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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal July 2010

Last Post 2673 days 3 hours ago

Scent

31 July 2010 22:30:41
Scent

Scent

I did some weeding and dead-heading today.

I also did a bit of rescuing as my two Russian Sages, Perovskia altriplicifolia 'Blue Spire', had disappeared from view completely.

I found them under the branches of my spreading Sea Kale, Crambe maritima, and cut off a few branches to let light in.

But oh, the scent of the lilies!

Yuccas

31 July 2010 22:21:50
Yuccas

Yuccas

Today I managed to do a bit of planting between the raindrops.

I planted the two big Yuccas that Dick kindly gave me yesterday and I am very pleased with them. Thank you, Dick.

I was really surprised at how enormous they are - I was expecting something much smaller and am so pleasantly surprised!

The spaces in my new border are rapidly filling.

New House Plants

30 July 2010 23:08:52
Colmanara?

Colmanara?

I did very well for myself with house plants today.

After I left Dick's, I took a trip to Woodies in Carlow and fell in love with this beautiful red orchid. It has four flower spikes. Is it the same as your new one, Liga? I am nearly sure that the label on the other ones said 'Colmanara' but when I got this one home I found the label said 'Cambria', which is just a generic term for hybrid. I wonder is it a Colmanara!

Next I decided I would visit the Arboretum but on the way I saw signs to Morgan's Garden Centre and remembered my neighbour, Wayne, saying that he had got some good bargains there. So of course I detoured. And guess what I spotted as soon as I entered Morgan's? Only a Strelitza reginae for €5.95! It has been on my wish list for ages so of course I had to buy that too.

I'm now at home and have finished my only gardening task of the day - repotting the Curcuma (ginger) plant that Wayne gave me a few days ago. So lots of nice new house plants for me!

Follow me up to Carlow

30 July 2010 21:18:11
Follow me up to Carlow

Follow me up to Carlow

Today I had the opportunity of visiting Dick and his garden in Carlow.

It was lovely to see those famous roses after so long and Dick and I spent a good while chatting over gardening matters and garden.ie

Dick has a large garden, concentrating on the  front section, which is the largest, which he has ablaze with summer colour. One of Dick's many Yuccas was in full flower and cut a striking pose in front of a large Phormium and the contrast of golden Heather and dark red Ajuga (I think it was Ajuga at least). 

Soon we were venturing to the back, where Dick grows a variety of vegetables, and I was treated to a taste of Dick's greenhouse grapes. What a fine vine it was too, almost breaking out of the confined of the small greenhouse and dripping with bunches of grapes.

Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Dick : )

General Disorganisation

29 July 2010 19:34:05
Alstroemeria 'Oriana'

Alstroemeria 'Oriana'

Some days just seem more disorganised than others and today was one of those. We were off to a slow start this morning, with Josh sleeping in (unheard of) after running around all yesterday at Clara Laragh.

I decided to sow the seeds I recently got at Jimi Blake's. That shouldn't take too long I thought, especially since I recently purchased John Innes for seeds and vermiculite. Well, I wanted to sow 6 trays but the small bag of John Innes only stretched to four. Irritated, I made up a mix of peat and sand for the remaining two trays. I had to use a mixing bowl from the kitchen however, as I couldn't get my trug out from the stack in the greenhouse without someone to hold the lowest trug down while I pulled up (it was that sort of day!!!)

So, before long the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a vermiculite and compost bomb. The counters and sink were covered and I had seed trays, in various states of assembly, everywhere. Then I discovered that the Meconopsis seeds needed a non-loam based compost. But of course I'd already put seeds in the two trays with the peat and sand at that stage - OF COURSE! So I had to make up another mix in the bowl for the Meconopsis and then I had to find more seeds to sow in the John Innes that I had already sorted out.

All would have been okay except that I then got distracted and started potting on Lobelia 'Tupa' and teeny weeny tree ferns from some secret island...

As I sat on the lawn potting, with the kitchen like Fall of the Roman Empire, I suddenly realised that it must be late - maybe 6pm and I was supposed to have been making rhubarb tarts and there was no dinner on...

Brugmansia

29 July 2010 14:22:51
Brugmansia

Brugmansia

As my son, Sammy, noticed yesterday evening, the Brugmansia is in flower.

It suffered a bit of a set-back when I put it outdoors in early summer. It is still in a pot though as it will need to come indoors in winter.

First it lost all its yellowish leaves but grew strong new ones. It was slow to come into flower again but now it has and the flowers are enormous!

The Brugmansia is in the most sheltered spot I can offer it in my open garden and, fingers crossed, it seems to be good enough.

 

Crinum

28 July 2010 22:10:05
Crinum

Crinum

Someone asked me if Crinums flower for long.

Mine is still flowering. As the individual flowers die, new ones push out from the centre.

And a second flower stalk has now emerged from the bulb.

So, it is a good result. 

Didn't do a lot today as we were out. But I had a little dead-heading stoll this evening with my youngest, Sam, where we mostly dealt with the Petunias.

I was delighted that he remembered the name of the Squirrel Grass, although he forgot 'roses', and he noticed that the Brugmansia behind the pond has come into flower.

Wine

27 July 2010 21:57:23
Wine

Wine

 

Heavens above.

Look at this photo that hubby took today.

What can it mean?

Planting

27 July 2010 20:14:16
Pennisetem volosum 'Cream Falls'

Pennisetem volosum 'Cream Falls'

I got a bit of planting done today and am quite pleased with it although not in a Great Dixter kind of way : (

The worst lesson I had to take away form Saturday's course was the fact that I have to give up being a plant collector! I'm such a divil for wanting to try different plants and, although I have had bouts of buying 3-5 of the one plant, generally speaking I buy in ones.

The big lesson is to move away from dotting plants about the place and buying plants for the sake of having one.

Well, there's no point in rushing into these things!

Iris in July?

27 July 2010 20:06:30
Iris in July?

Iris in July?

 

I think the plants have gone mental.

 

Look at this bearded iris, flowering in July!!!

Competition

27 July 2010 00:53:14
Helenium 'Waldtraut'

Helenium 'Waldtraut'

So, here is a little gardening competition, sparked by the course I recently attended by Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter.

Who can tell me the annual garden budget (excluding labour costs) of Great Dixter? This year the budget is substantially higher than usual as they are making changes but I am looking for the normal expenditure in GBP (as advised to me by FG).

Come on now! A prize will be given to whoever is closest, providing that they ARE close to the amount.

The prize will be a pot of my Heleniums, to be handed over at the next get-together, Moorheim Beauty or Waldtraut, your choice.

Oh, but sorry Jools, you are excluded.

Poor Man's Orchids

26 July 2010 22:38:18
Poor Man's Orchids

Poor Man's Orchids

I noticed that the Poor Mans Orchids, Schizanthus Pinnatus, in my Annuals Border are flowering again.

They flowered before but near the end of June they were hit with heavy rain and ruined. I had an awful job dead-heading them on 30 June and felt doubtful that they would come back but here they are again. That is a slow turn around though for an annual.

I notice how last year's dahlias are poking up in my Annuals Bed (see photo). I gave them up for dead in spring but am pleasantly surprised to see them back. They will add surprising colour combinations to my carefully colour gradiated Schizanthus display.

Euphorbia Help Please

26 July 2010 20:02:27
Euphorbia Help Please

Euphorbia Help Please

I wonder can anyone help id this cute little Euphorbia I got at June Blake's nursery.

June wasn't sure of the name but said it was low growing.

I fell completely in love with it.

Beware the Brown

25 July 2010 23:25:39
Beware the Brown

Beware the Brown

I cast a critical eye round my garden today. In the wake of my recent Fergus Garrett course, I decided not to allow myself to get down-cast over the things that are wrong with my garden. I also decided not to go ripping things out on impulse. I just took a calm look and took notes.

One small thing that Fergus Garrett said came back to me when looking at the garden. He said to beware of too much brown in late summer. He gave the example of teasel (which I've always hated but might now get after seeing it in Great Dixter). In late summer a few spent teasel silhouettes are attractive and add interest. However, if you leave them all in place then the border begins to make the border look tired and that it is slipping into winter.

With this in mind, I looked afresh at my borders. Some areas were looking quite spent. I noticed the alliums in particular. Allium skeletons look attractive in early summer  but now I decided that they were too far gone and took them up. The same with the love-in-a-mist seed pods. They are now too brown so up they came.

In all, I did a good bit of tidying up and de-browning, along with dead-heading and weeding. The place looks a good bit fresher now even though many parts of the garden are past their best.

Orange Giant

25 July 2010 23:12:55
Orange Giant

Orange Giant

This tomato plant that Dave gave me looks to be a biggie.

Shame I didn't have space for it in the border so it probably won't reach its full potential.

Still , I should get a few good tomatoes off it.

Rhodochiton

25 July 2010 23:06:29
Rhodochiton

Rhodochiton

At risk of setting Fran off again, my Rhodochiton has developed a tongue at last.

Plants are still very very small.

 

Name Dropping

24 July 2010 23:52:28
Fergus Garrett & Jimi Blake

Fergus Garrett & Jimi Blake

Forgive me if this is not a very cohesive journal. My excuse is that I am somewhat overwhelmed and need time to digest today's information from the course I attended on Succession Planning by Fergus Garrett, given at Huntingbrook Gardens, Blessington.

I have drawn much from the course and will absorb much more in time. But for the moment...

A few observations : Fergus Garrett's choice of Turkish street cleaners' trousers (retailing at £1) and a jacket, resembling a strait jacket, only go to show that this man relies completely on the content of his presentations.

A few impressions : loved June Blake's planting. Impressed with Jimi's.

Some name dropping :  Fergus Garrett advised me that Celmisia carries snob value. I bought the 'David Shackleton' seeds from Jimi. 'Snob value' - I can do that!

Personal : it was lovely to meet Jools again and to exchange plant banter. But  - forgive me, Jools, for referring to Echeveria as Echinacea!!!

To Do : I am going out to my garden tomorrow to view it with a newly observant and critical eye.

Ooops I've done it again...

24 July 2010 00:17:47
Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls'

Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls'

I can't believe I've done it again but I have.

Every year I buy the same plant, believing the label or the nurseryman when he says it's hardy, and every year I loose the plant over winter.

In 2008 I bought my first Pennisetum in September. My eyes settled on this plant, across a crowded nursery, and it was love at first sight. It had everything I love -  dark foliage, upright form and enormous purple plumes thrusting upwards. It was so beautiful I bought two. As an afterthought I asked if it was hardy and was told to mulch it well. I did but they both died.

In 2009 I spotted Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' for sale mid summer. It was beautiful. It was everything I wanted in a plant but - once bitten... I checked out the label and was delighted to note that it was 'hardy'. I delightedly brought my new plant home and looked it up. Not a bit of it! I decided to hedge my bets. I collected seed and fleeced the plant in the greenhouse that winter. I lost the plant and the seed was sterile.

Also in 2009 LindaB gave me a division of her Pennisetum altopeuroides 'Hameln'. "This one is hardy" she said. I planted it in the ground. I lost it that winter.

Now, this year I swore to never buy Pennisetum again. Never, never, never. I bought seed and raised Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty' as an annual. That's a good way to do it, I thought. No disappointment!

But... Ooops I've done it again.

Today in Kilmurry Nursery, one plant stood out head and shoulders above the rest for me. I cringed when I read the label - Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls'. I turned. I walked away. But I came back. And, to cut a very long story short, I bought the plant. I know, I know!!! But at least this one isn't sterile!

What does this long story say about me? Well, my taste in plants hasn't changed much over the years. My knowledge has improved but my heart, rather than common sense, tends to lead when it comes to choosing plants.

Summer Pruning

23 July 2010 16:49:47
phlox, lychnis, verbascum

phlox, lychnis, verbascum

I got the first 7 Mock Oranges (Philadelphus) pruned this morning. Now all that's left is the ones between the Rosa rugosa (ouch) and the one I forgot. Instructions make it sound so easy - prune back to a bud. Well I never find any buds low down on my Mock Oranges but I pruned back the branches that have flowered anyway. It was hard to know what to do with bushes that seemed to have flowered on every single branch. I decided to leave a few branches uncut.

I popped down to Kilmurry Nurseries after the pruning. Their garden is planted to demonstrate how to use the plants for sale in the nursery. It is not very bit but nicely done. of course I had to buy a few plants - Brunera macrophylla, Cimicifuga ramosa Altropurpaea and Pennisetum villosum Cream Falls.

Greenhouse

23 July 2010 16:33:09
climbing turk's turbans

climbing turk's turbans

The Turk's Turban squashes are coming on nicely in the greenhouse border.

Shame that the ones in pots or planted in the garden are doing nothing.

We had a casualty - my only flowering Cobaea was mistaken for a weed in the greenhouse border and is no more.

We will say no more about this.

Kilmurry Garden & Nursery

23 July 2010 09:48:56
Kilmurry Garden & Nursery

Kilmurry Garden & Nursery

I plan on going to Kilmurry Garden and Nursery today.

Shamefully, I've never been although they're not too far from me.

The nursery won some golds at Chelsea so it's bound to be worth a visit.

Competitions

22 July 2010 23:56:14
Competitions

Competitions

I refuse to be sucked into another Begley all-nighter.

The demon in me is saying... go on. You can work out Martin's tree. You can win the 3rd hand togs!

The angel in me is saying... are you loosing the run of yourself completely?

I think the angel has won. I am off to bed now - so sensible : )

Good night.

Territorial Disputes

22 July 2010 18:08:52
huckleberries

huckleberries

We have clear divisions of responsibility in our garden. The raised beds, fruit bushes and fruit trees belong to hubby and the rest is mine.

The greenhouse is mine in winter and spring but hubby's in summer, although I am leased a few shelves during summer : )

But, as with any carefully delineated plans, there are grey areas. One of those grey areas is outdoor fruit because we don't really have a fruit area. Specifically, fruit I have bought.

Strawberries are accepted in hubby's raised beds under sufferance. But I can tell he's not happy about it! The kiwi plant had to be accommodated by me in the garden but war nearly broke out over the fate of the poor Goji bushes I bought. An uneasy truce was reached but the Gojis are still in pots behind the greenhouse. Hubby doesn't want them in his raised beds and I don't want those ugly things in the ornamental garden.

This spring Liga gave me some small Huckelberry plants. She had no idea of the discussions this act of kindness sparked off in our garden ;-) The Huckleberries were potted up and put in the greenhouse. But then Liga visited and advised that the Huckleberries should be in the garden. What a kettle of worms this opened!!!

Finally, following extensive and delicate negotiations with hubby, I believe I have now secured a place for these Huckeberry plants in one of his raised beds. But only because the plants are annuals and he does have half a bed unused this year.

So, fun and games all round! I bet others of you have similar territorial disputes?

Annuals Border

22 July 2010 17:38:18
Hordeum jubatim

Hordeum jubatim

The Squirrel Grass is still the star of the show in my Annuals Border.

The red zinnias are beginning to open (see album) and I saw my first sunflower today.

The cosmos are slow to get going but the china asters are looking very promising.

The poor man's orchid have not yet re-flowered since their first flush.

For Liga

22 July 2010 17:21:43
Aeonium simsii x zwartkop

Aeonium simsii x zwartkop

Liga this is Aeonium simsii X zwartkop, the cutting I gave you.

It is looking well now but when you were at my garden it was looking sorry for itself.

Just wanted to show you that it is worth having :-)

Cuttings

21 July 2010 20:44:59
Cuttings

Cuttings

I should make cuttings now. I know it. But I haven't done it yet.

However, the 300 odd Persicaria cuttings I made earlier seem to be taking.

Defeated

21 July 2010 13:17:39
Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica

The plant in the photo is The Sensitive Plant, Mimosa pudica. It reacts to touch. If you touch the leaves they really do close in and if you touch the top of the branch, the whole thing collapses down. They stay 'collapsed' for about half an hour and then open up again. It is a great evolutionary oddity and I first learned about The Sensitive Plant from my son, Zack, who owns this plant now. It is growing in Zack's bedroom where it is thriving on a south facing window sill, where it is seldom watered.

Zack informs me that the plant 'closes up' at night time. It also seems to be growing away from the light!

I have a chequered history of failure with this plant and must confess that my current samples come from my neighbour, Wayne, who had a lot more success growing this plant than I did.

At the moment I have three Sensitive Plants. The one in the picture is in my son's charge and is romping away. The other two in my charge are dying slowly and I really don't know what I've done to offend them. They are also on a south facing window sill and are kept very under-watered (which the plant likes) but they are withering and now have aphids. I think I need to observe Zack's techniques.

Good Year for Plums

21 July 2010 13:03:30
Opal Plums

Opal Plums

I may have mentioned this before but it's a good year for plums.

This is the first year we've had any and we haven't done a tap.

We planted the tree a few years back, kept it weeded and there may have been a bit of unspecific winter pruning. But that was it's lot. No spring watering or mulching or fussing. That's my kind of gardening!

My sons are lashing into these so I don't think they'll be around long enough for  a tart.

Bored

20 July 2010 19:26:02
Dahlia 'Painted Madame'

Dahlia 'Painted Madame'

I think that time of year has come again. I am bored with gardening.

I did a round of dead-heading today I cut back sorry-looking Alliums, most of the roses and the Johnston's Blue. Time consuming and boring!

The oriental poppies were cut back a while ago but I did remember to leave some seed heads. The next big job is the Philadelphus (Mock Orange). Pruning them is a big job and I need to look up how to do it again before I get going. Not in the mood!

But I know what will get me back in the mood - my gardening course this Saturday with Fergus Garrett : )

Another Great Little Doer

20 July 2010 18:41:51
Another Great Little Doer

Another Great Little Doer

Here's another great little doer.

I got this from LindaB, who wasn't sure of the name.

It is just going over now but has been brilliant.

Anyone know the name?

Bit of a Thug

20 July 2010 18:39:30
Bit of a Thug

Bit of a Thug

Does anyone know the name of this yellow flowered perennial?

It is a bit of a thug.

Problem Bed

20 July 2010 18:10:54
Problem Bed

Problem Bed

I have one extremely problematic bed. It is so stony that I despaired of ever growing anything in it (and that's saying something if you know how stony my garden is) but I persevered with tough, cheap plants. Last year I placed pots on the bed to cover it.

Well, this year, I think it has really turned a corner. The Stipa gigantea, Wegeila, Potentilla and Crocosmia are looking good.

I am very pleased.

A Great Little Doer

20 July 2010 18:07:04
Triteleia fabiola

Triteleia fabiola

I must say that I am impressed with these Triteleia fabiola bulbs I got in spring 2009 from Lidl/Aldi.

I planted them in the garden last autumn but didn't really hold out much hope for them. Lidl/Aldi bulbs are cheap. I usually buy lots, grow thm in a pot the first season and then chance them in the garden. If they survive then it is a bonus.

Well these little fellows popped up again in early spring and have been flowering ever since!!!

Amish Paste

19 July 2010 23:50:23
Amish Paste

Amish Paste

I have some really big tomatoes coming.

One of these is Amish Paste, which I got from Chilipepper way back when.

Thanks, Dave.

Looking good!

Last Year's Survivors

19 July 2010 20:40:03
Last Year's Survivors

Last Year's Survivors

This spring when I discarded the tender bulbs I had unsuccessfully tried to over-winter, I dumped them in the Annuals Bed beside the greenhouse.

Look what's coming up in the Annuals Bed!

I'm not sure what they are - Acidanthera, maybe!

Splat

19 July 2010 18:36:08
Lilium 'Cocktail Twins'

Lilium 'Cocktail Twins'

The rain is pelting down now.

Everything in the garden is flattened and in need of dead-heading.

I noticed the slugs have dined on 6 of my 12 Lobelia tupa seedlings, finishing off 5 of them completely.

I must put some pellets down later.

Photos in the album.

From my Kids

19 July 2010 16:12:34
from my kids

from my kids

I'm having a brilliant birthday so far. I got a surprise guitar and vocal serenade of "My Only Sunshine" this morning. Very hopeful, considering the dreadful weather! Sammy was very nervous, especially as we had a guest but he held it together.

Then there was the compulsory "teddy surprise" - all the teddies get hidden in random cupboards around the house and fall out when you open them.

I got cards and chocolates and presents too. The photo shows the gardening things my kids gave me - an apron for carrying secateurs, a history of gnomes, Eryngium 'Jade Frost' and Uncinia rubra 'Everflame' (I hope it's hardy).

And our guest even turned up with a big tub of Asiatic lilies. What a great birthday!

Stirr Crazy

18 July 2010 17:30:15
Podophylum from web

Podophylum from web

I started getting very restless this afternoon and desperatly need a 'gardening fix'. I decided to head down to the Coolaght Nurseries in Clonroche. The skies opened and it started to bucket down - obviously a great omen when visiting an outdoor nursery.

Anyway, despite the rain, I was very glad I went because, with few customers around, I got to have a great chat about plants and even got shown various examples of what we were talking about in the garden. There is one particular Roscoea. It was called 'Amathyst'. My goodness, what a stunner (but not yet for sale)...

But anyway, as tomorrow is my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a few plants. Hubby had told me to buy two plants as my present from the boys so I had to oblige... 

I bought a Tiarella, Liatris spicata (the bulbs I sowed earlier this year never emerged), Gaillardia 'Burgunder (I know, I have a lot of Gaillardia now), Geranium 'Orkney Cherry' (dark leaved, ground cover) and Podophyllum 'Kaleidescope' (my second Podophyllum).

Open Tuber Surgery

18 July 2010 12:07:26
Tacca integrifolia in my gloved hand

Tacca integrifolia in my gloved hand

I must have been feeling very brave this morning because I decided to take matters in hand and check out the seven exotic tubers that have failed to grow for me.

These seven tubers were planted in their individual pots, with the appropriate mix, a very long time ago so they really should be showing by now.

All except the Glory Lilies, had been in the greenhouse for the last while...

Hedychium coronaium (White Ginger Lily) - sown 8 April

Hedychium gardenarianum (Kahili Ginger Lily) - sown 8 April

Lilium tigrinum (Tiger Lily) - sown early April

Tacca integrifolia (Bat Plant) - sown 8 April

Gloriosa superba 'Rothschildiana' (Glory Lily) X 3 - sown 26 February

Of course, after this long, I expected to find mush instead of tubers, especially in the case of the Glory Lilies which had been planted almost 5 months ago, and that is exactly what I found in the case of the Tiger Lily - mush!

But, for the others, as they say no news is good news. My White Ginger Lily and all three Glory Lilies were perfectly intact. No sign of roots or growth but, more importantly, no sign of rot. What on earth are they waiting for. I repotted them and popped them back in the greenhouse.

Good news with my Kahili Ginger Lily, it had thrown up a growth so that also got repotted and put back in the greenhouse.

And finally, the most precious of all, my Bat Plant. Well, there was good news and bad news! It had started to grow and send up a shoot and roots but it had also started to rot at the other end. I really didn't know what to do for a minute but then realised there was only one thing TO DO. So I cut off the rotten bit and repotted the tuber with even more sand. Fingers, toes and everything crossed!

Dahlias, Zinnias & Pennisetum

17 July 2010 13:46:21
dahlia from seed last year

dahlia from seed last year

I have posted a good few journals so I'll make this my last for today.

Just a note on annuals from seed.

I grew Dahlias from seed last year as an annual. If you want them to be more than annuals you need to 'bulk them up' to tubers for the following year. To do this you are supposed to protect hem by bringing them under shelter for the winter. You do this with your favourite colours. Actually, the ones I did put it pots and brought into the greenhouse were lost due to the exceptionally hard winter.

But, amazingly, a few, left in the borders, have come back. This means they have formed tubers and I can look forward to them for years to come : ) The photo shows one such Dahlia. 

As for other annuals grown this year, I am a bit disappointed with my green Zinnias. There is a photo in the latest album. They were not meant to look like that at all! The red dahlia-type Zinnias, whose seed I got from Krista's Estonian site, are much more promising. I will post a photo once they open fully.

As for the much anticipated (and very expensive ) Giant Millet (Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'), I am singularly unimpressed with what the seed has produced. See photo in album where the tallest has just thrown up a plume.

Agapanthus

17 July 2010 13:23:15
Agapanthus

Agapanthus

Hurray!!!

Not only did my mother's Agapanthus regrow, after last winter's devistation, but it has plenty of flower spikes. I love Agapanthus again. I may try growing them from seed again too : )

By the way, I recently said I had two Smoke Bushes (Cotinus coggygria). I forgot about that one - that makes three!

What is this?

17 July 2010 13:10:55
What is this?

What is this?

Can anyone name this common shrub?

I bought it in Lidl/Aldi bare root a few years ago and decided to keep it when I axed the numerous shrubs in Rapunzel's Forest.

It has creamy white plumes, which are just finishing now.

In the photo there is a Camellia on the left a Rhododendron on th right and a Hypericum hidcote behind. Thanks.

Rhodochiton

17 July 2010 13:03:47
Rhodochiton

Rhodochiton

My Rhodochiton, grown from seed this year, have flowered.

They are a bit diminuitive.

Sharon's Dahlia

17 July 2010 12:57:21
Sharon's Dahlia

Sharon's Dahlia

The Dahlia that Sharon sent to me, back in the depths of winter, has finally flowered.

It is a real beauty and my only pompom dahlia.

Sharon thought it was called 'The War of the Roses'.

Thank you, Sharon.

Plums

17 July 2010 12:54:25
Plums

Plums

We have plums this year for the first time.

I didn't want to mention it until they were edible size as I've had bad experiences with pears in the past. It looks like you're going to have a bumper crop but they they fall.

But, not so for our Opal plums (Prunus domestica 'Opal'). We ate several yesterday and today and they are delicious!

Dianella & The Storm

16 July 2010 23:28:44
seed trays - abandoned until next spring

seed trays - abandoned until next spring

It's been a stormy few days. My daughter broke her coccyx yesterday playing football and by yesterday evening, as I sat in the hospital with another suspected broken bone, I was feeling like I should write off for a Season Ticket for Wexford General! My daughter is home now and the treatment is rest and painkillers. She will be fine.

Then, last night, we had a raging thunder and lightening storm that knocked out the electrics in much of Wexford until late this evening. I can tell you, I was ready to kill for a cup of tea by that stage!

But I digress from gardening. I was disappointed by a nearby Garden Centre sale this morning. But I did manage to pick up a good deal on a Dianella 'Tas Red'. I came across Dianella for the first time in Pat's garden last autumn, where I was amazed by its black/blue berries. Anyway, before you could say Jack Robinson, Barbara had divided a piece off for me. Unfortunately I never planted it and lost it in its pot last winter : ( I will be sure to put this plant in the ground asap.

And, let me not forget to mention that yesterday, in the throes of injured backs and thunder storms, a package arrived from Sally, containing two lovely plants. Thank you so much, Sally. I didn't get to pot them up until today but they are safe in the greenhouse now : )

Filipendula

15 July 2010 12:06:39
Filipendula rubra

Filipendula rubra

I have a bit of planting to do today but no compost so a trip out is called for.

My red Pulsatilla seeds are up so that is good news. I've brought them and the wallflower seedlings into the house for more careful minding.

I think the Wallflowers have suffered a bit from drying out or too much sun so I need to keep a better eye on them.

The Filipendula is looking particularly lovely at the minute. This perennial is already more than 5ft tall and doesn't seem to need staking. I only planted it last year!

I think I may get some more of that for my long border.

Dessert

14 July 2010 23:45:15
Dessert

Dessert

Here is today's dessert.

Two lots of strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. The cream was added later.

Actually, aren't we so lucky that strawberries are easy to grow in our climate. If they were an exotic - imagine the trouble we would be prepared to go to to have these fabulous fruits on our plates!

Suggestions Please!

13 July 2010 22:07:45
Suggestions Please!

Suggestions Please!

I have two spaces at the back of my newly planted border and at least one of them, maybe both, should contain a largish bush.

The bush need not be evergreen but must have interesting foliage, perhaps purple. I was thinking along the lines of a Sambucus nigra or a Cotinus. But I have 4 Sambucus nigras already and two Cotinus. I feel I need to broaden my horizons. I also think I have enough Fuchsias.

Can anyone offer any suggestions please? Thanks.

Orchid Care

13 July 2010 20:43:40
Kestrel's orchid

Kestrel's orchid

Today was a real wash out. After about an hour in the garden, dead-heading, the rain started to come down with some force. I went in, where I stayed for the rest of the day.

I took the opportunity to feed/water my neglected orchids. I have been meaning to do this for, quite literally, weeks so it is a weight off my mind to have finally done it. Mind you, they don't look like they're suffering too much!

The phalaenopsis orchid pictured was bought for me by my niece in Dublin just before Christmas. It was bought for 50c on a bargain trolley in some DIY store. Most of my orchids were gotten this way. As you can see, it has just come into flower and is a real beauty.

Three more small bits of good news...

1) My 3rd baby Amorphophallus bulb has poked its nose up (that's all 5 accounted for).

2) My two Haemanthus montana bulbs have also poked up again. These are odd Haemanthus - they grow, they die down, they grow again!!! I'm not sure what they're doing really.

3) My Clivia, divided very recently into 5 pieces, has a flower spike already. At least the biggest division has a flower spike.

Peas

13 July 2010 18:43:17
Peas

Peas

Nothing like fresh produce for dinner.

But the lads don't seem too happy about it somehow.

For their reward they got to tuck into a big bowl of gooseberries, blackcurrants and a few raspberries!

There will be generous helpings of strawberries for dessert tonight again. Life is good!

Buddha

13 July 2010 15:07:13
Buddha

Buddha

This is my mother's Buddha. For years he lived on the patio in her garden but when her interest in gardening faded, she used to keep him indoors in her conservatory.

I am not sure where my mum got Buddha from, possibly Indonesia, as she had spent a while there and brought back a lot of ornaments.

But one thing is sure. He is unnaturally heavy. I don't know what the Buddha is made from but, even if it were pure concrete, it could not weigh as much as it actually does!!!

This morning I sorted out a new home for Buddha. I think he looks well there in front of the bamboo on Babies' Hill.

Nothing to Plant

12 July 2010 23:28:09
classic Lloyd combo

classic Lloyd combo

I did a lot more planting today.

And... wait for it...

I may very soon reach a point where I have nothing waiting to be planted in the garden.

I can't remember the last time I reached that point. It was a good while ago.

I feel withdrawal symptoms coming on already!!!

Tropcal Border

12 July 2010 19:54:59
Tropcal Border

Tropcal Border

My Tropical Border seems to be piking up a bit.

Some Dahlias, Begonias and Cleome are flowering and some of the Coleus are almost a decent size.

Lets see what another few weeks sun bring.

What is this?

12 July 2010 19:34:28
What is this?

What is this?

I bought this perennial from the Bay Garden in Camolin in 2008 but have lost the tag.

When I bought it, it was tall and required staking. It was a bit floppy the first year but behaved very badly in 2009 - I don't think I even got a flower. This year I note that it is still alive and flowering but looking very sorry for itself.

Can anyone tell me what this is?

It does remind me vaguely of a poor cousin of Lychnis arkwrightii.

Forest Pansy

11 July 2010 23:56:02
photo for web

photo for web

The rain stayed off today. I planted, weeded, edged and then planted, weeded and edged again. And then... more of the same. Yep, garden judging time!

I recently bit the bullet and chucked out my poor mummified Acacia. In order to fully compensate for its loss, I decided to treat myself to a Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'.

This decision was not made single handedly. In fact, I remember hubby remarking on what a beautiful tree it was recently and asking "why don't we have one". Needless to say, I reminded him of his very words when the tree arrived home.

It got planted today in my new'runway' border. Hope to take some photos tomorrow.

Lavon Tree Lily

11 July 2010 00:35:13
Lavon Tree Lily

Lavon Tree Lily

This is for Orchid.

Here is a picture of my two Lavon Tree Lilies.

It is their first year but they are no taller than the ordinary lilies in the adjacent pot (not in this photo).

Looking forward to seeing the flowers.

3rd Egg

10 July 2010 20:17:45
3rd Egg

3rd Egg

Hurray!

Finally our third chicken has started laying.

That's three eggs a day for us for the rest of the summer : )

Orchids & Rain

10 July 2010 19:52:30
phalaenopsis hybrid

phalaenopsis hybrid

I got absolutely drenched in the garden today. And then I was so wet that there was no point in coming in so I just continued working. My son said I was mad when I eventually came in. My clothes were so wet I had to change in the utility room because no one would let me in the house like that!

But I am quite pleased with a bit of planting I did at the end of my Tropical Border where there is a large Rhododendron. The area is quite shaded so I took the opportunity to put a Podophyllum hexandrum, from Terra Nova, in there. The big leaves should work well with the tropical theme. And then I added my four hardy gingers. I felt very satisfied, despite the severe drenching. And no, Martin, I'm not going out to get a photo of it : )

Instead I though I would put up this photo of one of my Phalaenopsis orchids. All of the Phals are in flower and there will soon be a few other little treats in store for me by way of orchid flowers. I really need to water and feed my orchids but didn't get to it today : (

Cyperus involucratus

10 July 2010 19:43:34
Cyperus involucratus

Cyperus involucratus

This cutting of Cyperus involucratus that Alison gave me is going like the clappers.

I've already potted it on once and now I need to do so again.

I'd better not hold it back so I'll get to potting.

 

First Cucumber

10 July 2010 19:27:58
Boothyby's Blonde

Boothyby's Blonde

We cut our first 2 cucumbers today. They are Boothyby's Blonde and they don't develop skins.

I was a bit apprehensive in case they would be bitter but no... As sweet as anything!

I hope these will be the first of many. The majority of our cucumber plants are planted outdoors now.

These cucumbers went into the salad with a few tomatoes and lettuce. Yummy.

Conceptual Gardens

09 July 2010 22:16:34
Pansy Project, Homophobic Garden

Pansy Project, Homophobic Garden

The thing that really annoys me about show gardens, whether at Chelsea, Bloom or Hampton Court, is the need to relate artistic planting to a concept, often imposed by the sponsor. Each year we have gardens, beautiful in their own right, but spoilt (in my view) by a narrative on what each plant represents. The garden is not to be enjoyed for itself. We are faced with the same at this year's Hampton Court. Beautiful gardens bend backwards to conform to a Shakespearean theme!

Now don't get me wrong. I believe in conceptual gardens and think they have an important role to play. I particularly appreciate this year's Hampton Curt offering by the Pansy Project. It was a gold medal winner in the conceptual garden section, exploring the theme of homophobia. For me, I just look at the garden (or pictures thereof) and I get it. That is a proper use of conceptual garden as far as I am concerned. Now can the rest of the gardens just be judged on aesthetics alone, please???

Roses & Planting

09 July 2010 18:55:03
long border

long border

I got a few more plants in the ground today before heading off to the talk on roses as Altamont Gardens.

The talk was very good but I was only about 10 minutes into it when I realised that I had been on the exact same talk last year. But... I did get to find out the name of my 2nd favourite rose. It is an alba rose called 'Céleste' and it was Corona North's favourite!!! Although I originally bought mine at Altamont they had none for sale today so I am resolved to take cuttings this year.

I also got a great deal on hardy gingers in their plant sale - 3 for €10, Roscoea 'Jeffrey Thomas' - the same one I bought at Bloom for €7!

Rain is falling now and the parched garden looks great - especially the bronze fennel and unopened Gypsophilia flowers, covered in shimmering drops. I put up some new photos.

Head Gardener

09 July 2010 11:52:23
Bill will have to cut a hole int he ceiling soon...

Bill will have to cut a hole int he ceiling soon...

I didn't get time to put up this journal yesterday so here goes now.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon at Bill's (HeadGardener) and it is just amazing what he has done this year.

Gabriel, Bill's wife, has made a lot of beautiful willow structures around the garden - compliments to existing areas, enclosures and features in themselves. Bill, on the other had, has concentrated on new borders and hedging, particularly his new long Tropical Border (I hope Gabriel will not be offended if I have neglected to mention the work she put in on the new borders).

Besides the tropical planting I particularly loved Bill's grasses border, beside the newly created circular lawn. Trojan work has gone into sorting out the different levels in the veg area of Bill's sloped garden, with enough spuds coming up there to feed all of North Wexford!

So Big Congratulations Bill and Gabriel. You make a great team and thanks for having me!

By the way, Bill, what was the name of your Voodoo Lily again (for my 'must have' list)? And also that black stemmed fern (commoner version) and the very large leaved plant down in your Shade Garden??

Sweet Wrappers

09 July 2010 01:02:13
Sweet Wrappers

Sweet Wrappers

What do you do with paper rubbish when you come across it in the garden? It can be tricky if you're not headed back in straight away.

Today I brought out a small chocolate bar and after I munched it I found myself absorbed in gardening tasks. What to do with the wrapper? My gardening trousers have no pockets and it's too much trouble to walk back up to the house to dispose of the rubbish.

This evening I spent some time at Wexford General A & E with my son who had a suspected broken shoulder. He is fine and has no broken bones and is tucked up in bed now.

But as I waited and waited (as you do), I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable and irritated around the chest.

Only when I got home did I discover the reason for my discomfort. I guess that's what comes from stuffing sweet wrappers down your bra!!! : ))

Good night.

Yucca & Tree Lilies

07 July 2010 22:05:47
enormous lilies at the zoo

enormous lilies at the zoo

We went to the zoo today and had a lovely day but I'm knackered from the driving.

I always love the planting at Dublin zoo. No sign of the giant Echiums this year, after our hard winter, but I did see two small plants hidden away in one place among the foliage.

I really loved the new planting over in the African planes - Dierama, Eucomis, Callistemon, Cercis, Libertia and glorious Yuccas in flower. Or should I say Yucca gloriosa! Speaking of which, why oh why will my Yucca gloriosa Variegata not flower? It's been down a good few years now and I have seen them flower in other people's gardens in Wexford! It is such a great plant that I would have it even without flowers (actually I have about 5) but I would really love the creamy white flower spire!

On the way to the Indian elephant house at the zoo, I spotted these enormous lilies. The stems are like trunks and really tall. I wonder what they are! That reminds me how are my Lavon Tree Lilies doing?

Husker Red

06 July 2010 23:33:51
Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

I have been wondering what this plant was for some time. I know I bought 3 of them at the Bay Garden last year or the year before but then I lost my plant database and I couldn't find the original label.

I have just realised that it's Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' which is very funny since both myself and Linda tried unsuccessfullly to grow this very plant from seed this year. But don't tell anyone!

Production Line

06 July 2010 18:21:12
Production Line

Production Line

Potting up the Persicaria divisions proved to be very time-consuming so I didn't finish last night.

This afternoon I called in reinforcements, in the shape of my 3 sons.

It went so much quicker after that. One person to fill the pots, one person to cut the plants, one person to pot them up and ... Yes, one person to walk off in a sulk. So that left three of us : (

But we did great and finished the lot, making a whopping 279 pots of Persicaria, with 2 cuttings in each pot.

Not a bad days work when you consider how much it would cost to buy that many plants! And if I have too many for the front ditch then there is always the Cistus graveyard on the hill and other stretches of hill at the side...

Cup & Saucer

06 July 2010 18:12:57
Cobaea scadens 'Alba'

Cobaea scadens 'Alba'

The first flower on my Cup and Saucer plant (Cobaea scadens 'Alba') has opened.It has been a good day for the exotics as my Amorphophallus bulbifer also finally poked its nose up this morning.

It seems the white Cobaea is faster than the purple and the plant in the greenhouse is fastest of all.

As my daughter is getting married this time next year, I had thought of making her a flowery arch with Cobaea. Her colour is purple so the white and purple flowers of this plant would be ideal.

However, I would need to sow a lot earlier than I have this year to get a full display by 4 July 2011!

South African Exotics

06 July 2010 18:08:28
crinum capense powelli longifolium, cape

crinum capense powelli longifolium, cape

I popped into my local Garden Centre today, on the way to get compost at the Farmers' Co-Op. It had been a while since I looked in there so I thought I should.

Well, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I spotted some ginormous Crinums. They never have anything exotic in there so I just couldn't believe seeing this whopper-of-a-bulb almost in flower. It was a hefty €13.95 but how could I leave it behind?

I just love the enormous strappy leaves, so like a Hippeastrum, also from South Africa. I'm not doing too badly for Crinums so far since both the Crinum bulbs I bought at Bloom have sprouted and my small Cardiocrinum is doing well too.

The label is long "CRINUM CAPENSE POWELLI LONGIFOLIUM, CAPE" so I'm not really sure what bit is the species. Maybe some knowledgeable person can help?

Propagating

05 July 2010 19:28:15
persicaria

persicaria

This year we had the slope at the front of our garden cleared. It is now covered in plastic membrane. The plan is to plant it up with my favourite plant for such difficult areas - Persicaria.

I already have a hill of Persicaria and think it's wonderful but I won't go into its virtues now. In order to harvest enough new plants for the front of the garden, I allowed the Persicaria on the existing hill to grow into the back of one of my beds - one with gaps. Usually I would cut the Persicaria out in spring. It has spread quite well and today was the day for removing all those plants from the back of the border.

I filled a wheelbarrow full, as you can see. Now, after I watch the Hampton Court Flower Show on telly, my job for this evening is to pot up all these little plants. I will leave them in pots until autumn to root properly before planting them at the front, where the membrane is. I wonder do I have enough plants?

Regal Lilies

05 July 2010 16:20:25
Regal Lilies

Regal Lilies

 

I love the scent and elegance of regal lilies in summer. 

Mine are just opening.

Nepalese Lily

05 July 2010 16:04:19
Lilium nepalensis

Lilium nepalensis

My Nepalese lily opened today.

Despite someone previously breaking off a flower stalk, at least I have one bloom.

Such a beauty!

Birthday Party

04 July 2010 16:26:11
pass the parcel

pass the parcel

 

Yes, it's that time of year again.

 

Mad Tomato

04 July 2010 12:59:14
Reis

Reis

I adore this bizarre tomato and just want to sink my teeth into it although it's still quite green.

It is called 'reis' tomato which, in Dutch, means 'travel'. Apparently people would take this odd tomato with them for snacking on long journeys.

Tomatoes are usually messy to eat without cutlery but this one is easy as you just break off a little knobbly bit, pop it in your mouth and save the rest for later.

First Tomato

04 July 2010 12:47:35
Alaskan Fancy

Alaskan Fancy

 

It looks like Alaskan Fancy will be the first tomato to ripen.

I have grown a couple of early varieties this year - Siberian, Alaskan Fancy and another one whose name escapes me just now. 

I will let you know if the taste is good enough. There has to be a down side to early fruit.

 

Giant Mums

04 July 2010 12:46:17
Giant Mums

Giant Mums

My giant mum plants are doing well.

Thanks so much again to John and Ann who sent me the plants.

I have 6 plants with a single stalk and I am dis-budding the side shoots now. I've had to stake a couple of them.

I just can't wait to see the flowers come.

The plants to the left are my Ancho (Poblano) chillis.

My Little Helper

03 July 2010 18:05:35
Sammy, potting pelargoniums

Sammy, potting pelargoniums

I got some good help today in the garden from Sammy, who is 8. He 'helps' less than he used to so these moments are precious.

Recently I finally managed to get my hands on some more small terra cotta pots and Sammy potted up the last of the pelargoniums for me. There he is giving them a final flourish with the watering can.

We had to make up a compost/grit mix next and Sam was like a pig in ***. He really enjoyed the mixing with his bare hands. We potted up the 8 taro tubers from yesterday and then I split my Clivia into 5 pieces and we potted up these too.

Sam wrote all the labels for me and popped them in. He was quite amazed at the 'splitting operation' and the fact that the resultant 5 plants were all the same (and spoke with the same voice - we have to do voices for plants when Sam is involved). He was very concerned that I was hurting the plant.  I must talk about divisions and cuttings with him again soon.

Pat & Barbara

03 July 2010 12:48:07
Pat & Barbara

Pat & Barbara

Yesterday was another day, with little done in the garden except watch the grass grow. It's great when school is over for the summer.

Somehow we did manage to squeeze in a 2 hour game of croquet however!

Pat and Barbara came to visit yesterday and it was lovely to see them. I hope to return the favour on 10th July when Pat is having his Open Day. Pat, who is strong on garden design, made some excellent suggestions for my troublesome 'babies' hill' area. Thanks, Pat & Barbara, for the lovely phlox and the kids say thanks for the jellies too (Joshua's favourite).

And then hubby came home from the big smoke where he had gone for a Crosby, Stills & Nash Concert. We got take-away as a special treat when I collected him.

Hubby bore gifts - a dinky little wind-up lantern which would be very handy for the greenhouse. The light lasts more than half an hour after a wind-up. And a big bag of fat, already sprouting taro/edo tubers, really good ones! Hubby mentioned that he saw a very interesting looking gardening shop on Mary's Street but didn't know what I would like... !?! Imagine visiting Mr Middleton and nothing finding anything in there for a gardener!

Sky for Martin

03 July 2010 00:50:49
Sky for Martin

Sky for Martin

 

 

Here is a sky shot for Martin.

The Rector

02 July 2010 15:38:58
The Rector

The Rector

I thought I would put up this shot of my Rambling Rector rose.

I bought it originally with the intention of growing it over the native hedge att he front of my garden. It is vigorous rambler. However, it never really got going and around this time I realised that I needed a better solution for my unsightly hedge.

So I dug up the rector and decided to plant him to grow up the largest tree in the garden. My largest tree is a cherry near the greenhouse. It is pretty boring once it has flowered so a prime target for a climber.

The rector is looking particularly well this year and seems to like the tree. It is still quite low down on the tree as I planted it a good way out to avoid root competition.

Sorry for the washed out photo but I wanted to show the scale. There is a nice close-up of the rose in my album.

My Favourite Job

01 July 2010 20:48:08
My Favourite Job

My Favourite Job

I had such an easy gardening day today.

You know you're on a winner when the most pressing thing to do is dead-heading.

I adore dead-heading.

A nice leisurely stroll around the garden looking closely at the flowers - what could be better!

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