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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal June 2011

Last Post 2431 days ago

Nice Day

30 June 2011 21:23:19
Verbascum 'Saffron Towers'

Verbascum 'Saffron Towers'

It is my second son's birthday today and Josh is 11. It was also the boys' last day at school.

I did get a little planting done and deadheading but mostly we sat around the garden while the boys played and then we played ball and cards.

It was a great day and tomorrow is the birthday party with 15 expected. Gulp!


Nice Leaf

30 June 2011 21:18:51
Melainthus major

Melainthus major

I love the way the new leave unfurl on this plant.

It is Melianthus major.

Wexford Lawn

30 June 2011 21:16:54
Wexford Lawn

Wexford Lawn

Hey, my lawn has gone all local this year.

It's sporting the Wexford colours - purple and gold!

Is that enough?

29 June 2011 20:18:59
long border

long border


Have I made up for last night's lack of photos?

There are lots more in my June album!

A Bit Different

29 June 2011 20:17:07
Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

I love this golden Cotinus.

It looks especially nice against purple foliage.

Day Lily

29 June 2011 20:15:38
Day Lily

Day Lily

My Sammy bullied me into buying this day lily a few years back.

But it is nice.

That was in the days when Sammy would come to Garden Centres with me :(


Snow White's Piano

29 June 2011 20:13:18
Snow White's Piano

Snow White's Piano

I got these terra cotta pipes cheap at a Garden Centre closing down sale last year.

We sunk them in the ground and Sammy reckoned they looked like the pipes on the piano that the dwarves played in Snow White.

I think he has a point :D


29 June 2011 20:10:26
Gaillardia grandiflora 'Goblin (Kobold)'

Gaillardia grandiflora 'Goblin (Kobold)'

I adore this perennial.

It's just the best!

Prize from Terra Nova

29 June 2011 19:59:17
Rosa cautleyoides 'Begonia'???

Rosa cautleyoides 'Begonia'???

I won one of the Terra Nova quizzes last year and, for my prize, Martin Begley gave me this little rose.

I had no idea what colour it would be but it is such a little cutie!

Snip, Snip

29 June 2011 19:45:06
Snip, Snip

Snip, Snip

After I finished mulching this morning, I started tidying up the long border.

It had been neglected.

It's amazing how much vegetation comes off the garden...

From Seed

29 June 2011 19:12:42
new border

new border

It has been a very good year for me for plants from seed.

I have filled three large beds with mostly hardy perennials which I grew from seed myself this year.

No Fun

29 June 2011 00:08:19
No Fun

No Fun

You are all no fun tonight.

I'm going to bed.

Stinky Fingers & Tent Pegs

28 June 2011 22:39:34


27 June 2011 21:45:40
Iris ensata 'Gusto'

Iris ensata 'Gusto'

I love this Iris.

It is an ensata one so likes it moist.All of my other irises are the dry types.

As you may have noted, my garden is dry so I used water-retaining-gel in the soil with this one.

We'll see how it pans out longer term.

At Last

27 June 2011 21:41:49
Eremurus stenophyllus

Eremurus stenophyllus

I bet you thought I was going to say that, at last, I have everything planted!

Well, sorry to disappoint, I don't.

But I did get about three quarters of the planting done today.

I was saying, at long last, I've managed to get a foxtail lily to flower!!! Hurray!

Slow Mo

26 June 2011 20:49:19
laid out for planting

laid out for planting

It seems like the new area is taking such a very long time to complete.

It was dry today but I could only get out to the garden for about an hour.

I cut down the last of the oriental poppies and took some great photos (with the old camera as someone borrowed mine) and then found they were all our of focus!

I did lay out most of the plants in the new beds for planting. I will need four Stipa gigantea for the path corners pictures.

PS the miniature apple tree in the middle of the grass path will be moved when dormant.

Orchids on Tree Ferns?

25 June 2011 00:24:36
Primula florindae 'Keilour Hybrids' @ Huntingbrook

Primula florindae 'Keilour Hybrids' @ Huntingbrook

I actually got a little bit done today, which wasn't bad considering the rain.

With hubby's help (in truth it was the other way right - with a little help from me) we moved the tree ferns. It was so sad to see all the roots the poor things had been good enough to grow last year before they were cut down in their prime :(

Anyway, the tree ferns are a little further back in the borders now as I want four Stipa gigantea for the corners of the bed, rather than dead trunks. I have some Clematis 'Nelly Moser' I will set up the tree ferns. Now, did someone (Liga) mention something about growing orchids on tree fern trunks...!?!

Then I lifted the last of the tulips and wallflowers and leveled and raked the half of the second bed that has been dug. Half of the whole new area has now been dug. I will set to planting this half up soon. I am going to space my plants more than I originally intended to make them go further.

I uploaded an album of Huntingbrook Gardens from yesterday evening's visit. My journal photo shows the Giant Himalayan Cowslips that I grew from seed this year (collected from the plants pictured) as some people said they didn't know them.

A Foot to the Left & Future Plant Hunters

24 June 2011 00:32:13
Meconopsis nepaulensis @ Huntingbrook

Meconopsis nepaulensis @ Huntingbrook

It was all go here today.

First thing this morning I determined where my dead tree ferns should be moved. When hubby heard that all four were to be moved approximately one foot to the left, there was a look of great incredulity. I did detect some under-breath muttering too about himself 'organising the garden from now on'.

But I had no time to mull further as I had to dig up some of my carnivorous plants from the bog planter so that I could show them in the demo I was giving at the school on, guess what, Carnivorous Plants. I brought along seven plants in total and the talks in the four classrooms went well. Some of the little ones did look noticeable terrified and some of the older boys had to be almost physically restrained.

There was a real 'telling moment' when I was with 1st and 2nd class and some puppies arrived in the middle of the talk. Double booking, don't you know! All the little girls congregated around the puppies and all the boys came over to touch the carnivorous plants and get their chance to ask questions ;)

A lot of the older children were really interested. When one of them eventually gets a bursary to go document new tropical pitchers in Borneo (and this does happen - new Nepenthes species are regularly discovered and research grants are given for such discoveries), I want a postcard!

So, home again and then off I went to Huntingbrook for dinner and a garden tour.

If I haven't mentioned it already, the year's Plants' Person course, done by Jimi Blake in Huntingbrook, is phenomenal. And if you have a few pence to spend on yourself and want a greater understanding of plants and garden techniques, then this is the course for you.

The dinner was organised to compensate for a change in date of one of our scheduled classes. And, if anyone can't make a particular day on the year-long course, you can do it again next year.

The informal atmosphere of our 'extra class' was brilliant and we toured the whole garden, including the woods. Such a peaceful and serene place! We visited the garden boundaries, where an ancient ring fort site and standing stone lead the eye to the majestic Wicklow mountains.

And so home again, collecting my son en route. And just as I arrived home I received a text message  from one of the mothers at the school to say her kids can't stop talking about the sheep eating plants (not a joke, folks). And there, in my garden the four holes, approximately one foot to the the left!

A good day :D


22 June 2011 19:29:44
Potentilla 'Arc en Ciel'

Potentilla 'Arc en Ciel'

Another showery day here.

I raked the first bed in the new area while hubby continued digging the second. I also took up the tulip bulbs and wallflowers.

Then I laid out all the plants for planting. This bed will take the majority of what I have left so the other two beds will look quite bare. So it goes. I'll just have to grow more next year.

But then I realised I didn't want the dead tree fern trunks where they are so they will have to come out. I still haven't quite made up my mind were I'll put them.

So, all in all, not a lot to show for the day except a load of plants laid on top of a bed.

While we are all wishing for a stop to the rain, I thought this pretty little Potentilla had an apt name.


21 June 2011 20:22:42
Delphinium 'Blue Fountains'

Delphinium 'Blue Fountains'

Another rainy day and I had to do other things.

So it worked out well really, for me.

I hope to get some planting done tomorrow.


Back from the dead (again)

20 June 2011 18:49:36
Cycas revoluta

Cycas revoluta

Oh dear, I fear I sound like a broken record but here's my story.

With no gardening done today, this is the most interesting thing I have to report.

Yes, my sago palm is back from the dead... again.

The sago palm was my pride and joy and I  overwintered it in 2009 in my cold greenhouse, where it got very cold. I thought it was gone and had to cut off all the frosted fronds. I nursed it all summer 2010 in the greenhouse but I got no joy. I brought the palm indoors that winter and then in January 2011 it sent up new fronds.

I was so happy but soon realised that there was something wrong with the fronds, which I discovered was due to the poor quality of the light I had to offer it indoors in winter. I had to cut the new fronds off again :(

I nearly threw the sago palm out at that stage but I think it was Keego who convinced me not to be so rash. 

And here we go again. This time the fronds look good and the plant is in good, even light. Hurray!

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

20 June 2011 18:39:05
Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum

The rain today has levelled my squirrel grass.

But a dry day and it will be back up again.

I love its resilience.

Mother Nature

20 June 2011 18:36:45
Verbascum 'Saffron Towers'

Verbascum 'Saffron Towers'

I think I mentioned this Verbascum before as I am completely in awe of Mother Nature's positioning of it.

Verbascum seed around by garden. My favourite is this silver leaved Verbascum 'Saffrom Towers'. I adore the way it pops up.

And I adore the way one has 'arrived' just here at the tip of this border. Now why didn't I think to plant one there?

When you gotta go...

20 June 2011 18:33:12
Dracunculus vulgaris

Dracunculus vulgaris

I love the way Dracunculus dies.

He is completley and utterly unelegant in his demise.

Shoo Fly to the Boggart

19 June 2011 22:42:30
Shoo Fly to the Boggart

Shoo Fly to the Boggart

I grew a lot of the annual Nicandra physalodes (shoo fly) from seed this year. It was my back-up plan.

If the tall plants for the back of the Annual Border didn't work out then I would fall back on the shoo fly plant as filler. Besides, it had looked fabulous in Huntingbrook Garden last autumn.

Thankfully the Amaranthus stepped up to the mark as I am very disappointed with the shoo fly. My Nicandra seems to have bolted or shomething as they have started flowering at about 1ft tall. The plants I saw in Jimi's were 3-4ft tall but I think there is no hope of that now for mine.

I was wondering what I would do with so many not-very-nice shortish plants and then I found the solution. I have a 'bad border' over near where the boggart is bound. In fact I gave half of it back to lawn last year as it is too hard to grow anything in it that needs any decent root-run. There is a lot of concrete.

So, in order to make the bed look presentable, the shoo fly went in today en masse. Okay, it's boring but at least the bed is now neat, planted and less prone to weeds.

The difficult border, now planted with shoo fly, is on the left of this photo. The grassy area in the middle is where the artificially bound boggart lies and little can be planted and my so-called Prairie Border is the one in the middle. 

The Front Bank

19 June 2011 20:39:46
Elaeagnus ebbingei hedge & Persicaria bank

Elaeagnus ebbingei hedge & Persicaria bank

You may recall that last year we had the native hedge removed from the front of our garden.

In April 2010 I planted an Elaeagnus ebbingei hedge at the top of the bank, where the native hedge used to be. In Autumn 2010 I planted Persicaria cuttings all along the steep bank, below the new hedge.

Here is how it looks today. Both the hedge and the Persicaria have done really well.

I debated whether or not to remove the weed suppressing membrane this year as the Persicaria is trying to expand but can't. But there are still a lot of ferns, brambles and other weeds coming up so I decided to leave it in place. I am not confident that I would stay sufficiently on top of the weeding if I removed the membrane - next year!

But I do think this has gone quite well for such a big project. There are close up photos in my album and one of the Annual Border's progress.

Gardening on the Cheap

19 June 2011 20:11:42


Several years ago, when starting my garden in earnest, I bought a load of day lily roots from Lidl/Aldi.

I mass planted them in the long border, which was only a fraction of what it is now.

For years they looked pitiful and I thought they would never join up.

But now they are healthy clumps.

The only problem is that they must be the most boring day lily in the world. They are all single yellow flowered. So the moral of that story...?!?

When my other areas are all sorted I will replace the day lilies but for the minute they will do as they are covering quite a large area and are certainly better than a gap.

Prairie border

18 June 2011 17:35:58
Clare's cornflowers & Allium unifolium

Clare's cornflowers & Allium unifolium

I spent the day planting out, between the showers.

My main area of concentration was a large semi-circular border, which I call my Prairie Border. It has disappointed for a long time so I did a make-over on it last autumn, removing everything and starting from scratch.

However, once again I favoured late flowering perennials and grasses so the border looks very boring at the moment. I cannot know until late summer if the make-over was a success but it looks very drab now.

So, today, I decided to give the border summer interest. I put a good few annuals in - sunflowers, Amaranthus, Dahlia and a few other bits. I'm telling you - Amaranthus 'Hopi Red Dye' had better live up to expectations as I have relied on it heavily this summer!

I left a large gap at the front of the Prairie Border. This is for more Stipa tenuissima. I didn't have enough to fill everywhere I wanted in the border last autumn. This year I have grown Stipa tenuissima from seed to fill that gap but the plants are not yet big enough to be planted out. So now I will be staring at this gap for a few months :( Maybe I'll put in some  more annuals and rip them out later. Growing from seed has its own share of problems!

The photo shows a detail of the Prairie Border where Allium unifolium was the only thing looking well until today. I was charmed by how well it looked when Clare's white cornflower was added.


17 June 2011 15:16:57


I have spent the morning potting on in the greenhouse - Francoa, Teucrium, Felicia, Alstroemeria, Dahlia australis, Cape Goosebery and a couple of stray Tomatillo.

Lets face it, there's not much else to do in this weather.

But it is so wet and drippy that I made the mother of all messes.


Tectonic Plate

17 June 2011 14:44:08
Tectonic Plate

Tectonic Plate

Just a little update on the development of the old rose garden area.

Hubby has dug one of the beds and it is waiting for me to plant it.

He says it is like digging into tectonic plate.

In the film Armageddon, they had to drill on a meteor and encountered some extra tough rock. Hubby says it's like that!!!

Carnivorous Plants

17 June 2011 14:39:51
Sarracenia 'Juthatip Soper'

Sarracenia 'Juthatip Soper'

Later this week I'll be giving a little talk at the primary school on carnivorous plants.

I am going to have to dig up one of these Sarracenia to bring along. Probably the one on the right.

Should be alright.

Unusual Edibles

17 June 2011 14:36:20


This year we had to give the greenhouse border a rest from the usual tomatoes and courgettes.

We decided (well, actually, it was hubby) to grow Okra (ladies fingers), Peppadew (a kind of sweet pepper) and Tomatillo (pictured) in the border.

I am also growing Cape Gooseberries, Physalis peruviana, in pots as my son adores them and I've had succes with them before.

So far the Tomatillos and Cape Gooseberries are doing really well. Both are in the deadly nightshade family (physalis) but quite edible when ripe.

The Kalm(ia) before the Storm

16 June 2011 19:17:43
Kalmia latifolia 'Bullseye'

Kalmia latifolia 'Bullseye'

The weather went mental today. In the afternoon the clouds opened and sheets of rain fell. I persevered with my weeding regardless but soon found myself drenched. Later there were hail stones bouncing off the ground. Mad!

I worked on weeding the Eleaegnus hedge at the front of the garden and the Persicaria bank. A forest of docks have sprung up in the narrow strip between the grass verge outside the house and the Persicaria bank. I had limited successes getting the roots out. But, ont he positive, the Persicaria bank, which I planted last autumn is doing really well. 

I also planted out the tulip tree and Kalmia that I bought at Bloom.

Cutting Back

15 June 2011 18:44:41
Dracunculus vulgaris

Dracunculus vulgaris

Not much done here today.

I did some weeding, re-staking and cut back the lupins and oriental poppies to the ground as they have gone over.

I am always glad to get these cut back as they get so messy and unwieldy at this point in the year.

Here is my second Dracunculus to flower.


15 June 2011 18:41:15
hybid tea 'Just Joey'

hybid tea 'Just Joey'



A gratuitous photo of the hybrid tea 'Just Joey'.


Water Retaining Granules

15 June 2011 11:15:48
Water Retaining Granules

Water Retaining Granules

I have dry stony soil but a deep yearning for moisture loving plants.

As I don't have cartloads of manure to hand, since last year I have taken to using water retaining granules when I plant out moisture loving plants.

It's hard to gauge whether this experiment is a success or not yet. The plants are still alive and doing okay.

The only direct comparison I had was that last year my Chatham-Island-Forget-Me-Nots, that I bought the same time and size as Liga's, were far behind Liga's by mid summer. I was using granules while Liga has proper soil.

I wonder has anyone else tried the granules?

By the way the RHS website has this, not very useful comment, to say on the subject...

Mixing in plenty of organic material such as composted garden waste is more effective than adding water-retaining granules to the soil. 


15 June 2011 11:06:01
Amorphophallus bulbifer, Sep 2010

Amorphophallus bulbifer, Sep 2010

Until this morning I still had two large pots in my bath.

They were showing no sign of life.

They are Amorphophallus bulbifer and Gloriosa superba.

The Amorphophallus grew well for me last year and had been kept dry indoors overwinter. I tipped it out of its pot this morning to check if it had rotted. It is still intact so back it went and out to the greenhouse. It's funny that it's taking so long because my four Amorphophallus konjac are up and running long since.

The second pot held three Gloriosa superba tubers bought in early spring 2010. Now, get this, they did nothing all year last year but in autumn I checked and the tubers were still firm so they came indoors for the winter. 

What on earth could be the matter that they fail to grow for so long but don't rot?!? 

Today I tipped them out of the pot to check for rotting again. The two biggest ones have disappeared. But the third one was intact with no sign of growth. I put it back in a smaller pot and placed it in the greenhouse.

This is so weird. I grew Gloriosa successfully in 2009 but this is ridiculous!

How could the tuber lie dormant like that for about one year four months without rotting or growing???

How do you make a giant cow slip?

14 June 2011 18:16:59
How do you make a giant cow slip?

How do you make a giant cow slip?

I think I have the answer to this riddle.

Today I planted 52 Primula florindae (giant cow slip) plantlets into the border pictured.

The seed was collected at Huntingbrook last November (with Jimi's permission) and sown fresh. It germinated in February and now I have 52 plants to show for it.

I am looking forward to the brilliant yellows, oranges and reds in late summer from the giant cowslip flowers. I think they will look fab among all the dark foliage I have in this bed.

Light & Grass

13 June 2011 21:16:06
Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum

I seem to keep writing the same journal over and over again.

Today I planted, weeded and staked.

Yep, my life is so varied!

Hubby did a job cutting the privet hedge to the ground or back to a bud. There's not much left. It's hard to know what to do next.

I put a few more photos in my album as the light looked really great behind the squirrel grass this evening. It is, by far, my favourite grass.

Potting On Again

12 June 2011 23:34:12
Paeonia 'Sarah Bernhardt' & Iris

Paeonia 'Sarah Bernhardt' & Iris

It was a rainy day here in Wexford and I bet Bill and Gabriel were relieved that the days had not been swapped.

I turned my attention to potting on, opening up a bag of 'John Innes potting on compost' from Aldi but it was the most terrible stuff with stones and even a lump of glass in it. I spent half an hour just crumbling the lumps by hand. I made the decision to use it anyway as I had nothing else. I hope I will not regret that decision.

Obviously I am not well organised. If I had done today's potting on beforehand, I would have been able to bring Isoplexis canariansis, Arctotis, Stipa tenuissima, Stipa elegantissima, Pennisetum villosum 'Cream Falls', Oenothera 'Sunset Boulevard', Chionochloa rubra and Echium walpreti to the plant swap.

My New Challenge

12 June 2011 00:24:54
statues at home

statues at home

But in the midst of Gabriel and Bill's hospitality, a certain character with beady eyes returned my Indian statues to me.

To recap, for anyone who missed this chapter, Fran kindly offered to treat and varnish two 20 year old Indian wooden statues I had and wanted to use now as garden ornaments.

Fran returned them to me today at Bill's. 

OMG. I can't get over the amazingly professional job Fran has done. All of the carved detail on the statues is intact yet they have been expertly finished.

The statues were bought in India in 2001/2002 and had been used as house ornaments for many years but, as the house quality improved, the statues began to look rough. They then went to the attic.

Now, looking at what Fran has done, the statues are worthy to be house ornaments, leave alone the garden!!! But, I will stick with my original plan and build an area for them in the outside. So this is my latest challenge.

Thank you so much, Fran! By the way, Bill's Sam told my Sam to watch out for the guy with beady eyes today :)

2 of 2

12 June 2011 00:10:07
2 of 2

2 of 2

And as for the kids...

They had the best day in a long time!

1 of 2

12 June 2011 00:08:07
the guided tour

the guided tour

Bill and Gabriel have seriously raised the bar in terms of garden.ie open days.

Today was perfect in every way.

The garden was imaculate, despite most of it having just landed this year!!!

Did Gabriel really do all that weeding? OMG!

I always love visiting anyway but to deal with so many people (and their kids) in such an elegantly, no-hassel way? Hats off!!!

I had the bestest day. Thank you, Bill and Gabriel.


10 June 2011 22:51:05


Today I weeded again. I was feeling a little resentful that I had to do this instead of planting, which is the priority, but needs must. By the way, I hate buttercups!

I had already weeded the Persicaria bank but I left the very top of the bank to its own devices. I mean, we can't even see up there for goodness sake! But, uh oh, the weeds grew tall and could be seen. Besides tall stuff there were also annoying splodges of yellow buttercup on top of pink Persicaria. Yuck!

It should have been sprayed, I know. But it wasn't and now the weeds were so tall that if you sprayed them you would just be treated to a view of tall dead weeds, which is infinitely worse than tall live weeds.

So I had to go up and sort it out.

I also tackled a horrible bit of the bank to the far left. It is bare and therefore very weedy. It is bare except for a horizontal Cotoneaster that trails down the bank, mingling with weeds and making spraying impossible. This area is also extra high and treacherously steep. When I weed it I can't stand up, just try to lodge my bum on something to avoid sliding all the way down. I got maybe half of this patch weeded. Ruddy buttercup!

Anyway, fed up, I went to visit the Camolin Potting Shed. I came away with a Disporum cantoniense 'Green Giant' and Hemerocallis 'Sabine Bauer'. That put a smile on my face.

See you all tomorrow I hope :)

For Chilipepper

10 June 2011 22:29:39
orange tree

orange tree

Hi Dave,

Speaking of citrus, this is one of my two miniature orange trees. It is the younger one.

I put them outdoors today in these twin pots. 

I adore the scent from the blossom and the miniature fruits are so dinky.

We eat the fruits only for a dare as they as as bitter as death!

Bitsy Day

09 June 2011 21:07:19
West Garden

West Garden

I didn't really get my teeth into anything today.

I did a bit of watering and spraying in the greenhouse, a bit of planting, a bit of edging, a bit of staking and a bit of weeding. But not a lot of anything!

The most important thing I did was to save two Russian sage plants that disappeared under the Crambe maritima foliage a few weeks ago. A job I had kept forgetting about again and again.

I feared there would be nothing left to dig up today when I finally got to it but, hey presto, they are still alive. I replanted them in the West Garden. FI


This Year's Winners

08 June 2011 23:05:17
Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata'

Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata'

I'm talking annuals now.

And even at this early stage in the season I can name two new introductions (new for me) that have done exceptionally well so far.

They are Solanum lacinatum (thanks, Bill, for that) and Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata' (Terra Nova strain). I wonder where those seeds came from? :)

Both are vigorous, tropical and have done excellently for me so far.

Very Pleased

08 June 2011 22:59:04
Very Pleased

Very Pleased


Here is another gratuitous photo of today's work.

Feeling quite pleased with this little section.

I've put some photos in the album.


08 June 2011 20:59:47


Spent the day planting.

No Tropical Border for me this year!

It works much better when you put your tropical among other plants.


08 June 2011 20:59:39


Spent the day planting.

No Tropical Border for me this year!

It works much better when you put your tropical among other plants.

Diminishing Returns

07 June 2011 23:46:04
annual poppy

annual poppy

Up and about again, there is lots to do in the garden.

Campanula, Peonies and Delphinium need staking. Grass needs cutting and edging, there's digging to do and always more weeding. At least today's shower took care of watering.

But the most urgent thing at the moment is to get all annuals into the ground. From 1st June annuals work on the basis of diminishing returns. If not planted, they, at worst,  become stunted, at best, are wasted.

I always need to plant my Annuals Border first to ensure that it has enough to fill it. Now that that is done, the fun starts with the rest.

I've put a few more photos in my album, including one of these lovely little poppies that lay dormant a few years until the earth in this border was dug up in the summer of 2009.

Last Call

07 June 2011 22:22:30
Deschampsia caespitosa

Deschampsia caespitosa

Before I assign them to the compost, does anyone who is going to Bill's on Saturday want the Deschampsia caespitosa pictured?

I bought the two plants at the Bay Garden last autumn but they do seed about.

They don't look bad in 'flower' but are not my cup of tea.


05 June 2011 11:49:50
Dracunculus vulgaris

Dracunculus vulgaris

Okay, I know I owe many of you replies and I also have neglected reading journals.

I will catch up soon.

But, for the moment, whatever Sammy had a few days ago has caught up on me and I am taking to my bed.

Hubby finished planting the last few grasses in the Annual Border yesterday so it is now done (photos in my album). 

And, while I was at Bloom, the first Dracunculus opened and Josh spotted it :)

Our Stint in Wonderland

05 June 2011 11:14:56
Deborah, Feverfew's daughter, Feverfew & Liga

Deborah, Feverfew's daughter, Feverfew & Liga

I have been to every Bloom since it started but I enjoyed this show the most by far. My enjoyment was in no small part due to the excellent company I was lucky enough to have all day.

I arrived at 10am (OMG - the traffic, the queues!) and met up with Liga straight off. By chance, Jacinta arrived at the same time and Kate also came out to meet Jacinta and gave us all the insider low-down on Bloom. We had tickets so we didn't have to queue and, after a brief visit to the facilities (we knew it was now or never), we headed for the plant pavilion. Liga and myself had to work fast to outpace Jacinta :)

But we 'did' the plant pavilion in slow motion, trying to take everything in but digressing wildly at times. I think both myself and Liga had in mind to buy something big and impressive rather than loads of cheap little things (well relatively cheap). I saw several things I'd have liked but they weren't really worth the high price and didn't fall into the category of 'big and impressive'. Liga's resolve faltered at the Pelargonium stall and she ended up with three real smashers. We got some funny looks too when the vendor didn't get Liga's joke about taking cuttings from the display models :) Liga also had in mind to get a nice Fuchsia and I was half looking out for Kalmia.

Pretty soon though, me and Liga fell simultaneously in love with a fabulous peony in a display, called 'Coral Sunset'. After we picked our jaws up from the floor, we made enquiries at the stall and, to cut a long story short, came away with a slight variance called 'Pink Hawaiian Coral', one each :) And Liga bought a fluffy Eryngium too.

Next stop was Jimi Blake's where we ran into Evelyn (Feverfew) and we all spent a very loud quarter of an hour blocking poor Jimi's stall, taking photos etc. Happy Days!

Next stop was the Rare Plants stall and I quickly saw two nice things - a Kalmia (kinda on my list) and a variegated tulip tree! I hummed and hawed for a bit as the Kalmia foliage was a bit like the Pieris and quite boring. But it was a big bush, just breaking bud and, besides, hardy evergreens are like gold dust after the last two winters. What clinched it was getting a fiver off the two!

We then went to the Fuchsia stall and, although the Fuchsia Liga wanted was sold out, she came away with a nice one. I then picked up my order from Mount Venus and we put everything in the car, saying hello to Kate again on the way out.

Gosh, this is turning into a bit of an epic so I'd better hurry it along!

After missing each other for ages (mobile signals were bad and you can't hear your phone ringing anyway), I met up with Deborah at the Irish Garden stall and we had a good old chin wag. Then all three of us headed out to see the show gardens. It was a real treat and I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of the gardens, stopping briefly to chat with people, and getting Deborah and Liga's views.

But Poor Deborah was suitably mortified when myself and Liga insisted on walking through the Alice in Wonderland Garden and dragging her with us. Although composed of mainly artificial plants, it brought out the child in us. As we emerged on the other side, camera flashes still steaming, Deborah was heard to comment that myself and Liga had let ourselves down, erasing any semblance of being serious horticulturalists after our little escapade in Wonderland!

But time ran out and I had to leave at 4:30, not having seen the walled garden, the food halls or done a second round of the plant pavilion. Oh, and did I mention that I bunped into cousins I haven't seen for 30 years!?! A really, really wonderful day and thanks to all my great friends :)

Free Bloom Tickets

05 June 2011 09:57:42

A 'Coming of Age'

04 June 2011 22:35:51
Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden

Before putting up a journal on the wonderful day I had at Bloom, I thought I would first share just a few observations on this year's show

I was seriously impressed with the quality of gardens this year.

I think we can all now finally admit that, in the first Bloom Shows, the standard was pretty low and several of the gardens were downright shoddy.

But, somehow, this year in the middle of a major recession, Bloom has come of age.

Whether due to some bizarre coincidence, the convergence of astrological phenomena or an Irish horticultural maturing, Bloom is achieving an exportable standard. Remember, you read it first here :)

Gardens worthy of recognition are  Mount Venus' Best in Show, Kells Bay & Frazer McDonogh's Fern Garden and the superbly polished Chinese Garden.

Annual Border

04 June 2011 00:41:26
Abutilon vitifolium

Abutilon vitifolium

I spent all day planting up my Annuals Border.

It was such a scorcher that I thought I would melt and those annuals just seemed to go on for ever...

I would have finished too about 8pm if poor Sammy hadn't started to feel ill and vomiting. He said he felt 'like a potato that caught the blight'.

The photo shows my Abutilon in full flower. I missed its flowers last year when the snow knocked the bush for six. It seems to have gotten used to the weather though because I'm having a floriferous 2011.

Big Bird

02 June 2011 22:57:43
Big Bird

Big Bird

I did no gardening today as I was accompanying my lads on their school tour.

In my absence hubby put up the 10 6ft stakes needed for the sunflowers at the back of my Annual Border. If there's no wind again tomorrow, I will plant up the Annual Bed.

This evening we had dinner outside and then I started taking a few pots of succulents out of the greenhouse and arranging them in a display. Quite pleased, I called hubby over to look at my work.

'Ha ha, that's very funny!' says he.

'What's funny?', says I.

'I thought it was a joke' says he.

'What's a joke?' says I

'Well, they look like they're all having a picnic' says he (referring to the pots of succulents).

And then, pointing to the Leptospermum I had placed at the top of the neck of the chiminea:

'That looks like Big Bird from Sesame Street'.

I think he saw the tea tree as the hair and the bulging sides as the hips!!!

Danger Money!

01 June 2011 19:41:01
Weeding the Persicaria bank

Weeding the Persicaria bank

I think anyone who believes gardening is just a walk in the park (or as someone else once said 'all about poncing about with snowdrops') should see the bank I have to scale and weed!

I think I will speak to my agent about danger money :)

My Persicaria is slow in re-emerging this year but it's coming.

Any flattened bits in the photo are where I parked my bum to weed. Lucky the plants bounce back in a day or two! FW


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