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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal February 2011

Last Post 2514 days 9 hours ago

Get Together

28 February 2011 21:58:28
Get Together

Get Together

As you are all probably aware, we are having our garden.ie spring get-together in Johnstown Garden Centre on Saturday 5th March at 1pm. It will be brilliant and it looks like we will have a bumper turn-out.

We will meet in the restaurant at 1pm, where there should be enough seats reserved for us if we give Johnstown the correct numbers. Below is the list of attendees to date, numbering 40, so if there are any changes to this, please let me know asap. Now is also the time for anyone with ? next to their name on the list to let me know if they are coming.

We are hoping that as many people as possible will take part in our kris kindle. This involves buying a gift for one other (unknown) garden.ieer. Gifts should not cost more than €10. In the photo my son is holding the pressie I have bought and will bring on Saturday. We will put all pressies in a big pile and everyone who has contributed, may take one out at random.

When you get to Johnstown, it might be an idea to park to your left as you enter. This area is apparently usually free and it would make sense for us to all be parked in roughly the same area if people are bringing plants to swap with others.

I'm looking forward to a brilliant day : )

1 March 2011

Oh, and please wear an name tag with your site name on it!

AitAlainn 1
Bruno 1
Clara 1
Dick 1
Drumanagh 1
Fintan? 1
Fran 1
Gismo 1
Gracedieu Lass 2
HeadGardener 1
Hoeys 1
Hosta 1
Ingrida 1
Jacinta 2
Jools? 1
Kate & Graham 1
Keego 1
Krista 1
Ladygardener 1
Liga 1
LindaB 1
Maureen? 1
Myrtle 2
Orchid 1
Periwinkle 1
Rachel 1
Rhody 2
SeamusC? 1
TheH 2
Unagrant 1
Violeta 1
Yellow Rose 1
Wellie 3


28 February 2011 14:32:21


It is a fabulous day.

I'm just going out to do a bit.

Thought I'd put up a hellebore photo first though as they are at their best.

I have just uploaded some photos to my February album.

Crocus Lawn

28 February 2011 14:00:29
Coolaught Gardens

Coolaught Gardens

I got a message this morning from a friend, telling me to get on down to the Coolaught Gardens in Clonroche. Their 'crocus lawn' was in full flower.

Wow, she wasn't wrong. What an amazing sight!

If you are anywhere in the vicinity, get your ass down there! They have a lovely selection of hellebores for sale too.

Messing with Seeds Again

27 February 2011 21:14:01


27 February 2011 12:42:12
germinatd seeds and those that require room temp.

germinatd seeds and those that require room temp.

I did a little bit of sorting this morning and moved the Aldi greenhouses from the glasshouse to the kitchen. This improves life considerably as my seed trays in the kitchen now take up less space, are less likely to spill on the floor and are wasier to reach.

But one thing is obvious. I need to sow a lot more seeds. As Deborah would put it - I'm off now to sow a shed full of seeds.


27 February 2011 12:32:39
Rijnveld's Early Sensation

Rijnveld's Early Sensation

I've been wanting to put up a photo of the daffodils at the front of my house for three days but I've been coming home late when the light was bad so never got the chance to take a photo.

At last, I caught them this morning.

I'm very pleased I planted these daffodils last autumn. What an early spring boost!

Check it Out

26 February 2011 20:02:35
Aechmea 'Primera'

Aechmea 'Primera'

I noticed that my house plant has produced loads of lovely little blue and red buds on the inside.

This plant really does not look real!

Just amazing.


25 February 2011 19:51:58


I had to go into Gorey today so I set off early that I could run a few gardening errands before having to do other things.

My first stop was Springmount Garden Centre to get seed compost, vermiculite and the impulse purchases of Viburnum rhytidopyllum, Lavon Tree Lily bulbs and a Paeony 'Bowl of Beauty' root.

I then hit Lidl, where I got a number of bulbs including Amaryllis belladonna (and Hosta being kind enough to buy one for me already - I will have two :), lilies and nerines.

I adore dahlias but, to tell the truth. I am sick of losing them in the frost. I am not prepared to lift them as there are too many and I have nowhere to overwinter them. June Blake lost all hers in the greenhouse this winter and Jimi only saved his by bringing them into his house in the nick of time. I really can't be storing any more plants in my house so, for the moment, I'm off dahlias! It probably won't last though!

I was disappointed to see no Nerine bowdenii in Lidl, just the white one. I've no idea what speces that white one is and I think someone said they lost the white one last winter.

My third stop was the €2 shop, where I got some more bulb bargains. I need to do a bit of potting methinks!

Little Experiment

24 February 2011 22:33:07
Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' & Jacinta's one

Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' & Jacinta's one

I sowed more seeds this evening and decided to do an experiment.

I have long suspected that the Aldi seed/cutting compost is not very good so I decided to check for certain.

I sowed two trays of Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red'. I know these seeds are good because I've already germinated them this year. One tray had Aldi seed/cutting compost and the other had Westland seed/cutting compost (which I have been using and know is good). Everything else I did with the two trays was identical. The Salvia took four days to germinate last time so we'll see...


24 February 2011 16:13:35
cocoa husk mulch

cocoa husk mulch

I spent a lovely morning clearing the long border. It is not a hard job. The biggest problem was my Deschampsia caespitosa grass, which seems to have seeded about in a weedy way. I'm keeping an eye on it now and it is probably for the chop.

I noticed Delphinium, Chrysanthemum and all sorts peeping up, which was wonderful.  There have been some losses too but life goes on. I would have stayed out longer except for a Rudbeckia which decided to poke me in the eye.

My mulch arrived this afternoon - 2 bales of cocoa husk! Whn it was delivered I was told I don't have enough but we'll see how it goes.

More seeds are up - Arisaema and Selinum. Happy days.

Root Cuttings

23 February 2011 23:56:19
Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex' (from net). Did you really want a photo of my messy kitchen!

Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex' (from net). Did you really want a photo of my messy kitchen!

I made the most abominable mess in the kitchen this evening. It was like a compost-bomb had exploded in there. What was I doing? A mere spot of potting on and root cuttings.

So, to show for the fact that I had to do extensive tidy up and floor washing (I mean, I've already done the annual floor wash, for goodness sake), I potted on four Aeonium, and made root cuttings for Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex', Melianthus major and Impatiens tinctoria.

I have since leavened that Impatiens tinctoria is unlikely to take so I have probably just knackered the plant for no good reason. It had a long tap root when I dug it up to bring indoors last autumn, which made me think it might be a good candidate for root cuttings. Tomorrow I will give my Romneya coulteri the same treatment. It is outdoors and unprotected (gulp!) but it was too dark to see what I was doing out there this evening when I started cuttings.

Foxtail Lily & Early Tulips

23 February 2011 18:09:39
Eremurus stenophyllus & kaufmanniana tulip 'Giuseppe Verdi'

Eremurus stenophyllus & kaufmanniana tulip 'Giuseppe Verdi'

I noticed my foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus, and kaufmanniana tulips, 'Giuseppe Verdi', are nicely up.

Maybe this will be the year I get flowers from the foxtail lily. They are planted in a raised bed so the drainage should be good. We'll have to wait and see.

No sign of any flowers on these early tulips yet though.

Love at First Sight

23 February 2011 11:56:45
Symplocarpus foetidus

Symplocarpus foetidus

Deborah was powerful last night, giving her talk in Foxrock about the trials of a confirmed plantaholic. It was a fabulous evening and I have pages full of useful tips and plants to try (but I think I'll give the dandelions a miss, Deborah :)


It was love at first sight. I spotted him across a crowded room and resolved that he would be mine.

His name is Symplocarpus foetidus and he is an aroid. One of the very few plants that can generate its own heat, this one does so to melt ice and then, using its upper claw, it breaks through the frozen surface to unfurl.

Deborah recently posted about this beauty and the ten years it took for it to flower from seed. I couldn't believe when I saw one on sale and now it is mine. I am like a pig in *** No reference intended to the offensive smell that this plant generates.

Tidying Up

22 February 2011 15:44:20
Helleborus orientalis

Helleborus orientalis

It was the kind of day today that Geraldine refers to as 'mizzly'. It was almost raining but not quite.

But it was still a good day for the garden.

I didn't get gallons done but I managed a bit of weeding and clearing down the front.

The best advice at this stage in the game is to just get the garden cleared. You feel so much better once it's done!

But now I'm off up to Dublin to meet my daughter and catch Deborah's talk tonight.

The photo shows a bit of a 'girlie hellebore' that has opening up. So men beware!

Arum Alert

21 February 2011 20:39:34
Arum elongatum 'Crimea'?

Arum elongatum 'Crimea'?

I was very excited to see this emerging this afternoon. I think, from its position, it is my Arum elongatum 'Crimea'. If not then it is Arisaema candidissimum or even Pinelia pedatisecta. I planted all three beside each other and took note of the order, you see, but as only one is emerging, I can't see the order.

I had a most productive day outdoors - pruning and weeding. I cut my Stipa gigantea right back. There are so many different schools of thought on this. I previously attending a session on pruning where they said to leave them alone, just cut out the dead seed-heads. But Jimi reckons that you get better growth from cutting right back. I decided to give it a try as mine have become quite messy.

As I had pruned my Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud' I decided to try some hardwood cuttings. I really love that bush. I cut mine hard back this year as it is getting quite unruly.

A great day and some cuttings to show for it too!

Last Snowdrop Day

21 February 2011 09:53:47
Altamont reflections

Altamont reflections

I met Liga and Hazel (TheH) in Altamont Gardens yesterday for the last day of their snowdrop week. It wasn't a nice day at all but the heavy rain stayed off and the light favoured our photographs. After some adventures, we met up and joined the tour but there were so many people, and with the wind drowning out the Head Gardener's speech, we decided to take our own tour instead.

I must say that the snowdrops had really peaked. The organisers must have been cursing that it happened so late in the official snowdrop week. But that's Irish weather for you!

Besides the snowdrops, two particularly beautiful sets of planting stuck out. The first was a large Pinus wallichiana, adjacent to a flowering Rhododendron and Daphne mezereum and underplanted with snowdrops. The second scene was a mature multi-stemmed Acer griseum with a just-opening Rhododendron and snowdrop underplanting. Apologies to rhodo-philes that I only got one Rhododendron name among that lot. Some good photos are in my Altamont 2011 album.

We had a lovely walk, some silliness in the 'plant sale' section of Altamont, followed by very-welcome hot soup and cake in the nearby Forge restaurant. At which time the rain started pelting down. It was really lovely to meet Hazel for the first time and learn a bit about her garden first hand. Completely planned on paper before any planting was done, I'd say this is one to watch!

And, how could I not mention my dear friend Liga, whose birthday it was. I felt very honoured that Liga chose to include us in her birthday celebrations. Happy Birthday, Liga.

First Daffodil

20 February 2011 11:47:56
Rijnveld's Early Sensation

Rijnveld's Early Sensation

My first daffodil opened today.

Even before the first one in Huntingbrook!

These are called 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' and I sought them out because I read they were the earliest flowering daffodil.

I think normally they would have flowered even earlier but for the bad winter.

Jimi Blake's 'Plant Person Course'

20 February 2011 02:10:48
Jimi Blake's 'Plant Person Course'

Jimi Blake's 'Plant Person Course'

I am not long back after an exhausting but exhilarating day.

Jimi Blake's year long Plant Person course resumed after its Christmas break and it was a packed day. It was so lovely to be back in Huntingbrook and to start with a clean slate. By this I mean that when the course started last September, the garden was at its peak so it was very hard to get a grasp on it. Now we are viewing everything in its infancy and can appreciate the plants more as they emerge.

We are also getting to see the build of Jimi's large new border. Today it was a pit, filled with manure. I am sure that planting will be well underway by the time we see it again.

Today we learned about root cuttings, divisions, coppicing, pollarding, general spring cutting back and a host of other topics, with large spells in the garden doing practicals or identifying plants that are looking good now. And as if that wasn't enough, we also had a talk by Ciaran Burke on good garden plants, naming many new species for me. It was a packed and glorious day and afterwards, carefully nursing a few sample plants and cuttings, I headed up to Dublin to see my daughter. I cannot recommend the course enough. I've uploaded a few photos.

Wouldn't Eranthis Look Well Here?

18 February 2011 17:43:21
Wouldn't Eranthis Look Well Here?

Wouldn't Eranthis Look Well Here?


Working in the far corner of the garden today, I got to thinking wouldn't some bright yellow winter aconites look great here, under the Snowy Mespil tree?

Isn't it lucky I have some handy : )

Maybe a few daffodils too.

Good Day's Work

18 February 2011 16:42:28
Amelanchier canadensis

Amelanchier canadensis

I did a good day's work today and planted the 16 Oleander in the gaps in my front hedge.

I also weeded it and dug the docks out of the lawn beside it and got indoors before the rain.

Now the rain is coming down, giving my hedging a second watering.

There are loads of fat buds on the trees and many promises of spring. 


Thuja - for Fran

17 February 2011 17:55:35
Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

Hi Fran,

This is Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd', grown widely as a cypress substitute in this part of the world. It retains its pencil like shape.

I am 5ft 2" so you can judge the height from that. This tree costs €18.80, which I think is rather good value. If you want me to buy you one to bring to Johnstown then let me know.

More Trees - Heads Up, Fran!

17 February 2011 16:52:44
Pinus wallichiana

Pinus wallichiana

I picked up some replacement hedging today for the 16 Oleander bushes that died on me last year. But the rain came down before I could get to planting.

While I was there I picked up some good value trees and large bushes. The tree collection in the greenhouse is growing. I will have to plant them soon. Today I bought :

Betula pendula 'Youngii' (weeping birch)

Parrotia persica (glorious autumn coloured tree)

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' (good sized, pencil shaped evergreen))

Viburnum farreri 'Candidissimum' (winter flowering, scented shrub)

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima Variegata' (I had this shrub in my first garden and loved it)

Pinus wallichiana (remember this from Altamont, Fran?)


17 February 2011 16:35:30


Hubby did a good job today and got about half the Rosa rugosa up.

The Rosa rugosa formed a large part of the back of a border that encircled our eating area on two sides.

Now suddenly the eating area is no longer enclosed and feels very exposed. Where's my height gone.

I now have to decide what to put in place of the Rosa rugosa hedge. I could put mixed shrubs as it is the back of a border. But I am inclining towards  a hedge of Lonicera nitida (with slate sunk vertically into the ground to block its roots from interfering with the border which it is backing).

The Lonicera grows fast, quickly providing height. It would also echo another such hedge, not too far away. But it is a bit plain. But it could be clipped nice and neat. Decisions, decisions.

Orchids in Flower

16 February 2011 11:06:52
Orchids in Flower

Orchids in Flower


I'm going out to cut some Rosa rugosa but before I do I thought I would put up a little orchid shot : )


15 February 2011 22:28:52
Tulopa 'Apricot Impression' and wallflowers 12.2.11

Tulopa 'Apricot Impression' and wallflowers 12.2.11

I am delighted to say that spring must well and truly be here.

Just yesterday I was thrilled by the progress of my Darwin hybrid tulips (Impression series) as they have sent up gloriously tall foliage spires already.

But being human, that got me to ponder over what had happened to my 'early tulips'. What on earth had happened to the 100 kaufmanniana tulips I had bought to specifically to flower in March and lift my spirits in that bleak month? There was absolutely no sign of them!

Then tonight I returned home about 8:30pm in darkness, pulling up beside the raised bed where I had sowed the kaufmanniana and, guess what!?! They are all poking up!!!


15 February 2011 16:17:58
Clare's Bergenia

Clare's Bergenia


A rainy day in Wexford today.

Few More Seeds

14 February 2011 23:49:27
Dietes bicolor (photo from net)

Dietes bicolor (photo from net)

I sowed a few more seeds this evening, including some that a friend in South Africa sent...

Watsonia tabularis (?), Dietes bicolor (?), Phytolacca americana 'Variegata', Eccremocarps 'Tresco Mixed', Clematis viorna (the prettiest little seeds imaginable), Lathyrus 'Olice D', Ricinus and Alstroemeria ligtu hybrids. If anyone has experience of any of the odder of these seeds, I would like to compare notes.

Cold Seeds

14 February 2011 15:23:00
watering orchids

watering orchids

The plan for today was another trip to Altamont and a chance to meet Paddy & Mary there. Unfortunately this morning I realised that the car was double booked so I had to stay grounded instead : (

But I did get out to the garden and did a bit more of the cutting down of my Rosa rugosa hedge, which is going. I read in the February Gardens Illustrated that Rosa rugosa is the favourite plant of Alys Fowler. I have now completely lost respect for that woman.

I also dug up the surviving Dahlias from my annuals bed. These are the ones that went in there in 2009. I only noticed a new shoot on one, unlike Liga. But I removed the mushy stuff and potted any solid tubers up for the greenhouse.

And in the greenhouse - joy!!! Some of my cold seeds have finally germinated -  Chaerophyllum hirsutum 'Roseum', Angelica (parent was 'Vicar's Mead') and Primula florindae.

I was really gob-smacked at the Chaerophyllum germinating as I sowed it way back in July 2010! When I went on holiday to Kerry in August, I gave my seedlings and ungerminated trays to Bill to mind and he did a great job but when I collected them from him I put the ungerminated Chaerophyllum tray awkwardly into my boot and it spilled. I scooped the contents back in, as best I could, but didn't really hold out much hope for them. The only reason why they didn't get discarded was that they were cold seeds so easily kept in the greenhouse. But there is no mistake, I now have Chaerophyllum seedlings : )

Spring Bulbs

12 February 2011 15:18:45
Crocus, Aubrieta & Hyacinth

Crocus, Aubrieta & Hyacinth

A walk around the garden this morning revealed lots of spring delights.

The daffodils, 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation', along the front ditch are about to flower. Other daffodils are poking. The Darwin hybrid tulips, planted with the wallflowers, are poking up a good way. Hyacinths and irises are poking up too.

My one clump of snowdrops is about to flower. I thought I had lost these completely as they were impregnated with couch grass and I did a 'job' on them last summer. But, no, although fewer, they are back.

Witch hazel is looking good and trees are full of buds. Happy days. I put a few photos in my album.




12 February 2011 15:10:38


I think this might be the Erythronium dens-canis 'White Splendour' that I planted last autumn.

It's either that or the tête-a-tête daffodils that Jacinta gave me last spring.

Time will tell.

Ceder 2011

11 February 2011 16:37:06
Cedrus deodora 2011

Cedrus deodora 2011


Here is the same tree and the same boy today.

The tree has a way to go to be like the one in Altamont.

But we can wait.

Ceder 2005/2006

11 February 2011 16:19:57
Cedrus deodora 2005/2006

Cedrus deodora 2005/2006

Following on from Fran's recent journal about the Ceder tree in Altamont, we planted our Ceder tree in 2002 as the birth tree for my son, Samuel. It was about a foot high then. We bought the tree in Altamont so we knew how big it would get eventually.

Here is a photo taken in 2005 or 2006 of the tree. Samuel is the blondie one.

Gardeners Through Time

10 February 2011 22:49:17
Gardeners Through Time

Gardeners Through Time

I have recently finished two excellent gardening books, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Although separated by 82 years, the two books are similar in layout and both portray gardeners in very similar lights. Both are compulsive reading and extremely humorous.

The first book was on many people's Christmas list. It is 'The Curious Gardener' by one of my favourite gardening writers, Anna Pavord. It is a miscellany of gardening preoccupations and stories, strung together with the 'months of the year' theme. I could not put it down and I laughed at every turn.

The second book was written in 1929 by the heavyweight Czech writer, Karel Capek, who happened to be a gardener when he wasn't busy inventing the term 'robot' for the English language. But this gem of a book is anything but heavyweight. I laughed out loud from start to finish, cracking up at the chapter where the gardener goes on holiday and leaves his garden to the care of some poor, well-meaning friend. This book is an absolute must for anyone who is seriously interested in gardening. Thank you, Liga, for introducing it to me.

Planting Detail

10 February 2011 17:05:30
Planting Detail

Planting Detail


I just had to put up this lovely detail of planting from Altamont.

Altamont Preview

10 February 2011 17:04:39
Altamont Preview

Altamont Preview

I met Fran and Clare at Altamont Gardens today. We were doing a preview for the official snowdrop week.

It was the perfect day to visit Altamont. The gardens looked fabulous. We saw dainty Eranthis, Arum maculatum, tiny irises, cyclamen, snowflakes and loads and loads of snowdrops. One of the Daphne was in flower but not the 'Jacqueline Postill'. There were also hellebores, including plenty of the foetidus variety. Helleborus foetidus looked superb but we could not get Clare to like it : (

Both myself and Fran were very impressed with an evergreen pine tree, Pinus wallichiana, but it was not for sale in the plants section.

The only disappointment was that the walk down to the river was closed. We went for lunch (or cake, in my case) at Rathwood Garden Centre near Tullow afterwards. I think Clare was impressed with the furnishings for sale there! I left Clare in furnishings and Fran heading for the plant sales!

It was lovely to meet up with good friends and share such a special place.

Peonies from Lithuania

09 February 2011 23:23:04
Peonies from Lithuania

Peonies from Lithuania

My peony order arrived today and looks great. I bought them from a Lithuanian site that specialises in ex-Eastern block varieties and there are some really exciting ones to choose from. Coming from Lithuania too, they're all going to be extra hardy.

I had a big seed sowing day today. I got hubby to bring 10 trays down from the attic and I filled them all and six pots. I sowed Ricinus sanguin, Agastache 'Heron's Mist', Agastache mexicana 'Sangria', Campanula lactiflorum 'Prichard's Variety', Dahlia orientalis, Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness', Lobelia bridgesii, Lobelia cardinalis, Oenothera 'Sunset Boulevard', Pennisetum villosum and Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls. That's my lot.

Altamont, Snowdrop Week

08 February 2011 21:24:46
Altamont, Snowdrop Week

Altamont, Snowdrop Week

I was just wondering if anyone was intending to visit Altamont during their snowdrop week. Altamont has an impressive snowdrop collection.

The head gardener gives a daily guided tour at 2pm from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th. The event is a must for galanthophiles everywhere.

Myself, Liga and Hazel were talking about attending on Sunday 20th. Anyone else?

Stinking Crocus

08 February 2011 12:41:40
Stinking Crocus

Stinking Crocus

It's a lovely sunny morning but I am not going out there.

The reason is that the manure spreading on the fields is in full swing and the smell is dreadful.

I did brave the aroma to take a few crocus photos however.

It was well frosty last night, about -5 here.

Obviously I chose a good night to move some of my tenders out to the glasshouse :(

Get Together

07 February 2011 20:58:12

Potting On

07 February 2011 20:44:03
Veronica gentianoides

Veronica gentianoides

I didn't do very much today as a spot of spring cleaning was required after the kids' party yesterday.

I put a few plants out in the greenhouse (Beschorneria, Punica & Polygala). My Primula, Pulsatilla, Veronica and Thalictrum seedlings are going out tomorrow. I only brought these hardy seedlings indoors when it got really cold and forgot about them. I potted on a number of the Veronica and will keep them in for a week more to make sure they settle before going out.

Apart from that, I potted up my new Nerine bulbs and sowed Brugmansia and Arisaema seed, leaving others to soak.

First Seedling : Strobilanthes atropurpurea

07 February 2011 08:31:27

Around the world in 16 orchids...

06 February 2011 18:40:39
Around the world in 16 orchids...

Around the world in 16 orchids...


You know how some people list things they want to do before they die or places they want to visit.

Well, for me, I'm more the 'top 16 orchids I'd like to flower' type of gal...

My Prettiest Orchid

06 February 2011 12:09:07
Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise

Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise

My prettiest orchid has reflowered for me.

I bought it last year at the Orchid Fair in the Botanic Gardens in full flower. 

And now it has re-flowered. Happy days.

By the way, it looks like this year's Orchid Fair is not going ahead.



05 February 2011 17:05:01


Last autumn I resolved to build up my Nerine collection. It's hardly a collection as I only have 3 different types. But it has ambitions : )

I thought it would be nice to have fancy Nerines in pots in the greenhouse in autumn and, even if they weren't completely hardy, they should do well enough in the greenhouse.

So, imagine my delight when I went to buy seed compost today and found a good selection of Nerines at a Garden Centre not far away from here. It was such a lovely selection (something we have learned to do without since the recession started). They even had the Nepalese lily there and I almost expected to find Amaryllis belladonna for sale!

I quickly popped a red type, Nerine 'Codora' in my basket and a cute little Nerine undulata 'Crispa'. But, unfortunately, a lot of the bulbs seems a bit soft so, in the end, I just bought the two types. I will buy the hardy bowdenii for planting in the garden when they come into Lidl.

Myrtle, I nearly bought you a wonderful Dahlia called 'Myrtle's Folly' but, again, I thought it was a bit soft and wouldn't like to take the chance.

Sowing Seeds

05 February 2011 00:25:21
the plan for the front of the Annual Border this year

the plan for the front of the Annual Border this year

I got the finger out at last and sowed some seeds.

I will need 100 Salvia coccinus 'Lady in Red' for the front of my Annual Border and 100 Verbena rigida. I sowed half of these today.

I used 24 cell trays and sowed 2 seeds in each cell. That made 2 trays of the Salvia and 2 of the Verbena. I sowed 2 seeds per cell because it is hard to know what the germination rate will be like. If more than one seedling comes up per cell then I will prick it out into a new tray. In any case, once these trays start to germinate, I will know if I need to plant another 100 cells or fewer.

I also sowed my self-collected castor oil plant seed, Ricinus communis 'Zanzibarensis' and put the Brugmansia seeds that Hosta gave me to soak. I need more seed compost now.

My Lycoris

04 February 2011 17:19:30
My Lycoris

My Lycoris

Oh, sorry.

Did I say Lycoris?

I meant l licorice : )


03 February 2011 21:59:07
Aechmea fasciata 'Primera'

Aechmea fasciata 'Primera'

Look at this fabulous plant a friend gave me today.

What a super gift!

It's an epyphite from Brazil and my first bromeliad.

I even found somewhere to put it : )

Man Eating Slug

02 February 2011 21:17:37
Agave americana

Agave americana

I was moaning on Bruno's journal yesterday about the fact that my Tetrapanax had had its growing tip severed. There were tell tale slime marks all around the pot - a really wide slime trail!

I hasten to add that the Tetrapanax is indoors.

So last night I put out slug pellets and this morning a large, but not abnormal slug, was found dead in the pot.

I thought no more about it but this evening I noticed the damaged on my adjacent Agave americana.  For those who don't know Agave, it is a dangerous plant. Its leaves narrow to a knife like point, which I remove with a nail clippers indoors so as to save my kids' eyes. It is a tough leather-like succulent with evil barbs. 

Yesterday I had noticed the slug slime trail over the Agave, which was weird enough as slugs normally don't like rough surfaces. Well tonight I discovered the damage done to two of the babies in the same pot.

Can you see the piece that's been eaten? How on earth did a slug eat that? If it could bite through that it could take a chunk out of a person's finger!

New Gardening Channel

01 February 2011 23:59:56
New Gardening Channel

New Gardening Channel

Apparently there is a new gardening channel starting in March.

It will be available on sky and other places. Check out the information at...



Ready, steady...

01 February 2011 15:51:56
Possible site of the new Peony bed?

Possible site of the new Peony bed?

A beautiful day here again and a great one to be able to spend in the garden.

I got a few hours done.

Of course, I got side-tracked again and ended up doing something completely different but, as Geraldine said, sure it all has to be done in the end anyway.

I started cutting back my Rosa rugosa but abandoned that after a bit as clearing the borders seemed much easier ;-)

Weeding in spring is not a big job any more but I am not so far removed from the time when it was. To all those out there, starting their garden, making new beds - it gets easier! Really, it does. I remember a time when the weeding absorbed the vast majority of my gardening time. But not any more. And I have a lot more beds now.

I got a good bit done and am looking forward to getting mulch down, which will improve the appearance as well as feed. So pleased with myself that I will even refrain from my usual rant about the dreaded Rosa rugosa!

In Bud

01 February 2011 11:08:52
Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Kalanchoe daigremontiana

The mother of thousands is finally in bud too.

I was just thinking of discarding these plants.

They have a reprieve.

I'm off to the garden now. It's a lovely day out there.


01 February 2011 11:04:37
Ludisia discolor 'Dawsoniana'

Ludisia discolor 'Dawsoniana'

A lot of us bought the Ludisia this year in Lidl.

Mine is almost in full flower now.


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