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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal September 2010

Last Post 2704 days 4 hours ago

Orchids & Bulbs

30 September 2010 19:44:33
cold orchid room

cold orchid room

I had a great morning at Bill's. He and Gabriel have done such great work this year, it has put me to shame. Your garden is looking great, Bill. Congratulations. I couldn't face bulb planting after that : (

Linda gave me two large black bags of dry straw. A present only a true gardener could appreciate. They are for protecting my tree ferns : )

Home again, some cat got into the greenhouse and sh** all over the floor. Yuck. Couldn't face it today. Will clean up tomorrow. The smell was rare in there when I closed it up this evening!

Back in the house, I did a job sorting out my orchids. Cold orchids have gone into the 'cold room'. This is my daughter's room but as she is at college, I will also be putting my plants in there this winter. I took out all the Oncidiums and have moved them to my bedroom (intermediary room). I need to check the requirements of some of the odder species in my book tomorrow - to make sure they are in the right place.

And I also sorted out all my South African bulbs, transferring them to earthenware pots and putting grit on the surface. But, oh dear, now they take up much more space. Between them and the intermediate orchids, my bedroom is fairly packed.

Lady in Blue

30 September 2010 10:12:19
Aster novi-belgii 'Lady in Blue'

Aster novi-belgii 'Lady in Blue'

The blue asters are coming on now.

The pink are to follow.

Gotta dash. Off to HeadGardener's for some R&R today : )


30 September 2010 10:09:44



I am not sure of the name of this Aconite.

I call it Lidle's best : )


30 September 2010 10:08:44
Nerine bowdenii

Nerine bowdenii


I am delighted to see that my Nerines have not disappeared.

They are just obscured.

At least two of them are coming back.

Ivor's Chilli

30 September 2010 10:07:05



Here is the Cayenne chilli plant Ivor gave me back at our meet : )


30 September 2010 10:06:07
Chrysanthemum 'Regal Mist' Red

Chrysanthemum 'Regal Mist' Red



Some things are worth waiting for.

Cone Flowers

29 September 2010 16:19:57
Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

Since hubby was active in the garden, I decided to seize the opportunity. The thing is, I hate using weed killer and I thought I would ask him to do it. He refuses to accept it's his job but if I talk nicely...

Agreement got, I set to work on the border I want to re-do. I recently bought new plants for this border at the Bay Garden sale so I am anxious to get it done and the plants in.

The first job was to dig out the Cone flowers, Echinacea purpurea, the 2 Stipa tenuissima and the few pink oriental poppies (the things I want to keep). There they are on the grass! Who says Echinacea are not easy from seed? I have really big clumps now!

The next step was for hubby to spray all that remains in the border. What remains is the Achillea 'Cassis', which I also grew from seed, and weeds. I do not like this Achillea. It is really weedy and hides other weeds and always looks a mess. Besides, Echinacea and Achillea were not strong enough to have on their own in a big border.

Just after hubby sprayed, guess what? Yes, it rained. An unexpected quick shower but probably enough to negate the weedkiller. Great! Oh well.

Now I will put the Cone Flowers and Stipa back in the border but I do have rather a lot. So, if anyone would like a piece of Echinacea purpurea, now would be a good time to mention it.

In Flower

29 September 2010 16:04:43


I thought I would put up a picture of my Kafir Lily, Schizostylis, as it is in full flower now.

This one came from my mum's garden and, although not as vibrant a colour as Linda's, I wouldn't kick it out of bed in a storm!

No sign of flowers on the one you gave me this year, Fran. Next year!

Apricot Impression

29 September 2010 16:00:54
Darwin Hybrid 'Apricot Impression'

Darwin Hybrid 'Apricot Impression'

What a superb day it was! Really gorgeous for this time of year. I cracked on with my bulb planting.

I am planting orange tulips and wallflowers in 2 of my tree fern beds. I don't have enough plants for all 4 beds so I am just planting the 2 beds nearest the drive. Later in the year, after we have enjoyed the spring display and when the wallflowers have been discarded, I will decide on something permanent for these beds.

In went 43 wallflowers and 50 tulips into the bed I dug yesterday. I didn't have too many wallflowers, Bill, but thank you for minding them when I was in Kerry!!! My problem is that I never have quite enough of anything. Better planning required! Hubby dug the second bed so tomorrow I will plant the same again over there.

Sunflowers Again

29 September 2010 13:36:09
Helianthus annus 'Earth Walker'

Helianthus annus 'Earth Walker'

Work is underway but I just popped in for a break.

And I thought I would put up this happy sunflower photo, taken from inside the greenhouse this morning.


28 September 2010 16:33:31


I got no bulbs down today. That was because I realised that the border where I wanted to put them had never been dug. I only realised this when I removed the plastic and bark.

On the positive, the bark has turned into beautiful woodlandsy stuff and I was pleased to use it to mulch my Crinums, Galtonia, Fuchsias and Lobelia 'Tupa' for winter.

On the negative, that bed was horrible to dig. I only went one spade deep. Sometimes you have to ignore the books and take a view on these things!

So, by the time I was done, I was done in all senses! I will plant it up with tulips and wallflowers tomorrow. Then there is one more the same : (

After - Ditch, Autumn 2010

28 September 2010 10:22:02
After - Ditch, Autumn 2010

After - Ditch, Autumn 2010

And this is it now.

Before - Ditch, Autumn 2009

28 September 2010 10:21:24
Before - Ditch, Autumn 2009

Before - Ditch, Autumn 2009

Likewise with the ditch.

This was the front of our house in autumn last year.

After - Tropical Border, 28.9.2010

28 September 2010 10:14:51
After - Tropical Border, 28.9.2010

After - Tropical Border, 28.9.2010

And here is the same spot today.


Before - Tropical Border, 21.9.2009

28 September 2010 10:10:22
Before - Tropical Border, 21.9.2009

Before - Tropical Border, 21.9.2009

As it's a rainy day I started looking back at old photos of the garden.

Here is the site of my current Tropical Border on 21 September last year.

The border had just been ploughed up to make way for works beneath.

The cherry tree, large rhododendron, hydrangea and spirea (the backbone of the current Tropical Border) had been removed and put into bags while work was underway.

It fairly broke my heart.

Prepared Hyacinths

27 September 2010 22:27:23
Prepared Hyacinths

Prepared Hyacinths

I think I'll have Hyacinths before Christmas this year.

The boys started off their Hyacinths in glasses. My teenage son also did one but refused to appear in the photo!

They have been left in the cold room in the house with a bucket over them to block light.

We have blue Hyacinths this year - 'Blue Star'.


27 September 2010 18:10:30
me planting in the spring border

me planting in the spring border

Today was a bulb planting day.

I concentrated on my 'spring' border. This border was created last year and it is on the way to the greenhouse. I thought it would be lovely to have a lot of spring flowering plants there so I could enjoy them on my frequent travels to the greenhouse.

Lets face it, no one else in my family enjoys the garden in early spring  as much as I do. So, why not plant for me? No one else will notice Glory of the Snow in March no matter where I plant them!

So, this border is a spring border and I am not going to get upset that it doesn't look well later in the year. It has its own purpose.

The first job was to take up the plastic membrane under the bark chip. This done, I started by putting down my 200 Glory of the Snow, Chinodoxa luciliae. I hope to see a carpet of blue in March next year when there is little else in flower!

Next down was my 100 Corydalis solida. These bulbs are not flowering size, which is why I could afford so many. When they are big enough, they will also flower in March/April and give a lovely pink and blue show. The Corydalis took a long time to sow as they had to be placed much further apart than the Glory of the Snow so that meant more digging.

Next down went 12 Camassias, which will flower in May, 6 blue and 6 white. And having finished the bulbs I then judged that I had space for a few more spring plants - the 2 red Paeonies Maureen gave me, 2 yellow Aquilegias and a Primula from Liga.

A good few hours work, all in all. 

Bay Garden

27 September 2010 09:05:40
Bay Garden

Bay Garden

I adore this under-planting of Sumack with Stipa tenuissima at the Bay Garden.

It is truly inspired.

First Frost

27 September 2010 07:52:14
First Frost

First Frost


First Frost

Hen Party

26 September 2010 19:03:41
view from bedroom window

view from bedroom window

The Bay Garden held their annual Hen Party today. There were people there to talk about keeping hens and to sell them.

I didn't bother going in but came, rather, for the plant sale and to get a final look at the garden before winter sets in. Hubby may have taken a photo of the Sumach, underplanted with Stipa tenuissima. If he did I will put it up later because that is an amazing sight.

I had just gotten the best pick of the plants when Bill (HeadGardener) arrived : ) Linda came along later.

Home again, I bought plants to re-do a certain border. I need to lift the many Echinaceas and the Oriental Poppies in it, spray and then replant. I am wondering how long I have to wait before I can lift those Echinaceas. If I wait until all growth has stopped then it may be to late for the weedkiller to be effective. I could do with some advice on this please.

I do want to get it done this autumn as I have bought the plants for the border and don't want to leave them in pots over winter after last year's experience.

Fran's Birthday Bash

25 September 2010 17:46:34
site for Miscanthus 'Siberfeder' & Molinia 'Transparent'

site for Miscanthus 'Siberfeder' & Molinia 'Transparent'

This morning I travelled up to Mount Venus Nurseries in Rathfarnham to meet up with a few other ie-ers. The get-together was somewhat influenced by the sale Mount Venus kindly put on in honour of Fran's birthday.

Well, the craic was rare. Everyone seemed to be in a spiffing mood. And there was a 20% discount to entice us all in.

As Fran said, there were not many of us but I think we did a valiant job to boost Mount Venus sales. Fran had his border waiting for hi in crates when he arrived. Linda got two magnificent trees and I had a shopping list and came away with...

Artemisia lactiflora
Geranium 'Dilys'
Kirengeshoma palmata
Peltoboykinia watanabei
Miscanthus sin. 'Siberfeder'
Molinia arund. 'Transparent' 

The Miscanthus and Molinia are going on the bank pictured. I have a vision!!!

I won't dwell on any €5 bets or unfair arbitration, but I will say that Liga owes me one : )))

Kafir Lily

24 September 2010 10:10:50


I noticed that my Kafir Lily, Schizostylis, is coming into flower.

It's funny how time passes. It doesn't seem like a year since Michael C told me the name of this South African bulb that I was calling Watsonia!

I recently picked up two Schizostylis coccinea at a sale, thinking I would plant them with my Asters, over the dormant bulip bulbs. But I have since come to realise that it would not be a good idea. I forgot that the Kafir Lily has evergreen foliage so it would be no good on top of tulips.

I think I will pick up a late flowering Geranium (Ann Folkard or Rozanne) at Mount Venus tomorrow. It should compliment the Asters yet prove unobstructive to tulips. Mount Venus seem to have an excellent Geranium collection.

Mother Nature Knows Best

24 September 2010 09:56:57
Verbascum 'Saffrom Towers'

Verbascum 'Saffrom Towers'

I can't believe where my Verbascum has decided to seed.

Isn't that just perfect?

I couldn't have placed a seedling better myself.

What's Left of the Tropics

24 September 2010 09:54:15
Tropical Border

Tropical Border

My Tropical Border still has life left in it yet after the removal of the first round of tenders.

Okay, it's a bit heavy on the Ricinus and Dahlias but not bad for this time of year.

Cannas, Begonias & Impatiens tinctoria will come out at a later stage.


Dismantling the Tropics

23 September 2010 15:08:26
Dismantling the Tropics

Dismantling the Tropics

I decided to bring in the first round of tender plants from the Tropical Border. There is a frost forecast for later this week and I am particularly concerned about my Abyssinian Bananas, Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'.

The plants  I lifted today had all been sunk into the border in their pots so they are the easiest to move. Most of them had tried to escaped downward, with roots sticking out the bottom of the pots.

Here they are loitering around my kitchen, looking for winter accommodation ; )

Turkish Headwear

22 September 2010 16:06:10
Turk's Turban squash

Turk's Turban squash

I continued with bulb sowing today and put down 10 Easter Lilies, Zanthedeschia aethiopica, 10 Turk's Cap Liles, Martagon and 10 Dragon Arums, Dracunculus vulgaris.

You've guessed it! The company that I bought my bulbs from were selling them in lots of 10.

I didn't loose my Dragon Arums last winter, as many people did, but they didin't flower. So, time for some new bulbs.

To tie in with the Turk's Cap Lilies I planted, I took a photo of our Turk's Turban squash in the greenhouse.

But speaking of Turkish headgear and bulbs, Anna Pavord tells a lovely, although unsubstantiated, story about how tulips got their name. One of the first European plant collectors in Turkey was amazed at the beautiful tulip and, pointing at the one on a local's headdress, he enquired as to its name. He was told that it was called 'tulip' but only afterwards was it realised that tulip actually means turban in Turkish : )

High Low Down

21 September 2010 14:57:18
Earth Walker & Claret in the Annuals Border

Earth Walker & Claret in the Annuals Border

I've just been assessing the sunflowers I grew this year.

I was not pleased with either 'Bicentenary' or 'Earth Walker'. I had really been looking forward to 'Earth Walker' since the sunflower write-up in Gardens Illustrated so I sought it out.'Bicentenary' came highly recommended from that same write-up too.

I planted two groups of five 'Claret' in the Annuals Border and put a row of 'Earth Walker' along the back. 'Bicentenary' was planted at the back of my Tropical Border.

'Earth Walker' is the yellow sunflower in the photo. It was not supposed to be ordinary yellow! It is very ordinary altogether.

But I really love 'Claret'. That is the dark one in the photo. It is gorgeous and properly tall too. All my sunflower grew to about 9ft. If I am to grow yellow sunflowers again, I think I would stick with last year's 'Russian Giant'.

I Saved a Grand!

21 September 2010 13:58:07
Persicaria covered front ditch

Persicaria covered front ditch

On 6 July this year I harvested a barrow-full of Persicaria, which I had allowed grow into the empty back of a flower bed from spring. The Persicaria is planted on a hill in my garden and every spring I need to weed it out from the back of the borders that touch the cliff. This spring I just left it do its thing in one border.

Together with my three sons we propagated the Persicaria into pots, putting two cuttings in each pot. It took all day. Within a few weeks though, the Persicaria developed roots which filled their 1lt pots. There were a few pots that didn't take and I gave a few away but by the beginning of September I had 259 sturdy little plants for planting on the ditch at the front of the house.

Now, maybe my idea of a Persicaria covered ditch is not overly imaginative but, for the front of the garden, I want minimum maintenance. I think Persicaria is a wonderful plant for a rough cliff.

Today I finished planting the Persicaria on the ditch.  I hope it will begin to look decent by next year so I can take that awful plastic membrane off. Hubby sowed early daffodil bulbs in the grass at the base of the ditch hence the disturbed soil.

But, the point of this journal is to work out how much money I have saved. If I had actually bought 259 Persicaria plants at €4 each (would I even get them for €4 each? Doubtful!) then I would have paid €1,036 for them!  So, I reckon I have saved a grand. Not bad for one day's propagating work with my sons and the price of a little compost and a few pots : )

Hubby to the Rescue

21 September 2010 12:56:53
Rijnvelds Early Sensation (web photo)

Rijnvelds Early Sensation (web photo)

Hubby came to the rescue today and planted my 100 daffodils for me.

I am so pleased because it was tough going putting them in the grass outside the front of the garden. I got on with other things as he did that.

I bought Trumpet Daffodils, ones that flower really early. I went for 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation', which is supposed to flower in January.

There were only enough daffs to go along 40% of the front ditch. When hubby finished putting them down, he said we should get some more to go all the way along. I think that was really funny considering the big song and dance a little while ago about the excessive number of bulbs I had ordered and wanted him to pick up in UK : )

Mount Venus, Saturday 25th

20 September 2010 19:56:36
Mount Venus, Saturday 25th

Mount Venus, Saturday 25th

Just wondering who was coming to Mount Venus this Saturday?

They are having their end of season sale.

There will be apple strudel, tea and coffee from 11am to 5pm.

I know a few of you are going, including Fran. And rumour has it that Fran's birthday is really soon after!

Their website is...


June & September

20 September 2010 08:47:40
Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'

Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'

I always start to have a nervous breakdown in June & September.

It is the thought of all the gardening tasks waiting to be done. And will I get them done in time?

In June I worry about my seedlings dying in trays and in September I worry about my bulbs rotting unplanted and my plants freezing unprotected.

What to do today? Can't decide the priority. It is a dry day. Should I progress with planting the Persicaria on the ditch or get my daffodils in? Lots of other bulbs to go in too. Plants to move. Plants to mulch. Bushes to stake. Dead-heading to do. And...

Stop, Rachel!!!! I think I'll continue with the Persicaria. See you later.

Even the Sky is Orange

19 September 2010 19:52:32
Even the Sky is Orange

Even the Sky is Orange


An orange sky here tonight too.

Yet More Orange

19 September 2010 18:50:45
Canna indica 'Wyoming'

Canna indica 'Wyoming'

I love this Canna too.

It has such a perfect flower and yet the foliage is spectacular enough in its own right.

With Cannas, I like to buy one with good foliage.

Then if you run out of time before the flower has a chance to come then at least you've had the foliage all summer. 

More Orange

19 September 2010 18:48:20
More Orange

More Orange

My Chrysanthmums are just coming into flower.

I love this orange one next to the yellow Rudbeckia.


19 September 2010 18:46:00
Ribes, Galtonia & Podophyllum

Ribes, Galtonia & Podophyllum

There's plenty of orange in the garden now.

The Flowering Currant, Ribes sanguineum, is looking particularly lovely, with its orange-tipped foliage.

I love this bush. It is so pretty in early spring too.

Plants Person Course

19 September 2010 09:51:17
Hunting Brook, Blessington

Hunting Brook, Blessington

Yesterday I started the year long 'Plants' Person' course at Jimi Blake's Hunting Brook Garden inn Blessington.

It was really brilliant.

The course is for one Saturday a month for a whole year.

We collected seed, sowed it, looked at various plants and visited 3 gardens. Did you know that you can should sow seed in autumn for any perennial with an umbel. I will be sowing Angelica later today.

Hope everyone who has gone to Monaghan today has a great day.

More Hardy Orchids

17 September 2010 19:58:44
Cypripedium japonicum (web photo)

Cypripedium japonicum (web photo)

Great excitement today when the Cypripedium orchid I bought on ebay arrived. This little baby is flowering size, with a healthy looking nose. My dream (well, one of them) is to have several groves of hardy orchids in the shady areas of my garden. However, to monitor the progress of my expensive precious, I am putting it in a pot in the cold greenhouse for the time being.

I think I probably should have started with a simpler Cypripedium but I just fell in love with this beauty. Even the foliage, in a fan-like swirl, is just gorgeous.

So, I used a 5lt pot with polystyrene at the bottom. The mix was 50% well washed perlite, 25% orchid mix and 25% peat (apparently Japanicum likes an acid environment). I buried the nose 2" deep and topped with coarse grit.

Other than that, I progressed with planting Persicaria on the dreaded ditch. I put 32 plants in today (not that I'm counting) and reached the half way mark.


16 September 2010 21:01:08
Darwin Hybrids 'Apricot Impression'

Darwin Hybrids 'Apricot Impression'

This year I am buying tulips that will come back. I do love the Parrot, the Early Doubles and Lily flowered ones but this year I will be disciplined.

As I am not prepared to lift tulips in summer, various RHS guides advise that the tulips most likely to stick around for up to six years are Darwin Hybrids, Fosteriana, Kaufmanniana, Gregeii and, of course, Species. I can vouch for the Darwin Hybrids and Fosteriana from personal experience. Liga disagrees with me and we have had a 'tulip altercation' but such is the stuff of all good gardening friendships : )

So this year I am buying 100 small March-flowering Kaufmanniana to mass plant in the raised bed near the kitchen back door where I will see them every time I step out. I chose 'Giuseppe Verdi' which I grew a few years back and thought was very pretty.

I have also bought 100 Darwin Hybrids. I chose 'Apricot Impression' and plan on doing an old fashioned bedding planting with these orange tulips and orange wallflowers, which I have grown from seed (thanks, Clara). The tulips are 10cm taller than the wallflowers and should be in flower in April/May at the same time.

So I am now trying to work out where I will put this planting. I could EITHER use the Tropical Border as most everything in there, except Dahlias, will be lifted and brought indoors for winter. I could plant around the Dahlias. When the spring bedding is finished I will discard the wallflowers but will have to wait until the tulip foliage dies back. I would also have to plant my tulips deep to allow for planting of tropicals on top afterwards.

OR I could plant the spring bedding in the four beds around my tree ferns. I'm not sure I have quite enough tulips and wallflowers and I've no idea what I will plant there after the tulips fade but this is an option.

Martin's Fern

16 September 2010 17:45:21
Asplenium onopteris

Asplenium onopteris

I've been meaning to put up a photo of the tiny un-germinated Fern Martin kindly gave me when I visited Terra Nova.

Whatever way Martin sprinkled what were, it worked. Look!

I've been taking good care of your baby, Martin.

Should I take the plastic off yet, do you think?

Bulb Fiasco

16 September 2010 17:21:43
Amorphophallus bulbifer

Amorphophallus bulbifer

I am so dead meat at the moment.

Hubby is in England and I asked him to collect my order of spring bulbs and bring them home for me while he was there.

Well, the mail I got from him today was to say that the box is so big and so heavy that there is no way he can get it into his hand luggage. He is travelling economy, hand-luggage only.

I did say to bring the larger hand luggage bag but was poo pooed. I had no idea how big it would be. I think I must have gone slightly overboard : (

I think he is going to have to check in a suitcase after all.

Fritellaria & Lycoris

16 September 2010 17:04:55
Protea cynaroides 'King Protea'

Protea cynaroides 'King Protea'

I have a question about Fritellarias. Today was my first time examining a Fritellaria bulb and I notice a hole at the top. The bulb isn't rotten or anything. In fact it looks very healthy but there is a hole at the top and it seems to go quite deeply in. Is this normal?

So, I planted a Fritellaria bulb today! And four other plants but that is all I did. I was busy with other things.

Oh, and I notice that my Lycoris bulb in the greenhouse has started into growth. Looks like Liga was right about when they wake up. Sure what's new : )


15 September 2010 21:16:06
Annuals Border

Annuals Border

Not an overly productive day but I did my bit. My replacement Persian Silk Tree arrived this morning a.m. so that was a good start.

I planted 16 more Persicaria in the ditch at the very front. So boring!!!

While I was planting, I notied that some of my new Oleander hedging was being battered by the wind. Any excuse to abandon planting the ditch. Using the driver, I managed to get 5 stakes in by myself and tie the Oleander bushes to them. I then ran out of stakes. Why are stakes so expensive? You can pay several quid for one!

It then started spitting rain a little bit so I decided to turn tail and go indoors. Like I said - any excuse.


15 September 2010 20:56:11
Pennisetem villosum 'Cream Falls'

Pennisetem villosum 'Cream Falls'

I must remember to collect seed....

this Pennisetum, Verbascum and various annuals.


15 September 2010 17:54:18
tropical border

tropical border

I've made a gardening decision based on the fact that my daughter got a Saturday job in Dublin.

As my daughter is at college and her Saturday job means she won't be coming home every weekend this year, that means I have a free bedroom.

I am going to put all my tender plants in her room over winter rather than trying to insulate and heat the greenhouse.

And then there was one...

15 September 2010 09:48:04
Eustoma grandiflorum 'Double Eagle Mixed'

Eustoma grandiflorum 'Double Eagle Mixed'

I was disgusted this morning on my tour of the greenhouse. The reason is that one of my Texas Bluebells, Eustoma grandiflorum 'Double Eagle Mixed, has just keeled over.

There it is in the photo. About an inch from the top, the stem seems to have just withered and the top has fallen over. I only have four Eustoma left. This happened to one of them about a week ago, a second today, a third seems to be withering at the very tip and so I only have one left : (

You might think it unreasonable to be miffed over a mere annual but these little babies were a long time coming.

I sowed my tray of Eustoma back on 12th January this year. It was my first sowing of the season. I was really looking forward to the beautiful rose-like flowers, used in the cut flower industry.

Nothing happened for two months, either on heat or off. Around 31st March a seedling poked its nose up. That seedling, which later turned out to be a rogue Foxglove, saved the Eustoma from the compost.

At a later stage I eventually got 7 Eustoma seedlings, out of the twenty four sown. They were potted on in time, with added fish bone & blood in their compost, and very carefully watered. Apparently an inadvertent extra splash of water can finish off Eustoma! So I was really careful. 

But over the course of the eight months that I have grown these fussy annuals, I lost three of my original seven seedlings. So I had four left but they grew tall and looked healthy and I was hopeful.

And now, something has smitten them! A week ago one stem withered in a single place and bent in two. This morning the same thing has happened to a second and a third may go the same way. I have taken my one last remaining plant and brought it indoors to a south facing windowsill. We shall see what happens.


14 September 2010 15:05:01
Miltoniopsis Orchid in flower again

Miltoniopsis Orchid in flower again

It's a wet day here in Wexford with some dry sunny spells. But you wouldn't know what it was going to do.

I decided to catch up on a few indoor tasks.

First job was to pot on my Thalictrum delavayi seelings and the larger Veronica gentianoides ones. Then I sowed a few more trays of seeds - dodecatheon (thanks Myrtle and Sally, who both sent me seeds), Pulsatilla (thanks, Linda, second time lucky) and Primulas from the Bay Garden and Altamont (where myself and Kristina decided to assist with dead-heading : ) Oh, and the Tropaeolum speciosum seeds Linda sent me some time ago too.

Too wet to sweep up after myself in the greenhouse. That's my excuse anyway.

Goodbye Golden Rod, Hello Arisaema

13 September 2010 17:07:04
Arisaema speciosum, year 1 from seed

Arisaema speciosum, year 1 from seed

I had quite a productive day in the garden and am on a bit of a high from it.

I planted some bulbs, roots and plants from pots. First down went the Veratrum nigrum. I was pleased to see that, although I paid for three roots, I got a fourth small one for free. Always a lovely surprise! Then my attention turned to the Hardy Orchids, Epipactis palustris. I was flabbergasted when I eventually unpicked the packaging because in this case, I paid for two and got six, two of which had two noses!!! Needless to say, I was really pleased with myself : ) I then opened my packet of Erythroniums and, very strange to report, it only contained the number I had paid for. I had been half expected a whole bucketful of bulbs in the little package : ) 

I then turned my attention to the Golden Rod, Solidago, which had made itself very much at home in a bed beside the Spring Border. What a porker! Out came the lot and onto the compost. I then had a nice space for planting some arums -  one Arum, one Pinellia and one Arisaema, to be precise, together with some other plants. Can't wait to see what that lot look like in spring!

Back in the greenhouse,the Arisaema I grew from seed this spring have formed cute little tubers, sitting on top of the compost. I am wondering what is best to do for winter. I could lift them completely and bring them indoors, replant them deeper and bring them indoors or leave them and bring them indoors. I am very proud of these little bulbs and want to take no risk this winter.

Busy Day

12 September 2010 20:03:42
West Garden

West Garden

I started worrying about all the gardening things I have to do before winter sets in so that got me out and working. I was out taking cuttings before I even had a cup of tea this morning.

I started off my taking Coleus and Fuchsia cutting although I should take more but I don't feel like wrecking my existing plants just yet.

Then I did a fair bit of planting. I put down a lot of plants that had been waiting for homes, including some that I recently got from friends - several from  Liga, Myrtle's Salvia forskaohlei, Solanum and Echinops, Sally's Doronicum, Jurga's Festuca, Bill's Impatiens omensis and Fran's Spirea 'Bridal Wreath'. I even planted my Crinum.

I missed out on what soundd like a good game of croquet but I am pleased with what I got done.


Liga's Visit

11 September 2010 21:22:17
Liga's Visit

Liga's Visit

I had a lovely day today with Liga, who visited with her family.

Really, really nice. But a long drive for them.

See how brave Liga was.

Tidy Up

10 September 2010 15:56:31
Tidy Up

Tidy Up

The rain had stopped this morning but looked like it wouldn't rest for long. I decided to dart out to the garden and save my China Asters as they were in desperate need of staking.

The whole time I was busy staking, I was expecting the rain to come down again any second. It made me work fast. But the rain didn't come.

Then I realised I had the opportunity to do a bit of a tidy. This would be chiefly in honour of Liga, who is due over tomorrow : ) 

It must have been because of the threat of rain but flowers got dead-headed and grass edges got pulled up at a ferocious rate. I was quite pleased with what I got done.

But, oh, although the garden looks quite neat now, where are all the flowers gone? There is no denying that autumn is edging its way in. Lots of photos in my September album.

Faith in Humanity

10 September 2010 15:40:50
Faith in Humanity

Faith in Humanity

I find that gardeners are very friendly, honest people generally and I find this site great for getting in touch with lots of new gardening friends. It is enough to restore one's faith in humanity, if it were lacking in the first place.

Anyway, today I had another confirmation of the integrity of gardeners worldwide. It came in the shape of an unexpected parcel in the post fro Lithuanian. I was completely surprised at first then I realised what it was.

Some time ago, Liga found a Lithuanian website which had very good prices for spring bulbs - unusual stuff mostly. Veratrum for €3 each (haven't manage to source this one since I saw it at Terra Nova this year). Epipacis (hardy orchids) for €4. 100 small Cordyalis bulbs for €10. We both wanted to place orders but communication with the website was painfully slow. The gardener was too busy weeding to fulfil orders or to set up PayPal so that he could receive an international payment.

I sent in an order and asked some questions, chiefly how much for postage and how should I pay him. I heard nothing back and kind of forgot about it.

Liga got her order but maybe communication was a bit better there since Liga is from a neighbouring country : )

And today, guess what!, I also got my order. But I haven't paid yet!!! And only now, on a note in the parcel, do I see the postage price so I know the total amount to pay!?! I am flabbergasted. It was a largish order. Anyway, payment will be sent today come hail or highwater.

Lovely look bulbs and bare root plants too : )

Pink Berries

10 September 2010 14:45:10
Sorbus vilmorinii

Sorbus vilmorinii


Love the pink berries on this Rowan, Sorbus vilmorinii.

Where's My Chocolate?

09 September 2010 20:37:59
'Summer Chocolate' (NOT)

'Summer Chocolate' (NOT)

I bought the Persian Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate', from a well known Garden Centre this February. I was delighted as this tree had been on my wish list. It is a new introduction and a real beauty with purple dissected foliage and pink powder-puff flowers.

Of course, back in February, the tree had no foliage.

In May it started to leaf up and the foliage was green. I contacted the Garden Centre and they said that the juvenile foliage was green but once completely unfurled and in full sun, it would turn the advertised purple. Well, it never did.

Today, after visiting Jurga, I had a spare half hour on my way back so popped into Van der Wel in Aughrim. I was astounded to see proper purple Persian Silk Trees for sale! My tree is obviously a dud.

So, I am back on to the original Garden Centre tonight and hope to have the matter resolved soon. What a disappointment.

Last Visit of the Season

09 September 2010 15:23:56
Jurgita's garden

Jurgita's garden

I went on my last garden visit of the seaon today.

This time I went to Jurgita (Hoeys) in Rathdrum.

Wow, does Jurgita have a big place and a lot of work. What an enormous vegetable area and - how many chickens, ducks and geese was that again!?!

But Jurga definitely has the green fingers. Her polytunnel is full of culinary delights, such as melons, aubergines, sweet peppers and chillis. These are all hard to grow so hats off to you, Jurgita.

I just love Jurga's little river on the boundary of her garden too. How amazing to have such a feature in a garden. It will look super once the plants there take hold.

Thank you for a lovely day, Jurgita, and for having me.

An irrational feeling of saddnes descended on my way home. I don't think I'm ready to wave goodbye to summer yet : (

Thought I was doing well but...

08 September 2010 19:15:04
Thought I was doing well but...

Thought I was doing well but...

As per the photo below, I thought I was doing well planting the ditch.

But there's still a whole way to go yet : (

So far...

08 September 2010 18:11:07
The Ditch

The Ditch

I got a few more Persicaria planted on the ditch today between the rain drops.

It's coming along.

The holes in the membrane ar where I've ut plants. Better photo in my album.


08 September 2010 18:07:06



Check out this pretty rogue Lupin in my daughter's f;lower bed.

Quite a nice colour combination.


07 September 2010 22:10:26


I'm busy ordering spring flowering bulbs at the moment.

Anna Pavord's 'Bulb' book has proved invaluable for deciding what to order.

In fact, it's such a good book that my husband bought it twice for me last Christmas.

Not a joke : (

When I asked him why he had bought it twice for me he said that I must have asked for it twice.

It's good we can laugh about these things : )

Back from Linda's

07 September 2010 15:36:19


Myself and Bill went over to Linda's today.

What a lovely morning it was, with warm scones and a lively banter!

Linda's garden was looking great as usual, with her grasses coming into their own.

Unfortunately the rain had levelled some of the annuals but the Godieta was still looking lovely and I determined that it is one for next year. We were lucky with the rain and managed to miss the deluge.

Thanks for a lovely morning and for taking the time out of your busy schedule to have us round.

The Dead have Arisen

07 September 2010 15:20:30
cycas revoluta

cycas revoluta

I think it must be my lucky week.

First the Bat Plant has started growing and then this morning I noticed that my Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta, has sprung back to life.

The Sago Palm suffered -8.4 in the greenhouse last winter, although wrapped in fleece. I then brought it indoors but soon realised that the foliage had turned white. There is a photo in my January album, which shows frost destruction. It is a very sad album!

Anyway, I couldn't bear to throw this plant away as I had loved it so much so I cut off the foliage and kept it in the greenhouse but it did nothing. It is just as well that it has sprouted now as I would have discarded it this autumn had there been no sign of life for a complete growing season.

I think I read somewhere that Sago Palms are quite ancient types of plants, like Ginko, and as such they have different growth patterns, sometimes not growing  for a few years and then putting on a spurt. I am glad it put on its spurt this year.

Anyway, I'm well pleased with myself today : )

It's Raining Polycarpa!

06 September 2010 14:10:13
It's Raining Polycarpa!

It's Raining Polycarpa!


Fran, it's raining Polycarpa!

Speaking of Pup's Recent Snip...

06 September 2010 13:39:49
Speaking of Pup's Recent Snip...

Speaking of Pup's Recent Snip...

Speaking of Pup Begley's recent Snip, I am reminded of our recent family additions.

As some of you may remember, my hubby had three Giant African Land Snails, Achatina marginalis, and due to a slight mishap, the three were reduced to one. The least said on this sore point, the better.

Anyway, hubby had been hoping to breed his hermaphrodite snails but, despite numerous eggs, no baby snails emerged. Then two of the snails died and we were left with one.

Well, it seems that some animals don't even need a second of their species to reproduce because our last remaining Giant African Snail has produce seven babies, many many months after the demise of his companions. I wonder who would need to be snipped and where, in their case, to avoid reproduction!

Here is "mammy" snail in the photo, with babies almost escaping because their lid was left off.

Missed a Bit

06 September 2010 11:42:48
Cobaea scadens 'Alba'

Cobaea scadens 'Alba'


When hubby recently weeded my Cobaea from the greenhouse border, he must have missed a bit : )

Houdini Eat Your Heart Out

06 September 2010 11:19:55
Houdini Eat Your Heart Out

Houdini Eat Your Heart Out

Hubby pointed out what my Cobaea in the greenhouse was up to.

Look at it!

It is escaping. And escaping through a place where there's not supposed to be a hole : )

I get knocked down, but I get up again...

06 September 2010 11:16:42
I get knocked down, but I get up again...

I get knocked down, but I get up again...

I can hear my garden singing this song this morning as it gets splatted by the rain and wind.

Now I remember why I start bringing plants in in September. It's to stop them getting damaged.

The Squirrel Grass in the photo always lies down like that in the rain. It does pop up again afterwards, thankfully.

Jackpot Winner

06 September 2010 00:45:54
Jackpot Winner

Jackpot Winner

I'm sick of getting post from the Dutch plant company, Bakker, telling me I've won inordinate amounts of money if I will only place an order with them immediately.

Anyone else being equally irritated by them?

The Trees are Dancing

05 September 2010 22:49:44
Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

My youngest son announced this evening that 'the trees were dancing'.

Looking outside, it seems that he is right.

There is a right old wind whipping up out there and I fear there will be vegetative casualties.

The boys were captivated watching Mr Nobody ride their toy tractor around the drive while the trees danced.


05 September 2010 16:54:26
Tacca integrifolia

Tacca integrifolia

My Bat Plant has finally poked its nose up. Hurray!!!!!!!!

I am over the moon. Couldn't believe my luck when I checked out the 'hopeless cases' in the greenhouse this morning. Not so hopeless after all!

This was a tuber I bought in spring. Some of you may remember how I dug it up to check what was going on and found it had sprouted but was rotting at the other end. I had to cut it and replant it.

I brought the plant indoors and put it on the windowsill with my Nepenthes. It should benefit from the added humidity there.

First Leaves

05 September 2010 16:47:02
First Leaves

First Leaves


The first leaves are falling in my garden : (

Sunflower Tree

05 September 2010 16:44:21
Sunflower Tree

Sunflower Tree

I planted sunflower, Bicentenary, at the back of the Tropical Border. I'm not overly impressed with them, preferring last year's Russian Giants.

However, one of the sunflowers is beside the Cherry Blossom tree and has managed to grow up in its shelter.

Now it looks like the Cherry Blossom tree has produced sunflowers in autumn, rather than cherry blossoms in spring. What a novelty! It brings a smile to my face whenever I catch sight of it.

See the yellow flower at the very top of the tree's foliage in the photo! There's a better photo in my album.

Fran's Garden

05 September 2010 00:28:51


Today I was lucky enough to visit Fran's tasteful garden. But I was not lucky with the weather! But such a minor detail could not hold dedicated gardeners back! And while I will soon come to mention the word 'chic' in connection with Fran's garden, it did not come into play when I tucked my jeans into my socks to get a better look at Fran's new under-construction project : )

But back to the main garden. Fran has done amazing things in a short time. I stand in awe of anyone who can manipulate wood and raw materials the way Fran can. His garden is full of many fine details that I could not possibly do in my own garden and it would cost me a fortune to have done. But Fran seems to take pleasure in challenges and his achievements are many.

I think Fran posted a journal some time ago where he felt that a softening influence was needed in his garden and he suggested grass. That is certainly not the case today. Fran's grouping of pots works well to blend the garden together. The overall impression is one of modern chic, with a strong Japanese bias. But what will be the theme in Fran's soon-to-be-developed new area? He's not telling.

How could I have forgotten my camera!!!

Oh, and we did take a jaunt up to Mount Venus Nurseries, which was very impressive. First time for me and the nursery man was extremely giving with his time and knowledge. I got five super plants, which I am well chuffed with, including Asarum kitaibelii. I cannot find a photo in google but its appearance is similar to the photo shown, with tiny, shiny leaves.

I noted two more exceptional plants which Mount Venus may be selling next year - Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes' and Fatsia polycarpa. I want them!

Thank you, Fran and Maria, for a super day and allowing me the opportunity to view your beautiful garden in such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.


04 September 2010 08:50:48
Dionaea muscipula

Dionaea muscipula

It's been an extremely frustrating 2 days as I've had no internet.

Did a bit in the garden though - planting the ditch and covering the other ditch with plastic.

I haven't had a chance to look at journals or reply to people and I need to go out now. Hopefully there will be internet later and I can do so then. See you soon, Fran : )


02 September 2010 10:41:44
Liquidambar styraciflua

Liquidambar styraciflua

Just getting up courage to go out and continue the 'ditch planting'.

The weather looks like it will turn next week so I'd better get a good bit done by then.

My Liquidambar tree has acquired its autumn tints and looks really beautiful.

Still raging about the tree being broken in two!

Yesterday's Dinner

02 September 2010 10:34:15
Yesterday's Dinner

Yesterday's Dinner

Hubby made a lovely Indian meal last night, with a yoghurt and tomato Raita, which we all ate in the garden.

Naturally most of the ingredients came from the garden. We have lots of tomatoes now. The boys get whole cherry tomatoes tucked into their lunches and they love them. It was strawberries in their lunches back in June.

Barlotti beans are being harvested now, together with copious amounts of chard, courgettes and mustard greens. Hoping that the good weather and the outdoor dinners continue.

Planting the Ditch

02 September 2010 09:59:17
Planting the Ditch

Planting the Ditch

Back in spring we had the hedge at the front of the garden removed and I replaced it with a hedge of Oleaster, Elaeagnus ebbingei. The new hedge has mostly taken very well and has grown a lot but I did have 13 casualties. The casualties were either due to pockets of the strong weedkiller we used or due to fertiliser placed too close to the Oleaster  roots. But this journal is not about that.

The hedge is along the top of a bank or ditch that leads down to the road outside (left in the photo) and I covered it in plastic membrane to keep the weeds down until something more sensible could be done.

Then in early summer, with my sons' help, I propagated some 300 Persicaria for planting on the ditch. Yesterday I started to plant up the 300 nicely rooted Persicaria plants.

I can tell this is going to take a while! I only got 20 plants down yesterday and the ditch is swallowing them up fast so I have a feeling I will not have enough to finish.

When I had the 20th planted I suddenly realised that I had better stop because hubby sprayed weedkiller this morning at the base and watering the Persicaria might dilute it.

This job is to be continued… probably for a few weeks or a month of Sundays. There is a photo in my September album.


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