a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal March 2011

Last Post 2486 days 10 hours ago

Star Wars & Yeates

31 March 2011 20:45:30
My daughter & 'Star Wars' 23rd May 2010

My daughter & 'Star Wars' 23rd May 2010

The shopping needed doing so I headed for Enniscorthy this morning. On the spur of the moment, I detoured to Clonroche, just to have a look at what Coolaught Nurseries have new in stock.

In fact, I knew that Coolaught was stocking those new Irish Kennedy primroses so I resolved to get myself the 'Drumcliffe' one. My husband's ancestors come from Drumcliffe and are buried in the same graveyard as W.B. Yeates so that was a good excuse. I was buying a pressie for hubby, not beguiled by the pretty white flowers on bronze foliage! I was pleased to see Coolaught had them for €4.50 each.

Of course, I had to have a look around although the nursery is not the best for that sort of thing as they have loads of goodies tucked away where you'd never find them. I got chatting and was asked if I was looking for anything in particular. Well, although I hadn't been looking for anything more than the primrose, I found myself uttering the words Magnolia x 'Star Wars'.

It is always dangerous asking for specific plants in Coolaught because they usually produce them and, sure enough, a grand sized 'Star Wars' was produced and, before I knew what I was doing, I was tucking it in my car. Actually, Caroline was good enough to put it in for me as I usually demonstrate total eejitry at such manoeuvres. 

I am very pleased with my new tree. I saw Magnolia x 'Star Wars' for the first time in the Bay Garden in Camolin in May 2010. The flowers are absolutely enormous and I remember being told how everyone always asks about that tree.

I have no idea why it is called 'Star Wars' but there seems to be a sci-fi theme in some Magnolia varieties as I saw one called 'Vulcan' and what about 'Wada's Memory'? I'm sure Wada must be from Star Wars too!

Home again I felt invigorated by my purchase and went out for a spot of gardening. I got 10 Thalictrum delavayi planted and one bed almost completely mulched and watered, which wasn't bad for such a late start. 

A Bit Peeky?

30 March 2011 23:57:49
Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata' (Terra Nova Strain)

Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata' (Terra Nova Strain)

What do you think?

Is this Marvel of Peru seedling looking a bit undernourished or what?

Are they supposed to get extra minerals at potting on or what?

Besides being a pale colour, my seven seedlings seem healthy enough.

I've looked at various propagation instructions and there is no mention of adding potash or anything.

Who has grown these before?



30 March 2011 12:52:25
Prunus serulata 'Accolade'

Prunus serulata 'Accolade'

Last night I potted on a few seedlings - Selinum & Hesperis. I decided they'd had enough of an easy ride in my kitchen and put them out into the glasshouse. after potting.

I was looking at my Mirabilis jalapa seedlings, potted on some time ago. The leaves look a bit yellowish. I haven't grown this plant before but, on google, the leaves seem a good green. My plants are the variegated 'Terra Nova' strain though. Can anyone advise?

This morning I potted on a few ericaceous plants - one Brugmansia, one Rhododendron 'Lady Alice' and three tea plants. The reason I didn't do more is that I had no more deep pots. I need the thinnish, deep ones for the tea plants and a good big one for my other Brugmansia. Oh dear!

Hear the Garden Sigh!

29 March 2011 11:21:52
Hear the Garden Sigh!

Hear the Garden Sigh!

It rained heavily this morning and the garden looks so much the better for it.

I scurried outside to take a few photos and also to check on my Epimedium grandiflorum as there has been a lot of talk about them on the site yet I never noticed mine in the garden. 

Sure enough, it seems that my Epimedium is no more. The only thing I found in the right area was ferny, like Astilbe.

I think it's the Michauxia tchihatcheffii that Liga gave me last year. Does Michauxia have astilbe-like foliage, I wonder?

Bloomin' Hens

28 March 2011 23:43:47
Bloomin' Hens

Bloomin' Hens

Our hens escaped today (by burrowing rather than flying - they think they're rodents!) and made a big mess with the border around the stone circle.

Gallons of bark chip ended up on the stone and took some time to clean up. But besides that, the little angels dug up all the miniature campanula I had planted to grow in the cracks around the stone circle!

Do they not realise how easily chicken could be on the menu instead of eggs?

Sink or Swim

28 March 2011 19:37:29
Fritellaria persica

Fritellaria persica

It was another great day here in Wexford and, after doing nothing all weekend, I was glad to get out to the garden again.

The first task was to  make an edge to the border that recently had the Rosa rugosa backdrop removed from it. After doing this I sprinkled grass seed on the grass side.

Then, with hubby's help, I planted out my Musa basjoo. I have had this root hardy banana in the glasshouse for two winters now and, despite all precautions, I lose the trunk. It, therefore, seems to me that protecting it in the glasshouse has no value so I planted it out.

It was a similar story with the Phoenix canariansis that Myrtle gave me two years ago. It was badly hit both winters, despite being in the glasshouse, and I feel that part of the problem is that it needs potting on. Plants, whose roots are cramped going into winter, are more likely to suffer. This palm is too big for any pot now so I planted it out. I hope it will rally.

I also watered a bed and laid mulch on it and then watered the top to 'seal' the mulch. As the garden is so dry I then took the hose to a couple of other places, including my, recently unwrapped and probably dead, tree ferns. It was good to be able to take up a few tree stakes too as they are no longer needed.

I see little primulas beginning to open now and the fritellarias have buds. I think I may be developing a penchant for primulas. I have put a few more photos in my March album.


27 March 2011 17:18:18


On Friday hubby did the job of transporting all my succulents out to the glasshouse. I have a lot but most are small.

I remembered last year how the succulents had immediately thrived, once put in a situation with maximum light and sun.

Already this morning I could see that the black aeoniums were darkening in colour. In winter my aeoniums become almost green due to lack of sun. Roll on summer!

Hardy Orchid

27 March 2011 17:12:17
Cypripedium reginae

Cypripedium reginae

So exciting!

One of my Cypripedium orchids has started to poke its nose up in the glasshouse.

These orchids are hardy if given correct conditions but, for the moment, I am growing them in the cold greenhouse.

Teeny Tiny Orchid

27 March 2011 16:57:10
Teeny Tiny Orchid

Teeny Tiny Orchid

Hey, did any one else buy the teeny tiny Phalaenopsis orchids for sale in Lidl at the moment?

I'm not into miniatures at all but this was so cute I couldn't resist.

See how tiny it is?



Heat for Seeds

27 March 2011 09:56:36
okra seedlings

okra seedlings

And this is what happens if you put your propagating tray only half on the heated mat.

Can you see that?

Exactly half the seeds have come up, the half that were on the mat!

Day Away

27 March 2011 02:15:06


I spent the day away from the garden but got this photo first thing this morning before leaving.

These are the 'spent' Hyacinths, which I plant outdoors every year after flowering in the house.

Some have seen better days but they still put on a good show.

Poor glasshouse only got closed up, in the dark, at 1am when we got back. Lucky it's a mild night.

Enjoying the Weather

25 March 2011 15:11:26
Chinodoxa luciliae & Arabis

Chinodoxa luciliae & Arabis

I had a nice easy day today.

I potted up some Babiana stricta, Amaryllis belladonna, Ismene and Gypsophila paniculata, but that was it.

Mostly I just lay on the grass and looked at the bumble bees buzzing about the flowers. Not bad for March!

There are more photos in my March album.

E is for Erythronium

24 March 2011 20:14:14
Eythronium dnes-canis 'White Splendour'

Eythronium dnes-canis 'White Splendour'

My youngest called me over to the garden bench this afternoon, all excitied that he had found a flower (they get €1 for spotting first flowers in spring).

Sure enough, it was the dog's tooth violet. What a little cutie.

Started laying more mulch.

Dog Tired

23 March 2011 23:47:22
seedlings under shade in glasshouse

seedlings under shade in glasshouse

Seed sowing has been hanging over me for some time now. I am aware that it is really last chance for sowing annuals if they are to get to any height for the summer.

So, although I had to do other things for most of the day, I lashed into sowing seeds after dinner. I sowed 10 trays of mostly annuals and six pots of other seeds. I still had packets that I wanted to sow but I ran out of seed trays in the end.

I finally sowed a tray of tomatoes but it's very late in the day for that. I normally sow them in January. The other veg for this year is Okra. I am going to have to do another bout of sowing yet...

Trees & Things

22 March 2011 17:54:13
Rheum palmatum tanguticum

Rheum palmatum tanguticum

Some time ago I decided that my red contorted hazel tree had to move. Not much, just a few feet! I am not one to move trees or shrubs lightly (perhaps a fault) but the hazel had to budge and quickly as it's getting late in the year for that sort of thing.

The hazel is at the back of the border around our eating area. Hubby recently got rid of a Rosa rugosa hedge there. No sooner was the hazel dug up than I realised I also wanted the Gingko moved! Hubby obliged and then I spent the afternoon replanting the trees and putting in various shrubs to form the backdrop left vacant by the Rosa rugosa.

I planted : Trachycarpus fortunei, Cornus alba 'Elegantissima Variegata', Euonymous alata (memento of our last Johnston meeting), Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace', Viburnum rhytidophyllum and Kniphofia caulescens (thank you Mary and Paddy). It's satisfying to see that area coming together.

My Cup Runneth Over

22 March 2011 11:23:42
darwin hybrid 'Oxford Elite'

darwin hybrid 'Oxford Elite'


Sunshine and tulips.

I mean, what more could I ask for?

Enjoy your day, everyone.

Back Home

21 March 2011 20:35:15
Tulipa kaufmanniana 'Giuseppe Verdi'

Tulipa kaufmanniana 'Giuseppe Verdi'

Isn't the weather just fabulous!

Spring is definitely here as I'm sure everyone else is saying in their journals.

Our first cherry blossom and tulips have flowered and the garden is humming with bumble bees.

I planted Pulmonaria (thanks Jacinta and Deborah) and Omphalodes (thanks, Myrlte) today in the bed with my hellebores. I am very pleased with how it is maturing and the pink and blue look very pretty together, I think.

I am also quite pleased with how my problem area, Babies' Hill, has turned out this spring. The daffodils are now all in flower, as are the kaufmanniana tulips. Buddha looks at home up there in front of his bamboo.

Still at Liga's

21 March 2011 20:26:18
Cypripedium formosanum

Cypripedium formosanum


... and it was very hard to leave.

Whoops. Wrong photo in the last journal. I don't want anyone to think I'm putting up gratuitous orchid photos!

Today I potted up all those Pleione you gave me, Liga. Thank you : ) What type are those little primulas you gave me?


21 March 2011 20:21:34
Paphiopedilum hybrida

Paphiopedilum hybrida


And after visiting the Botanic Gardens, I headed out to Rush, to visit my good friend Liga.

I looked at all her orchids...

Botanic Gardens

21 March 2011 20:19:57
Protea exima

Protea exima

I'm trying to catch my journals up with my gardening escapades over the last few days. I feel like I haven't sat down in about a week!

I had a wonderful day in the Botanic Gardens on Saturday, uploading a very large album of photos. But, even if you're not prepared to look at them all, do take a look at the Protea photo at the very end!

This one is Protea exima, which I don't have but I'll be keeping my eyes open for it. Today, inspired by the flowering proteas in the Botanic Gardens, I potted on my own proteas... and my citrus trees and Puya and a few other bits.

Glasshouse Clean Up

18 March 2011 20:01:00
Glasshouse Clean Up

Glasshouse Clean Up

I am exhausted this evening and all I did today was clean the glasshouse! But it was a big job and took all day.

First this morning, with hubby's help, we took everything out and put it on the lawn. Oh my God, where do I think I'm going to put all these plants!

Then I had to collect up and bag the masses of straw. Really messy! Then I washed the glass with warm soapy water, inside and out, except the very top outside because, well, I'm not Mr Tickle. Then I swept the floor and hosed down the glass and paving and washed the staging. But that was the easy bit!

The next job was to water all the plants while the glasshouse floor was drying. I also took all my seed pots out of their plastic bags and covered the tops with grit. It was so warm today that I wouldn't like to think of what temperature those plastic bags were creating inside.

So I started putting everything back into the glasshouse. It took ages as, of course, I was trying to arrange everything neatly and sensibly and to set up a special area with shading for fussy plants. Hubby called me in for dinner at 7:30 so I stuffed the last few things inside the door for sorting tomorrow.

St Paddy's Day Leprechaun

17 March 2011 17:11:20
St Paddy's Day Leprechaun

St Paddy's Day Leprechaun

As you can see, we have our own private leprechaun here.

This is our red-head, Josh, in front of 'Babies' Hill' this morning.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

Orange for St Patrick's

17 March 2011 17:09:48
Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Kalanchoe daigremontiana

This Mother of Thousands plant decided to flower for St Patrick's.

Well, orange is one of the colours.

The site is on the blink today!

Bud Freeze

17 March 2011 10:50:47
Camellia japonica 'Wisley White'

Camellia japonica 'Wisley White'

Here we all are, back again after the site outage.

I am cheating slightly for St Patrick's Day as I'm putting up a Camellia photo of one that I bought recently. I took it out of the glasshouse yesterday and planted it in the garden. Most blooms on my Camellias have suffered from bud freeze/burn this year so I will have very few flowers.

As the Camellia is in my garden since yesterday, I'll pretend that the flowers aremy success. More photos in the March album.

The Moment of Truth (3)

15 March 2011 17:51:00
Crinum capense Powelli longifolium

Crinum capense Powelli longifolium


Hurray! That's a win, folks.

The Moment of Truth (2)

15 March 2011 15:18:58
The Moment of Truth (2)

The Moment of Truth (2)


The suspense is killing me...

The Moment of Truth (1)

15 March 2011 15:17:15
The Moment of Truth

The Moment of Truth


The time has come to unwrap my crinums from their winter protection.

Do you think they will have survived?

What Else?

14 March 2011 15:19:17
Erythronium dens-canis 'White Splendour'

Erythronium dens-canis 'White Splendour'


... you might easily miss something else...


Like these tiny Erythroniums, just peeping up.

Little Gems

14 March 2011 15:17:10
Little Gems

Little Gems


In spring it's easy to miss little gems.

Take this seat, for example.

Did you notice the pretty little tête-à-tête daffodils that Jacinta gave me last year?

Is that it? Maybe take a closer look...

New Plans in the Dark

13 March 2011 23:48:49
New Plans in the Dark

New Plans in the Dark

This evening I started waffling on to hubby about how pleased I am with the seed growing this year. I pricked out  Primula florindae and Angelica today and potted them on and I have loads.

Hubby was asking where I was going to put all these hundreds of new hardy perennial plants.

I mentioned how last year's Tropical Border will receive permanent planting this year and also the two beds with wallflowers and tulips that he dug for me last autumn.  But I mentioned that the ex-rose bed area will be reformed. He insisted on going out, with the torch, in the dark to take a look at what I was talking about.

I showed him where the new path would run, where the roses had to come out and where the existing bed would merge with the new. My plans were greeted with great enthusiasm and I might be hopeful of some digging help there.

Messiest Glasshouse

13 March 2011 16:23:05
Messiest Glasshouse

Messiest Glasshouse

I think I must have the messiest glasshouse on garden.ie at the minute.

I brought the 3rd set of Aldi shelving indoors from the glasshouse, with the result that the plants are now on the floor. 

There are piles of straw, high enough to hide armies of slugs and a general green tinge to some of the glass.

I think a job is in the offing!

Giant Mums

13 March 2011 16:17:57
Chrysanthmum cuttings

Chrysanthmum cuttings

Last spring John and Ann (Knocknakillew) were kind enough to send me 'stools' of named varieties of show chrysanthemums. They did well for me last year, although I grew them in pots in the greenhouse. It was a shame I had to miss our local horticultural show in August because my mums would surely have scooped some prizes!

The chrysanthemums have come through the winter in the greenhouse so, I am pleased to say, they are quite hardy. I noticed that they were regrowing some time ago.

Today, I took cuttings, which is the acknowledged procedure, and placed them in a container with a lid. Although I never took Chrysanthemum cuttings before, it was a bit like the procedure with dahlias in spring.

I decided to keep the mother plants as I may well get more cuttings even if they themselves are to be discarded later.

Peter, I haven't forgotten I promised you a few plants.

Eh, Help!

13 March 2011 11:03:15
Leontochir ovallei

Leontochir ovallei

This morning I did my usual rounds of the seedlings to see what has germinated. And I didn't forget the cold room where my Leontochir is this time!

I was greeted with the most bizarre sight. The Leontochir seedling from yesterday has managed to 'fix' itself. At first I thought it was laying against the side of the plastic bag but it isn't. I am completely flabbergasted. Seedlings don't 'repair' themselves!

I know I should have removed the broken seedling before I re-sealed the bag but I didn't have the heart to. And now I'm glad I didn't.

But I'm not sure what to do. It mustn't stay in the plastic bag. No good can come of that. Maybe if I remove the bag and use some tiny stick or splint to prop my seedling up or just take the main weight of it. Any suggestions?


What Not To Do!

12 March 2011 15:20:31
Leontochir ovallei

Leontochir ovallei

I have been trying a few unusual seeds this year, including Leontochir ovallei. These seeds, sown on 27th January, need 10-14º to germinate so I put the pot in my 'cold room'.

But because the Leontochir was the only pot of seeds in the cold room, I must admit that I forgot to check them every day. This morning I was delighted to see that a single seedling had emerged. Obviously it had been up a few days as it was quite tall. So I removed the plastic. 

But when I went back to check my precious seedling about an hour later,  I was disgusted to see that the stem was broken. I guess the seedling had grown too soft in the moisture under the plastic to support its own weight. What a shame! I've resealed the bag in the hope that other seeds may also germinate but I am raging with myself!

So, the moral of that story is to check your seeds EVERY DAY and over the top and remove from the heat as soon as seedlings emerge.

But, on the bright side, two lots of the 'mixed Andean bulb seeds' have now germinated for me - Rhodophiala and Pastithea!

Hellebore Weekend?

11 March 2011 16:09:21


10 March 2011 15:59:16
Corydalis solida

Corydalis solida

It isn't very nice today. A bit windy and with light showers.

I got one bed sorted and think it a good day's work, considering the unpleasant weather out there.

I noticed so many flowers opening - Corydalis, Arabis, my first tulip and the main daffodils.

And I also saw things popping up - Fritellaria, Erythronium and the main Chinodoxa.

I am very pleased with the Corydalis. I bought 100 Corydalis solida bulblets last autumn. Normally quite expensive, I went for a deal of 100 baby bulbs, thinking that I could wait a year or two for flowers. I am delighted to see that I have some flowers already this year. What a welcome sight.

Orchids in Flower

10 March 2011 11:40:42
Orchids in Flower

Orchids in Flower

Here is a shot of my orchids, which are currently in flower.

I was planning on cleaning out the glasshouse after feeding the orchids this morning but it's a bit gusty out there. I'd have to take all my plants out of the glasshouse and I don't want them disappearing over the horizon.

I think I'd better just get on with the garden clearance for today. Right, enough messing. Time for some work.

Orchid Opened

10 March 2011 08:02:48
Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata


Here it is.

Seeds and Things

08 March 2011 12:02:06
mulched long border

mulched long border

I'm just back form meeting HeadGardener in Bunclody. We decided not to visit either garden as we would only end up taking ages for a look round when there's work to be done at home.

Bill was handing over my Amaranthus seeds from Chiltern. We placed a joint seed order ages ago but Chiltern had been out of stock on the particular type of Amaranthus I ordered. I was getting in a panic until now as I need those seeds for the whole back of my Annual Border so, when I heard Bill had received them, I wanted to pick them up asap. In fact, after writing this, I'm off to sow 8 trays of Amaranthus.

Of course we had a coffee and a little chat in Bunclody. Bill brought me a blue Mecanopsis plant division as I lost the batch of tiny Mecanopsis seedlings I manage to hatch over winter. No sooner home and I checked my ungerminated seeds to find that a new batch has germinated. Sod's Law, isn't it? However, it's tricky to keep the small seedlings alive so I'm very happy to have an actual plant from Bill.

I handed over a 5ft Amelanchier lamarkii, which I spotted for €7.49, and knowing Bill was looking for it, I had snapped it up, sure that he would like the price too! 

I'm off to sow those seeds now.

All Gone

07 March 2011 17:28:04


I spent the day in the garden. And a glorious day it was too. But the forecast is for snow this weekend!

I finished mulching the long border and it took exactly the amount of mulch that I had bought.

If I have laid it correctly that means my long border is 60 m²!

I also did a bit of edging, with the spade, as the half-moon edger met its maker last year.

I found this little glory of the snow in flower in a pot. No sign of the 200 in the border yet.


Here it Comes!!!

07 March 2011 10:58:44
Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata


Here it comes.

My first baby 'fancy' orchid.

About to flower...

Who Gave Me These?

06 March 2011 23:05:45
Geum rivale 'Leonard's Variety' (from web)

Geum rivale 'Leonard's Variety' (from web)

By the time I got home yesterday I was dog tired and only this afternoon did I start unpacking the car and potting up my new plants.

Thank you so much to everyone for your expansive generosity!

But, despite remembering being given the following four plants, I have no memory whatsoever of who gave them to me, Can anyone please advise?

Papaver   Beauty of Livermere
Geum rivale Leonard's Variety
Astrantia major


06 March 2011 11:19:37
HeadGardener, UnaGrant, Bruno, Liga, Paddy & Mary (Gracedieu), LindaB and Hosta (front)

HeadGardener, UnaGrant, Bruno, Liga, Paddy & Mary (Gracedieu), LindaB and Hosta (front)

I think everyone is agreeing that we had a brilliant get-together at Johnstown yesterday. The Garden Centre looked fabulous - from the Sarracenia, giant, flowering bougainvillea, citrus trees, Vanda orchids (which Liga bitterly regrets not buying) to the extensive range of primroses. It was the first taste of a Garden Centre for many of us after the long hard winter and I think we took advantage.

Johnstown had reserved their restaurant conservatory for us and also the outside patio area. The get-together started at 1pm. However, all of us somehow managed to squeeze into the conservatory, where Johnstown were kind enough to take food orders from the tables.

By my calculations, there were 31 garden.ieers in attendance yesterday, 8 partners and friends and 6 people were 'no shows' on the day. The 'no shows' included Drumanagh (Alison), who messaged me that morning and somehow, displaying amazing ingenuity, managed to get her plant swaps to the meeting but not herself.

After eating lunch and chatting for a while, we had our raffle. The prizes were 5 vouchers worth €20 each, kindly donated by Johnstown and a box of roses, donated by LindaB. Linda also organised all the raffle tickets. UnaGrant's little daughter did a great job of choosing the winning numbers.

Next we had our Kris Kindle exchange, where all participants submitted a present and Myrtle and Mairin had the tricky job of assigning numbers to packages and different numbers to people. There was a sticky moment at the end where nobody could figure out why there were two unclaimed presents but then Myrtle and Mairin realised that they hadn't had any presents themselves!

After that, while everyone was all in the one place, we all trooped out to the car park for the plant swap. There were a dizzying number of plants to-ing and fro-ing and and you really needed a list to keep track of what had been promised to who. Poor Bruno seemed to be left with a large shrub he had promised to someone who was not owning up. Last I saw of him he was doing the rounds, calling out in the car park and waving the shrub above his head. I hope he's not still there.

Some people went home then but many of us went back into Johnstown for another round of retail therapy and more tea and cakes. Johnstown eventually booted myself, Liga, Mairin, Violeta and Ingrida out of the restaurant and Garden Centre at 6pm.

From my point of view, it was a fabulous day and the best get-together yet. That was due in no small part to the venue, which we all chose by electoral ballot back before Christmas. It was also wonderful meeting a host of new people - Hosta, Keego, Ingrida, AitAlainn, Cape Daisy, Fintan, Kate, Rhody and  Romneya (thank you for the Skimmia, Romneya).

Thank you also to everyone else who gave me plants and books, which I am going to take out of the car now. Please forgive me for not mentioning them all individually but I am a bit overwhelmed. I think the suitcase of snowdrops that Fran laid at my feed was what finally did it!

And thank you also for the Johnstown voucher which you all gave me. I spent a long time deliberating, with advisers Liga and HeadGardener, on what to buy with it as I wanted a single item to commemorate the day. I was very pleased with the large Euonymus alata which I came home with.

Once again, thanks to everyone for a super day and long may our friendships last.

All Ready

04 March 2011 18:15:55
promised plants

promised plants

Jainy mackers.

It was a hard job making sure I didn't forget anything.

I had to make a list and check it at least twice. But I think I'm all set now.

Got nothing much done today except potting on my Ricinus and dividing plants for the get together. 

Can't wait to see you all tomorrow.

Johnstown here I come. Well, actually, I'll wait until tomorrow morning.

Get Together

03 March 2011 23:36:32


03 March 2011 20:44:51


Well, I'll tell you one thing. Shovelling chocolate sure is a lot more pleasant than shovelling sh1*. And I should know after the work I've been doing these two days.

First I watered my long border and then I mulched it with cocoa husk mulch. It is such lovely light stuff to handle and it does smell like chocolate - except slightly more aromatic. Then I watered again. The first watering is to trap moisture under the mulch (standard procedure). The second one is to make the cocoa husk stick together otherwise one big wind and my neighbour will have the benefit of my mulch instead of me.

The head gardener at Altamont Gardens swears by cocoa mulch, which is where I got the idea from. The husks feed as well as suppress weeds. In Altamont they lay cocoa mulch around their roses and give them no other fertiliser. So I am trying it.

And, in case someone starts moaning about air miles, cocoa husks are the by-product of the chocolate industry. The mulch comes from Cadbury's factories and would be dumped if not bought for gardening purposes.

The only gripe so far is that there are tiny little pieces of coloured paper and even plastic through the mulch. So I have to be like a magpie, pecking them off the top of my borders : (

I haven't finished the long border yet but should do so tomorrow. I'll then see how much mulch I have left for the rest of the garden.


03 March 2011 17:57:58
Dracunculus vulgaris

Dracunculus vulgaris

I bought 10 Dracunculus vulgaris corms last autumn and, after giving one away, I sowed the other nine in the garden.

I would just like to say that I have grown this aroid before and have always found it very hardy. Winter 2009 did not kill my previous ones but they didn't flower in 2010 so maybe the intense cold had some negative effect or maybe they just needed feeding. My previous ones have been in the ground for about 7 years.

But this spring I saw no sign of the new 9 aroids in the garden and I feared the worst. Then, today, I saw four of them up. Actually I had been looking in the wrong place for them. Silly me!

Who wants...

02 March 2011 20:45:32


02 March 2011 18:41:28
Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata

I'm tired this evening and took no outdoor photo, despite doing so much out there. First I visited Van der Wel Nurseries in Aughrim and had a brief meeting with Jurga's husband in the car park. We gardeners are all very cloak and dagger : )

Then I went home and laid mulch for a few hours.

Having no photo, I decided to put up a photo of this orchid that is driving me mental by taking so long to flower. But I am delighted as it is an unusual orchid and the first of my 'baby' orchids to flower for me. Any day now...


02 March 2011 00:13:49
long border, looking into the top of the F

long border, looking into the top of the F

What an absolutely glorious day! It wasn't just the temperature but the light was fabulous too. I think the thing I miss most in winter is the light, not the heat.   

I got loads done and then settled down to finishing the long border.  It really is a long (and wide) border, by the way. It divides two sections of the garden, making two 'gardens' and is F shaped with each of the two gardens in the recesses of the F.

I saw the farmer in the adjacent field ploughing up and down. I took pictures last year on 15th February when he was doing the same task. This year there is more to snap in my own garden.

So I was pleased to get it sorted and I will now put down the cocoa mulch.                      


Garden.ie Members

Not a member yet?
Join now to:

Join Now

Existing Members

Forgotten password

Garden.ie CLUB

Join Ireland's first online garden club! Share pictures of your garden, make new friends and chat with other gardeners. It's simple to join and free! Register Here

Featured Members


Thousands of gardening facts at your finger tips:

Ask Gerry

Gerry DalyTry our unique advice service from editor Gerry Daly. Got a question right now? Search here to see if it has been answered already:

a mediateam website

©2018 Garden.ie. Mediateam Ltd, Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18.

Tel (+353 1) 2947777 Email info@garden.ie

Website Design by KCO.ie