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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal July 2011

Last Post 2363 days 20 hours ago

Couldn't give a fig!

31 July 2011 20:54:55
Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey'

Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey'

I got a lovely surprise today when weeding.

My fig tree lost so many branches last winter and had to be cut back to almost nothing. I did not hold out much hope for it.

But, wow, look at it now.

That makes me very happy :)

By the way, I put up a few last photos in my July album if you would like to look.

What it should be like...

31 July 2011 20:49:21
What it should be like...

What it should be like...

This is a picture of 'Darla Anita' from the web.

Is it the same as what I have??

What do you think?

Hemerocallis 'Darla Anita'

31 July 2011 20:43:08
Hemerocallis 'Darla Anita'

Hemerocallis 'Darla Anita'

This day lily opened today.

I was really dying to see how this one would look.

It is supposed to be Hemerocallis 'Darla Anita' and pink. This is definitely red.

I think I have been given the wrong one :(


30 July 2011 21:44:57
Hemerocallis 'Sabine Bauer'

Hemerocallis 'Sabine Bauer'

I bought new garden furniture today. I hope you all appreciate this effort!

Mind you, the thought did occur to me that I could continue to use it after the Open Day :D

Other than that I started a round of dead-heading but I didn't finish because of rain. The idea is to dead-head now (a week before the Open Day) so as much as can be in flower will be in flower.

Oh, and I picked up Cotinus 'Grace' in Springmount Garden Centre in Gorey (where they have lots). I know several people were looking for this shrub at one stage.


Video Game Review

29 July 2011 23:25:15
Nepenthes x Miranda opening

Nepenthes x Miranda opening

When I returned from my escapades at Fran, Jacinta and Clare's gardens on 27th, hubby had finished pruning the Hypericum hedge. I suspected he had been working on it as I received texts, asking me to buy plasters and beer on the way home! It is so good to have that horrible job behind us.

Today hubby disposed of the mountain of branches while I worried about the 'cliff' at the back of the house. I enlisted both my teenage kids to help with weeding and clipping there and it got done in a fraction of the time that I would have spent on it alone.

There were a lot of high jinx and my son, Zak, went off on a tangent as he worked,  imagining the weeding was an Xbox game. He then went through the motions of reviewing weeding as he would a game. It was quite hilarious and when we went indoors, Zak wrote up his 'game review' of weeding. I will have to share it at some stage!

Other than that, Liga will be pleased to hear that I brought all my orchids out to the greenhouse. I only left the warm ones, the phrag, a particularly tall den and a zygo that is about to flower indoors. Better late than never! I will just need to double check tomorrow as I think there are one or two that should not go out, only I can't remember which ones without checking my book.

My Open Day

29 July 2011 12:23:31
My Open Day

My Open Day

Just a reminder that my Open Day will be Saturday 6th August from 2pm onwards.

All garden.ie-ers, partners and kids are welcome. Other serious gardeners are also welcome. I am near Bunclody and Carnew in County Wexford.

It will be a great occasion for  garden.ie members to meet.

For anyone interested in coming, I will give you directions by private message nearer the time.

The Open Day is advertised under 'club events' on this site...



Clare's Garden

28 July 2011 23:51:39
Clare, pretending to be grumpy

Clare, pretending to be grumpy

I am sorry to say that by the time I got to Clare's garden yesterday evening, I was all out of camera battery. The light was also failing so photos could have done no justice to the garden anyway.

I find it so interesting to consider how different people have completely different ideas of how to make a garden. Clare, Myrtle and Fran live in the same vicinity, have roughly the same size (although differently shaped) gardens and all three love plants and display skill as gardeners. Yet, despite these similarities, all three have come up with completely different garden designs.

Clare is very modest and dismissive of her garden yet it has the feel of an Italianate villa. So much has been done since I was last there, with newly created 'garden rooms' now situated at the end of the area and a lot of new planting. A return visit is required, I think.

And in Clare's usual, understated way, she showed me the cucumbers she has grown from seed this year. My goodness, what a whopper of a plant! And there were other plants too. I was given four beautiful cucumbers to take home with me and by god they are good!

Once home, I made myself a big sandwich with thick slices of cucumber -  much needed to soak up all of the day's cake! Thanks for everything, Clare ;-)

Jacinta's Garden

28 July 2011 23:22:33


It is a very funny experience to finally visit the garden of someone you have been reading about for such a long time. It kinda smacked of visiting the stars in Beverley Hills.

On the way to Jacinta's we passed her place of work. We knew there would be no use in dropping in for a bargain without Jacinta's magic marker there so we continued on, mentally clocking up the steps Jacinta takes when she walks to work. We even kept an eye out for the famous Chinese where the lady herself is wont to order a takeaway after a hard day!

And then we arrived at Jacinta's. The garden was just bursting with colour and plants at their absolute peak. The sound of water was calming, the company was lively and I'm afraid I overdid the scones and cream!

It may seem wrong to single it out, in such a vibrant garden, but one thing that I really loved was the play of light on a vertical oxygenator Jacinta had in her pond. So subtly pretty! And Jacinta was a terrible influence. She even encouraged us all to pond dip!

And, yes, I now know the answer to the million dollar question. The one everyone who reads Jacinta's journals asks themselves. You know, what exactly is over that wall at the end of the garden where Jacinta tosses her rejects? I must admit to feeling slightly let down. I fully expected a whole other garden back there but - no :(

Fran's Garden

28 July 2011 22:57:28
Fran's Garden

Fran's Garden

I have visited Fran's stylish garden on several occasions and it never disappoints.

Each piece of Fran's garden is both polished and accomplished. In the main part of the garden the theme is modern and Japanese but Fran is working on a different style for the new area with one particularly exciting idea! Of course, I am stating facts that are already well known on this site as we all read Fran's journals.

Yesterday, I was especially struck by one area of planting  against a Japanese-style bamboo structure that Fran has built on a wall. Although the rest of the wall had equally accomplished structures, the planting and ornamentation in that particular frame came together quite exquisitely. Well done, Fran!

I have put up a small album of photos as bright sunshine prevented proper photographic coverage.

Garden Crawl & Cake Hangover

28 July 2011 13:35:57
my partners in crime

my partners in crime

You've all heard of Pub Crawls. Who knows - maybe one or two of you have even been on one. Well, yesterday I went on the officially recognised garden.ie version of that - the Garden Crawl!

I arrived at Fran's, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at 11:30am to find Clare (Clara) and Margaret (Hosta) already in attendance. The sun was beating down and it was really lovely in the shade of Fran's deck, as the festivities began with the first cake indulgence of the day.

The banter started as it intended to continue and, my god, was Clare on form! Us regulars (Fran, Clare and myself) were gradually introduced to the wry Corkonian wit of our southern companion, Margaret. Let it suffice to say that Margaret gave as good as she got!

More journals will follow to talk of Fran, Jacinta and Clare's gardens but, for the moment, I am merely setting the scene.

Yesterday was a day to be remember in the annals of garden.ie because by the end of it I think we were all so completely wiped (in the the best Pub Crawl sense) that we are likely to forget detail so garden.ie annals had better record them for us.

Yesterday was earmarked by a major Garden Crawl and unashamed cake abuse. Cake is a dangerous substance, children, and today's cake-hangover is the proof that  overindulgence is dangerous. Do not try this at home! WCO WIO

20 Down 14 to Go

27 July 2011 01:50:27
Hydrangea 'Love You Kiss' @ Coolaught

Hydrangea 'Love You Kiss' @ Coolaught

I'm talking about emergency pruning of my Hypericum hidcote hedge again. Sorry to bore you.

I started off a.m. with the pruning and got a little done but then handed over to hubby as I had to go out. By the time I came back he informed me that a startling 20 bushes were now pruned and only 14 left! He also commented that my felco was a very good secateurs and asked how much it cost me! We usually buy our tools (like loppers that break) in Lidl, you see, but I invested in a proper secateurs some time ago.

Anyway, on my travels today I popped into Coolaught Gardens in Clonroche. Looking good, looking good! Take a look at my album, if you like.

More of the Hard Stuff

25 July 2011 21:26:44
Lavon tree lily (year 2)

Lavon tree lily (year 2)

I started the gardening day reluctantly - suddenly deciding that my primulas needed potting on. Then I repotted the Ismene and Epiphyllum. Anything to keep me from the hard stuff.

But it had to be faced in the end and I took the bull by the horns, starting on the nastiest end of the Hypericum hidcote hedge - the place where it joins with the dump. From the dump, brambles send long arms out to grab the poor struggling hedge and throttle it permanently. So, along with the pruning exercise, I also had to weed the ditch (where the hedge is) and clip it with the shears.

Hubby came bounding to my rescue, wielding the long-armed lopper and cut out bigger Hypericum stems until the lopper died a painful death! After many attempts to fix it, Hubby gave up and set to mowing the edges.

In total I pruned four Hypericum and cleared all around them, neatening up a long stretch of ditch. All the removed debris was dumped on the adjacent grass, where it stayed as the rain came. Tomorrow is another day.

Looks like me

25 July 2011 21:04:10
Carex comans 'Frosted Curls'

Carex comans 'Frosted Curls'

Ever since I put this Carex on top of the chiminea, hubby has been passing remarks.

The first was to call it 'Big Bird' but lately he has mentioned that, if he catches it out of the corner of his eye, he thinks it's me!

I didn't think my hair was that unruly!


Cursing the Hedge

24 July 2011 17:39:52
Epipactis palustris

Epipactis palustris

The job I have been putting off is to cut back the Hypericum hidcote hedge, along one side of my boundary, as after 10 years in situ, it was killed by last winter's cold.

There's nothing like a forthcoming Open Day to focus the mind!

However, the Hypericum has done a good job of coming back. Resprouting from the base, most plants are only a foot shy of their original pre-winter height at this stage!

Ten minutes into the job it became blatantly obvious that the job was too much for me. I could not cut the fat stems, even with the long-handled loppers. Then, by accident, I broke a branch by hand and realised how much easier than cutting that was.

So, a compromise was reached. I am cutting/breaking the dead branches back but only to where they are no longer visible beneath the new growth. It is not the most elegant of solutions, and probably not great for the plant's health, but it is a solution. I cut back 2 of the some 30 bushes today so this will be a big job.

Cape Gooseberries

24 July 2011 17:30:45
Physalis peruviana

Physalis peruviana

When we went away recently, we moved the tomato, cape gooseberry and mum plants out of the greenhouse and into the kitchen.

Here it would be cooler so lack of water for 5 days would be less of an issue. All were fine on our return.

I'm delighted to see the cape gooseberries are beginning to produce fruit.

I grew these from seed this year and these tender plants produce the fruit you buy (at a high price) in the supermarket. My second son loves them so he should be in for a treat soon.

Speaking of egg...

24 July 2011 16:53:58
Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri


It was an egg that got us home and a fried egg was waiting for us when we got here :D

The Ring of Kerry

24 July 2011 11:26:52
Luma, but which one?

Luma, but which one?

My recent trip to Kerry took in the famous Kells Bay Garden. A photo album is going up as I write.

Unfortunately a leaking radiator put pay to any other excursions but at least we got to Kells Bay again and to see the super little nursery just beside it, called Victoria's.

Also unfortunately, Kells Bay was hit rather badly by last winter. There has been a world of destruction wreaked by the weather between last summer and this summer. Tree ferns in pots seem to have been the greatest casualties. Yet the gardens are still well worth a visit.

I noticed this fabulous Myrtle (Luma, I presume) in Kells Bay and would really like to get an i.d. on it. The scent was just amazing and the trees did not seem hit by the weather. There are three photos in my album. Can anyone help please?

Looking Good

24 July 2011 10:50:25
Oenothera missouriensis/macrocarpa

Oenothera missouriensis/macrocarpa

It is always nice to go away from your garden for a little while - just to appreciate it all the more on your return.

The Annual Border has really come on in the last week (see the 3rd and 4th last photos in my album) and the sunflowers at the back of it are, in some cases, as tall as the 5ft stakes supporting them. I gave the border a liquid feed yesterday, carefully avoiding the grasses.

Besides more feeding and watering of pots, yesterday's focus was largely on house plants. I noticed a number of them had very yellowy leaves so potted them on.

And, speaking of yellow, here is a lovely yellow flower!

Hosta's Garden

24 July 2011 01:13:53
Hosta's Garden

Hosta's Garden

I had the pleasure of visiting Margaret (aka Hosta) at her beautiful garden yesterday.

Margaret's garden is one that I had been dying to see for a while as her excellent plant knowledge and eclectic collection had really captured my imagination.

As we drew up at Margaret's, it became blindingly obvious that we were at the right house. It was as if the garden rushed out to meet us - so exuberant were the clouds of colour spilling out from the garden!

The fact that Margaret is a hardened plantaholic became evident (as if we didn't know already). There were so many exotic and unusual plants lining the path, from Agave and Colocasia to Plectranthus and then some!

The journey through Margaret's garden was a real joy and it was great to hear of all the new plans and projects while observing and enjoying the already accomplished garden.

Despite the fact that there were five of us, we were warmly welcomed and given drinks and snacks. Nor never let it be said that we were not offered an egg ;-)

June Blake's

24 July 2011 00:17:09
June Blake's

June Blake's

I have just uploaded a few photos taken on 17th at June Blake's beautiful garden in Blessington.

Unfortunately my camera batteries prevented me taking more.

If anyone is looking for something to do tomorrow, June is having her '10th Anniversary' Party' and plant sale from 10am and Huntingbrook is also having a plant sale by their UK guest, Derry Watkins of Special Plants Nursery.

If you visit June's, look out for the pretty Saxifraga stolonifera she has tucked away in a corner for sale. They were €5 when I got one on Friday but may be reduced in the sale.

When Less is More

23 July 2011 16:30:10
Geranium 'Rozanne'

Geranium 'Rozanne'

The day before we left for Kerry (Sunday,17th July), I was at Huntingbrook Gardens, availing of the second day in July's double lesson. Despite the forthcoming long drive to Kerry, I would not miss my course.

We did something different. In the morning was the annual plant swap and boy did I bag some goodies. Jimi also took part in the swap and I was quick to snap up some of his Dahlia australis!

Then we headed off to see a different garden. It was one planted by Jimi and completely different in style to Huntingbrook or June Blake's. I put up an album. This garden was refreshing and the phrase 'less is more' somehow sprang to mind. Look how the long-flowering Geranium 'Rozanne' is used to best effect!

The we headed back to June Blake's, just in time to catch the Deborah and Martin Begley and their bus-load of Limerick daytrippers. Unfortunately, we had a mere five minutes together before the Begleys were whisked away to Jimi's.

Orchid Spotted - For Liga

23 July 2011 14:58:00
Epipactis gigantea @ June Blake's

Epipactis gigantea @ June Blake's

Liga, check out this gorgeous orchid I saw in June Blake's garden.

Unfortunately my camera was just out of battery so this is the only photo I got.

It was really beautiful and quite a bit bigger than the Epipactis palustris that I have.

June said she got it at Mount Venus but it's not listed in their current catalogue.

This is going on my list!

Like a Bad Penny

23 July 2011 01:01:24


I'm just back from Kerry.

I have loads of journals and photos to put up and will do so as soon as I can. I was delighted to visit Margaret (Hosta) while in the neighbourhood and have much to report about her lovely garden.

Only for Margaret's egg white, we might never have made it home :)

But home again, with the Romneya, Epipactis and Pinguicula in flower and the tree lilies coming, life is good.

WCO (cym)


16 July 2011 23:55:39
Corydalis ochroleucra

Corydalis ochroleucra

I spent today at my plants person course. Huntingbrook is beginning to get its summer colour.

This will only improve as the season progresses, culminating in an October exuberance.

Check out my new photo album and chart the different between the different monthly albums I have put up.


Lilliput Evoking Plant

16 July 2011 22:57:58
Heracleum sovnovkii

Heracleum sovnovkii

Check out this enormous 10-12 ft hog weed that Jimi Blake is growing in Huntingbrook.

You know how we all grow plants that claim to reach monstrous proportions? Well, this one really does.

It is biennial and I just have to get seed. The only problems is that it burns the skin like acid and seeds around worse than Bruno's Impatiens glandulifera.

Trifling considerations!

Some Pressies

15 July 2011 21:37:22
Some Pressies

Some Pressies

I got some early birthday pressies today.

I guess it's impossible to hide plants from me, which is why I got them early :)

I knew something was up when I saw orange petals on the grass this afternoon!

I got Zantedeschia 'Picasso' and 'Black Star' and Hemerocallis 'Rocket City' and a cute little pot holder.

I wasn't expecting anything as the Crûg plants were my birthday present. I'm a happy camper.


Annuals Border

15 July 2011 14:49:53
Annuals Border

Annuals Border

I weeded the Annuals Border today. It wasn't such a hard job.

It's beginning to take off now but... something's missing!

I see Salvia and Verbena in the front. I see foxtail barley behind. And I see sunflowers at the very back. 

But where is my Amaranthus?

It is there, behind the grass and about the same height as it - not the 5ft I signed up for.

And the Amaranthus has started to produce tassels so I wonder will it get any taller :(

Blue & Pink

15 July 2011 10:55:48
Triteleia fabiola & Mirabilis jalapa

Triteleia fabiola & Mirabilis jalapa

It's raining here today but not heavily. I'm trying to pluck up courage to go out.

There are so many jobs I haven't got to yet.If I started to list them I would feel depressed.

In the morning it often feels like I just can't get on top of the garden. But in the evening when I go around to take photos, I usually feel happy with the garden. Aren't we awful fickle, us gardeners!

Here's a photo for you blue-lovers.

WCO (non cym)


14 July 2011 23:52:41


I sorted out my pot display today for in front of the greenhouse.

I use plants that don't need constant watering because... I can't hack it in summer.

Indian Gods

14 July 2011 23:49:08
Indian Gods

Indian Gods



Thanks a million, Fran :D


14 July 2011 22:57:43
Roscoea purpurea 'Brown Peacock'

Roscoea purpurea 'Brown Peacock'

I planted out this little gem today.

I love it to bits. To bits, I tell you!

It's one of my Crûg purchases and I spotted a second spike emerging today as I planted it out. This is a vigorous plant, not a whimpy seedling.

I also planted out the Daphniphyllum and there are more photos of both in my album. I know Sean asked specifically to see the Daphniphillum in situ.

Going Bananas

14 July 2011 21:09:44
Musa 'Tiger Stripes'

Musa 'Tiger Stripes'

I decided to tidy up in front of the greenhouse today. This is the place where I chuck all pots of dead plants or hopeless cases for the dump. They stay there until I get around to separating the spent compost from the dead plants (the compost is reused for mulch and the plants go on the dump). Hubby had been complaining about these pots as they were a pain when he mows.

So I attacked the lot, filling the wheelbarrow with compost and stacking the empty pots. There were a number of pots of ungerminated seeds, still inside their zip-lock plastic bags. In fairness, hubby had already sorted out a lot of this mess recently but he wasn't in the mood for unzipping the plastic bags.

Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather when I unceremoniously grabbed one plastic bag, that was lying on its side, and ripped off the plastic. There were two tiny seedlings poking up. A brief fumble for the label and guess what they are? Only  my banana seeds that I sowed on 29th January this year and gave up on several months back. Now isn't that a nice surprise. Sometimes sloppiness is useful!

Sky Scrapers

14 July 2011 20:51:12



I was weeding today in the long border and looked up...

Taking it Easy

13 July 2011 23:43:41
Dianthus & Clematis 'General Sikorski'

Dianthus & Clematis 'General Sikorski'

It was another beautiful summer's day today.

In the afternoon I did a few gardening jobs - mostly weeding and cutting back.

The spring border is looking neat now but dull. I guess that's down to its early focus.

The Annuals Bed needs a good hoe but that's a job for tomorrow.

For Fran - Cloud Tree Topiary

13 July 2011 23:16:23
cloud tree

cloud tree

I took a photo today of my cloud tree topiary.

It had a bit of a head start on yours as I bought it last year pre-topiaried by Lidl.

It needs a bit of a trim and maybe stronger wire.

For Liz

13 July 2011 23:12:51
Lychnis coronaria

Lychnis coronaria

Hi Liz,

By now you have probably googled Lychnis coronaria but here is a photo of it in my garden.

I wouldn't be without it. And I'm not the only one. The likes of Christopher Lloyd also rave about this pretty, simple, hardy plant.

Another Cracker

13 July 2011 15:53:52
Dierama & Malva

Dierama & Malva

Well, I must say. The standard of gardens out there on garden.ie is very high!

I was treated to a first visit to Liz M's beautiful garden today.

All I can say is, Liz, you dark horse you! Liz doesn't write on the site as much as she used to but, I can assure you, it is not for want of having something to journal about.

I loved so many of Liz's flower combinations and the fact that everything seems to grow so effortlessly for her and hubby, Brendan. Even the vegetable area was so pretty.

And I do adore Liz's pergola tunnel 'with windows'. The wooden tunnel, a feature in itself, is clothed in climbers but kept light and airy by regularly spaced openings onto the garden, or windows. I love it! 

Photos are in my 'Liz M's Garden' album.

Thank you so much for having me down, Liz. And please try and find me the name of that pink Malva in the back and the white one in the front garden. I think I'd look long and hard to find as pretty and prolific a flower elsewhere.

Open Day

12 July 2011 22:20:49

Self Seeders

12 July 2011 20:47:59


I got a few jobs done today, mainly weeding.

The bed around the stone table has some weedy patches so I fixed that up and then planted three of my new plants in the semi-shaded area by the Acer rufinerve.

The stone circle was full of Lychnis & Verbascum seedlings, in the cracks between the paving stones, and I removed them all. I was delighted to find that the roots usually came our intact so I potted up a load of new plants. They will be useful to fill some of the gaps in the long border.

I also started on the 'spring border' and found a nice little spot for my new fancy Saxifraga. A job for tomorrow.

Don't Tell Liga

12 July 2011 20:39:28
Cymbidium orchids

Cymbidium orchids

Listen, I only got around to putting my Cymbidium orchids outdoors today.

They need a spell of 8-10 º day/night difference to reflower.

I found a nice little sheltered niche for them under a tree.

Now, don't tell Liga that mine only went out today or I'll be expelled from the orchid club!

WC (cym only)


12 July 2011 00:42:33
Lilium 'Cocktail Twins'

Lilium 'Cocktail Twins'

For some ungodly reason this lily reminds me of Jedward.

I suppose it is because of the name.

It is called 'Cocktail Twins'.

Mine not to reason why...

I need to get to work on this scruffy corner of the garden tomorrow.

A few more photos are in the July album.


12 July 2011 00:35:53
Filipendula rubra

Filipendula rubra


Looking good right now - Filipendula rubra!

The Simple Things

12 July 2011 00:33:52
The Simple Things

The Simple Things

Someone recently put up a journal on the 'simple plants'.

You can't get simpler than this. Yet it looks great!

Verbascum 'Saffron Towers' & Crocosmia 'Lucifer'.

Look What Popped Up

12 July 2011 00:01:27
Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum

I nearly missed this on my return home.

It is Arisaema candidissimum whicht I bought as a bulb last autumn.

It was bought and planted with Arum elongatum 'Crimea' (which flowered in spring for me) and Pinellia pedatisecta. I guess that meansmy Pinellia is no more.

But, hey, I have a result!


Thank You, Liga

11 July 2011 22:54:02
from net

from net

When Liga visited me the day before I left for Wales, out gooseberry bushes were laden with fruit.

We had a grand old feed, helping ourselves to the sweet fruit directly from the bushes.

Liga (who lives miles away) mentioned how it was no problem to pop in and pick the gooseberries and strawberries, take the hen eggs and water the plants while we were away.

Great job, Liga! Thanks a million. Everything looked great on our return and not a gooseberry in sight :D

Edible Buy

10 July 2011 22:53:51
Zingiber mioga 'Crug's Zing' (from net)

Zingiber mioga 'Crug's Zing' (from net)

This is another one that made me laugh when I read about it.

Check out how this funny ginger flowers at ground level, despite its tall leaves.

Here's what Crug says about it...

From one of our collections gathered in the forests of Chejudõ the island between South Korea and Japan. Where it grew close to a dried riverbed forming a clump of thick perennial rhizomes with yellowish stems to 1m tall, bearing slender almost sessile leaves 40cm long by 7cm wide. With flowers opening lilac-pink from dark yellow buds for us, in late summer at ground level close to the base of the leaf stems. Easily grown in sun to part shade in a moisture retentive but well drained soil, hardy to -23C. Used as a garnish in Japanese cuisine. 

Recommended Buy

10 July 2011 22:48:29
Trocodendron araloides (net photo)

Trocodendron araloides (net photo)

Jimi Blake recommended that I buy this large, evergreen, hardy bush/tree.

When I looked it up on the Crug catalogue I was kicking myself that I hadn't earmarked it myself.

Can't wait to see how this bad boy works out!

Because it's Pretty...

10 July 2011 22:40:54
Roscoea purpurea 'Brown Peacock' (net photo)

Roscoea purpurea 'Brown Peacock' (net photo)

I have developed a bit of a penchant for Roscoea recently.

The Roscoea is a hardy gingers.

Although this plant wasn't 'collected' by Crug, it is fairly rare. It is like a Roscoea on steroids and mine looks good already. If it hadn't been already on my list when I went to Crug, it would have gone into the basket regardless the moment I saw it.

The Crug description says...

A superb selection of this robust species, colourful from the moment it emerges from the ground, which is late May to June with us. With thick reddish brown upright stems supporting broadly lanceolate stem sheathing purple-brown tinted leaves held at right angles. With large broad-lipped orchid-like lilac-pale purple flowers born in a long succession July to October.

Sensible Buy

10 July 2011 22:29:59
Daphniphyllum macropodum (net photo)

Daphniphyllum macropodum (net photo)

This bush has been on my wish list for a long time.

I read about it first in one of Christopher Lloyd's books but have seen specimens in Huntingbrook and Coolaught.

It is hardy.

To my mind, there is something of the Schefflera about it.

It is supposed to get black ornamental berries but they told me in Coolaught that theirs has never done so yet.

Impulse Buy

10 July 2011 22:23:54
Curculigo crassifolia (net photo)

Curculigo crassifolia (net photo)

This plant stuck out in the Crug nursery as the most exotic thing there.

It has enormous corrugated leaves.

I had to have it.

It needs to be kept dry in winter as the wet will kill it so this one will be planted in a pot and kept in the cold greenhouse.


Crûg Farm

10 July 2011 18:19:49
Crûg purchases

Crûg purchases

The heavens opened and it poured down, just as we pulled into Crûg last Friday. But a few drops of rain were not going to deter me from enjoying my visit to the plant collectors' Mecca. Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crûg Farm are modern day plant hunters and I had looked forward to visiting their gardens and nursery for many years.

By a mad coincidence a film crew was already there and, as the rain had kept customers away, I soon found myself involved in making a pilot programme for presentation to the BBC. The big advantage of this was getting all the tips from Bleddyn, as we posed for the camera. Tips like the sideways planting of air-rooting climbers, correct cultivation of Cautleya spicata and good advice on getting fruit from Actinidia!!! Wasn't I a lucky girl?

My long suffering family soon left to get lunch and I spent a great few hours wandering around the nursery and gardens after the filming had stopped.

Bleddyn was kind enough to show me the polytunnels. Wow!!! I was disappointed to learn that the magnificent Vietnamese Aralia I had my eye on was not hardy. I bit my lip and left it alone. Then he led me into the garden where I got the extended Schefflera talk.  But, even though I had pen and paper to take notes, I could not keep up!

Of course I had ordered a few plants beforehand (not all of which were in stock) and I bought a few more on impulse. Sue and Bleddyn came out to laugh as I tried to pack everything into the car. I think they thought I was joking about the four kids! They nearly cracked up when they remembered I had been considering stuffing an Aralia in there too! But we got everything in in the end and, for anyone interested in my purchases, here is the list...

Glaucidium palmatum  
Roscoea purpurea Brown Peacock'
Daphniphyllum macropodum  
Zingiber mioga Crûg's Zing'
Trocodendron araloides  
Saxifraga fortunei Rubrifolia'
Aralia apioides  
Curculigo crassifolia  
Lilium duchatrei  

I have added this photo to the end of my Crûg album if anyone wants a closer look.

And, wait for it, CRUG WILL BE AT FOTA RARE PLANT SALE NEXT YEAR!!! So we can all place our orders in advance and get out hands on something special.

Bodnant & Aberconwy

10 July 2011 13:12:32
Buxus & Arctotis @ Bodnant

Buxus & Arctotis @ Bodnant

Circumstances seemed to be conspiring against me on our recent visit to North Wales. On the Wednesday we set out for Bodnant Gardens but got way-laid by lunch and an impressive looking castle in nearby Conwy. We didn't get to Bodnant.

We tried again on the Thursday, this time setting out earlier, but as we drove along the heavens opened and I feared the worst for our visit.

But that is when my luck changed. The rain blew over and the sky turned blue, pretty much on our arrival at the gardens. Everyone was in a brilliant mood and we found that there was a kiddies trail, which Josh was very anxious to follow. He set off with his sister, paper and pen in hand, while the other two boys stayed with us. They get much more enjoyment out of throttling each other and generally horsing around than having to 'do stuff'!

The gardens were magnificent and immaculately maintained.  The scale was something else. I adored all the feminine, feathery planting, shown off to best effect against stately, stone features.

It is always very easy to get depressed when viewing such an excellent garden. I might have been overwhelmed. But instead, I looked closely at the fantastic borders and, getting a handle on the plants used, I reckon many of the arrangements are achievable at home.

Afterwards we had coffee and cake and I picked up Penstemon 'Bodnant' and Meconopsis betonicifolia from the shop as a momento.

But the fun was not over yet as, on our way down, I had spotted the Aberconwy Alpine Nursery and this had come recommended to me by several people. I had not thought I would get to it but as we were passing...

I picked up Celmisia hectori, Celmisia allanii, Jefersonia dubia, Hepatica nobilis, Corydalis (label mislaid) and also three Campanula  portenschlagiana for my problem-cliff.

Outrageously Pretty

09 July 2011 23:58:54
Arctotis @ Myrtle's

Arctotis @ Myrtle's

I am going to start at the beginning with my account of recent escapades, when I started packing small seedlings into two large boxes in preparation for our trip to Wales.

My son, Sammy, asked me what I was doing. "Just sorting out the plants that are coming with us on holiday", I replied :D

But the plants didn't come on holiday (I'm not really that mad!). They were just going on a sleepover to my friend, Myrtle, who kindly agreed to mind them for me while we were away.

It was a beautiful sunny day when we drew up at Myrtle's and I was immediately struck by the outrageous prettiness of Myrtle's borders. It was not my first visit to Myrtle's, of course. I confess to being a bit of a 'frequent flier' when it comes to 'inflicting a visit' on Myrtle. But it was my first time to me to see Myrtle's new area in full flower.

And what is Myrtle's garden like? Well just go take a look at my photos!

In fact, on my return from Wales I downloaded all photos from two cameras to the same folder and started flicking through them. We visited the fabulous Bodnant Gardens and I took loads of photos there as I was fiercely impressed with it. I was flicking through close-ups of the magnificent herbaceous borders when suddenly...  I realised I was not looking at Bodnant at all but Myrtle's borders! Yet I thought I had been.

Now, while I'm not pretending that Myrtle has the acreage of Bodnant to play with, I will say that Myrtle makes her borders work damn hard for her! They are outrageously pretty (did I mention that before?) and I could not aspire to anything nicer in my own.


09 July 2011 14:06:50


I'm back.

Back from Crûg etc.

More to follow...

Surprise Visit

04 July 2011 00:04:17
Surprise Visit

Surprise Visit

I was delighted to get a call from my good friend Liga today to say that they were planning on visiting the Bay Garden in Camolin and would I be home.

Liga and family arrived just as my lads were in the middle of a water fight with the hose. Liga's daughter, Paula, did not have to be told twice while Niki spotted the swing from a great distance!

It was a wonderful afternoon and Liga was in form. We had a grand old natter and walk around in our bare feet while the kids played. Suchlike always reminds me how  the good things in life are really, really good!

After you left, Liga, you will be pleased to note, I sprayed the greenhouse and planted my Cypripedium :D


Site Downsizing

03 July 2011 00:43:25

All Planted Out

02 July 2011 23:03:48
All Planted Out

All Planted Out

The planting frenzy continued today when hubby and my son eldest finished digging the 3rd border in the new area.

I'm telling you, if it wasn't nailed down, it got planted!

I planted batches of Isoplexis, Arctotis, Echium, Alonsoa, Teucrium, Clianthus and many more.

I was amazed to see that I had enough plants to fill this border too. That was some load of seeds I grew this year!

I'm so pleased to get everything in the ground and clear out the greenhouse.

Look, there's enough space in the greenhouse for my table again!

Nepalese Lily

02 July 2011 22:57:46
Lilium nepalense

Lilium nepalense

I was very excited to see this today.

It looks like my Nepalese lily is coming back. That means it is hardy.

The label on the left shows its position last year but look!

I see two lily spikes - one at the label and one big one, to the right, behind the Lobelia cardinalis.

I remember Deborah mentioned it could 'wander'.

Garden View

02 July 2011 22:54:16
Garden View

Garden View


There was nice light this evening.

Light & Dark

01 July 2011 19:11:32
Light & Dark

Light & Dark

I love purple foliage against cream or variegated.

This little arrangement struck me as pretty. 

The purple is a lovely Ajuga that Liga gave me. It is such a great plant for reaching nasty edges of borders where concrete impedes other plants.

The cream is a variegated Sedum I got at Terra Nova, called 'Frosty Morn'. And behind is Salvia forskaohlei, which Myrtle gave me. It has really taken off this year, helped by my mulch.

After the Party

01 July 2011 19:05:45
annual poppy

annual poppy

I think the kids had a great day at Josh's birthday party. Angry clouds hovered but never materialised as rain and there was not a breath of wind. Even the empty plastic cups didn't blow away!

The kids had fun just running around and playing. They discovered the strawberry bed and had fun feasting on ripe fruit. And the mow-paths, behind my borders, were of particular appeal for hiding in. The only 'event' was when someone locked Sammy in the chicken coop. But it wasn't in bad spirits. Sammy wasn't alarmed!

And the best thing about eating outdoors is that I just wiped all the crumbs off the table straight onto the grass. No fuss, dead easy!

Who Can Guess...

01 July 2011 18:48:08
Who Can Guess...

Who Can Guess...


what this is?





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