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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal October 2009

Last Post 2943 days 9 hours ago

Pumpkin Cake

28 October 2009 17:35:12
Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

I have three pumpkin cakes in the oven baking as I write.

My teenage son helped put the coins into the loaves - look at him all dressed up in black for Halloween. Oh, silly me, he always dresses like that : )

I think someone asked me for the recipe so here goes...

Ingredients

450g/1 lb pumpkin flesh

125g/4 1/4 oz butter (softened)

175g/ 6oz castor sugar

2 eggs

225g/8 oz self raising flower, sieved

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground mixed spice

Instructions

1. Grease a 900g/2 lb loaf tin with vegetable oil

2. Chop the pumpkin flesh into pieces and put in a saucepan to cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes. Don't add water as the mixture will quickly produce a lot of liquid

3. Remove all the liquid and drain (this is important otherwise your loaf will taste like sweet water). Leave to cool and then mash to a creamy purée.

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time.

5. Stir in the purée. Fold in the flour, salt and spice.

6. Spoon into loaf tins. Don't forget to add coins, wrapped in tin foil for kiddie excitement!

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours. The cake should be almost solid in the middle when cooked.

8. Slice when cool. Can be frozen.

Halloween

28 October 2009 14:50:25
Halloween

Halloween

Here is the result of this year's pumpkin growing efforts.

New photos in the October 09 & Greenhouse 09 albums.

Greenhouse Gardener

27 October 2009 15:48:26
Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

As winter sets in the character of the greenhouse mirrors the character of the garden.

The greenhouse has been cleaned and tidied and all spent plants are discarded, making it much more navigable and pleasant to work in. Indeed, now that the daily tyranny of tomato watering has passed, I too slow down my pace and watch my plants slip quietly into dormancy. The daily routine of ventilation and watering is once again something I look forward to - a few moments peace and quiet to myself.

All might seem tranquil except for that darned greenhouse book I got last Christmas. The 'Greenhouse Gardener' by Anne Swithinbank was the only greenhouse book I could find that had a modern, dynamic and exciting approach to greenhouse gardening. Indeed, I blame it for my constant search for the exotic. I'm forever on the look out for the plants Anne recommends in her beautifully illustrated book - like a Victorian plant hunter I haunt the internet and garden centres, looking for the exotics which my greenhouse now enables me to grow!

Today I found a plant from my greenhouse bible -  Tibouchina urvilleana. Also known as the Brazilian spider flower. An evergreen bush, growing to 4ft with soft, hairy leaves and rich purple flowers. I think it's a beauty - already covered in buds and sporting a single opened flower.

Late Spring Planting

26 October 2009 18:27:19
Late Spring Planting

Late Spring Planting

I'm pleased to say I got a lot of planting done today.

I concentrated on one bed - the newly extended one beside my little path.

The original idea for this border was for it to provide late spring interest - rhododendrons, Magnolia stellata, Exochorda macrantha. However, it had large gaps. I attempted to fill the gaps today, trying to continue the spring theme.

I planted four large clumps of Hosta, which I had dug up from Rapunzel's Forest. I planted two little alpine asters (love these), Cooper's alpine phlox, Pinus mugo, a large Cardoon, Head Gardener's succulent (Bill, if you're reading this, maybe you'll let me know the name) and  Filipendula. All in all, not a bad day's work.

Ornithogalum

26 October 2009 11:40:47
Ornithogalum saundersiae

Ornithogalum saundersiae

I didn't have much luck with the three Ornithogalum saundersiae bulbs I planted in spring. I do so love the South African bulbs though so I had to try them.

Perhaps the compost was not well drained enough. There is some moss growing on top - never a good sign.

After an age of waiting, these leaves grew but it's not much to show for a whole summer's growth.

The bulbs are half hardy so I'll but some fleece around the pot in the greenhouse this winter. Maybe I should repot the bulbs when the foliage dies back! Has anyone had experience growing these bulbs?

Mulch, Mulch & More Mulch

25 October 2009 17:23:40
stone circle with surrounding beds mulched

stone circle with surrounding beds mulched

You might get the hint from my journal title!

I did a bit of mulching today.

And then a bit of weeding. But only so I could mulch again.

Surprisingly I'm getting through that enormous pile of bark chip. I still have plenty left but I've come to realise that I need to prioritise it rather than just try to put it everywhere.

As I put it down, I tell myself - no weeds in spring, no weeds in spring. It spurs me on.

Seed Saving

25 October 2009 13:45:03
Seed Saving

Seed Saving

It was a beautiful, clear morning here in Wexford so I took an early trip outdoors to the greenhouse, still in my nightie. My son, Joshua, came with me and we spent a pleasant twenty minutes watering, picking up dead leaves and picking the last of the tomatoes. Joshua was even good enough to fetch a bowl for them, bring them indoors and put a ripe banana in with them (magic, you understand).

As I was in the mood, I then continued on to collect annual seed - a task I had only barely begun up until now. I collected mixed Cosmos, Cosmos purity, Calendula candyman orange, Calendula colossus, Corn Flower (dark red), Tithonia and Helichrysum orange, yellow and white (keeping the colours separate). Basically I cut the stems about 5 inches down from the spent flowers.

The next task was to find sufficient paper bags to hang all these stalks unpside down in. I had to raid the recycling. Soon I had each set of stems tied into a paper bad so the spent flowers were not touching the paper. Myself and Sam hung these labelled bags from a string across the greenhouse roof. The idea is that when the seed falls to the end of the paper bag, it is ripe.

Joshua's Fort

24 October 2009 19:50:02
Joshua's Fort

Joshua's Fort

It's really whipping up a lot out there.

Hubby went out to rescue Joshua's fort.

It's really a fisherman's tent but it's Joshie's precious.

It was bending so badly in the wind I thought it would be over in the neighbour's before dark.

Pumpkins

24 October 2009 17:16:13
one large, one small

one large, one small

It's been a very poor year for pumpkins.

We planted several plants and filled one of our raised beds but the result is only two largish pumpkins and one small one. The pumpkin plant I put in a large pot in the greenhouse did nothing.

These pumpkins will be picked tomorrow so that we can carve them and make pumpkin cake for Halloween. The Halloween decorations went up in our house, with some excitement, today.

Mulch & Leptospermum

23 October 2009 15:35:37
fig and chrysanthemums

fig and chrysanthemums

I started laying my bark chip mulch today. I had just covered my tulip/aster bed when the rain started so I scurried indoors. It's good to have the task started as it doesn't seem so daunting then.

Other than that, I planted my lovely layered Viburnum plicatum mariesii- can't wait to see this one mature. We can compare notes, Bill, since you're newly planting one too. 

Yesterday I took a trip to Lidl to pick up two Amaryllis and two Hyacinths in glasses. I filled the Hyacinth glasses with water and put them in the greenhouse under a bucket (cold and dark). Mind you, I didn't place my other Hyacinths in the dark although they're in the greenhouse too. I can do an experiment and see which ones develop quicker.

I also made an impulse purchase of Leptospermum scoparium kea. I have had my eye on the New Zealand Tea Tree for a while now but backed off because they aren't altogether hardy. I think I'm a bit of a sucker for New Zealand plants. I was very taken with the reddy foliage on the Kea variety so in it popped to my basket. I had to laugh at the label though. The first line mentioned that the plant was 'very hardy' and then, after much other information, the very last line stated 'not hardy'. Someone was having a bad day.

More Crab Apples

22 October 2009 18:05:44
Malus red sentinel

Malus red sentinel

And this is Malus red sentinel.

It looks lovely in spring.

My favourite, Malus profusion, has lost all its leaves now so doesn't warrant a photo.

Crab Apple - for Serena

22 October 2009 18:02:12
Malus golden hornet

Malus golden hornet

As per previous discussion, I have 7 Malus trees in my garden.

The picture shows my two Malus golden hornet, which is the best looking one at the minute.

Chestnuts, Viburnum & Thuja

21 October 2009 23:09:09
Enniscorthy

Enniscorthy

Today we decided to dump the telly that stopped working recently so set off for the Killurin Landfill. Unfortunately it has moved so a jaunt through the countryside ensued.

I just adore the autumn colours in Enniscorthy at this time of year. The lines of Chestnuts along the Slaney are slightly past their best now but I had to stop for a photo.

We found the dump in the end but decided to detour to Beechdale Garden Centre in Clonroche on the way back. It's been just ages since I was last there and the place has grown in that time.

I didn't come away empty handed you'll be pleased to hear. I bought a Viburnum plicatum mariesii, which I've been wanting for a while. This is the large, wedding cake like bush with the white flowers. I was drawn to it for its lovely red autumn leaves (which I hadn't previously heard about) and the deal was clinched when I noticed the bush had been awarded the RHS merit. I know exactly where I'm going to put this and am looking forward to planting it.

While I was busy with my Viburnum, hubby bought a climbing hops plant (Humulus lupus). I will need to read up on this one. I have seen photos of the golden one and it is lovely. I actually think hubby had ulterior motives as he likes to brew his own!

I searched in vain (again) for Thuja occidentalis 'pyramidalis' and got the nursery to check various lists. They said they hadn't seen this Thuja. This is the one recommended by Michael as I am looking for something tall and thin like Cypress. I am having no luck finding it and wonder would any of the other Thujas do the job!

Clean Up

20 October 2009 16:07:19
Clean Up

Clean Up

Hubby removed the last of the courgettes and tomatoes from the greenhouse border today  but I couldn't bring myself to remove the marigolds in full flower. But I did give the greenhouse a complete clean up.

I weeded the border, dead-headed, washed and disinfected the staging and some of the glass and swept the whole floor (even under difficult areas). Then I re-arranged the plants. The greenhouse is now officially cleaner than my kitchen!

I came across this great idea of using a large plastic see-through box to keep my cuttings in. The box is in the greenhouse and acts as double protection. You can see it on the floor in my latest greenhouse photos. I haven't yet gotten around to wrapping the fleece around the large plants so that will have to wait for another day.

It was nice working in the greenhouse while the rain tumbled outside - no sign of those poor jeans drying at all : )

Housework versus Gardneing

19 October 2009 17:32:15
€1.99 this Thursday in Lidl

€1.99 this Thursday in Lidl

I had an easy day today. I really am feeling disinclined to garden this last while. I do hate the cold.

The extent of my escapades today was to spray the plants in my kitchen against aphids. The aphids seem to love banana plants and my bougainvillea. 

I also potted up the pieces that Myrtle gave me yesterday. I just love visiting other peoples' gardens because I always come across new plants. I might begin to think that my plant knowledge is quite good and then bang, suddenly, a dozen previously unknown gems are brought to my attention. Brilliant.

I was very taken with a small shrub in Myrtle's called parahebe. Such a neat habit, with dainty blue flowers almost floating on top of it. It looked very well too beside Myrtle's Polygala (which is now doing brilliantly after its recent listlessness). Myrtle was good enough to dig up a bit, together with several other plants.

Anyway, I decided to pot up these plants today and had just laid everything out on the lawn. I usually don't bother potting in the greenhouse because I then have to clean up. Small jobs are as easy to do on the grass and if I spill a bit of compost - so what.

Well, I had everything laid out and was just starting the job when... rain! I looked over at my clothes hanging on the line and down at my compost-covered hands. The choice was to go save the clothes or finish the potting. Well, I hope no one wants those jeans tomorrow!

By the way, in case anyone is interested in Hyacinths in glasses (as seen recently on the journal of our friend with the same name) then Lidl are selling them this Thursday for €1.99. I always get some for the kids to marvel over. They also have Amaryllis bulbs for €2.99.

Circle of Friends

19 October 2009 11:32:01
Josh, Myrtle, Ishtar, Sam

Josh, Myrtle, Ishtar, Sam

Yesterday I called in on Myrtle for a visit. I was on the way up to Dublin to drop my daughter back to college so, unfortunately for Myrtle, there were four of us to contend with.

I was amazed by how much colour Myrtle still has in her beautifully laid out garden. And what a wonderfully manicured garden it was too.  The new planting areas will be super once they've been done and the new terracing already looks like it belongs.

One reason for the visit was to relieve Myrtle of a lovely Phoenix canariensis which is too spiky to be around Myrtle's young grandson. What a super specimen too - it took some effort to get it into the car. Thank you very much, Myrtle, for it, the other plants and the delicious home baking (to which we did great justice). But mostly, thank you for your company and the great plant chat that we had.

While Myrtle showed me round her garden, pointing out a shady area where she hopes to plant some ferns that Fran, from this site, has promised her, I got to thinking...

I got to thinking how I was taking a palm from Myrtle, Myrtle was getting some ferns from Fran and Fran had collected a Mock Orange from me a few weeks ago. I guess what goes around, comes around. Well, certainly among the circle of friends on our Garden.ie website : )

Thinking of Rita

18 October 2009 11:43:11
Thinking of Rita

Thinking of Rita

I have a selection of cuttings and small indoor plants in my bedroom. This is my intensive care area and the place where I put things that need a close eye.

They include my few orchids, orchid offset and Cactus piece from Myrtle, Datura seedlings, Taro tubers and two sets of plants I got from Rita D at the Irish Garden Belvedere plant swap back during the summer.

Rita gave me an Epiphyllum leaf and a piece of an indoor cactus. I cut the Epiphyllum leaf in four and all pieces are still alive. One has just recently sent out the tiniest red bud, indicating its plans to grow. As for the Cactus piece, I divided it and potted four pieces per pot. They have been unstoppable and are doing really well.

Each morning when I tend to these plants my thoughts, obviously, turn to Rita and how she's doing. I think plants are the most beautiful way to remind us of our friends. Hopefully soon Rita will be back on site to complain about how I haven't divided up the Cactus cuttings yet or am overwatering these lovely plants : )

Thinking of you Rita.

Mass Planting

17 October 2009 19:19:23
Mass Planting

Mass Planting

Did a bit of weeding today and came to some conclusions.

I tend to prefer plants planted in blocks rather than dotted about.

However, this treatment doesn't always work. Here is a bed I planted up this year with Verbascum and Lychnis coronaria. I call it my fluffy bed because of the soft grey foliage throughout. It doesn't work, however. I think Verbascum are great but they need to punctuate a flower bed and pop up occasionally rather than be planted together.

Winter Planters

16 October 2009 17:13:43
Winter Planters

Winter Planters

The next gardening task should be to paint the wooden shed, pergolas etc but I'm so not in the mood. It's a shame because the weather is perfect for it. I also couldn't muster the inclination to weed.

Instead I headed off to Carlow to visit the Arboretum Garden Centre. I love going there any time of year. They always have a tempting seasonal display as you go through the front door. So if you're not put off by the small Dicksonias for €79 by the entrance, you will surely soon be tempted by other autumnal delights.

Very soon I found myself picking plants for some winter pots. This had never been on the agenda but well...

I bought two Euonymus silver krista, three madly coloured Heathers and a six-pack of pink Bellis. The bill was €19 which wasn't too bad I suppose (listen to me justify myself!).

So I now have two identically planted pots for the front door and a third one with a heather in it, also on the doorstep.

Next Big Jobs

16 October 2009 10:41:20
the edge of the cliff - where I want a hedge

the edge of the cliff - where I want a hedge

My mind started to drift today towards the next three big jobs that need doing in my garden.

All three involve a big digger and removing soil etc from the garden so they are not something I can do myself with the mini digger and they will cost. I don't imagine I will get all three done this coming year but it's good to plan. See my new 'big jobs' album for photos.

1) Front Hedge

The front of my garden gives on to the road and is boarded with a native hedge. It consists of, among other bushes, gorse and bramble. It looks really unsightly from outside and in. My garden is at a height from the road, meaning that the hedge is planted at a height and tumbles down to the road. My long border at the front of the garden runs parallel to the native hedge and is planted in from the hedge so there is a two foot strip of grass between the border and the native hedge.

The plan would be to completely remove the native hedge, neaten the edge and plant two hedges - one in my garden on the height and the second down below. So, from the road, you would see two levels of hedge boarding my garden.

2) Babies' Hill

We have an area of builders' rubble and stone in the garden. We call it Babies' Hill. It is in front of our back 'cliff'. 

I have tried many tricks to camouflage it. We covered it with grass (sods removed from newly cut borders). Then I built a raised bed on one side and erected a fence and grew climbers up to obscure one side of Babies' Hill. I planted alternate pampas grass and beech in front to obscure it from that direction.

It's no good, the whole thing will have to be removed and levelled, with wooden beams to support the edges, and laid with top soil.

3) Top of the Cliff

We have a cliff out our back garden. It runs horizontally across th garden. One half of the top is covered in builders' rubble and weeds.

The rubble will have to be removed. Ideally I would then like to plant a hedge to run along the edge of the cliff - maybe Elaeagnus ebbingei. It is actually dangerous to not have anything along the edge of the cliff, especially with young kids. Soil is practically non existent up there so it will be hard to dig a trench for the hedge.

 

So, there you have it, watch this space - but not too closely. These tasks will take some time.

Mum's the Word

15 October 2009 13:48:59
Mum's the Word

Mum's the Word

Some of you may be aware that I attempted to grow giant chrysanthemums this year. You can see my efforts in the photo album 'Giant Mums - I wish'.

Anyway, it seems that my choice of root stock was essentially at fault. I bought a set of 'giant mums' from Bakker on line and then followed cultural instructions kindly provided by Knocknakillew (the experts).

The results were less than satisfactory but I planted the resultant mums outside and, as you can see from the photo, they have now reverted to producing sprays of flowers which are quite welcome in my garden at this time of year.

However, my interest in growing giant mums has been re-whetted by Yuko who posted the following links, showing the prestigious Chrysanthemum competitions held in Japan in November...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelaughing_gnome/62394607/

http://studiesofplantsandwildlife.blogspot.com/2007/11/shinjuku-gyoen-park-november-1st.html

From these pictures, I think we can all see why the Chrysanthemum is so esteemed in Japan. Anyway, while my sights are not set so high, maybe with a little help from Ann and John at Knocknakillew, I can do a bit better next year!

Nepenthes

15 October 2009 10:33:53
Nepenthes digesting a rat

Nepenthes digesting a rat

Check out this cool David Attenborough video on carnivorous Nepenthes...

http://www.popsci.com/node/37632/?cmpid=PSCenews082109

My Free Mulch

14 October 2009 19:33:02
My Free Mulch

My Free Mulch

I am a happy gardener today.

My brother-in-law delivered 10 builders' bags of bark chip and all for free.

He was offered the chip as some kind of favour returned. Yesterday hubby went over to Meath to shovel this stuff and the pair of them brought 10 bags back to my brother-in-law's and 10 bags to me. Oooh, I'm a happy camper this evening.

The down side is that the chip is newly cut so it will need to be left sit for six months or so before it can be used on plants. However, I will have no problem using it up. There's also an outside chance I might get a second load before Christmas (before the truck goes permanently off the road due to recession).

So who ever said there's no such thing as a free mulch? ;-)

Chop Chop

14 October 2009 14:26:24
courgettes & marigolds

courgettes & marigolds

I cut back the courgette leaves with mildew in the greenhouse today. There are plenty of courgettes and tomatoes still coming so I'm reluctant to dig them up yet.

I also cleaned out the containers and replaced the water on my Sarracenia, cutting back the spent pitchers.

For Drumanagh

14 October 2009 13:50:41
For Drumanagh

For Drumanagh

Hi Alison,

Here's a close up of my house plant. I think it looks like Nadine's mystery plant but haven't seen a close up of Nadine's so let you be the judge. Obviously there's something of the marijuana leaf about this one!

I bought it in France, with no label, two years ago and it won a  first as Best House Plant in last year's Bunclody Horticultural Show. It's gone downhill a bit since then unfortunately. What do you think?

RTE Gardening

14 October 2009 13:10:59
RTE Gardening Programme

RTE Gardening Programme

RTE are making a gardening programme featuring Dermot O'Neill next year.

I believe the programme will be about Dermot's garden.

Hopefully it will be a more thoughtful programme as it is about a real garden.

God Damn Them

14 October 2009 00:53:51
Turkish Turbans

Turkish Turbans

God damn that Thomson & Morgan seed catalogue!

It arrived uninvited in the post today and already I have smudged and dog-eared it, highlighting numerous must-haves.

From Turkish Turbans, ornamental gourds and millet to Cleome, Zinnia and Jacaranda - it's going to be an expensive year.

Right, I'm putting it down and going to bed.

Last of the Bulbs

13 October 2009 14:40:41
Last of the Bulbs

Last of the Bulbs

I planted the last of my bulbs today.

They were an additional 40 purissima Tulips for the circular bed (that makes 240 in there - I'd better get a good spring display!), 4 more Camassia for the West Garden and 12 Hyacinth in bowls.

Of course my Hyacinth won't flower in time for Christmas but I don't mind that so much. However, I do think it's important to have some to look forward to in the dreary winter months.

Gardening Talk

13 October 2009 00:11:39
Coronilla glauca

Coronilla glauca

Just back from a gardening talk given by the Bunclody Horticultural Society.

Frances McDonald of the Bay Garden was the speaker and she talked about climbers while showing numerous colour slides.

I was very taken with a short liked but long flowering climber named Coronilla glauca.

A very enjoyable evening.

Corn

12 October 2009 12:11:07
Corn

Corn

Today we decided to pick our corn harvest. Although it wasn't ripe, the thinking went along the lines of - it won't get any riper the more we leave it.

So hubby picked the cobs off our five outdoor corn plants. Wow, what a surprise when we peeled back the sheaves! They are ripe!

It seems the top kernels never plumped up but, further down the cob, there was sweet yellow corn. What a lovely surprise!

We didn't grow much so the full extent of the harvest is seen in this photo. Will be gorgeous with some butter for dinner tonight.

Lazy Day

11 October 2009 16:01:43
Lazy Day

Lazy Day

Had a lazy day but took some photos in the garden.

Echeveria

10 October 2009 18:08:22
Echeveria

Echeveria

I'm so pleased with these cute little Echeveria Linda gave me.

They are now in flower, with the maddest clash of colours!

Linda says they are quite hardy but I'll take no risks this winter.

Linda also gave me another pot of them so next year I'll try planting them out. It would be lovely to have something so exotic outdoors in the border.

Begonias

10 October 2009 18:03:04
Begonias

Begonias

I think I know the answer to this question already but here goes.

Do you think I could cut back my begonias and lift the corms yet? The books say wait until the foliage dies back and it's not really dead but I want the earthenware pots to pot up some hyacinth bulbs...

I don't want to risk my begonias so I'd probably better just buy some more pots.

Gardeners' World

09 October 2009 19:30:47

Gardening Crimes

08 October 2009 18:48:11
bulb planting in the West Garden

bulb planting in the West Garden

It was very cold this morning and then the heating oil delivery arrived. It was so lovely and toasty indoors that I was very reluctant to venture out.

I eventually plucked up courage and went out to face the garden. But what a fabulous day it was after all my reluctance. I even ended up gardening in short sleeves!

The first job was to plant the packet of Winston Churchill daffodils that Drumanagh gave me a while ago. My bulb planting is all over the place this year. Daffodils are going down late and tulips too early! So, I got them down and then addressed the circular border next to my stone circle. I had planted it with grasses, Alstoemeria and Astrantia earlier this year and today I added 30 Alliums, purple sensation, for spring interest. The ground was so dry it was a joy to plant bulbs but it had its downside - one of my Astrantia looks quite mumified!

I then moved onto the West Garden. The plan here was to add more flowers for May/June interest - these being the months of our actually summer for three years running. Okay, I'm slow to react but getting the message finally. I planted 10 Allium purple sensation, 24 Allium siculum and 72 Allium ostrowskianum (the little ones) and some Camassia. I planted them all right in the spot where we tend to sit in Spring and was very pleased with myself, thinking how the nice shades of pink and purple would compliment each other.

Then it hit me. In Spring the predominant colour in that border is orange, from Geum Mrs Bradshaw. Orange and pink - what a crime! I don't know what I was thinking - not a lot. it seems!

Winter Protection

07 October 2009 21:47:09
Musa basjoo

Musa basjoo

It was cold today although there was no frost last night. Time to order the heating oil.

I collected up the last of my plants for the greenhouse. I have been in two minds on what to do with my Musa basjoo as it is supposedly hardy. However, as it is still small enough to go in a pot and I didn't fancy the hassle of protecting it outdoors, I whimped out and just dug it up and brought it in. I also rescued some last Diascia that I had forgotten about in pots.

The next step was a trip to a Garden Centre to buy 10 meters of horticultural fleece. I couldn't believe how thin and flimsy it is but I was assured that this was the business. Now all that remains is to work out how to cover things in the greenhouse. I will wrap up the big things but I have cuttings and small things on shelves - maybe I could just lay the fleece over the lot and tuck it in at the side!

I do plan on putting a mulch down on my Agapanthus and Dahlias outdoors but I'll wait until they die back first.

Rain

06 October 2009 13:40:59
annuals border beside greenhouse

annuals border beside greenhouse

I think we will all have the same title for our journal entries today! Yes, it's raining in Wexford and very welcome it is too. My reserve of rainwater was almost depleted and my poor carnivorous plants were staring the unsavoury prospect of de-ionised water in the face. I really must buy a water butt!

So, I did no gardening today. I still have bulbs to go down, grass seed to scatter, plastic to nail and, when that's all done, there's always weeding. But today I will just watch the rain and read my Irish Garden.

What I can say is that I am glad I did a little bit in the garden yesterday. I dug up all my 'Russian Giant' sunflowers from the back of the border by the greenhouse and, inspired by Disneyland's zero-weed-or-dead-flower policy, I gave the border a good dead-head.

In the process I collected two types of marigold seed, which are hung in make-shift paper bags in the greenhouse now. I always find it hard to strike a balance between dead-heading and leaving for seed collection! We all want flowers for as long as possible but also we want seed for next year.

Food

05 October 2009 16:54:51
edible taro tubers

edible taro tubers

It seems that the garden has been quite productive in our absence. There are lots of tomatoes.

We picked a load of extra large courgettes, which hubby promptly made into marrow & ginger jam. As he was in the zone, he took it upon himself to also pickle the baby oranges on my bitter orange tree (see greenhouse album). Poor things!

I collected a large bowl full of strawberries from the garden too and the boys enjoyed them over two days (see October album).

Still on the theme of food, hubby paid a visit to the Asia Market when leaving our daughter back up to Dublin and bought three nicely-sprouting taro tubers. They were for me to plant as I recently told him that my exotic Colocasia plant was actually taro. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained - I stuck the three tubers in pots and will see what happens.

Back Home

05 October 2009 16:44:04
pampas grass & persicaria (now red)

pampas grass & persicaria (now red)

I'm back home again after a wonderful few days at Disneyland, Paris.

I was completely taken with the bedding outside the Walt Disney Studios and hope to replicate it in my garden next year (see album cover). I am also trying to get an id on a bush I keep seeing (or more accurately, smelling) in France. Its scent IS France for me and I've encountered this bush a lot in the north, down as far as the Vendée. If anyone can help me identify it, I would be very grateful (see Disneyland album). I have a bad feeling, however, that this bush is common in Ireland but we don't get the scent here because of lack of sun!

So, back to gardening again and to autumn in my garden.

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