last night. Come to Mammy, my beauty!
24 September 2009 15:15:37
If anyone is interested and can collect, I have a 5ft Philadelphus in a plastic bag that is looking for a good home.
23 September 2009 23:25:55
Dahlia Pink Fascination
It's sometimes easy to miss the beauty in the garden when you're busy rushing around.
Somehow, at this time of year, flowers are more precious. There are more gaps and a generally "tired" look but that only makes the available colour more previous.
23 September 2009 18:02:04
Today I got off to a very reluctant start.
I hung around on the computer for ages, wishing for rain. It didn't come so out I went to the garden.
I didn't have a lot of heavy work to do today but I wasn't looking forward to it all the same. The first thing to do was to rake the "grass" area even. I refer to it as "grass" but there is no visible grass on it any more after all the excavation work.
The next task was to mark out the border, which I call "Rapunzel's Forest" with the hose. It had to be marked out because it's impossible to see where it ends and the "grass" begins. I took the opportunity to reshape it. After that was done I laid plastic membrane down on the border to keep weeds off until I plant it next year.
I'll have quite a bit of planting to do next year. This is the second large border, current covered in plastic and vacant. I'd better get cracking growing plants from seed in spring otherwise it will cost me a fortune. Lucky I have the greenhouse : )
In the end I ran out of pegs so packed up and brought everything back to the shed. Only then did I find loads of pegs fallen over the floor of the shed but I didn't take them and go back to the task. Instead I went upstairs and fell asleep on the bed. I feel destroyed at the minute and aching all over.
22 September 2009 17:48:21
Well, it was a slow start to the day but we got all the large shrubs, except one, replanted in the end.
Shrubs replanted today were : Hydrangea, Rhododendron, Cherry Blossom tree, Spirea and another unknown shrub.
Each shrub is supported by two stakes - one on either side - and lashed to the stakes by rope. It hardly seemed necessary on a lovely still day like today but we all know winter is just around the corner.
I will put photos in the new album later when I get back from driving kids to music lessons.
21 September 2009 19:03:38
Where'd it Go?
Oy, I'm sure I had a border there this morning!
What happened to it? Someone must have stolen it!
See my new album for more pictures of the moonscape.
But the good news is that the work is all done and I can replant tomorrow.
21 September 2009 17:10:32
And the Bad News...
As I write a large part of my garden is under excavation. I refuse to watch.
Work on the sceptic tank needs doing so this morning was spent trying to save what plants can be saved. This isn't a sudden development but digging up large bushes and trees is better done later than earlier so we left it until the last minute.
The affected area is "Rapunzel's Forest" - an area of the garden which had weed problems so I had removed most everything earlier this year to address the weed problem. I then spread plastic membrane on it and had left it. It was just as well really as the whole bed is now dug up.
The only plant I would be sad to loose is a large rhododendron. That's it in the wheelbarrow (which you can't see) to the right of the photo! I tied string around it to draw in the branches and we were as careful as we could when lifting it. I have a large sack that we can put its roots in - just as soon as my teenage son comes home from school and helps us to manhandle it. Hopefully everything can be replanted in a few days.
21 September 2009 14:23:19
Echium on the left perking up
Well, the good news is that one of my Echiums is beginning to perk up. I am talking about the three Echiums I dug up. potted and brought into the greenhouse for the winter. They all started to wilt dreadfully.
It's the smallest one that's started to come round but it's holding its head up again. Hopefully the other two will be not far behind.
The Echiums got their revenge on me for mistreating them though. I cut off their lower withered leaves but only afterwards did I realize that the plant is covered in tiny cactus like spines. I must have worn gloves when I handled the plants before because I never noticed until now. Ouch! And my daughter (the only one in the family capable of removing splinters) is gone to college : (
19 September 2009 17:43:41
Wondering what to do with these...
Had 2 1/2 hours to kill today while waiting for my son in Ferns. Myself and hubby swung into the old Garden Centre there. It had its closing down sale a good while ago but there's still a dribble of stuff available.
Anyway, we picked up these 6 pipes for €5. Hubby persuaded me to buy them but now I'm wondering what to do with them!
I suppose I could plant some nice little trailing alpines in them. Maybe arrange them in the soil, sunk to different levels. They'd be great for anything that needs good drainage. The girl in the shop said they were excellent for keeping wine cool and she also used them to hold umbrellas.
18 September 2009 17:06:34
Eucomis bicolor & Josh
The gardening day was off to a bad start when my second son complained of a leg that was too sore to go to school with. I wonder if his brother's day off yesterday had any bearing! Anyway, he stayed home.
I went out to do a bit of planting and Josh (sore leg and all) came with me. He was as good as gold, sitting at the table playing with little toys while I got on with planting. It reminded me of when he was a baby.
I planted out the tulips that had been in pots last spring. They have been on the upstairs landing since I lifted them this summer. I decided to get over my tendency to be spend thrift and for once and threw out all the little bulblets that won't flower this year.
Next up I planted out the two little Salvia 'hot trumpets' that I got at a sale for €1 each. I planted my blue Triteleia fabiola next to them. I always like to pot bulbs up when I get them but after they've flowered I usually plant them in the open border. The Slavia and Triteleia are both in flower and look well together with their contrasting primary colours.
Over by the pond, I planted some Camassia. I would really like to increase the flowers in my garden in May and June as that seems to be when we have summer these days! Must check the finances again to see if I can get some more Camassia and Alliums. Josh and myself were given a rare treat when a little robin decided to bath in the pond. I managed to get a photo which is in my September 09 album.
I also moved a number of plants to the greenhouse - Sago Palm, large Agave, small Dicksonia antartica and my four Eucomis bulbs. The Eucomis have been disappointing as only one has flowered. I suppose one of them did have an excuse as I removed one of its leaves to take cuttings. In the photo I have already dug up the Eucomis and put them in pots - Josh is posing with the flowering one!
All in all a very good and productive day.
17 September 2009 16:12:27
This morning I went around to Head Gardener's for a gardening morning. Cooper was also coming. It's so great to have friends with whom you can have a good old gardening natter.
Well, I had just arrived and myself and Linda were marvelling at Bill's conservatory plants (that ensete is definitely on steroids). The conversation got going and we were downing tea and I was half way through one of Linda's home baked apple muffins when my phone went...
To cut a long story short, my Sam had bumped his head in school and needed to be picked up. So, off I had to go, abandoning all. But I was presented with some wonderful plants by Linda & Bill on my way out. Thank, guys. Talk about eat, grab and run.
Sam is fine. He has a large egg on his forehead but nothing an afternoon off school won't cure.
16 September 2009 17:58:01
'It' from the Adams Family
I grew echium 'snow towers' from seed this year. I got seven plants in total from my labours. The plants are large now - about 2-3ft - and were planted in the borders some time back.
As echiums can be a bit tender, I decided to hedge my bets this winter. I understand that if you can get your echiums through the first winter so that they flower and set seed, you will have them forever more in your garden. The trick is to get them through the first winter.
I decided to dig up three of my echiums, pot them up and move them into the greenhouse for the winter. There would still be four in the garden but, this way, I would have an insurance policy.
Yesterday I dug three of these large plants up. They didn't have very extensive root systems and I did tear some roots but I potted them on in good compost and watered them well. In fact I took a photo of them in the greenhouse which you can see in my 'greenhouse' album.
All seemed well for about an hour. Then the plants started to droop big time. I associate this kind of behaviour with plants that I've forgotten to water. However, the echiums were well watered. Maybe the wilting is as a result of the root damage I did and the fact that the plants are having difficulty using their remaining roots sufficiently!
Anyway, at the minute my poor echiums look exactly like "It" from the Adams Family programmes!!! I hope they will come round and forgive me.
16 September 2009 00:31:55
Giant African Snails
Particularly for Spider, here's a picture of my husband's pet Giant African Snails.
I reckon they could do some damage to an unsuspecting hosta!!!
15 September 2009 13:56:41
This autumn I've been buying up some plants in sales, which are generally used as annuals. For example, Pelargoniums, Osteospermum and Diascia.
Normally people bring these plants through the winter via cuttings. I am hoping I can bring these plants through the winter in my cold greenhouse (surely it's easier to bring the plant through than a cutting, if you have the space for it).
This is a very good idea if you consider that I paid 50c for Pelargoniums and €1 for the others and will have great plants next spring. It is not a good idea if you consider that I may loose them all this winter, never having even once properly enjoyed the flowers. Time will tell.
15 September 2009 09:26:22
Hubby went on his annual elderberry quest yesterday, stripping the hedgerows far and wide.
He then cooked up the elderberries with windfall apples and strained it to get jelly.
The picture shows the resultant liquid, cooking away in the copper jam basin.
So, we now have lots of jars of nicely set elderberry and apple jelly.
I hope that someone gets the Monty Python reference on my journal title.
14 September 2009 18:51:46
My Rosa Rugosa and Philadelphus hedge is really annoying me.
I am seriously considering replacing it with something uniform that clips up nice and neat.
The hedge is along the side of the West Garden (right in the photo, beside the tarmac). It currently has two advantages - it's already a good height and the roses do smell lovely in summer.
The down side is that the Rosa Rugosa suckers are constantly coming up in the middle of my flower bed and the whole thing looks messy.
I was recently looking at my photos of the West Garden and thought it could really benefit from a structural backdrop.
But then, what hedge should I choose!!!
14 September 2009 17:43:23
David Austen Rose
I finished planting my 200 tulip bulbs today.
I took three barrows full of stones out of the bed in total. Consider also that I would have taken as much out when I originally planted the asters in this bed. The soil is very poor over this side of the garden. However, the asters are doing well so it can't be too bad. Besides, everyone gives out about their soil, don't they?
I had a look at the aster clumps in the bed. Although only down one year, I reckon I could split several of them. So, taking on board Jacinta's observation about fading tulips at the front of the border, I will split these clumps and plant some on top of where I've put my tulips. I will do this once the asters have finished flowering. One type hasn't even started flowering yet.
Just feel I should mention that I know it is too arly to plant tulips but have decided to do them early this year anyway.
13 September 2009 22:32:41
Had a great day doing not a lot at all.
Played more games in the garden. It got very silly at one stage with the wheelbarrow races!
The only thing I did in the way of gardening was to wipe and disinfect a few shelves in the greenhouse. Oh, and I sowed four trays of seeds, which I'm leaving in the greenhouse - Tree Lupin (thanks Myrtle or Dorothy - not sure which one of you gave me these), Verbascum (thanks Dave & Maggie), Honesty (thanks Mary) and Forget Me Nots. A bit of a new experiment!
13 September 2009 22:12:26
Agapanthus from Seed
Thought I would put up a shot of the 15 Agapanthus plants I am growing from seed.
I collected the seed last autumn and sowed it this spring. Germination was slow and erratic but I got 16 seedlings in the end.
Rumour has it that I have to wait 3 years for flowers so - just another two to go :)
12 September 2009 22:41:29
I think I've gone a bit overboard with the photos.
Don't know about you but I keep photographing the same thing, trying to record how things are going over but also relishing the last bits of colour. So I've taken the same photo several times and it's only the 12th of September! Need to put a lid on it.
I did notice some flowers on my Magnolia grandiflora today though. Hope I get to see them before the frosts.
12 September 2009 19:25:15
lazy autumn days...
Today started off with a teddy bears' picnic in the West garden. Myself and Sam accompanied the teddies and poured the tea.
After that everyone, except my teenage son, played obstacle races, duck, duck, goose and donkey. I then lay on the grass while Sam played his Nintendo outside.
Soon duty called and I had to do some driving. There was high drama when I picked Sam up from a birthday - the bouncy castle had gone on fire!!! Apparently, in the panic, they started deflating it when kids were still on it but no one was hurt.
Home again and time for cards at the stone table outdoors. So the only scrap of gardening that actually got done was the carrying of my citrus trees from the greenhouse to the house and the moving of the pumpkin from the greenhouse to outdoors! What a wonderful day.
12 September 2009 00:10:40
Looking at Garderners' World this evening, I noticed how some shots were carefully framed against a background of verbena and Japanese anemone. Very well they looked too! Previously we were treated to close ups of tithonia and other seasonal delights. It made me think. How much blood, sweat and tears is actually poured into finding these prime photo opportunities in a newly established garden. I bet someone's job is on the line and some poor sod agonises on a weekly basis about what they can offer us next week.
But I was not considering these matters today when I planted another 60 tulips in the garden. My Aster bed is fairly hoovering up the tulips. My original estimate of 200 was fairly arbitrary anyway. Less than half the bed has taken 120 tulips. But it's the front half so they should probably make a dramatic enough statement in spring even if the whole bed isn't populated.
11 September 2009 20:11:24
Watsonia or What?
Can anyone tell me if this is a Watsonia?
I inherited the plant so didn't buy it myself.
10 September 2009 22:35:00
Strawberries are still coming.
10 September 2009 18:14:49
last of the acidantheras
I adore tulips. They are my favourite flower, after maybe dahlias. The plan had been to try lots of new types this year but the recession is biting...
So it's back to Lidl/Aldi gardening again for me. But who can argue with their value.
I wanted to mass plant my circular aster bed with tulips, all of the one variety. The idea is to add spring interest to this bed and, as there are still plenty of gaps between the asters, I could get lots of tulips in there.
The cheapest on line single variety tulips I found worked out at 13p (sterling) per bulb plus post. The Aldi bulbs I bought today are 10c per bulb. The variety I bought was the fosteriana tulips, purissima - a lovely white one to flower in April. So I paid €19.90 for 200 bulbs, as opposed to £26 plus postage. Perhaps not such a drastic difference but, if you consider the temptation to order lots of different bulbs when you order on line, then the saving is even greater.
When I got back from the supermarket I got out and planting. I planted 60 of the bulbs and ran out of stamina. Round two tomorrow!
09 September 2009 20:42:32
One Day Does Not a Summer Make...
Well, it was a beautiful autumn day today and I took full advantage in the garden.
First trimmed and weeded my lavender (pictured adjacent). After that I moved on to tackling a task that I'd been putting off for ages. A large clump of day liles had ceased flowering a long time ago and I had somehow never found the time to dig it up and divide it. Today was the day and my work resulted in four large clumps, which I re-planted in the long border. If I remember correctly it is a beautiful red day lily and I hope to see it flower again next spring.
I also did a bit of planting - a new large Cordyline, two Viburnum and an Abutilon for the ditch by our neighbours (thanks Cooper for the suggestion of what to do there) and my holly.
While I was in the vicinity of the long border, I took action and dug up my bananas for moving indoors. I also started moving my succulents to the greenhouse. Autumn is definitely in the air.
07 September 2009 23:14:36
Anemone, Rose, Persicaria & Hydrangea
What a super day it was. It almost didn't rain at all.
I started out weeding and, before long, I had called hubby and persuaded him to get out with the weed killer. Some places have needed spraying for a while but it's just been impossible with the constant rain...
Well, between us there were a good lot of weeds that met their end.
07 September 2009 20:51:13
Datura blackcurrant swirl Seedlings 7 September
I have to tell you the amazing story of my Datura seeds!
I bought a packet of Datura blackcurrant swirl from a garden centre in January this year. There was no 'best before' date on the packet.
I sowed some of the seeds on 2 February. By 9 March nothing had germinated so I thought that it was because I hadn't soaked the seeds. I discarded the pot, sown 2 February, and sowed more seeds, this time soaking them first. A month later I still had no luck so I was about to discard my second sowing, thinking that the seeds were obviously old ones. I left the pot beside the sink but, through laziness, never actually threw it out. On 10 April a seedling finally poked its head up.
However, the seedling was very slow to grow. Two months later, on 12 July, I discovered that actually two seedlings were inhabiting the same space. I destroyed one and the remaining seedling started to grow after that.
But the final twist to this story is that just now, two new seedlings have suddenly emerged. These seedlings have germinated a full six months after they were sown!!! So the morale of this story is patience... or something....
07 September 2009 00:20:58
I think we're having an Indian monsoon rather than an Indian summer.
There was nothing doing today in the garden so I made a blackberry and apple pudding and watched the rain.
06 September 2009 16:48:16
Aubrgine Black Enorma - not one single fruit!
Today we officially gave up on the aubergines.
I grew them from seed this spring and we have had healthy looking plants. They have recently gotten flowers but the flowers tend to rot and fall off.
Anyway, I think it's far too late in the season for them to produce any aubergines so the lot are going on the compost. In the photo they are outside the greenhouse - the official holding house for the compost!
It is quite disappointing for two reasons. Obviously we had hoped for fruit but, in addition, my greenhouse book talked about what beautifully ornamental plants they were when in leaf. I didn't find them pretty at all.
So, won't be trying them again... or did I say that last year?
05 September 2009 22:01:28
I had the honour of being shown around Pat's beautiful garden today.
Here is a very salient example of what strong design and scrupulous execution can achieve.
Pat's vision and design skills, coupled with Barbara's excellent plant knowledge and tirelessness have achieved a veritable oasis in the Wexford countryside.
What a treat on a dreary September day!
05 September 2009 19:17:40
My kids went blackberry picking this morning along the native hedge at the front of the garden.
I need to get baking!
04 September 2009 23:48:06
Rudbeckia, Stipa & Carex intumescens
Almost no rain today. What a delight. I managed a few jobs while hubby cut the grass. Unfortunately it was so long it couldn't be mulched so that was a big job. Boy does the grass make a difference!
I finally planted out the nine Hollyhocks I grew from seed this year - Charter's double icicle (white) and nigra (black). My Hollyhock abuse had been bothering me ever since all this active Hollyhock chat got going. I also planted out the fine Carex intumescens that Bill recently gave me. It's featured in the adjacent photo and I think its character really suits the bed I have placed it in with Yucca, Stipa, Rudbeckia etc.
I did a few other bits and pieces and then turned by hand to the job of replacing my woody, split lavender in the West Garden, near the pond. It was great to dig the whole thing up but what a gaping hole it left! The plan had been to plant a Nepeta six hills giant but I ended up planting two Nepeta six hill giants and the phygelius that Periwinkle recently gave me. The area still looked gappy but I'm sure that won't be for long. In fact, I've probably overplanted it (photos in the September 09 album).
04 September 2009 22:54:21
Woho. Amazed to discover today that my fig tree is producing figs!
I had looked before but they grow in the apex of the branches and I'd been looking at the end of the branches (need glasses I think).
Anyway, they are very small so they will probably not mature before the frosts but it's a good sign. If I give the tree lots of tlc next year maybe they'll form earlier :)
Photos of all my tomatoes in the 'Greenhouse' album for all you veg lovers..
03 September 2009 16:52:27
Box circle around Crocosmia Lucifer & Cherry Blossom
I definitely have the feeling of one-up-man-ship this afternoon because... wait for it... I actually did some gardening this morning.
I managed to deadhead the greenhouse border and to remove some of the spent sunflowers. They are all leaning dangerously but I'm fed up re-staking them. Next year I will put tree stakes in the ground for my giant sunflowers. You feel ridiculous putting them in when the plants are small but that's the only time you can get them in the ground as it is later very difficult to manoeuvre without doing damage.
And besides that, I also managed to cut down all my Crocosmia Lucifer in the circular bed. The Crocosmia always fall over (as you may have seen from my photos) and are tolerable only when they are still in flower. When the flowers fade the whole area is a mess so it's important to cut it all down to appreciate the Buxus hedge and the Cherry Blossom in Spring. It takes quite a while so I am delighted to have that done. As I went back to take the photo, the deluge started.
There are new photos in my September 09 and Greenhouse albums.
03 September 2009 13:45:35
Oh my God, what's that? Up there in the sky?
It's absolutely enormous and orange and... I'm really scared.
No, it couldn't be... could it? Lads, don't quote me on this but I think it's the sun!
Oh, thank God for that. It's gone. Normal service has resumed.
03 September 2009 13:20:37
I had my favourite breakfast in the whole wide world this morning. It's cold, home-made apple pie.
Actually I had the last slice of the rhubard and apple pie that we had after dinner last night. Still two apple pies, made from windfalls, left. Yum!
I only wish I could make pastry like my granny could. Hers was to die for.
02 September 2009 16:08:26
Double Flowered Brugmansia
If anyone remembers, I had a problem with my double flowered Brugmansia this year. the 'inside flower' is not coming down and after a bit the whole thing goes brown from the inside out.
Rita said she had had a similar problem but had no solution. I asked Gerry Daly about it and he suggested it was as a result of the weather.
Anyway, the Brugmansia is still flowering and is beautiful despite his problem. Today one single (or should I say double) flower managed to sort itself out and has becomes double.
Others flowers on the plant remain 'stuck'.
01 September 2009 20:16:01
I tried to get out into the garden today. I had changed my jeans and put on the gloves and stepped out when... you've guessed it - rain! I'm not yet at the stage when I'll weed in the rain but if this continues I'll have to before long. I really got depressed. It's the thought of the weeding getting away on me when I feel (for the first time ever) actually on top of it this year. But I was easy revived and, when picking up another school book, I swung into a Garden Centre for a treat.
My treat was Ilex Golden King. I am reading Christopher Lloyd's Succession Planning and since he speaks so highly of this holly I had to get one. It provides great all year structure, grows very big but can be neatly trimmed, has great variegated colour and is non prickly. Despite its name of Golden King, the plant is actually female. However, I think I would need a male plant nearby to ensure berries. This is my first holly as I am put off any plant that is prickly.
This evening the light turned beautiful so I went out to the garden with the camera. Autumn is really rolling in and, as a result, my photos are getting more zoomed in! The beauty is in the detail rather than the overall appearance as the overall impression in my garden is that, unfortunately, it has passed its best.