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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal May 2010

Last Post 2729 days 12 hours ago

Sedum pulchellum?

31 May 2010 23:20:27
Sedum pulchellum?

Sedum pulchellum?

A few years ago I grew a packet of seeds I bought from Mr Fothergill.

The packet was labelled 'Sedum pulchellum'. I hd no sedums at the time so was quite excited to get some from seed.

The resultant 5-6 plants did not look like sedums.They didn't like the sun so I eventually planted them out under the Acacia tree.

For all the world my Sedum pulchellums look like ferns. Can anyone advise me on what fern they might be?

Finished the Annuals Border

31 May 2010 19:32:38
Finished the Annuals Border

Finished the Annuals Border

Hurray!!! I have finished planting up my Annuals Border.

It took a few more plants and the final plant count is 555 plants. I have kept note of numbers this year so as I'll know how many annuals to grow next year. I could stick in a few more poor man's orchid on the far side but I'll hang onto them for the minute to see if they're needed more pressingly elsewhere.

The border is mostly in shades of pink and red with some white. It has two swathes of grasses - a wave of squirrel grass down the middle and two clumps of giant red millet. It has a row of browny sunflowers at the very back and then two other clumps of dark ones, near the back.

A close up of this photo is available in my May 2010 album but the plants are still small so look quite unimpressive yet. In the words of Alan Titchmarsh "Grow, You Buggers, Grow".

Here is what has made up those 555 plants...

No.Plants
Genus Species Variety
13   Helianthus annuus Earth Walker
10   Helianthus annuus Claret
72   Helychrysum monstrosum Summer Solstice
21   Coleus blumei Black Dragon
28   Petunia grandiflora Mirage White
6   Petunia x hybrida Strawberry Sundae
3   Ricinus communis Carmencita
41   Schizanthus pinnatus  
32   Zinnia elegans Envy Double
47   Hordeum jubatum  
18   Zinnia elegans Scarlet Flame
26   Callistephus chinensis Siam
48   Callistephus chinensis red
88   Cosmos bipinnatus  
48   Cosmos bipinnatus Rose
24   Cosmos bipinnatus Picotée
7   Orlaya grandiflora  
14   Pennisetum glaucum Purple Majesty
9   Schizanthus pinnatus  
555
     

Ginko

31 May 2010 19:11:40
Ginko biloba

Ginko biloba

Some of you may recall that last year I was worried about my Ginko tree.

It just wasn't thriving and was looking very sorry for itself.

Well, it must like cold winters because it has made a miraculous recovery and is looking really well.

Hawthorn

31 May 2010 15:49:28
Crataegus 'Crimson Cloud'

Crataegus 'Crimson Cloud'

I love this little tree and the little model under it : )

The tree is a Hawthorn called 'Crimson Cloud' and it has the poshest miniature flowers at this time of year.

Keeping the Door Open

31 May 2010 15:42:42
Keeping the Door Open

Keeping the Door Open

I was hoping someone had a clever idea about how to keep my patio doors open.

As you see from the photo, the doors open straight out but, because of wind, we need to put a chair in front of the doors to keep them open.

Both doors open and they open only as far as you see in the photo.

This is not ideal and I really wish I could think of some DIY attachment to keep the doors open.

I suppose something could be drilled into the outside wall below the fountains...

Rita's Epiphyllum

31 May 2010 10:34:53
Rita's Epiphyllum

Rita's Epiphyllum

Two days ago, when I was watering my orchids, I noticed that the 3rd Epiphyllum leaf piece, that Rita gave me last summer in Belvedere, has started to grow.

Rita gave me one leaf, to make a cutting from, and told me to be very careful about which way up to plant it. I took the leaf home and cut it in 4 and planted all 4 pieces. Two started growing that autumn, one is not yet growing and this one has just started.

But the really funny thing is that it looks like I planted this leaf segment upside down as the shoot is emerging from below soil lever, rather than from the top as with the other successful pieces.

I laughed first at being such a wally, after Rita's careful instructions, but then I noticed something. The piece which is now growing 'upside down' is a leaf tip. I can tell from the way the leaf tapers into the soil (see front of photo). The first one to sprout was also a leaf tip and that was obviously the right way up (behind in photo). As each leaf has two tips, that means I did plant the cuttings the right way up!

It would seem, therefore, that the 'right way up' changes half way up an Epiphyllum leaf and half the leaf should be planted one way, the other half the other way, always with the leaf tip up! I think...

But one thing is sure - Rita is somewhere having a good old laugh at me now : )

Orchids Out

30 May 2010 20:58:42
Cymbidiums, Pleione & Gardenia

Cymbidiums, Pleione & Gardenia

A couple of days ago I move my Hippeastrums (Amaryllis) outdoors for the summer. They have a snug place behind the greenhouse where they won't blow over and will get watered regularly.

Today I got to wondering where I could park my Cymbidium orchids for the summer. They are a bit top heavy and surely they should not be anywhere where they get watered by rain because we might get a wet summer! And they probably need a bit of shade from direct sun. What a headache!

I puzzled for a while and then decided to put the 4 Cymbidiums in the greenhouse. I found a spot where they won't get direct morning sun and then I put fleece between them and where the afternoon sun will be. I hope this is a good place. I can control watering and the greenhouse will be open all the time so they should get night coolness. I put my Pleione orchid and a Gardenia with singeing tendencies with them. 

3rd Installment

30 May 2010 20:45:06
Albizia julibrissim 'Summer Chocolate'

Albizia julibrissim 'Summer Chocolate'

I planted more annuals in my large Annuals Border today but I had to leave it unfinished as other duties called.

I put down 92 plants today, bringing the running total in the border to 365.

I planted a lot of the plants that came from Olga's seed today (thanks, Olga : ) ...

 

No. Plants Genus Species Variety
18   Zinnia elegans Scarlet Flame
26   Callistephus chinensis Siam
48   Callistephus chinensis red

 

Other than that, I moved the last of my seedlings out to the greenhouse and also moved the final set of staging out there. My kitchen is clear!!! I'm not sure I recognise the place any more to tell the truth!

Arisaema Seedlings

29 May 2010 19:24:19
Arisaema Seedlings

Arisaema Seedlings

After seeing Jacinta's journals on Arisaema, I went to have a look at how my Arisaema seedlings are doing.

Well, they are a long way from flowering but in 3 years I should have a grand Arisaema collection, mostly thanks to Deborah's kindness.

In the meantime I do have one lone bulb - only leaves so far. I wonder who, beside Deborah & Martin, will be the first one to have a flowering Arisaema on the site!

Dry, dry, wet, wet!

29 May 2010 17:17:25
Dry, dry, wet, wet!

Dry, dry, wet, wet!

I'm not doing much gardening today. I need to water and feed my neglected orchids - just trying to muster up the will...

I took a few garden photos in the rain. 

Hoping to go to Donegal the week after next but I need to get my plants in the ground or I can't go anywhere. I have no inclination to plant in the rain today.

My second Streptocarpus flowered today. Very pretty. I was looking at the arrangement on the kitchen windowsill. By the way, it's just wonderful to have the kitchen windowsills cleared of seedlings and over-wintering plants!

Left to right Streptocarpus & Streptocarpus (to be kept dry), courtesy of Liga, Cyperus involucratus (to be kept wet - flying up now), courtesy of Alison, Drosera capensis 'Alba' and Dionaea muscipula (to be kept wet and doing very well since repotting), the last courtesy of Wayne.

Strange bed fellows but they don't seem to mind : )

More Irises

29 May 2010 16:54:49
iris ?

iris ?

This second type of bearded iris opened up today.

I bought it from Mr Middleton by post about three years back but never kept note of the name.

Does anyone know what it is called?

Annual Border & That Hardy Orchid

28 May 2010 20:10:58
Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'

Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'

I continued the planting work on my Annual Border.

That makes 273 plants put into that border so far and it's a bit more than half full.

I put a nice Carol Klein type 'wave' cutting from front to back with the squirrel grass.

I put out plenty of the slug pellets tonight as the little blighters seem to love the Coleus and are quite partial to a spot of Petunia too!

I noticed my hardy orchid, bought form Terra Nova, is in flower. I guess it may come into fuller flower in a few days but I wasn't prepared to wait so I snapped it today. It is really beautiful.

Here's the list of what I put down today:

 

No. of Plants Genus Species Variety
21   Coleus blumei Black Dragon
28   Petunia grandiflora Mirage White
6   Petunia x hybrida Strawberry Sundae
3   Ricinus communis Carmencita
41   Schizanthus pinnatus Hit Parade & mixed
32   Zinnia elegans Envy Double
47   Hordeum jubatum  

Nora Barlow

28 May 2010 19:35:48
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Nora Barlow'

Aquilegia vulgaris 'Nora Barlow'

Drumanagh gave me the seeds of Aquilegia Nora Barlow last spring. Normally Aquilegias do not come true from seed but Nora Barlow (Drumanagh's profile picture) is the exception. I must confess that I have never had much luck with Aquilegia but I did get a few plants.

I then resowed the remaining seed last autumn and ended up with one brave seedling that came through last winter.

Anyway, today last year'splants are in flower for the first time. Aren't they just gorgeous - well worth the wait!

Pond

27 May 2010 20:02:10
Pond

Pond

A generally under-productive day on my part.

I caught up on a few awkward potting on jobs - ones which required different mixes so I had put them on the long finger.

One of those jobs was to pot up the Skunk Cabbage I bought at the Rare Plant Fair. I had no aquatic basket so I bought one and then the kids broke it but finally I found an old cheese mould and potted it up today.

While I was at the pond I decided to put an edging around it. I have loads of slate in my garden so it wasn't hard to find. I think it looks much better now - less like a basin sunk in the ground and more like a pond : )

RHS Shortlisted Plants

27 May 2010 00:21:22
Cypripedium flavum white-flowered

Cypripedium flavum white-flowered

Although Martin thinks I should go to bed, I am quite excited by what I saw at Chelsea today (on telly of course). I really love the new RHS 'Plant of the Year' idea so had a look at the plants that were shortlisted. These have got to be the height of gardening fashion. I wonder how many of these plants our friends at Chelsea will come back with!

Incidentally, the Streptocarpus came first, the Gaura second and the Cypripidium third. I so want a Cypripidium.

Aubergine 'Scorpio' (Solanum melongena)

Impatiens 'Masquerade'

Nepenthes spathulata × spectabilis

Nepenthes 'Bill Bailey' (Nepenthes ventricosa × singalana)

Iris 'Impressions de Jouy'

Iris 'Rose de la Vallée'

Rosa PRINCESS ANNE ('Auskitchen')

Streptocarpus 'Harlequin Blue'

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'

Gaura lindheimeri 'Ruby Ruby'

Rosa CLAIRE MARSHALL ('Harunite')

Lilium 'Chelsea'

Digitalis 'Serendipity'

Cypripedium flavum white-flowered

Heuchera 'Sugar Plum'

Dahlia 'Ian Hislop'

Viola Balconita Series

Ophiopogon planiscapus BLACK BEARD ('Yapard')

Gerbera jamesonii 'Landscape'

Buddleja davidii Buzz Series

Agapanthus & Dahlia

26 May 2010 23:55:18
Agapanthus & Dahlia

Agapanthus & Dahlia

Dick mentioned how he received plants in the post today. Well, he was not the only one.

I also got an excitiing package from Jurgita and inside was a whopping great big Agapanthus! Thank you so much, Jurgita. It is all potted up and in the greenhouse now.

My relationship with Agapanthus had turned a little sour since the beginning of the year. I adore the flowers and decided last year to get lots. I did this in two ways - 1) I sowed seed and ended up with about 20 healthy little plants last autumn and 2) I bought Lidl roots last spring for a little over a euro each and potted up and grew about 10 of them which I then planted out.

Last winter I lost all my Agapanthus from seed in the greenhouse and, I assumed I had also lost all the Lidl roots as I had left them unprotected in the ground. This spring I did notice some odd looking little plants with strap-like leaves but couldn't think what they were. I have now come to realise that they are my Lidl Agapanthus roots and they have come back, despite being unprotected all winter!!! So sorry, Jurgita, if I have received an Agapathus from you under false pretences : )

By the way, I have noticed a number of my Dahlias coming back too. They were all unprotected last winter but some of them must be tougher than we think.

The F Word

26 May 2010 19:23:24
Brugmansia

Brugmansia

It really is hard to believe that there will be frost tonight.

But, just in case... I covered my newly planted Helichrysum with fleece and some of the sunflowers. It was too difficult to cover all of the sunflowers and besides, they're hardy annuals and I was getting very bored!

I also fleeced the two Cobaea I've planted out and my Brugmansia, which is now living in the West Garden. Actually I think it looks quite elegant - like a Grecian statue.

All Aboard

26 May 2010 19:17:08
All Aboard

All Aboard

The forecast is for frost tonight. I'm sure it can't be true but there's no point in being too blasé.

I put everything tender back in the greenhouse.

It's standing room only out there tonight.

Ooops

26 May 2010 17:24:35
lupins

lupins

I got hubby to dig up some dead bushes today. There were about six Cistus on the hill and then I sent him round to do the large Hebe by the stone circle.

Ooops - he dug up the wrong bush! He dug up the hardy Fuchsia beside the Hebe which was resprouting from the base!

I think the Fuchsia will probably be okay. No one had the energy to put it down again today but I cut off all the top branches as they were dead. Now we can see the Snake Bark Maple (Acer rufinerve) better as it was obscured by the Hebe.

Sunflowers +

26 May 2010 17:11:10
Sunflowers +

Sunflowers +

For better or worse, I started planting up my annuals bed today. I'm not sure this was the cleverest idea as I may need to cover it with fleece tonight as there may be frost!

I planted 23 sunflowers - 13 'Earth Walker' in a row at the back and two groups of five 'Claret'. They look silly tied to proper stakes now but they should grow into them. I then planted 72 Helichrysum (straw flowers). The Helichrysum was grown from seed I collected last year and I favoured the orange hues. Time will tell if that has made any difference to the colour flowers I get.

I am planting closer together than last year as it should mean fewer gaps and less weeding and staking.

Chelsea Gardens

25 May 2010 17:03:17
Chelsea Gardens

Chelsea Gardens

I, like everyone else, am watching every scrap of Chelsea that I can get. I must say that our Garden.ie friends certainly chose a good year to go. Isn't the standard really excellent? It is also so encouraging to see no sign of the recession in the gardens. Gardening for me is pure escapism so a 'recession garden' is like a contradiction in terms!

I would like to list my favourite gardens but there are so many - Andy Sturgeon's Daily Telegraph Garden, Tom Stuart-Smith's Laurent-Perrier Garden, Hoblyn's Foreign & Colonial Investment, The Malaysian Tourism Garden and the lovely Victorian Aviary all spring immediately to mind but, actually, there are lots more and lots I haven't looked at yet.

But, hey guys, what's with the Cow Parsley??? I don't get that at all. It looks like Hog Weed to me!

Annuals Border

25 May 2010 16:38:06
Annuals Border

Annuals Border

I have done no end of pussyfooting the last few days. I seem paralysed by indecision when it comes to planting. It makes sense to plant up the most important area first as I will have first pick of the best plants. But what is the most important area...

On three separate occasions I laid out plants in the West Garden and then scrapped those ideas. I'm telling you, I felt like Andy Sturgeon said he did when laying out his Chelsea gold medal garden. Of course, it doesn't help that Chelsea is is on telly at the minute as the images it pumps at me daily are quite unattainable.

I decided to work on planting up my annuals border. It is surely easier to arrange plants by height and colour rather than texture, eventual size and flowering period as needs doing with non annuals.

Well, I didn't get too far as you can see. But it would be a two day job anyway! I remembered to stake my sunflowers properly this year. Hubby and myself used the driver to sink proper stakes at the back of the border. I know they look ridiculous now beside my spindly sunflowers but I remember last year. I waged a constant battle against the wind with only bamboo canes to support my Russian Giants. Proceedings were called abruptly to a halt due to a collision of hubby's elbow and my head as the driver came down. I will continue afresh tomorrow.

First Iris

24 May 2010 18:29:18
First Iris

First Iris

The first iris has opening in my garden.

Actually I am a bit gob smacked because this particular clump was inherited from my late mother who found it in some top soil she was derived about 10 years ago. I do not exaggerate.

My mother was a thrifty woman who never threw anything away. This clump has never flowered in the last 10 years (as far as I am aware) despite being moved to three different addresses!

I inherited the clump in 2009 and decided to give it a year as I don't want free-loaders. This year there are loads of navy blue flowers in the clump. I just wish I could tell my mother that they came good in the end.

Alliums

24 May 2010 18:12:42
Alliums

Alliums

 

Aren't the alliums looking super at the minute?

Doing 'A Liga' : )

24 May 2010 12:27:52
Doing 'A Liga'  : )

Doing 'A Liga' : )

Recently when I met up with Liga she told me that she had about 200 Livingstone Daisy seedlings (mesembryanthemum) on the go. I was flabbergasted and couldn't imagine how anyone could cope with that many seedlings. It wasn't the fact that Liga has 200 seedlings (many of us do) but it was that fact that she had 200 of one single type!!!

Anyway, I didn't take any Livingstone Daisy seedlings off Liga as I had just sown my own - the last seeds for this year's display. As it was my last sowing and I wasn't sure how the germination rate of the cheap Lidl seed packet would be, I sowed a lot of seeds per cell.

Yesterday morning I went to deal with my overcrowded seed cells. And, I decided to do 'A Liga'. I pricked the seedlings out, rather than discarding them and ended up with 5 trays of Livingstone Daisies. That makes 120 seedlings. Okay - nearly 'A Liga'.

Liga's Streptocarpus

24 May 2010 09:47:00
Liga's Streptocarpus

Liga's Streptocarpus

The Streptocarpus plant that Liga gave me at our last meeting, is now in flower. Isn't it a beauty? I always think blue is such a posh colour. There are two more flower stalks on this plant waiting to open.

I think I can now actually move the plant since the flowers have opened, which is good as the plant is tucked away where it's not very visible. I believe that Streptocarpus are like orchids in that the buds may drop if you move them between when the buds form and the flowers open.

The other Streptocarpus Liga gave me as a cutting in Altamont also has flower buds. It has completely different leaves. It was potted on recently using ericaceous compost and perlite.

Liga, do you have any species names for these two completely different Streptocarpus (i)? I could get into growing these pretty plants.

Laburnum

24 May 2010 00:17:53
Laburnum watereri 'Vossii'

Laburnum watereri 'Vossii'

I visited the Bay Garden in Camolin today with the whole family. It was a lovely sunny day for it.

Ian McDonald, of course, is just about to leave on his Chelsea trip with some friends of ours as their guide. He took some time out today though to discuss various plants and ruminate over the obvious winter losses in the beautiful Bay Garden.

I came away with a few purchase - Smilacina racemosa, Eupatorium, Euphorbia and Deschampsia.

The kids enjoyed the paddling pool today and we all enjoyed the weather. Our Laburnum tree has never looked better. 

Bog Garden Complete

23 May 2010 21:10:13
Bog Garden Complete

Bog Garden Complete

I finished my Bog Garden today.

Sometimes first ideas are the best as I went with the planter I had originally wanted for the job in the end.

The Bog Garden is planted with a selection of Sarracenia and a Darlingtonia.

More pictures in my May album.

Purchases

22 May 2010 21:18:12
lotus

lotus

I restrained myself at the National Garden Centre today and was only buying two plants - Darmera peltata (it appears I am eminently suggestible as this plant has had a lot of press on this site recently) and a Libertia (label is outside).

On the way out I passed through the bedding plant area. I hadn't looked there - I seldom do. Something caught my eye. No, it couldn't be! Yes, it was! There was a small lotus plant in full, glorious flower. A lotus plant has been on my 'wanted list' for a good while. And the price tag? €2.95!!!

Suffice it to say that the plant is sitting in my greenhouse tonight!

Tapestry

22 May 2010 21:05:32
Tapestry

Tapestry

I came away from the National Garden Centre with loads of new planting ideas and a list of plants I want - Smilacina racemosa springs immediately to mind.

The main thing that impressed me though was the use of different textures and different sized leaves to create a tapestry effect. It is spring, after all, so the National Garden Centre had few flowers in evidence - the best time to examine planting, without the distraction of colour.

But check out this amazing tapestry effect of textures, using Lily of the Valley. This is quite timely really since Drumanagh gave me an enormous clump fo Lily of the Valley just recently. I have to try to plant Alison's Lily of the Valley it using the ideas in this photo!

Mind you, Pat's garden is really inspirational for tapestry effects - something I am so determined to work on incorporating in my garden.

Ferns

22 May 2010 20:54:02
Ferns

Ferns

Tree ferns really do look fabulous with an under-planting of hostas and ferns.

I'm not a 'fern person' but I was really impressed with the large shuttle cock ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) used in several places at Kilquade.

Clianthus

22 May 2010 20:49:53
Clianthus

Clianthus

It was soooo hard to resist this Clianthus tree.

They had it in the Garden Centre for €14.99, which isn't bad.

I really had to restrain myself from buying one as I'm trying to reduce my number of tender plants.

Beech Hedge

22 May 2010 20:46:42
my garden ****National Garden Centre

my garden ****National Garden Centre

We had an absolutely fabulous day at the National Garden Centre in Kilquade today.

More journals to follow.

I was so impressed at the entrance to the gardens to see a magnificent alternate beech, copper beech hedge.

This is exactly what I am trying to do along my drive but I'm a few years behind their magnificent specimens.

I got the idea from a picture in a book.

Family Fun Open Day

21 May 2010 23:40:35
Family Fun Open Day

Family Fun Open Day

For anyone in the Wicklow area, the National Garden Centre, Kiquade, is having an open day tomorrow with free entry to their gardens...

http://www.gardenexhibition.ie/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gardenworld-Kilquade/114700491905654

They will also be havinggardening talks and an origami display. Should fun. I hope to go.

Planting

21 May 2010 21:35:11
the future is orange

the future is orange

I did so much planting today. I started by planted courgettes,and squashes in the greenhouse border - 6 courgette 'Bambino', 2 courgette 'Black Beauty', 2 Turk's Turban and 2 Patti Pan squash 'White Custard'. The Turk's Turbans are only for show but the others are for eating. We can't get enough courgettes in summer!

Then I moved on to planting in the West Garden. The West Garden has definitely turned orange this year. I have kept the white border on the way in - just to lull people into a sense of false security then bam - orange!

I love seeing all the empty pots after a good bout of planting - a great sense of achievement!

I am also radically re-arranging my garden ornaments. I felt that some areas were too confused in orientation. The urn beside the pond has moved and so have some other bits. Hopefully it will all look better in the end.

And what absolutely amazing weather. We had dinner in the garden again and the boys just played and played and played outdoors. Fabulous. 

Interesting Seedling

20 May 2010 23:42:35
Interesting Seedling

Interesting Seedling

I have a feeling I'm going to regret asking this but...

Does anyone know what this pretty seedling is? It has popped up in a couple of places in my garden.

It looks like a tree seedling maybe...

Schizophrenic Tree Peony

20 May 2010 17:58:51
tree peony 2009********tree peony 2010

tree peony 2009********tree peony 2010

Now I don't blame you if you don't believe me on this one but here's the story.

Last year, for the first time, my 2nd tree peony flowered. Unfortunately I don't know its name (I know the name of the 1st tree peony that has never flowered as luck would have it). The 2nd tree peony was in the ground for about 2 years before it flowered in 2009.

To tell the truth, I was quite disappointed with its single pink flower. Some of my herbaceous peonies are a lot prettier and I was wondering why I had bought such a plain one but, as I couldn't find the label, I accepted it in good grace....

This year I noted buds on the same tree peony but was more excited about my herbaceous peony buds. Until this morning...

I wandered over to the part of the garden where this tree peony resides and was gob smacked by the beauty that greeted me. A fabulous double white flower with delicate pink flecks in the centre. Now that looks more like what I would have bought!

Now, I have not made a mistake. This is the same tree that produced the pink flower last year (see left of photo merge) and this year it has produced a beauty (right of photo merge).

I suppose that the more sumptuous bloom was grafted onto less extravagant root stock. There are other buds on the tree so I will have to wait and see if I actually get both types of flower on the same plant this year! What a surprise!

Next Job

20 May 2010 17:26:55
Next Job

Next Job

The next job on my list is to plant up this bed. It used to be 'Rapunzel's Forest' because it was that thorny with dense Rosa rugosa but I cleared it last year and laid plastic membrane on the area by the beginning of July.

We then had to dig up the whole area for maintenance (don't remind me) at the end of September and the large bushes to the left were removed and re-planted after the work was done. They all made it through winter, thank goodness.

I covered the area in membrane again in September (after the work) although soil may have been re-distributed so it's not like the whole area was covered in plastic from July until now.

About a week ago hubby took the membrane off and sprayed it. There was scutch grass poking up but the spray has withered it. I wonder should I wait a few weeks to see if anything else pokes up before planting? There had been a big scutch grass problem back in 'Rapunzel Forest' days. Now what will I plant?

Sulking

20 May 2010 13:52:50
Sulking

Sulking

Right, I'm officially sulking!

The Sarracenia I was growing from seed is not actually Sarracenia. I just realised today.

I sowed this seed last autumn in my cold greenhouse and was delighted when they seemed to germinate in spring. I was quite sure they were actually Sarracenia as the same plant has come up in all the 24 cells. Having now googled images of Sarracenia seedlings, this one looks like some moss or mould actually.

Not talking to anyone for the next 20 minutes then I'll be better : )

Weeding

19 May 2010 18:57:36
Alison's candelabra primula

Alison's candelabra primula

A relatively easy day for me. I didn't get to do a whole lot.

But I did weed the hill to the side of my garden, which is awkward and requires scaling the 20ft hill and pulling out brambles and other weeds (no mean feat in gardening clogs).

Wouldn't it be great to be finished the weeding by the time the Chelsea Flower Show started?

Well, if that's my goal, I'd better get a move on. The preview is on Sunday night!

Looking Good

19 May 2010 00:07:27
Exechorda macrantha 'The Bride'

Exechorda macrantha 'The Bride'

It's so exciting to see the garden bursting into life.

The camassia and geums are the star performers in my garden at the minute as the tulips, cherry and apple blossoms go over. But the alliums and rhododendrons are not far behind. My peonies have juicy fat buds on them and the laburnum tree looks like it will give a bumper flowering this year.

I have put plenty of new photos in my 'May' and 'Greenhouse' albums. I just adore spring : )

Michelle

18 May 2010 17:38:26
Michelle

Michelle

The corn flowers from Michelle's garden have flowered.

Drumanagh gave a piece of these flowers to many people, at our last meeting, to remember Michelle by.

Aren't they just beautiful and such a pure white!

Back Again

18 May 2010 12:52:50
hardening

hardening

I'm back on the site again after a few days without internet.

Actually I think I got more gardening done without the distraction of the internet.

I've started hardening off my greenhouse plants in earnest. I did some potting on, hubby sowed some veg seeds in trays (it's new for him), I did some planting, some mulching and hubby cut the grass. I also started work on my mini bog garden and hubby removed the plastic membrane from 'Rapunzel's Forest' and sprayed it. It's great to see those big swathes of plastic coming out of the garden!

At this stage, everywhere I turn I see jobs waiting to be done as we tumble headlong into summer.

First Annual

13 May 2010 16:04:21
Schizanthus pinnatus

Schizanthus pinnatus

My first annual of the year flowered today.

This marks the beginning of summer for me anyway.

It is Schizanthus pinnatus, the Poor Man's Orchid. I don't think there's anything poor about it!

Arisaema

12 May 2010 21:01:40
Arisaema, Galtonia & Nerim oleander

Arisaema, Galtonia & Nerim oleander

A lazy day all in all.

We got the final two tree ferns down and I got the stones cleared from the hill. Then the rain set in.

My Arisaema griffithi is looking good int he greenhouse and my Lilium nepalense has poked its nose up : )

Orchid Cactus

12 May 2010 20:59:53
Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus

Here is my Orchid Cactus (Epyphillum). It will be a while before it's as big or beautiful as Sally's!

The cutting is a year old and I got it from our friend, Rita D, at Belvedere last year.

I really enjoy nurturing plants from small beginnings. I think it makes successes more of an achievement. And it is great to look at this little cutting and be reminded of Rita.

Medusa

11 May 2010 17:54:27
Medusa

Medusa

The grass baby, my boys got from Clare, has been to the hairdresser's for a make-over!

What do you think of his new Medusa hair style?

Actually, Sam just smoothed down the grass baby's 'hair' and held up the Sundew behind him. Looks convincing, eh?

It gave us all a good laugh anyway ; )

 

Visit to Linda's

11 May 2010 17:47:22
pelargonium

pelargonium

I went over to Linda's today and had a lovely lunch with home made scones. Yum.

Linda's garden is looking super, full of daffodils and tulips and not a weed in sight.

The first thing I did when i came home from Linda's was to put all my succulents in the greenhouse. That was because I saw how brilliantly Linda's Aeoniums are doing in full sun - real giants. No doubt due to some special tlc too.

I came home with a pelargonium cutting and decided to cut off the flower to give it a better chance of striking.

My youngest, Sam, was very pleased with the flower and put it in this little pot. So cute.

Thanks for a lovely few hours Linda.

Hardening Off

11 May 2010 00:18:41
the joys of hardening off (web pic)

the joys of hardening off (web pic)

I wonder if we are too soft on our plants sometimes.

This year I have taken seedlings directly from the house to the greenhouse without doing it in stages. As soon as a tray went out to the greenhouse, it was there permanently, including nights. Only twice did I cover seedlings with fleece at night. Obviously it is much easier to do it this way as you don't have to haul multiple plants around. I don't believe any of my plants have suffered for it.

So far this year I have not hardened anything off (between greenhouse and the great outdoors). Mostly because I'm feeling lazy. Hubby started with some peas yesterday but it seems pretty pointless to me. I think the peas can be planted now without any further hardening. It would be good to avois the hardship of hauling plants out and in. Indeed I am very inclined to reduce hardening off times to a few days this year.

The thing is, the greenhouse door, the 8 overhead windows and 2 louvres are open all day every day so it is almost like being outside for my plants.

Does anyone have any views on this?

Under Construction...

10 May 2010 17:12:16
Under Construction...

Under Construction...

Last year I thought a lot about a make-over for my ex-rose garden. I didn't do much except remove the roses, tidy the edges, mulch and place a few pots of box around. Oh, and create a little photo album on here. I hadn't made up my mind what I was going to do.

Well, I have been thinking about it a lot. And although I haven't finalised anything, I have decided to treat the two halves differently - for the moment anyone. One half, consisting of 4 symmetrical beds, will have tree ferns planted in them.

Today we started planted the first 2 of my 4 tree ferns in the first 2 beds. Rain called a halt to play.

This is a work in progress and I have yet to decide on planting underneath the tree ferns or for the bed behind. I also think the Coronet apple tree will have to go as it doesn't fit style-wise.

Of course I would love an effect like in Martin and Deborah's garden but I think that my exposed, sunny, dry site is as far removed from their sheltered, shaded, moist site (or so it seems from their web site) as any place can get. So I am experimenting with effects.

Before anyone says anything, I do know that the ideal aspect for tree ferns is shelter, shade and moisture but I am going to try them here anyway and if they struggle then I may move them. (photos in 'May 2010' and old 'Rose Garden' albums) To be continued...

Rare Plant Fair

09 May 2010 20:20:27
purchases

purchases

I had a super day today at the Rare Plant Fair. It was wonderful to finally meet Deborah and Martin, who are even nicer in real life than on this site. I even got to see the famous trainers!

It was also great to catch up on others, who by now are becoming good friends.

After 4 hours at the Fair, I did manage to buy a plant or two and then I talked to Liga and she pointed me in the right direction for a few more I had missed : )

My loot is as follows...

 

Genus Species Variety Common Name
Actaea simplex atropurpurea cimifuga
Ligularia dentata Othello leopard plant
Dactylorhiza maculata Kilmarnock spotted marsh orchid
Sanguisorba menziesii   burnet
Romneya coulteri   poppy tree
Drosera capensis Alba sundew
Paulownia tomentosa   foxglove tree
Primula bulleyana   candelabra primula
Primula bulleyana   candelabra primula
Primula vialii littoniana Chinese Pagoda Primrose
Protea cynaroides King Protea sugarbush
Myosotidium Hortensia Kopukapuka Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not
Cardiocrinum giganteum   Himalayan lily
Lysichiton americanus   skunk cabbage

 

Plant Database

08 May 2010 22:31:43

So Quiet

07 May 2010 22:51:54

Litter

07 May 2010 15:45:47
Litter

Litter

 

As litter in the gardne goes, this has got to be one of the best types - flower petals!

Decision 2

07 May 2010 15:40:40
Decision 2

Decision 2

Those 2 Rosa rugosa are for the chop too.

So many gaps in the borders!It's quite depressing.

I should have sowed double the amount of seeds I did this year : (

A Few Decisions

07 May 2010 15:38:15
A Few Decisions

A Few Decisions

I did some weeding and clearing in the West Garden today.

Not too much left now.

I made some decisions...

Those stones on the hill at the back of the border are going.

Nothing can grow over them and they make a nasty gap (better photo in album).

This is Ridiculous!

07 May 2010 14:51:28
This is Ridiculous!

This is Ridiculous!

Does anyone remember the story of my Datura, which I grew from seed last year, and how it seems stunted?

There is something seriously wrong with it. Don't tell me it will come on! Look!

On the left is the Brugmansia I grew from seed THIS year, just before I potted it on AGAIN today.

On the right is the tiny Datura which I grew from seed LAST year.

Now the Brugmansia was supposed to get bigger than the Datura but still... they are essentially the same plant.

What on earth is wrong with my Datura?

Foxglove Tree

06 May 2010 19:34:01
Paulownia

Paulownia

I wish I could write that my Foxglove Tree has flowered but that is very far from the truth.

Instead I am elated with the news that my paulownia is actually still alive!

It has plenty of new buds : ) Now if only my Hoheria would come round...

This tree is meant to be a fast grower but I guess the winters have kept mine in check as it hasn't grown in height at all since I put it in the ground.

Maybe I'll dig it up and move it to the back of a border. It would get more shelter there and I could try pollarding it. But this is probably not a good time to move it!

First Poppy

06 May 2010 19:21:55
First Poppy

First Poppy

 

 

Wouldn't that make your heart sing?

After 5 Years...

06 May 2010 19:21:00
After 5 Years...

After 5 Years...

Finally, my second Magnolia has flowered.

It has been at least 5 years since I planted it.

Every year I've searched for flowers but there have never been any.

And this year - a single solitary flower on top : )

Indoors

06 May 2010 16:50:44
sarracenia & schizanthus

sarracenia & schizanthus

The plan today was to do planting but it rained so that never happened.

Instead I potted on cucumbers, courgettes, squashes and cleome and re-potted streprocarpus and epyphillum.

I also took aeonium cuttings.

And eventually I ventured outside to sow the 20 Liatris spicata bulbs my daughter gave me for Mother's Day. They looked quite shrivelled so i do hope they come up.

The most exciting news today is that my Arisaema griffithii (like Deborah's recent photo) has poked its nose above the compost.

Chicken Run

06 May 2010 16:29:32
Chicken Run

Chicken Run

Hubby made a temporary fence for the the chickens.

They can be in it when they are not in their house.

It stops them roaming and the posts are only hammered in lightly so it can be moved when they wear out the grass.

There's a big gorse bush there in the background for whoever's interested. They are 10 a penny in Wexford.

Hardy Banana

06 May 2010 16:25:55
Hardy Banana

Hardy Banana

My Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo), although wrapped in the greenhouse, died back in the frost.

I lost the trunk but at least is is re-sprouting from the base.

Cape Gooseberry

06 May 2010 16:22:11
Cape Gooseberry

Cape Gooseberry

I lost my main Cape Gooseberry plant and cuttings last winter (Physillis peruviana).

But this edible physallis plant has come through in the cold greenhouse and is now flowering.

Pity I had no label for it except 'edible cape gooseberry'.

Feeding Amaryllis

05 May 2010 22:42:34
Feeding Amaryllis

Feeding Amaryllis

Last spring I put my 3 Christmas Amaryllis in a big pot and fed them while the leaves died down. They flowered for me again this spring - not all at the same time - but they were super. A few people commented that the display was really big but I didn't think much of it and thought it was due to the large pot lifting them a bit higher than usual.

This Christmas I also bought 3 Amaryllis and recently potted them into a large pot together.

I couldn't believe the difference in height when I put the 2 same-sized large pots in the same room today. Last year's Amaryllis must really have benefited from feeding up because they are much bigger than this years.

All of the bulbs were bought in Lidl/Aldi so they are not different qualities.

As a footnote, the Amaryllis 'Sumatra' that Clare gave me has been potted up separately as it is a bit different.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

05 May 2010 20:03:56
Viburnum 'Anne Russell'

Viburnum 'Anne Russell'

Busy, busy, busy  like us all really!

I sowed a few trays of seed - probably the last major sowing for this year although I will do some more veg and wallflowers later. I sowed Sisyrinchium 'Aunt May' (thanks, Linda), Lemon Grass (thanks, Liga), Cosmos and Livingston Daisies (due to Linda's recommendation - decided to try them in the end, Linda).

Sisyrinchium 'Aunt May' is lovely and I hope it has better manners than the common yellow Sisyrinchium I have. I don't mind how it seeds about but it really does look raggy a lot of the time!

After that was done, I did some tending to my recently neglected orchids - 43 at this count - watering and feeding and repotting of one of them.

I also found a moment to pot on some Pelargoniums into clay pots I bought yesterday and took a few photos, which I will upload later.

Delphiniums for Krista

04 May 2010 21:00:05
Pacific Giants

Pacific Giants

Hi Krista

Here are the Delphiniums I'm growing from seed this year. They are 'Pacific Giants' but still very small. I've a way to go before they can go out into that border!

A few years ago I grew 'Magic Fountains' and the resultant plants now flower for me every year. You can see them in last year's June and July 2009 albums.

Slate Barrier

04 May 2010 15:37:49
Slate Barrier

Slate Barrier

I call that a good deal.

I went off to get chicken wire and stakes to make a larger chicken run and hubby set about sorting out my Rosa rugosa.

He has dug a trench at the back of the border and is sinking some roof slates we had knocking around in to the trench. He couldn't dig down far enough to bury all the slate but, by the time I plant the border, you won't seed those few inches of slate along the back.

It's so good to get this sorted - hopefully for once and for all.

I fancy some of my Delphinium seedlings along the back of that border there!

Weed Killer

03 May 2010 20:52:57
spring border, planted 2009

spring border, planted 2009

What did I do today? Lets see if I can remember.

Firstly I removed some self seeded annuals from the annuals border in front of the greenhouse. I did this because I wanted to spray the whole border with weedkiller, which I did.

It was a hard job though as the small sprayer I have gets jammed on. Lucky I didn't have to pass over any other areas to do the job while the sprayer was indiscriminately spraying weed-killer. Note to self - invest in a proper weed-sprayer.  My back is destroyed from bending double too.

I also enlarged the strip allotted to the semi-circular copper beech hedge with my trusty half-moon grass edger.  And I dumped another load  of plants that didn't make it through last winter - mostly Lobelia cardinalis, from seed last year and still in pots. In fact I ended up with a whole wheelbarrow of spent compost from those pots and used it to mulch part of the West Garden.

I don't seem to have done much else today although my back is telling me that I did a whole lot : (

Courgettes

02 May 2010 21:22:19
Courgettes

Courgettes

Well, my courgettes and squashes are up.

I know from bitter experience that they must not be checked at this important stage so I potted on the largest today.

Patti Pan squash 'White Custard' and Courgettes 'Bambino' and 'Black Beauty' are pictured.

Tomatoes

02 May 2010 17:24:24
Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Got my tomatoes in the ground today. I'm almost a full month later at doing this task than last year! It's been so slow to warm up.

Tomatoes are going at the front of the greenhouse border and courgettes and Turk's Turban squashes will go at the back, when it's warm enough. There are also 3 Cobaea planted at the back for shading and general appearance.

I rigged up some bamboos, secured with fishing line, for each of my 12 border tomatoes. The ones in the borders will tend to do a lot better than the plants in pots.

The line up from front to back - Reis, Reis, Black Krim, Black Krim, Oregon Spring, Alaskan Fancy, Peace Vine, Suncherry (from collected seed) and then, courtesy of Mr Chilipepper, Costoluto F, Red Cherry, Brandywine & Amish Paste.

I also potted on all of my other 31 tomato plants, also in the greenhouse. The Siberian ones are doing particularly well and I am looking forward to an early harvest from them.

Fresh Spring Day

01 May 2010 20:23:57
nepenthes

nepenthes

Despite a trip to Wexford this afternoon, I managed to catch up on a few niggly pieces. And, believe it or not, I didn't drop into Woodies to look for bargain orchids when I was in town!

The main job I did was to re-pot two of my Nepenthes. Spring is the ideal time and I was anxious to re-pot these two because they were still in their original compost (probably pure peat so not the best for drainage) which isn't good. I wanted to re-pot them before the first pitchers opened as it can be very annoying when you accidentally spill dodgy liquid and half digested insects on your kitchen counter!

Finally I am able to do the re-potting as I got my hands on plain orchid bark at the recent Botanic Gardens Orchid Fair. What is sold as orchid compost in Garden Centres is not suitable. Carnivorous plants are very sensitive to poisoning. The mix I use for Nepenthes is 1 part moss peat, 1 part perlite, 1 part orchid bark.

I also potted up some bulbs - 20 Crocus 'Ruby Giant' (thanks, Wayne), my final 10 Acidanthera and 10 Oxalis (my son Sammy's favourite flower  and a Mother's Day gift from my daughter).

I also potted on the Musa rubra (banana) Bill gave me last year. Actually, I find it very hard to remember what needs to be potted on right now as I have plants in every room in the house. A lot of them need to be in the greenhouse too. A ginger and the banana went out today but i confess that my approach is a bit scatter gun. I must get more organised.

First Egg

01 May 2010 11:43:08
First Egg

First Egg

Hurray! Our first egg from our chickens!

It is only small but it is a genuine egg!

Actually, it's lucky that the egg didn't get smashed on the floor as the boys have a pretend bouncy egg and have been regularly joking that the hens had laid it over the last weeks. Then they would pretend to drop it and we would watch in bounce.

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