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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal June 2010

Last Post 2797 days ago

Charles & Sarah

30 June 2010 21:00:43
Charles & Sarah

Charles & Sarah

It was my son's birthday today so that took pride of place. It was also the last day at school. Sam came home with a sunflower he grew and Josh had a small bag of marble-sized potatoes that he produced.

Not a lot of gardening got done today except that I finished dead-heading those infernal poor man's orchids. I got at them with the scissors in the end, snipping the tips, and finished off with a dose of tomato feed. They had better flower again soon or there will be trouble!

Hubby tackled a large gorse in the farmer's hedge along the back of our garden. It died last winter and turned completely brown. After much wrestling, he got it out but now - what to do with it? My dump is big enough without something that size landing on top of it. Burning would be the option, I think.

I put up this picture of my gallica rose 'Charles de Mills' which goes very well with Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'. A romance made in heaven, methinks! Who are these people anyway? I had to google them. Sarah was a French actress of the late 1800's and Charles was an English historian from a bit earlier. Unlikely bed-fellows in real life but perfectly matched in my flower bed.

Orange Dwarf

29 June 2010 22:36:06
Orange Dwarf

Orange Dwarf

Very pleased with this Lychnis arkwrightii 'Orange Dwerg' that Liga gave me.

Isn't it stunning? Thank you, Liga.

I have uploaded lots more photos, including  my Romneya flower that recently opened.


Dead Heading Nightmare

29 June 2010 22:30:28
Schizanthus pinnatus

Schizanthus pinnatus

It raining yesterday and the garden was very grateful for it.

Afterwards when I stopped by the annuals bed I noticed that all my Schizanthus (poor man's orchid) had been turned to brown mush. Just after Liga paid them such heady compliments on Saturday!

Oh well, I thought. Time to dead-head!

But oh my goodness. They are such an absolute nightmare to deadhead : ( There is no logical point to cut back to, unless I cut off complete branches so I'm just trimming off the spent flowers and it is taking an absolute age.

I stopped growing cornflowers because they were too time consuming to dead-head. My daliance with poor man's orchid may end the same way at this rate!

Anyone for Croquet?

29 June 2010 22:23:01
Anyone for Croquet?

Anyone for Croquet?

We had a lovely game of croquet on the lawn this afternoon.

Boy did we feel posh.

All we needed was cucumber sandwiches and strawberries to round it off.

Thank you so much, Ladybird, for such a lovely gift.

Patty Pan Squash

29 June 2010 09:22:26
Patty Pan Squash

Patty Pan Squash

Yesterday we harvested the first of our courgettes and patty pan squashes.

But there's something wrong.

The picture shows 2 courgettes and 1 patty pan squash 'White Custard'.

Eh, I see no difference!!!!

Rain at Last

28 June 2010 10:46:24
Dahlia 'Tsuki Yori No Shisha'

Dahlia 'Tsuki Yori No Shisha'

We are having some rain here this morning. Thank goodness.

It seems to have stopped but I just hope it gets going again. The garden is screaming out for water and I see brown patched coming up in the lawn.

Now, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't dream of complaining about rhis glorious weather but it would be good to get a spot of rain.

Oh My God!

27 June 2010 23:06:59
Oh My God!

Oh My God!

I am back from a visit to Deborah and Martin's garden, Terra Nova, in Limerick and I am completely overwhelmed.

Oh My God!

Actually, I think I'll say it again because these are the only words that truly encapsulate the experience of visiting Terra Nova.

It is the most fabulously beautiful garden I have ever seen (and I've seen a few!)

After the first five minutes I stopped taking photos as it was too much of a distraction from looking at the plants and views and I just wanted to absorb the experience.

But the plants... Normally when I visit a garden I would recognise 60-70% of the plants. At Terra Nova it was more like 30-40%. It is crammed with the exotic and unusual. Each scene is created, down to the minutest of detail, by true artists.

What's more, Deborah and Martin were the most charming of hosts and completely generous with their time and gardening tips. Thank you both so so much.

It was great also to finally meet Hippychick and thank you to Linda who did all the driving, despite my poor navigation skills. You must be totally exhausted now, Linda!

And to anyone who hasn't been to Terra Nova. You have no idea what you are missing!

Saturday 26th

27 June 2010 22:27:06
Saturday 26th

Saturday 26th

I thought I would put up this photo of our get-together on 26th although I am a bit late but here it is anyway...

Thank you to everyone for coming. It was lovely to see you all and you're a great crowd. I'd have you back again, no problem : )

I hope you all had a good time as I most certainly did. It was wonderful to meet Dick, Ivor and Wellie for the first time. And it was great to renew old acquaintances. We were lucky with the weather too!

All Set

25 June 2010 19:48:49

Saturday 26th Last Reminder

24 June 2010 22:30:49
philadelphus, acer, the baron

philadelphus, acer, the baron

Last reminder.

If anyone would like to come to our unofficial garden.ie get-together on Saturday 26th June (this weekend) then you are very welcome. I believe the official get-together will not be until late summer or autumn so we need to bridge that gap! But please message me or reply to this journal if you want to come.

Our get-together will kick off at 2.30 pm and is taking place at my garden in north Wexford. All genuine gardeners welcome. It will be quite informal and we have 12 confirmed attendees so far, some bringing friends and families. It should be a good day.

In preparation, I did a bit more planting today. But that's your lot, folks! My 'runway' is not completely planted and my annuals are not really flowering yet but so it goes...

Noticed a Gothic-type thing going on in one border today (see picture). Last year I had orangey-pinky dahlias in there but they were wiped out last winter. Now it looks a bit sombre - like a teenager that takes himself/herself too seriously! Need to address that!

Greenhouse Reorganised

24 June 2010 22:13:55
Greenhouse Reorganised

Greenhouse Reorganised

Somehow I got a second wind last night and set to reorganising the greenhouse.

Out I went with a bucket of soapy water and soon all the staging was washed, the floor brushed, no-hope-ers discarded and the plants re-organised. 

The only plants on the floor now are a row of almost exclusively large tomatoes in pots down the middle.

You walk up one side of the row and down the other. Thinking of getting traffic counter flow signs put in : )

Yellow is Best

23 June 2010 23:40:03
Yellow is Best

Yellow is Best

I bought my boys some new gardening clogs a few days ago.

I bought yellow for Sam and red for Josh.

There was war!

Both of them wanted the yellow clogs : (

Then I hit on the solution!

Favourite Roses

23 June 2010 17:27:11
Favourite Roses

Favourite Roses

My second favourite rose is just coming into flower now.

The picture shows it on the right and my favourite rose on the left. I'm not a 'pink' person but I would make an exception for this pair.

Both these roses flower only once but smell fantastic. More than that, I love their habit, robustness and disease resistence. It's all very well shooting off close ups of beautiful single flowers (as I have done previously) but what I really want is a bush that is covered in bloom. I get that with this pair.

Unfortunately I have lost both labels so have no names. I have seen my second favourite rose in Altamont Gardens, where I originally bought it, so I must ask the Head Gardener the name some time.

Crown Princess Margareta

23 June 2010 17:17:59
Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta

It is my second year to have this rose.

It is a David Austin, Crown Princess Margareta.

So far I'm very pleased with it.

Boule de Neige

23 June 2010 17:09:49
Boule de Neige

Boule de Neige

I noticed another rose in flower today.

It is the Damask, Boule de Neige, which of course mean snow ball.

I thought I would put up a photo for all you rose buffs.


23 June 2010 12:19:20
Amorphophallus konjac (big one behind)

Amorphophallus konjac (big one behind)

Every morning for the last weeks, my first job is to check whether my exotic bulbs have emerged yet.

I am getting a bit fed up.

I am still waiting for my Bat Plant, 2 Gingers, 2 Crinums, 3 Glory Lilies (given up on them) and my Amorphophallus.

A little while ago 2 of my 3 baby Amorphophallus poked up and now, this morning, joy - one of the large Amorphophallus is up. Hurray.

Cruelty to Trees

22 June 2010 23:20:10
Cruelty to Trees

Cruelty to Trees

Let the squeamish turn away now!

I have always wanted a Cloud Tree but to buy one would cost a fortune. When I saw preliminarily trained ones in Lidl, I jumped at the chance to buy one. I would not have known where to start myself from scratch.

My tree is a Cypress and is already topiaried into the cloud shape. The next step was to wire it so that the branches learn to hold the desired shape. The wire can then be removed.

My Bonsai-expert neighbour, Wayne, made it look easy. But actually it was really hard to bend the wire and get the branches to lie horizontally. As you can see from the photo, the poor tree looks tortured. I used tent pegs to hold the lower branches down. But actually, it doesn't matter what the wire looks like now as it will eventually come off.

Poor tree but I am hoping it will work out well in a few years.



A Little Nonsense

22 June 2010 23:07:24
A Little Nonsense

A Little Nonsense

A little nonsense now and then,
is cherished by the wisest men.

Sammy says that these earthenware tubes are just like the pipes on the dwarves' organ in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Sam dug the hole for one of the pipes, blew into them and sung "Hi Ho" before I finally planted them up.

Four of the tubes contain Oxalis, Sammy's favourite plant : )

Saturday 26th etc

21 June 2010 23:43:52
unflattering photo of me weeding : )

unflattering photo of me weeding : )

I have just sent out directions and my details to the 13 people who expressed an interest in coming to our get-together this Saturday. If I have missed you out then it was by accident and I'm sorry - please let me know and I will remedy that.

If there is anybody else who would like to attend then please let me know.

I started work planting the new border today but I didn't finish. Boy is it hot. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining! There is a picture in my June album as you would not be able to see the detail on a journal pic.

Father's Day

20 June 2010 22:13:02
me and my boys

me and my boys

Well, it was father's Day so nothing got planted.

I asked Hubby what he would like to do and he said he would like to visit Altamont Gardens so that's what we did. We had a lovely leisurely walk and climbed the 100 steps and then stopped off for ice cream on the way home.

Having done what Himself wanted (not that I didn't enjoy it too), I decided to pop out for an hour to go to the Open Day of a nearby garden and who should I meet coming out but Headgardener with his wife and triplets! Unfortunately I think Bill had gotten the best plants because all I found was a Lamb's Ears and a Columbine (well, it was for charity)! 

Potting & Sowing

20 June 2010 00:19:37
Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum

I am very pleased with the few bits I got done this evening, things that had been niggling at me for a while.

I potted on the huckleberries (thanks, Liga) and show-chrysanthemums (thanks John & Ann) to their final pots. The huckleberries are getting flowers now so that is a good sign : )

Besides a few other odd plants, I also potted on 8 of my South African indoor bulbs and put them out in the greenhouse.

And then I sowed a tray each of red Pulsatilla vulgaris, purple Pulsatilla vulgaris (thanks, Linda) and Wallflowers (thanks Clare).

It is always very hard to find the time for sowing for next year as there is so much weeding and planting to do in the garden. And eating strawberries and sitting in the sun...

Feeling plenty smug this evening.

Goodbye to the Runway

19 June 2010 19:39:42
Goodbye to the Runway

Goodbye to the Runway

Last year we had the digger in and we dug this large extension to the existing 'long border'.

However, we had dug so many new border last year that I just could not face planting another one and I didn't have the plants to fill it anyway.

I covered it in weed suppressing membrane and left it. I think it was Spider who asked, with typical Spider wit, why I had an air plane runway in my garden!

Well today the membrane is coming off and tomorrow the border will be planted.

More Peonies

19 June 2010 18:01:39
Bowl of Beauty & friend

Bowl of Beauty & friend

Mine are coming into flower now, in five different places in the garden, because I love them so much.

Although they are late this year, it means we can enjoy them more.

Somehow, this year, I got away without staking them!



The Fairest

19 June 2010 17:56:17
Sarah Bernhardt & friend

Sarah Bernhardt & friend

I think that peonies are possibly the most beautiful flowers of all.

See what I mean!

Purple Beans

18 June 2010 22:39:51
Purple Beans

Purple Beans

Last year we grew purple French beans. they were delicious and pretty too.

But purple beans are a godsend.

When you pick them, it is easy to distinguish between the beans and the leaf. Maybe this doesn't sound like a big deal to anyone who hasn't grown beans and peas before - but it is a big deal!

If you leave the beans on the plant, they get tough. Yet it is hard to see them when they are the same colour as the leaf.

I love mange-tout so next year I am hoping to find a purple mange-tout (pea)!



Official Invite

18 June 2010 19:04:56
Official Invite

Official Invite

For anyone who missed it previously, I am having an unofficial garden.ie get-together at my garden in North Wexford on Saturday 26th June.

People I know from the site and their partners and kids are welcome. Just let me know if you plan on coming so I can give you my address (always helpful : ))

Lets hope for sun!


18 June 2010 18:50:18


It must be strawberry season.

Jurgita had them for lunch yesterday and Mary's greenhouse and garden are bursting with them.

Not wanting  to be outdone, I sent my eldest son out to pick a bowlful for dessert this evening. I think I might skip dinner and just move on to the good stuff!

Visit to Flitters'

18 June 2010 14:43:52
Visit to Flitters'

Visit to Flitters'

I had the opportunity to visit the garden of Mary (Flitters) this morning.

Mary is one of the longest standing active members of garden.ie and I have enjoyed reading her journals and exchanging info since the beginning. I remember Mary recommending Stipa gigantea to me, way back in the dark and distant recesses of 2008!

Mary's garden is big and mature. It has large specimen trees but never gives a 'cluttered' feel. It benefits from enormous variegated Phormiums as a shelter belt all the way round. I'm not sure I've ever seen Phormiums as big as Mary's handsome specimens!

We had a leisurely walk around the garden - me having a good nose into everything and Mary filling me in on the many stories that accompany her plant collection. And Mary's collection is extensive! Never shy to try a cutting or slip, Mary has plants from places as diverse as Tunisia, on the one hand, and the Chelsea Flower Show, on the other. 

And despite serious attempts to force feed me with Black Forest Gateau, we had a great natter indoors too, sitting among Mary's Glory Lilies, Brugmansia, Orchids, Bananas, Lemon Trees... Need I say more! Thanks for a great day, Mary : )

Who Wants...

17 June 2010 22:23:32
Abutilon vitifolium & iris

Abutilon vitifolium & iris

Would anyone, who is coming to our get-together on Saturday 26th, like an Abutilon vitifolium seedling?

The plant is the large white-flowered bush in the photo.

Mine came through last winter, with some damage.

It grows fast and is evergreen except in a hard winter.

It really is a beautiful shrub - see last year's June photos for its full glory.

No Half Mooning in my Garden!

17 June 2010 22:06:01
Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud'

Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud'

I thought of entitling this journal 'no mooning in my garden' but decided against sensationalism in the end : )

Those of you who visit on 26th will have to excuse my un-edged garden. I went to edge it today and realised I couldn't. I tore a tendon in my right foot in Donegal and it's better now but not better enough for pressing down on the half-moon edger. So - there'll be no half-mooning in my garden.

We had guests this morning from Holland. We took them for a tour of the garden and they spent 15 minutes up the uncultivated end discussing the name for a weed they found :P  But when they finally got to the cultivated bit, they did instantly spot my hardy orchid (Dactylhoriza maculata) and spent ages peering at it so they are forgiven. They're gone wild orchid hunting done the Burren now.

After they left I finished clipping the ditch. All done now. And I did some weeding.

The Baron

16 June 2010 23:33:14
hybrid perpetual, 'Baron Girod de l'Ain'

hybrid perpetual, 'Baron Girod de l'Ain'

This rose has been brought on with last winter's cold, I think.

It has never looked so good.

It is an old rose - a Hybrid Perpetual.

It is called Baron Girod de l'Ain.

By the way, see my journal 4-5 below for details of the get-together on 26th. 

Another Rose

16 June 2010 22:56:19
portland rose 'De Rescht'

portland rose 'De Rescht'

There seem to be a lot of rose journals going up tonight so I didn't want to be outdone.

No clue what the name of this old rose is.

It's scented and flowers just once.

Unfortunately it gets blackspot but is okay at this stage in the season.


Name of rose added to picture.

Peep - for Jurgita, Wayne, Liga, Fran & Jacinta

16 June 2010 20:42:25
hybrid tea 'Just Joey'

hybrid tea 'Just Joey'

This is a note for Wayne, Jurgita and Liga in case they are despairing of their Amorphophallus bulbs ever poking up. The first of my baby 3 bulbs (smaller than those I gave you guys) poked up yesterday! There is no sign of my two big Amorphophallus bulbs but I think I know why. I planted the 2 big bulbs at the recommended depth but I planted the baby ones more shallowly. If my big ones are at the same stage as the baby ones then they will poke up in a week or so.

And for Jacinta and Fran, the first of my recently potted taro tubers also poked up yesterday. These were bought at the same time as the ones I gave you guys so hopefully yours aren't far behind, unless of course they're up already.

Keep Straight!

16 June 2010 18:06:23
West Garden

West Garden

Another day of clipping with the shears for me. Somehow it was harder today. I nearly finished the bank but my back is complaining...

I'm all right as long as I stay completely straight! If I tilt forward slightly, I can't get up again. The same for sitting down - keep the back upright! It's very funny really how unfit I am. But you don't need to show sympathy - I'll be fine by tomorrow but I'm doing nothing else for my living this evening except eating the dinner served up to me in the garden : )

By the way, see my journal below for details of the get-together on 26th.

Saturday 26th?

16 June 2010 09:33:25

Mini Get Together

15 June 2010 22:25:06
oriental poppy 'coral pink'

oriental poppy 'coral pink'

I am thinking of having a few friends around on Friday 25th June for a mini gardening get-together from about 2.30pm. I live between Bunclody and Carnew, North Wexford but off the beaten track.

It would be open to anyone who I know from garden.ie and who will promise faithfully not to notice any weeds : )

Can you let me know who might be interested in coming. I will let you know my address by private message.

Putting Manners On It

15 June 2010 21:48:56
Crambe maritima

Crambe maritima

I put the shears to good use today.

I have a ditch along one side of my garden with a hedge on top. I think its about 70 mtrs long. The grass and weeds grow on it and need clipping back about twice a year to make it presentable, preferably before they set seed.

Today was my day to clip the ditch as the buttercups had gone mental on it.In fact the job was overdue.

I got about half done while hubby cut the grass. It's amazing the difference to the garden since all that grass is cut back.

Catching Up

14 June 2010 16:16:24
Cerinthe purpurascens

Cerinthe purpurascens

A lazy day for me today. I did some house work and now I'm going to tend to the orchids next.

I checked most everything outside and had a good wander round all the same. I am amazed at the growth that has taken place in the space of a week. Cerinthe, Petunias, Peonies, Crambe maritima, bulbous irises, Sisyrinchium and roses are all newly in flower. I took photos of them for the June album.

But the grass has also grown and is a mass of buttercups and daisies. The ditch down one side of the garden also has very long grass on it. I'll have to get at it with the shears tomorrow - not something I look forward to.

We had our first strawberries last night, on our return, and there are mangetout for dinner today. It's good to be home and thanks to Wayne for minding everything.

Ancestral Home

14 June 2010 00:10:15
my sons playing on the ruins of their ancestral home

my sons playing on the ruins of their ancestral home

After 3 years of searching, I have managed to locate my ancestral home in Falchorrib, Donegal. Or, more precisely, its ruins.

This was the house where my great great great grandparents lived from at least 1831 onwards. It is the house where my great great grandfather was brought up, through the Great Famine, and from where he left barefoot at about 17 to seek his fortune in America. He returned to Dungloe around 1864 with Californian gold and a fortune that lasted three generations.

Besides a few stones and pieces of iron, I came away with the tuber of a large wild, yellow iris. Growing wild in Donegal, I noted tall yellow water irises in many places around the county. The plant I took from Falchorrib, being perennial, may well have adorned the surrounds of my ancestral home at the time that my ancestors lived there about 200 years ago.


06 June 2010 20:23:47
Abutilon vitifolium - a bad winter can't keep a good plant down!

Abutilon vitifolium - a bad winter can't keep a good plant down!

It was another mad day of planting out today.

I planted out the last of the climbers - sweetpea, rhodochiton, Cobaea and Turk's Turban's. I also planted out the last of the Dahlias, including Sharon's lovely big War of the Roses Dahlia. And I potted up the 2 Crinum bulbs I got at Bloom.

Hubby potted on a load of cucumbers, tomatoes and Patti Pan squash. The peas, French beans, lettuce and bulbous fennel (thanks, Jurgita) went into the ground yesterday when I was at Bloom.

Then, round to Linda's I went with a few trays of seedlings (10 to be precise) for minding. Thanks, Linda : ) Wayne is dropping down soon too as he will be minding my greenhouse. Isn't it great to have such great friends : ) Thanks, Wayne.

Donegal here I come!

What's in a Year (2)

06 June 2010 19:49:35
this year

this year

Here is the same spot in the West Garden this year.

Much more pleasant for sitting out in.

What's in a Year (1)

06 June 2010 19:48:36
last year

last year

Last year we had glorious weather around this time.

I remember sitting in the West Garden on a glorious day, like today, and enjoying the weather but lamenting the fact that I had so few plants in flower in June.

I determined to change that and to plant more early-flowering plants in the West Garden to enjoy.

This photo was taken this time last year in the part of the West Garden that we sit.

The Loot

05 June 2010 19:06:58
Roscoea cautleyoides 'Jeffrey Thomas', Eriophorum angustifolium, Sagittaria latifolia

Roscoea cautleyoides 'Jeffrey Thomas', Eriophorum angustifolium, Sagittaria latifolia

Well, I had to come back with one plant and I spotted the one I wanted early on. It was a hardy ginger, Roscoea cautleyoides. I wasn't mad about the yellow colour though so I decided to look around before purchasing.

I had a look around and bought Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' and the pond plant Jacinta recently mentioned - Sagittaria latifolia. I also spotted the red cotton grass introduced at this year's Chelsea but actually I thought the original white one (Eriophorum angustifolium) was prettier so ended up buying that.Not bad for €2.50!

I discovered Crinum bulbs for sale and I saw the sign up for Crinum x powelli so I bought two. I had been looking for Crinum x powelli for a while so I was dead chuffed. Then I realised that the tag on the bulbs only said 'Crinum' so I went back to the stall and took a photo of the label on the box for my own reference. I have just had a look at that photo now at home and it says 'Crinum cintho 'Alfa' so I THINK that is what I bought and I've no idea if it's hardy or not because it's not x powelli : (  Silly me!

Then it was back to the stall selling the hardy ginger. He said he had other colours but not with him and could bring more tomorrow. Well, as they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So I bought it : )

Back from Bloom

05 June 2010 18:47:29
Yuko & ClareE

Yuko & ClareE

I too visited Bloom today.

I enjoyed the show gardens but was a teeny bit disappointed by the selection of plants for sale. Just as well really otherwise I'd have been buying more.

Bumped into these two ladies at the show and had a most enjoyable chat. I also caught up with Deborah, which was great as Deborah had been far too busy at the Rare Plant Fair : )

As for the illusive Jacinta, we kept missing each other all day!

Tropical Border Finished

04 June 2010 22:24:21
Tropical Border Finished

Tropical Border Finished

I finished planted my Tropical Border today. It doesn't look very impressive yet but I'm hoping that plants will grow well and quickly.

I planted the last of my sunflowers, Bicentenary, at the very back in two large groups. I'm not sure how tropical sunflowers are but I thought they would look nice back there.

Speaking of sunflowers, the Earth Walker and Claret ones I planted at the back of the Annuals Border just a few short days ago, have shot up. They all had to be re-tied to their stakes today.

Hubby fixed the wooden bench in the West Garden so we are now able to eat there again (hurray). We had dinner on it to celebrate.The Allium siculum are looking really pretty at the minute.


03 June 2010 22:07:38
stone table pots

stone table pots

I've just been having fun reading everyone's accounts of Bloom.

It is really great how we get information so quickly on this site. I don't think I'll be buying a whole heap when I go on Saturday but you can't go to Bloom and come back with nothing so there will be one plant got at least...Did anyone hear anything about Cypridiums by any remote chance?

Thanks to everyone who is giving us updates as they come back.

By the way, Clara, I think you have the same terra cotta head as me?!?

Sensitive Plant

03 June 2010 20:02:34

Greenhouse Emptying

03 June 2010 18:15:19
Greenhouse Emptying

Greenhouse Emptying

My greenhouse is nearly empty. Except for the tomatoes and courgettes.


Hey, why am I saying hurray. This means I've no plants to fill the border that's still covered with plastic membrane : (


Tropical Border

03 June 2010 17:49:24
section of Tropical Border

section of Tropical Border

My back aches. My legs ache. My hands hurt. But I did break the back of the planting of my new Tropical Border today.

I decided to put the Tropical Border in the place I used to call Rapunzel's forest. This decision was made because...

1) The eye is naturally drawn through the pergola, between the tree ferns, to that point. It makes sense to put something worth looking at there.

2) I did not have enough plants to populate the bed originally earmarked for this purpose.

3) Rapunzel's Forest is easier to water than my first choice of location. Some plants are in sunken pots for easy winter lifting so they will need to be watered.

Of course, plants loose so much height when they go into the ground - very disappointing. One minute you have a 4ft banana, next minute it is just 3ft tall! It is also really hard to know how much anything will grow in one season. I'm beginning to suspect that plants like Ricinus just don't attain their 'advertised' stature in our climate.

I will be finished tomorrow and am looking forward to thefinished product. And then... In the words of Alan Titchmarsh...  Oh, I'd better not quote him - got in trouble the last time!

More photos int he June album.

Laying Out

02 June 2010 18:36:12
Laburnum x waterii Vossii

Laburnum x waterii Vossii

Besides tying up the gallica roses, as previously mentioned, today I did some weeding in a tricky bed that I hate. But enough about that.

The other thing I did was to lay out all my 'tropical' plants on the bed where they will be planted tomorrow. It took a long time and I found it very difficult to imagine how things would look, even with the plants in situ. 

With annuals, flowers and colour are the most important consideration. But with the tropical border, leaves and texture are key.

I am going to sink pots in the ground when plants need to come indoors for winter. I didn't fill the border because I ran out of plants but so it goes. Maybe I can put a mass of Livingstone Daisies in the gap.

Hubby put down a spot of weed killer - a tough job on a sunny day.

Next Year's Project

02 June 2010 18:22:01
Next Year's Project

Next Year's Project

I have a small grouping of fruit trees, mostly apple.

The pear tree is very elegant but brittle and breaks in the wind.

It is difficult to mow around the trees so I was thinking that maybe next year I will create a border under these trees. It would give me a chance to grow all the shade-loving plants I crave, like Trillium and Erythronium and maybe even the odd Arisaema!


02 June 2010 18:17:17


I found some bluebells down the front of my garden today.

Can anyone say if these are the native Iriish kind or the Spanish?

First Rose

02 June 2010 18:14:14
First Rose

First Rose

The first rose in my garden is my favourite one.

Unfortunately I do not know the name.

It flowers just once and smells of heaven.

When I wasn't sniffing or swooning over my rose today, I was wrestling my Charles de Mills gallica roses. They have the most untidy habit and the solution I have found is to tie them to vertical wooden posts. The posts were painted this year so I had to reattach the roses.

Promiscuity in the Garden

02 June 2010 18:06:57
Geums & Poached Egg Plant

Geums & Poached Egg Plant

A couple of years ago I grew two types of Geum from seed. I was very pleased with 'Blazing Sunset' - a large flowered red, double Geum, which repeat flowered if dead-headed. But I was less pleased with the other one (whose name I forget) which was small and single, flowered once and looked like an orange buttercup.

As I had a lot of space to fill, I was not quick to discard the unloved Geum and I let it stay.

Nowadays, the West Garden is a riot of every hue between deep red and pale orange. Geums set seed and spread easily, which I really love. And, due to general Geum promiscuity, I now have every possible combination between red and orange, single and double, repeat and once flowering and big and little blooms. It is great to see evolution in action : )


02 June 2010 13:59:06


One of the Pelargoniums I got as a cutting from Liga last autumn, is in flower.

This is, by far, my prettiest Pelargonium. Thanks, Liga.

I bet you like it too, Linda?

More Planting

01 June 2010 17:58:36


Another heavy planting day for me, this time in the West Garden.

I planted a number of Garden-Centre-bought plants, some perennials from seed and my Galtonia and Ornithogalum bulbs, which I have been growing in pots. Thanks again to Krista for the Galtonia : )

I am only planting 2 annuals in the West Garden this year, to re-enforce the orange/blue theme - Calendula 'Candyman Orange' and Cerinthe major purpurascens. I had already planted out most of the Ceninthe so today I just added the last few plants and put down the 70 pot marigolds.

It was a beautiful sunny day today and my eldest son came out to do his study while I was planting. The alliums, chives and geums are looking superb and I have new alliums about to open (pictured). I put some photos in the June album.



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