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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal August 2011

Last Post 2337 days 15 hours ago

Favourite for 2011

31 August 2011 16:29:37
Erysimum linifolium 'Apricot Twist'

Erysimum linifolium 'Apricot Twist'

It's hard to nominate a favourite plant but I think my favourite herbaceous for 2011 is the orange perennial wallflower pictured.

It has flowered almost non-stop all summer. It is beautifully scented and the colour is just spectacular.

It's very hard to beat!

I put a load of new photos into my August album.

More of this

31 August 2011 16:26:08
Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'

Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'


Next year I will grow more Cerinthe

Annuals Border Verdict

31 August 2011 16:24:32
Amarantus 'Hope Red Dye'

Amarantus 'Hope Red Dye'

It's time to assess this year's Annuals Border.

Well, it's a crying shame this Amaranthus didn't grow to 5ft, like it said on the tin.

I'll use them again. They are lovely. But I won't count on them getting taller than 2/3 ft

Now that's what I call a good herbaceous border

31 August 2011 00:35:46
Altamont, red end of herbaceous border

Altamont, red end of herbaceous border

I recently put up a journal, talking about how disappointed I was at the herbaceous borders in Powerscourt.

Well, today I visited Altamont Gardens in Co Carlow with some guests and had the opposite experience. I was completely bowled over by the herbaceous border there. Well, the red end, at least.

It has been quite a while since I've seen these borders in their full glory.

Now that's what I call a beautiful herbaceous border! There are a few photos in the album of an obvious name.

Close Up

30 August 2011 13:41:49




29 August 2011 19:36:20
Crinum capense Powelli longifolium

Crinum capense Powelli longifolium

My Crinum opened today and it really is lovely.

But, and this may be blaspheme, I am not sure it is so much lovelier than ordinary lilies that it warrants the winter protection and the fussing.

Of course, it's always nice to have a variety of plants in the garden and something a little out of the ordinary. The big bulb, sticking up from the ground, is also interesting.

Don't tell Bruno I said that or I'll be out of the Exotic Plants Club on my ear!


29 August 2011 19:28:28
Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta'

Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta'

I have a cousin coming to visit tomorrow so went around like a mad thing today dead-heading, weeding and edging.

Of course I've left it too late to get everything covered but so it goes.

Celebrations, Limerick style

28 August 2011 23:55:56
Celebrations, Limerick style

Celebrations, Limerick style

This afternoon we got back from Limerick, slightly the worse for wear but on a high.

Last night was Deborah & Martin Begley's 30th wedding anniversary party and boy was it a night to remember.

We had treasure hunts in the garden, food, drink, illuminated balloons and lanterns, more food, more drink, dancing, the launch of 30 lanterns (some narrowly missing the garden), fire pits, their son, Ben, playing a tuxedoed cocktail mixer, ice bowl-viewing, chat and much laughter. There was an outdoor marquee and fun and frivolity continued into the small hours.

Thank you, Martin & Deborah, for a wonderful party. And congratulations. You guys know how to do things in style!


28 August 2011 20:56:10


Yep, we've taken the plunge and are now the proud owners of a Lidl shredder.

Here's hubby feeding a recently felled sunflower into it.

I sowed seeds here today - Stipa gigantea, Lilium martagon, Acaena, Eryngium alpinus, Deinanthe caerulea and Pachyphragma macrophyllum.

I noticed an Amaryllis belladonna poking its nose up too - happy days!


27 August 2011 10:51:52
Lilium martagon

Lilium martagon

After breakfast I decided to go out to the garden, just for a look around and maybe to catch some good photos in different light.

Hubby commented that I am 'obsessed', mostly because I just took photos yesterday evening.

But, hey, look what I found? And I would have missed these if I hadn't gone out this morning as I wasn't looking out for them.

They are seeds from my species martagon lilies. I bought 10 bulbs last autumn, for a hefty price, but now look at all the seeds I have. Okay, it will be 3 years to flowering but I can wait.

Gosh, so many seeds to sow, so little time!

Another Star

27 August 2011 10:45:39
Heliopsis helianthoides scabra 'Summer Nights'

Heliopsis helianthoides scabra 'Summer Nights'

I bought this little baby at the Rare Plant Fair this year.

I have come to love Heliopsis in general for their late summer colour and vigorous habit. But this one is special for its darker, almost orangey, flowers and chocolate foliage. It seems just as vigorous as the others.

Those of you who visited may not have noticed this plant as it was tucked away behind and badly staked.

Star Plant

27 August 2011 10:40:23
Achillea 'The Pearl'

Achillea 'The Pearl'

One of this year's star plants has got to be Achillea 'The Pearl'.

Drumanagh gave me this a few years back and it's bulked up really nicely.

It flowers for such a long time and I was complimented on it so many times this summer.

I am reminded, however, that my staking techniques leave a lot to be desired.

Number one priority for next year is to sort out proper home-made supports with lengths of metal.

It is such a shame to miss out on getting the most from a plant through shoddy staking.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

26 August 2011 19:46:08
Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Make Hay While the Sun Shines


I noticed today that the fields around us are all full of neatly baled hay.

It must be getting on to autumn :(

I have added a few new photos to my August album.

Seed Collection

26 August 2011 19:44:26
Seed Collection

Seed Collection


I noticed that the giant Verbascum seed was ripe so out came the paper bag.

Beware the Browns

26 August 2011 19:42:58
West Garden

West Garden

It is so easy to let the garden slip into autumn at this stage in the game.

But I won't go without a fight!

I dead-headed the West Garden today, especially the gone-over lilies, and suddenly it looks fresh again.

Paper Bag Time

25 August 2011 21:42:42
Actaea simplex atropurpurea

Actaea simplex atropurpurea

Yes, it's time to start saving those paper bags.

Not to put over the head, you understand. But for seed collection.

Today I collected seed of Stipa gigantea. I had some very bad moments, thinking I had left it too late, because all of the seed was gone from my Stipa plants until... I came to the very last plant. I was really kicking myself for leaving it so long but I think I found enough seed in the end.

The plan is for a grass bank. But that will probably be in 3 years time - when the seed I collected today becomes big enough to plant out. It's good to have a plan!

Not so Poor After All

25 August 2011 21:31:34
Scadoxus multiflorus

Scadoxus multiflorus

I put up a journal about this SA bulb about a week ago.

I was so disappointed that it was not going to flower properly for me.

What I didn't realise was that the flower is composed of several miniature florettes and that, when I last put a journal up, only one or two were open.

The flower isn't yet fully open but I can tell already that nothing is wrong with it after all :)


25 August 2011 21:26:21
Crinum capense Powelli longifolium

Crinum capense Powelli longifolium


Okay, it's not open yet.

But it's definitely coming.

Witch's Claw

25 August 2011 21:25:11
Lobelia tupa

Lobelia tupa


I love this witch's claw.


I can resist anything but temptation...

25 August 2011 13:39:08
orchids in flower now

orchids in flower now

Elizabeth recently put up a journal about this terrible 'plant habit' a lot of us on the site have succumbed too. It is very hard to kick!

Sometimes I am really proud of myself and actually say no to a plant that is being offered. But mostly I disgrace myself. The problem is even worse, for me, if the offer involves orchids.

Recently at Jacinta's Open Day, she offered me a phal. As if I didn't have phals coming out my ears! I was going to take it because it was beautiful and, besides, the most horrible thought to me is that it might be thrown out. But, thank goodness, Hosta came to my rescue. Phew, I can pretend I was strong...

Myrtle visited recently and guess what she brought? Yes, two orchids! One of which was none other than that lovely Oncidium Myrtle featured in her Orchid album. Well, Hosta wasn't here to save me so my orchid collection increased by two :)

And then there was the final day at Huntingbrook when a fellow students turned up with Cymbidium divisions... I have no excuse for my behaviour :(

The photo shows what is in flower at the moment. Among others, is a fab white phal, with a yellow heart, that Clare brought me earlier this year. FWO

Pongo borneo

25 August 2011 10:43:24
Pongo borneo

Pongo borneo

Just for Fran - one animal from our zoo visit!

We hand picked th ornagutan with you in mind, Fran ;)

After seeing the recent Plant of the Apes film, this lad was the family favourite.

Dublin Zoo

25 August 2011 00:21:21
Eucomis, Kniphofia & Cortaderia

Eucomis, Kniphofia & Cortaderia

We went to the zoo today and I could not get over the gorgeous exotic planting.

What kind of budget do they have and how do they get that lot through winter (as I am sure nothing is lifted)?

Last year I saw the swathes of newly planted Eucomis in the African Plains and I was very doubtful as to their possibility for survival.  This year they look naturalised.

Whatever they're doing there, could they please bottle it and sell it to us gardeners?

I am just putting up an album now. But among the exotics (that I could identify) I spied ...

Melianthus major, Echium, Eucomis, Tigridia, Clianthus, Grevillea rosmarinifolia, Crinum, Galtonia candicans, Cardiocrinum gigantium, Darmera peltata, Bergenia ciliata, Hedychium, Agapanthus, Kniphofia caulescens and other Kniphofia, Trachycarpus fortunei, Fatsia japonica & various bamboo.

Wowser! Please take a look at my photos and advise of any mistaken identities. Oh, and if anyone can help with naming the 2 gorgeous Eucomis, I would be very grateful.

Oh, and there were a few animals there too :)

Free Lecture

24 August 2011 23:16:51
Schefflera, Ashley's Border, Huntingbrook

Schefflera, Ashley's Border, Huntingbrook

There will be 2 free lectures at Huntingbrook, Co Wicklow this Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th from 2pm.

The lectures will be on the very best late summer perennials and grasses.

The information doesn't seem to be on the website but I got it from the newsletter. I can't attend myself but am sure some of you will.

Philip's Garden

23 August 2011 21:39:56
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Madame Emile Moulliere'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Madame Emile Moulliere'

I was in for a bit of a treat today as I went to visit the garden of a fellow student from Jimi Blake's course. Can you imagine, we went all the way to Huntingbrook to find that we gardened just around the corner from each other!

Anyway, Philip's task for the day was to cut back his large meadow area for the year. Am I glad I got to him before he did so!

The garden was beautiful - from the stylish asymmetrical box-lined entrance steps to the carefully tended woods. It was also full of choice plants, several from Crug and other specialist nurseries.

I was completely captivated by a Mexican species Dahlia called Dahlia coccinea var. palmeri. To my mind it looks like Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' but bigger and more stately. And what about the enormous flowered Hydrangea paniculata pictured? I didn't get the name but it is a real gem, seeming to be playfully sprinkled with thousands-of-millions. Check out the photos!

Anyway, I think I've nearly convinced Philip to join garden.ie. I hope so anyway :)

Forest Pansy

23 August 2011 19:33:53
Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

I noticed a few things looking good in the garden right now so have put up photos.

I failed to catch my Lobelia tupa or flowering Crinum but I'll get them again.

I should go out and feed my orchids but I'm having difficulty mustering the inclination or energy after a day kids' clothes shopping.

Would someone not pop around and do it for me? Be a pal!


Here we go again

22 August 2011 19:10:30
Iris amoena 'Champagne Elegance'

Iris amoena 'Champagne Elegance'


My repeat flowering Iris is back again.

It must be that time of year...

The Last Supper

21 August 2011 22:08:09
The Last Supper

The Last Supper

It was the last day of my year long Plants Person course at Huntingbrook.

That was a year that flew by!

It was a year when I splurged out on a big treat, just for me. It took me a long time beforehand to weigh up whether the course would be worth it financially but I am so glad that I decided for it in the end.

As a result of the course I feel more knowledge, more confident and more part of the 'horticultural community'. But more importantly - and this is the intangible - I also have a new lease of creative energy, which I will enjoy deploying in my own garden. I loved every single minute of every lesson.

Thank you to Jimi and June Blake and all my new gardening friends.

PS August photos of Huntingbrook to come.

PPS If you are interested, there may be a few spaces left on the next course, kicking off in September (and don't forget to ask for the garden.ie discount) ... http://www.huntingbrook.com/website/courses/upcoming-courses/1-year-plant-persons-course-1-year-plant-persons-course/

Who's up for Mount Venus?

21 August 2011 20:34:46


Today I was lucky enough to attend a talk given by Michael Muench of Mount Venus Nurseries, Dublin. Michael is not the owner but is the plantsman at Mount Venus and is responsible for the propagation of Mount Venus' vast perennial and grass stock.

Mount Venus is, of course, well known to us as being possibly the foremost grass nursery in Ireland. In addition, its owners Liat & Oliver Schumann won best in show for their Bloom garden this year. And... we had a garden.ie mini-meet at Mount Venus' last autumn.

This was the first time I heard Michael Muench speak and he was like a breath of fresh air. He gave such a lively and interesting talk, encompassing his eclectic, and even slightly quirky, interest in perennials and grasses. The talk opened with ornamental dandelions (the seed for which had been obtained from Terra Nova in Limerick) and soon covered a multitude. I have no doubt that Michael's relaxed and engaging manner will soon make him popular for talks.

The picture shows Blumenbachia which is a beautiful little annual plant. But, get this, it stings like a nettle!!! I might try this one from seed next year.

Anyway, I have learned that the autumn Mount Venus sale is on 17th & 18th September this year and I propose a mini-meet there. I will certainly be going. What day would suit you guys - Saturday or Sunday? More information is on the website...


Something beginning with Z

21 August 2011 08:37:11


I am just about to leave for day 2 of my Plants Person course - the very last lesson!

Actually, I am exhausted but will be so sad to finish the course.

This orchid has opened this morning to usher me on my merry way. It's a zygo and was much more purple last time it flowered. Now it looks almost black.

PS For those garden.ie-ers doing the course, starting September, I have a few little tips for getting the most out of it. I will send you a mail soon.

At its Peak

21 August 2011 00:00:11
prairie style planting

prairie style planting

Today was a packed day at the Plants Person course. We spent the morning in Ballintubbert, Co Laois then went to Blessington to see a newly planted town garden and then went to June Blake's.

In my opinion, June's is at its peak now.

I am in complete awe of June's planting schemes and colour combinations. The prairie effect that I have been trying to replicate for several years in my garden, seems to come effortlessly to her. The word genius springs to mind.

I have managed to get a number of half decent photos and hope you will take a look.

Ballintubbert Gardens

20 August 2011 21:06:46
Ballintubbert Gardens

Ballintubbert Gardens

As part of the Plants Person course, we took a visit to Ballintubbert Gardens, Co Laois today.

Ballintubbert is a new garden, being only 10 years old, and is a work in progress. It should be spectacular when completed.

I put a few photos in an album.


Another Visitor

19 August 2011 16:10:02
Myrtle & Ron

Myrtle & Ron

It was a nasty windy day in Wexford, with rain.

So, of course, this was the day we picked for a visit to my garden :)

Myrtle and Ron came to call today.

But even despite the weather, I think we had a good time. Besides, it's always lovely to see Myrtle!

Garden Shot

19 August 2011 16:05:19
long border

long border


A bit of a blustery day here in Wexford

Poor Scadoxus

18 August 2011 19:26:22
Scadoxus multiflorus

Scadoxus multiflorus


Oh dear, I don't think my Scadoxus is up to it this year.

I must have offended it :(

Easy Day

18 August 2011 19:24:29


Hubby mowed the grass and I did a round of dead-heading today.

I also weeded the Annuals Border and wrestled a little with staking.

I have a number of plants to go into the ground but couldn't raise the enthusiasm today.

What is it?

18 August 2011 01:02:07
What is it?

What is it?


What is this beautiful shrub I saw in the Japanese Garden in Powerscourt?


18 August 2011 00:56:17
Acanthus mollis, Powerscourt hebaceous

Acanthus mollis, Powerscourt hebaceous

Today we went to Powerscourt.

I was dying to see the 'Italianate Garden' with the longest herbaceous border in Ireland. I saw it last year and loved it. My guests were non-gardeners so it was a job to get them there but we did eventually.

On a lead-in to the herbaceous, the rose garden section by the greenhouse was looking very good and, if I were into roses, I would have paused longer to photograph the many, large, perfect blooms on disease free bushes. But I did not.

Instead, being me, I practically stepped on some Japanese tourists to get to the crinums at the side of the greenhouse. I was also in such a rush that I did not fully appreciate the fine Hydrangea display along the outer wall.

So, in we went. The welcoming sign, warning severely against the taking of cuttings, served as an enticement and then, suddenly, I was there...

Longest herbaceous border in Ireland? But it didn't cut the mustard with me. What was the problem? It was scruffy. Not through lack of weeding. It was weeded well enough. But it was not dead-headed so everything looked scruffy. And in my humble opinion, just a teeny bit more flair could have gone into the planting.

The Day's Work

16 August 2011 18:19:22
Solanum lacinatum

Solanum lacinatum

Today was a planting day. Oh, and a moving day.

I moved my hidden Nerine bowdenii out from under bushes and put them all in one spot in full sun. Of course, it is the wrong time of year to be moving nerines but when I went looking for them in spring, I spent ages digging about and couldn't find them at all. Now I can see their leaves so now is when they're getting moved.

I also got out to do a round of dead-heading at 7:00am - the joys of collecting offspring at unholy hours of the morning!

Little & Large

16 August 2011 12:52:39
Paulownia tormentosa

Paulownia tormentosa


I'm very please with how well my Paulownia have done this year.

My son, Sam, is modelling to show how big the leaves are.

I have just added a number of photos to my August album for those who would like to see them. There is even one of Cyperus involucratus for Bruno.


16 August 2011 12:41:54
Meconopsis paniculata

Meconopsis paniculata

I adore this poppy for its foliage.

Look how the drops of rain sit on it.

It is monocarpic so once it flowers, it will die. 

But it will be fun getting there.

Pink Brushes

16 August 2011 12:36:01
Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes'

Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes'

Earlier this year I went to considerable lengths to get my hands on this plant.

It is Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes'.

Mine is 4ft now and the first 'brush' has just turned pink.

Elizabeth should turn away now as I know she doesn't like it. But I think this plant is a real cracker!


16 August 2011 12:27:18
Echium wildpret subs. wildpreti

Echium wildpret subs. wildpreti

I have a long and painful history with Echium as I cannot overwinter them in my garden. In 2009 I went to considerable lengths to do so but lost them all anyway. So I had given up on Echium but then Jurga gave me some seed last year.

Never one to refuse plants or seed, I sowed Jurga's seed with the intention of using the biennial Echium as an annual. I wouldn't get them through their first winter so would never get flowers but I thought that I would use the foliage as an annual in year one.

Then Jimi Blake came to visit and when he saw the echiums and heard they were Echium wildpreti, he went on about what a great plant it is, with beautiful flowers, and how I'd done well to get them so far and that they would be well worth making an effort to overwinter.

So I guess I'll be attempting to overwinter Echium again this year :)

Overwintering Seedlings

15 August 2011 23:20:52
a little something I prepared earlier

a little something I prepared earlier

Today I did the last pricking out of the season. I will continue to pot on but pricking out becomes a dodgy practice from now on. The reason for this is that when you prick out, roots become damaged. Normally they recover but if that damage is compounded by winter cold, it can mean the end of the seedlings. From now on in, any seedlings may be transferred to a larger pot but will not be pricked out until spring.

Eupatorium, Rheum and Roscoea were all pricked out today. I also potted on my Chionochloa, Verbena, Penstemon, Lychnis chalcedonica and some odd bits.

The photo shows a plant I prepared earlier - 18 years earlier, to be exact. His Debs is tonight.

A Visitor

15 August 2011 21:02:41
A Visitor

A Visitor

I had a visitor today.

It is Cloncaw, Geraldine, all the way from Monaghan.

More Lilies

15 August 2011 01:57:39
More Lilies

More Lilies

I'll say it again.

It has been an exceptionally good year for the lilies.

I got fed up with loosing dahlias over winter so replaced mine mostly with lilies this year. Lilies are hardy.

I think I may be sticking with the lilies.


15 August 2011 01:54:25
Lobelia cardinalis seedling

Lobelia cardinalis seedling

I think Lobelia must be one of my favourite genus of plants.

I just adore them all.

Liga gave me a couple of Lobelia cardinalis seedlings earlier this year and just look at the sumptuous pink that one of the plants has thrown up! 

Fallen Nest

14 August 2011 12:04:29
baby birds

baby birds

There was much kerfuffle this morning when the House Martin nest over our front door collapsed. Two baby birds were seen limping around on the concrete.

The obvious thing was that if the poor birds (who can't fly) stayed there, they would soon be picked off by cats.

Sammy remembered an ornamental bird cage which we have on our landing. Soon it had chicken-straw at the bottom and Ishtar was scooping up the frightened birds and placing them inside.

We put the bird cage in the house as it was too hot in the greenhouse and gave them a dish of water with some bread dissolved in it.

I guess bodies heal, if they possibly can. So if we keep the birds safe, warm and watered so that they can rest, they may recover. If anyone has useful advice, please do give it.Do I recall Fran nursing some brds back to health previously?

Anne Boleyn's Grape Vine

14 August 2011 00:43:38
Anne Boleyn's Grape Vine

Anne Boleyn's Grape Vine

As I have guests at the moment, little gardening is getting done. But one of the great things about people visiting is that you bring them places and get to see places yourself that perhaps you never have gotten around to visiting before.

Today we visited Huntington Castle in Clonegal, Co Carlow. Of no horticultural interest, the castle is a complete fascination from a historical and local history point of view. Suffice it to say that I didn't realise that so many artefacts had survived in private hands.

But the thing I want to mention here is the grape vine in the conservatory in Huntington Castle. The enormous vine was in fruit, although still small, with the trunk extending outside the house to where the roots are planted. This vine is of historical interest because it is a cutting from a Hampton Court vine given to Anne Boleyn by Cardinal Wolsey. The original Hampton Court vine is no more and only a handful of cuttings have survived yet the one in Huntington still bears fruit. Now, I think that is really something!

Much Admired Geranium

12 August 2011 01:08:26
Geranium x pratense 'Summer Skies'

Geranium x pratense 'Summer Skies'

I noticed that my new Lobelia 'Elmfleur' is coming into flower now.

The little double Geranium to the left was admred by a few people at the Open Day. It is Geranium X pratense 'Summer Skies'.



12 August 2011 00:54:09


Here comes my Arctotis into flower. I think I have one of each colour!

I sowed them on 8th March but either it wasn't early enough or I someow held them back as they are only flowering now. Myrtle's flowered long ago.

I'm not sure now whether to try to overwinter them or what. Oh, well. Better late than never.


10 August 2011 23:51:48


I sowed a few spring flowering bulbs today - Erythronium 'Kinfauns Pink' & Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Plena'.

I believe Erythronium are best bought in the green but, after last year's success with them as bulbs, I thought I would chance it again.

I am a bit tied up at the moment and will be posting fewer journals this week as we have guests. I will catch up on all your journals next week.

Happy Gardening.


10 August 2011 01:53:26



I caught this little beauty on camera in the garden today.

Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 2

10 August 2011 01:37:02
Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 2

Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 2

The complete stalk should come away cleanly in your hand, as shown in the photo, not damaging the roots of the plant..

The plant will then produce new stalks from the wealth of foliage down below.


Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 1

10 August 2011 01:34:49
Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 1

Dead-heading Alstroemeria, Step 1

I've always felt that one gap in the gardening book market is a book on how to dead-head.

There a loads of different techniques needed dependent on different flowers and I have never seen a comprehensive book on this.

Geum are different to Calendula. And Alstroemeria are different again.

Anyway, I was quite fascinated to learn how to dead-head Alstroemeria properly, which Jimi Blake shared with me on his recent visit.

Here is the tip, in case any of you also do not know...

First, you select a stalk where all the flowers have gone over, as in the picture.

Firmly hold the stem, below the spent flowers, and tug upwards.

So how did that happen?

10 August 2011 01:24:29
from Ricinus communis 'Zanzibarensis' seed

from Ricinus communis 'Zanzibarensis' seed

I collected seed from last year's castor oil plants.

They were all Ricinus communis 'Zanzibarensis', which is green.

Yet the resultant plants this year have all turned out to be purple!?!

Answers on a postcard,

Cake Tin

10 August 2011 01:17:18

I Survived The Scrub

08 August 2011 16:04:32
matching Anemone & laundry

matching Anemone & laundry

I had the most lovely morning walking around Peter's (aka Scrubber) garden. The rain held off and I was lucky enough to get flashes of sunshine.
Peter's garden is completely different to any other garden.ie-er's that I have had the privilege of visiting. He is blessed with a natural woodland setting, contours that would cost a fortune to excavate and trees of the maturity only our forefathers could have bestowed on us.
The question of how I might deal with such a space, if I had been blessed with it, kept playing on my mind the whole trip. Many a new synapse was burnt in my brain yet little conclusion reached. Peter's solution is to embrace nature, taking advantage of long views and panoramic sweeps by careful pruning, discreet planting and artistic placement of rustic sculptures. 
The overwhelming feeling was one of awe. This hit me whenever the light filtered through the trees, illuminating acid green ferns and ricocheting off the occasional orange berries of lords and ladies causing them to sparkle.
Unfortunately, my camera let me down again so I was only able to take a few photos.
Only afterwards, when examining my photos, did I realised the levels Scrubber has gone to. You see, normal people like me would not notice it at first. But look how in this photo the laundry is even colour coordinated to match the Japanese Anemone. You sly fox, Peter!

A Straggler

07 August 2011 21:16:45
Jimi Blake & me

Jimi Blake & me


A straggler turned up today for the Open Day.

Wasn't it lucky I had a spot of cake left :D

Open Day

07 August 2011 13:59:45
Open Day

Open Day

And there you have it. The Open Day has come and been and gone.

Much cake was brought and eaten (my kids are delighted and scoffing Swiss roll as I write), some plants were swapped, some raindrop dodging was exercised and everyone seemed in great form.

The day flew and I wish I had been able to chat with more people but it was not to be. It was my first time to meet Elizabeth yet we barely managed to exchange a few sentences. I will catch you all next time when it's not my Open Day :)

Thanks too to everyone for all the lovely pressies and edibles. It really was not necessary. Actually, I am slightly embarrassed at the haul by my kitchen wall. But I will be a good Samaritan and find homes for all those poor 'orphaned' plants :)

By the way, did someone leave a yellow grass behind? It looks like it was forgotten by mistake.

And thanks to whoever 'forgot' the jade plant because you're not getting that back :P

But the thing that really put a smile on my face was Monica's (Monkells) gift. It was string! Mon said that she had read my journal of last week and was coming to my rescue. Thanks, Mon :D

And thanks, everybody.

Final Info for Open Day

05 August 2011 23:26:35
a good year for the lilies

a good year for the lilies

OK, I'm all set.

Every edge is edged, every weed pulled and I even made scones (Paddy, be quiet!).

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.You are very good to come so far, especially people from Cork and Cavan!

Oh, and my neighbour has given permission to park in his drive (it's the house just beyond mine). I'll try and organise a sign for tomorrow.

A Few Swaps

05 August 2011 22:14:52
A Few Swaps

A Few Swaps

I was having a look at what I have on offer, although  major planting has taken place the last few days.

I have a couple of each of the folllowing plants so let me know if you would like them...

Abutilon vitifolium - we can dig a small one up

Eryngium (blue) - we can dig one up

Pulsatilla vulgaris (red parent) - seedling

Alstroemeria Ligtu hybrids - seedling

Sambucus 'Thundercloud'  - rooted cutting

Chaerophyllum hirsutu 'Roseum' - seedling

Flowering Specially for Bruno

05 August 2011 22:09:01



And look what has decided to flower especially for Bruno!

What a lucky girl

05 August 2011 21:46:20
What a lucky girl

What a lucky girl


Look what dahlia I got from seed!

In Fran's Honour

05 August 2011 10:40:41
Deinanthe caerulea

Deinanthe caerulea

Look what has opened in Fran's honour.

It is the herbaceous hydrangea you picked up for me at Mount Venus, Fran.

Something's been having a nibble but it's still lovely.

Thank you.

Open Day

04 August 2011 23:14:42
Open Day

Open Day

Here's the list of the garden.ie-ers attending the Open Day on Saturday 6th August.

I will make some scones but if every second person could bring a little something to eat, it will be a lot more varied.

Can I ask you to please not park in the garden otherwise it will be like rubic cubes trying to get out again.

I'm looking forward to it now. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rain. If it does, we will go indoors...

Gracedieu Lass
Scrubber (will leave very early)
Drumanagh (maybe)

More Orange

04 August 2011 18:05:37
Agastache 'Apricot Sprite'

Agastache 'Apricot Sprite'



As I said, I love orange :)


More photos in my August album.

The Colour Orange

04 August 2011 18:04:34
Oenothera 'Sunset Boulevard'

Oenothera 'Sunset Boulevard'

I think orange is my favourite colour in the garden so when I saw seeds for this pretty evening primrose for sale last winter, I had to try them.

I think they're a really beauty. 

Muscadet Lilies

04 August 2011 17:58:55
Muscadet Lilies

Muscadet Lilies


The lilies have opened.

Ripe Tomatillos?

03 August 2011 23:31:27

A Flower

03 August 2011 23:07:11
Hemerocallis 'Rocket City'

Hemerocallis 'Rocket City'

After all the recent talk on day lilies, I had to put up a photo of this little beauty that my son got me for my birthday.

Even in the rain it looks good.

Getting Ready

03 August 2011 22:46:19
Getting Ready

Getting Ready

My journals have been really boring for the last ages because I've been doing nothing except getting ready for Open Day this Saturday. I hope lots of you will come and do let me know if anyone needs directions.

A mountain of work was done today again, both before and during the rain. Today was a planting day - until I ran out of compost!

See my new Hydrangea aspera 'Macrophylla' in the corner! It's much better than that dreadful martyr-for-blackspot 'Charles de Mills' rose.

So, more of the same for me tomorrow.

Staking & Mildew

02 August 2011 23:46:04
Alonsoa warscrewiczii & Achillea 'The Pearl'

Alonsoa warscrewiczii & Achillea 'The Pearl'

There has been a phenomenal amount of work done here the last days but until the grass got cut today, it was not obvious. I love when the grass gets cut because it's like a nice garden magically appears from nowhere.

I did lots of staking today. Unfortunately a side effect of the cocoa mulch is softer growth on my Eryngium so they all had to be staked :( I discovered that a hammer is very handy for tapping bamboo stakes into the ground.

I see mildew for the first time on my asters. I had it on Phlox and chocolate cosmos earlier. Anyone else notice it being a good year for mildew?

Tomorrow is a day for planting and the continuation of edging. My son will also be earned a few bob with the shears. Let the rain stay off now and I'll be laughing for my Open Day on Saturday.


02 August 2011 11:12:39
Kirengeshoma palmata

Kirengeshoma palmata

With all the talk recently about Kirengeshoma, I decided to take a good look at mine.

What do you know, it's in flower!

I just never noticed as it leans the other way.

A photo taken further back is in the album.


A Mystery

01 August 2011 22:32:15
Echium seedling

Echium seedling

Yesterday, when weeding, I noticed this funny little seedling on a bank.

I recognised it immediately as I have grown Echium.

Now, it is a total and utter mystery how this seedling ever got here. Echium are biannual so you need to get them to flower in year two for them to set seed and perpetuate through seedlings in your garden.

I have never managed to get an Echium to year two as they are quite tender. In 2009 I went to some considerable effort to overwinter them but my efforts were unsuccessful.

I know that my neighbours do not grow Echium so how on earth did this seedling arrive here?

But it is all good news, For the moment, I feel like putting a police cordon around this seedling with a big 'endangered species' sign. Oh, and please don't stamp on it on Saturday!

Can't Wait

01 August 2011 22:20:10
Lobelia tupa

Lobelia tupa

I was going to wait until it was fully open before posting but I can't wait.

This is Lobelia tupa, which I grew from seed last year.

It is slightly tender so it is a miracle I got these four plants through last winter. 

In fact I planted two groups, with nine plants each, last year and mulched them with bark in winter. I lost the lot except these four plants that resprouted from the roots. I couldn't believe it when I saw them peeping up but I was delighted.

I think I must have a warm pocket in this one patch of the West Garden as the Crinum there has survived too.

I can't wait to see how these bad boys turn out.


01 August 2011 17:56:46
Helianthus 'Bicentenary'

Helianthus 'Bicentenary'

It had better dry up soon or there'll be no grass cut for the open day!

Today the water lily and my first sunflower opened.

I am hoping for the following to be in flower by Saturday - Brugmansia, Lobelia tupa, Galtonia candicans, Agapanthus and various lilies.

I need more string!


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