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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal October 2011

Last Post 2303 days 10 hours ago

Waiting to Move

30 October 2011 09:53:16
Waiting to Move

Waiting to Move

I am impatiently watching this poor Acer, dying for it to loose its leaves so that I can move it.

It is far too close to the arch and I want to move it a few feet to the right. The site is all prepared. The Phlox was removed and is sitting in pots, waiting to swap places with this Acer. But, no, it refuses to drop its leaves! Wait and see - when it drops its leaves we will have a hard freeze, further postponing the move until spring!

Actually, I shouldn't complain. It looks quite lovely really, even if it is too cramped.


30 October 2011 09:47:50
Celmisia allanii

Celmisia allanii

I noticed a flower bud on Celmisia allanii today.

That is so not right! But it is such a mild autumn.

The photo shows Celmisia allanii and hectori (in the right hand corner). They are planted with good drainage but I will put a collar of grit around them for winter, I think. I don't like the way the cocoa mulch keeps drifting up to their necks.

Speaking of Celmisia, I am raging to say I lost semicordata this year, and I only bought it at the Rare Plant Fair in summer. Its surrounding plants flopped over it, blocking light, and I only discovered it too late. I don't think it's going to pull through.

The Race is On

29 October 2011 20:11:10
Isoplexis canariansis

Isoplexis canariansis

Here's a shot of my Isoplexis today.

You can just see the brown tips of the first flowers on two buds.

Will it make it to opening before the first frosts?


29 October 2011 15:59:25
Cycas revoluta

Cycas revoluta

As a conclusion to my sago palm saga, I can say that it has made a full recovery.

The plant was knocked for six in the cold greenhouse in winter 2009. I cut back the fronds and then, many months later, in autumn 2010 it finally started to regrow. But it wasn't plain sailing from there as poor light made the new fronds wither in January 2011.

I was about to throw the sago palm out until Keego pleaded for it and I gave it another chance. They say that as long as the trunk is firm, it should eventually rally. It regrew and did well outside this summer. Look at it now!


Is that it?

28 October 2011 21:33:26
Is that it?

Is that it?

Where has everyone gone?

I was distraught to hear that Gardeners' World is off our screens until March but now no one is on garden.ie

Has everyone gone to sleep for winter?


Arisaema, Pleione & Corydalis

28 October 2011 18:16:25
Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

I got a good lot done today, mostly in the greenhouse, potting on and sinking pots in the border (as per my previous journal).

I finally got around to lifting and potting the forgotten Canna but, oh my, it is a whopper.  It's spending the night in the greenhouse until I sort out a spot in the wardrobe for it :)

I potted all my baby Arisaema bulbs on, very carefully. I didn't separate them, just put each whole clump into a bigger pot and topped it with more compost. Not a drop of water will touch them until spring.

And I lifted one pot of Pleione orchids, shook off the soil and put them in the plastic bag to overwinter in the fridge. The second pot, that Liga gave me, still has green leaves so I was reluctant to do anything with it just yet. I'll give it a bit longer. It should be fine as long as temperatures don't drop below zero.

More Mums

28 October 2011 18:02:45
Chrysanthemum 'Alex Young'

Chrysanthemum 'Alex Young'

This bronze one is my absolute favourite.

It's not quite open yet!

Alpine House

28 October 2011 18:00:28
Alpine House

Alpine House

I quite fancied that I was creating an Alpine House today when in truth I'm only trying to get my plants through the winter.

I have sunk the pots of most everything to be left in the greenhouse, into the greenhouse border. Before doing this, anything that was filling its pot was carefully potted on, making sure to disturb the roots as little as possible.

I will keep them really, really dry and hopefully everything will come through all right.

Lady Alice

28 October 2011 17:46:21
Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

After all the recent talk about the tender Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam', I thought I would put up a photo of mine.

My Lady Alice lives in the greenhouse and has just had her pot sunk in the greenhouse border.

Although looking fine and healthy with next spring's flower buds, she is such a tease.  In the two springs that I've had her, never have these buds opened for me into flowers. But maybe we'll have a mild winter this year and I'll be lucky.

Ever so slightly...

28 October 2011 11:53:24
Arum italicum

Arum italicum

It's time for me to start using the dreaded F word.

We had just the slightest hint of frost last night. Not enough to blacken the dahlias but enough to herald the end of autumn!

I'm about to do a spot of work but took a few photos first as the light was nice.

The Wardrobe

27 October 2011 22:49:25
The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

I started bringing plants in from the greenhouse today as frost is forecast.

Oh dear, there is no space for the dozen Colocasia! I will have to have a rethink.

Plants to be left in the greenhouse (mostly hardy but small had their pots sunk in the greenhouse border). There is nothing more annoying than loosing something hardy because it's in a pot! This job is to be continued tomorrow!

I was racking my brain trying to think of a cool, dark place for keep my cannas when I happed upon my son's wardrobe (he's in Maynooth). The pots are on trays so I can keep them moist. Won't my son be surprised when he returns this weekend!

Cutting Back

26 October 2011 14:36:48
Cutting Back

Cutting Back

I went out to plant some bulbs today but never got to it.

I cut back all the mildew ridden asters and bagged the debris for the refuse collection.

Then I started cutting back in general, especially the tall fennel which is likely to sway in the wind and get its roots damaged overwinter. I found an unlifted Canna hidden at the back - I'd been wondering what had happened to that one!

... until the rain came down and I raced indoors. But it wasn't a bad day's effort, all things considering.

South African Experiment

25 October 2011 15:50:06


A friend in South Africa sent me some seeds last year.

Mostly, they came to naught.

The Felicia, planted out in the West Garden, is just coming into flower now. The peppadew (a vegetable) never even flowered and the Watsonia didn't germinate.

But I did have success with this Dietes. It is a wild type of Iris from South Africa. Of course it's not hardy in this neck of the woods but, hopefully, next year I will have flowers.

Castor Oil Continued

25 October 2011 14:32:07
Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis


So this is what I'm left with!

Looking good for next summer!

Castor Oil Seed

25 October 2011 14:27:00
Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis

I collected my castor oil seeds about a week ago.

With all the rain, I feared I would loose them to rotting.

I should probably have left them mature/dry a bit longer as I may have gotten some late developers to become viable if I had but, instead, I decided to to deal with them today.

Ricinus communis is a great ornamental plant and you can never have too many of them in summer! The seeds aren't cheap to buy too so it's worth going to a bit of trouble to get enough seed for next year.

So, the first job was to removed the red seed heads. Wear gloves - the seeds are poisonous and cause nasty rashes!

Then I peeled off the white inner husk - tedious and hard.

Then I tested each resultant seed by squeezing firmly. Watch out for them flying across the kitchen and make sure to find all of them as you don't want the baby or cat eating it!

The viability rate on Ricinus is low so I wanted to ensure that I don't waste my time in spring, sowing dud seeds. Any seeds which 'gave' at all were ruthlessly discarded as immature. I discarded about two thirds of my seed. In spring I will probably test again before sowing.

Seed Preparation

24 October 2011 17:18:56
Solanum laciniatum seed

Solanum laciniatum seed

There wasn't much doing outdoors today but, between chauffeuring, I managed to pay a visit to the only place that I now know sells coarse grit, Van der Wel in Aughrim. I bought four bags.

Sods law : they had packets of Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' in stock :P

Then home again and able to sow seeds, I set about cleaning the berries I had collected. I sowed seeds of medlar and Cornus kousa and got thoroughly drenched.

Then I went about drying the Solanum seed. I used a tea towel and will store the seeds in the fridge once thoroughly dry, where they can survive for several years.

Drip, Drip

23 October 2011 18:02:21
Plectranthus argentatus

Plectranthus argentatus


Drip, drip...


23 October 2011 14:41:56


Tis miserable out today.

You can see my new flower bed in this photo, taken from my bedroom window (I'm not mad enough to go onto the roof!). It is to the left and thew grass is dying nicely on it now.

Actually, you can't see it at all from this small journal photo. But it's in the album.

Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades'

22 October 2011 16:24:30
Echium wildpret subs. wildpreti in Canaries

Echium wildpret subs. wildpreti in Canaries

Has anyone seen these bulbs for sale anywhere?

I am looking specifically for blue Anemone blanda, 50 or 60 bulbs.

I see Johnstown have a packet of 60 blue ones for €5.99 but that's a long way for me. Mr Middleton have 50 'Blue Shades' for €8.99. I don't feel like paying the postage to have these posted to me.

Anyone seen them in Woodies or such like. I don't think Lidl/Aldi have the blue ones, just mixed colours. Thanks.

Canary Island Corner

22 October 2011 12:02:16
Isoplexis canariansis

Isoplexis canariansis

They have some of the best plants in the Canary Islands and I grew two of them from seed this year.

I grew Isolexis canariansis and Echium wildpreti. Both are fabulous plants if you can get them to flower. The problem is getting them through the winter until they flower in year two.

But, even if you don't succeed, these are fun to try. The Echium makes a great foliage plant, even in year one - it's the one everyone asks about in the border! And, as for Isoplexis, well it seems I may have flowers this year on one plant!

Would you like to see a photo of the Echium in the wild?

Cloak & Dagger

21 October 2011 18:06:50
Viburnum rhytidophyllum

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

Since I joined garden.ie I have been involved in many dodgey-looking operations involving the drop off or pick up of goods. I swear that anyone observing would be sure that some clandestine and illegal operation was under way!

There have been meetings with unknown people : Jurga's husband in a car park or Dave's friend in Lidl, Gorey. There has been the exchange of small envelopes as well as large bulky objects, barely fitting in a boot. Indian deities, wooden road signs, pots of all descriptions and an extensive range of things floral have exchanged hands. It is a miracle no one has been arrested 'on suspicion' to date!

Well, today was one such occasion. I travelled up to Dublin to pick up a heavy concrete bench that Jacinta kindly offered me a little while ago. But was it at Jacinta's? No, an extra favour had been done by our friendly neighbourhood Postman Fran, who had collected the bench from the north side last night and was minding it for me. Thanks, guys. You really are the best.


21 October 2011 17:43:25
Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba


The Ginkgo is looking nice now although I don't have any of the buttery yellow hues that I've seen elsewhere.

Close to the Wire

21 October 2011 17:39:56
Physalis peruviana

Physalis peruviana

It looks like our cape gooseberries are actually going to mature before the frosts.

Talk about cutting it close - right up to the wire!

I grew these tender plants from seed this year and there are lots of fruit on them. But they are still green. I see today that, finally, they are turning to yellow.


21 October 2011 17:34:58


It has gone badly with my aster circle.

Last year were the first signs of mildew. I addressed the problem by feeding and mulching this year.

But it has not helped at all. 

The pink aster 'Patricia Ballard' has been particularly badly hit and only shown a sprinkling of flowers.

I should have cut all the affected foliage  to the ground a while ago but didn't. I will do it tomorrow and give the plants one more year's chance. I will spray next year at the first signs of mildew.

Tulips & Preparations for Moving

20 October 2011 15:49:39
Gaura lindheimeri

Gaura lindheimeri

Despite the cold night, the weather was good for gardening today. I determined to get those blasted 100 tulips into the ground.

So out I went and, you know how it goes, soon I was weeding this and cutting back that. But I did eventually get around to putting the tulips in the ground (thank goodness).

I planted them in two of the borders along my drive. Tulips need to be 'in your face' as no one wants to go looking for them, through the wet grass, in spring (except me of course :)) I put them behind perennials to camouflage their messy foliage as it dies down. These tulips are Darwin Hybrids so it is my intention to leave them in the ground. Darwin Hybrids are one of the few groups of tulips that come back without summer lifting.

Preparation was also made for things that will be moved in winter - five rose bushes, two coronet apple trees, a 4ft Japanese Acer (yikes) and a Virburnum 'Mariesii'. That should be fun!

On my way back into the house, I noticed that the Gaura has finally deigned to flower. I will not be growing that again and if the winter takes it, so be it. Part of the problem is that I didn't plant it somewhere to contrast its foliage and make it look good. And, if the foliage isn't worth looking at, October is an awful long time to wait for flowers!

A Forest of Gingers

19 October 2011 17:00:10
A Forest of Gingers

A Forest of Gingers

It would seem that I am awash with gingers.

The trick is to plant them out. They go mental, forming great big clumps.

Last year I sunk their pots in the borders and that held them back.

So I know what to do next year :)

For Jacinta

19 October 2011 16:57:11
Hedychium 'Tahitian Flame'

Hedychium 'Tahitian Flame'


Jacinta, this is the ginger I was talking about yesterday.

It is my nicest one.

I will put a division aside for you.

Before the Frosts

19 October 2011 16:43:03
West Garden

West Garden


I took a last few photos today of the garden before the first frosts hit.

It's looking quite bare now.

Photos are in the October album.


19 October 2011 12:27:47


I've spent the morning faffing.

Obviously the priority is to get out and lift my remaining tenders, as there's frost forecast for tonight, but I've been faffing instead.

I fed the intermediate and cold orchids and gave them all the milk treatment.

I bet research would show that orchids which are regularly wiped with milk do far better than others. And I bet the reason they do far better is not because of the wiping but because their owners take the time to examine them minutely and spot problems before they arrive.

Right, I'm going out to to the garden now. FIO, FCO


18 October 2011 15:52:53


I guess I got about 2/3 of my tenders up and potted today. They are now resting in the greenhouse before being moved indoors. I moved a lot of my succulents from the greenhouse to the house to make room for the incoming.

After lifting the dozen Colocasia, there was Hedychium 'Tahitian Flame', Canna 'Wyoming', Beschorneria yuccoidesCosmos 'Chocamocha' and another Canna that I don't seem to have input to my database (getting old) :P

The Hedychium was enormous. It had to be divided in four to even get it into pots. It is a beauty though with 4ft, stripey leaves.

And I feared the worst when I saw the size of the enormous Beschorneria root ball! But I somehow managed to find a giant pot for it in the end, spurred into action by the horrific memory of how Bill's had looked after being left in situ last winter.

So, round two will take place tomorrow. I was reluctant to touch Hedychium greenei and Canna warschewiczii as they are about to flower but, well, needs must!


18 October 2011 15:37:53


I started the job of bringing the bulk of my tenders indoors.

I couldn't believe how many Colocasia I have - about 12 - or how tall they've grown!

Next year I'll have to plant them somewhere where they'll be better seen. They were a bit hidden this year.

They're all potted and in the greenhouse now, waiting to be moved indoors soon.

Can't Decide!

17 October 2011 23:18:05
Keukenhof, April 2011

Keukenhof, April 2011

I can't make up my mind whether or not to do tulips next spring.

The photo is one I took at the Keukenhof last spring and is my inspiration.

Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no..............

Walking the Tulips

17 October 2011 14:50:43
100 Darwin Hybrids

100 Darwin Hybrids

For weeks now, every time I go out to do a bit in the garden I bring my tub of tulips with me for planting.

The tulips are 100 Darwin Hybrids that I lifted last summer when I replanted the beds they were in. I have plenty of places to put them in the garden.

So, I take the tulips out with me, with every intention of planting them, but somehow when it's time to come in again the tulips are still in their tub! So I bring them indoors again.

Well, I don't have a dog so I suppose I need to take something for a walk every day!


17 October 2011 14:45:36
Saxifraga fortunei 'Rubrifolia'

Saxifraga fortunei 'Rubrifolia'

There's a storm whipping up out there. I observed it develop at close hand, working outdoors.

First I planted up the acid-loving shrubs in the new border. I firmed them in well in anticipation of what's brewing.

Then I did a bit of work around the orange/yellow end of the Long Border, dividing and replanting etc.

Significantly, I planted two grasses, Chionocloa rubra, in the corners of two different borders but each flanking one side of the Amalanchier tree. I think that will look well when they bush up a bit, like they are 'introducing' the tree. They should funnel the eye towards the tree.

I also lifted and brought in my two large bananas.

Fabulous Autumn

16 October 2011 20:45:00
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Burgundy'

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Burgundy'

We had another fabulous autumn day here in Wexford and we took advantage by visiting nearby Altamont Gardens.

It  was another perfect day weather-wise and the kids had a ball mucking about in the grass and by the river.

The herbaceous border has gone over now and was looking very tame, considering its glorious fiery colours of just a month ago. Although there was lots to see in the rose beds, the trees and reflections in the lake stole the show.

I loved the swathes of Nerine, planted to good effect, but the autumn crocuses were very floppy, mirroring my own personal experience of them.

And, to make a super day perfect, I came away with a little memento. It is this glorious oak-leaved Hydrangea, which will look super planted next to something cream or yellow.

Pear Harvest

15 October 2011 16:58:29
Pear Harvest

Pear Harvest

We harvested the pears today, prompted by last night's Gardeners' World.

Okay, I got the maths a bit wrong - we don't have 20! But it's still good. We had a mini expedition out to the garden to pick them but, what with the rain, it soon degenerated into whinging and cries of 'I can't see any'.

Back inside, I stored the pears in a crate in a cool room and made two apple pies from windfalls and a quiche of tomatillos. 

The only other thing done was to feed my warm orchids and wipe their leaves with milk. It brings up a lovely sheen and my boys feel it only right that the orchids should be offered their share of milk, just like them! FWO

Show Mums

15 October 2011 14:39:26
Show Mums

Show Mums


My show Chrysanthemum are also coming into flower in the greenhouse.


15 October 2011 14:38:12
Nerine undulata 'Crispa'

Nerine undulata 'Crispa'


This is Nerine undulata ' Crispa'.

It is a tender one and is flowering now in the greenhouse.


14 October 2011 19:06:33
Rosa 'Céleste'

Rosa 'Céleste'

I was astonished to see a few flowers on this alba rose today. It is a beautiful rose, with glaucous foliage and a turkish delight scent. It is not a repeat or perpetual flowerer and I have never seen it go again in the one year.

Not that it's exactly 'going again' now but still...

I am not a big rose grower and find myself reducing rose numbers constantly. But this one is a gem and will be staying. I took cuttings in the last few days too as I wouldn't mind having a few more bushes.

Rosa 'Céleste' must be confused by the glorious autumn we are having.

Mind you, the weather has turned very misty and damp today. I'm so glad hubby got weedkiller down and the grass mown yesterday.


13 October 2011 23:50:47
Dichelostemma ida-maia (from the net)

Dichelostemma ida-maia (from the net)

Of course when we were at Powerscourt today, myself and Fran had to have a bit of a nosey at the shop. Myrtle was very self disciplined and went home.

I picked up a packet of these lovely little bulbs.

Aren't they so pretty?

They're frost hardy so probably a good candidate for a pot in my cold greenhouse.


For Bruno

13 October 2011 22:36:06
Phalaenopsis 'Marbella'

Phalaenopsis 'Marbella'

Bruno, I saw this Phalaeonopsis for sale in Powerscourt today, called 'Marbella'.

This might be your one, maybe.

It probably has some of the same parentage anyway...

Powerscourt with Myrtle & Fran

13 October 2011 22:14:18
Japanese Acer

Japanese Acer

I still can't get over what an absolutely perfect day I had today with my good friends, Myrtle and Fran.

It was Myrtle's idea to go to Powerscourt and the weather smiled on that brain wave.

We spent a leisurely few hours doing the grand tour, Fran leading the way, and everyone chatting and observing and photographing - with no non-gardeners to spoil our enjoyment.

The pièce de résistence had got to be the Japanese Garden. The Japanese acers there have turned into the most amazing autumnal colours. They are completely breathtaking. It is well worth visiting Powerscourt now, just to see those acers. The only criticism was that there were few labels. I have put up a big album of photos so you will know I am telling the truth :)

For Jacinta

12 October 2011 19:53:19
Jasminium 'Clotted Cream'

Jasminium 'Clotted Cream'

Hi Jacinta,

I hope you can see your cutting from this dreadful photo.

It has two branches now and looks strong.

New Border

12 October 2011 13:15:13
Geranium 'Patricia'

Geranium 'Patricia'

Yes, it's that time of year again. I've started a new border!

I got as far as marking it out with the hose, cutting out the strip of grass along the edge and deciding where the shrubs in it will go.

Tomorrow, hopefully, hubby can spray off the grass and maybe even dig the holes for the shrubs for me.

The shrubs in this new border are Enkianthus campanulatus, Hydrangea 'Annabelle', Rhododendron 'Markeeta's Prize', Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer' and the tree, Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolius'.

A number of dwarf Azalea will also be moved from the back of the Long Border to this new one. Why do I have dwarf Azalea at the back of my Long Border? Well, that's what happens when your border originally starts out narrow (with low planting) and then expands forwards (leaving the low planting at the back).

There is a photo of the new border in my album.

Lying Down on the Job

12 October 2011 13:03:58
Crocus speciosus

Crocus speciosus

I'm not so happy with these autumn flowering Crocus.

They don't really stand up.

I think I should have invested in the famous Colchicum 'Waterlily' instead.

The Camera Never Lies

12 October 2011 12:59:51
Persicaria in different lights

Persicaria in different lights

Paddy's last journal raises some interesting questions.

What is the reality of what we see when it changes from moment to moment with light, angle or our level of concentration?

Some people on this site have excellent cameras and an uncanny talent for taking photos. For example, I was so surprised at the beautiful photos that Paddy took of my garden on the Open Day. I was surprised because I never saw those beautiful plants or beautiful scenes in my garden. Yet Paddy had.

I could recognise everywhere Paddy had photographed (obviously) but I just had never looked on it 'like that' or, should I say, 'in that light'.

Personally I feel that my little camera mostly takes acurate representations of what I see but others can certainly take better photos. Or, maybe it's a question of training my eye to see better!

Anyway, I was really delighted with the photos Paddy took back in August. And I am constant trying to better train my eyes.

Just for fun, and to illustrate my point and the issue about plant colours in advertisements, I am including a photo of my Persicaria. Actually, it's two photos, taken within a few minutes of each other, from different angles. As you can see, in one photo the Persicaria looks red and in the other it looks pink! What fun!

Garden View

11 October 2011 21:00:41
Garden View

Garden View

Did a bit!

Dying Beautifully

11 October 2011 21:00:08
Oenothera missouriensis/macrocarpa

Oenothera missouriensis/macrocarpa

I love the way the flowers on this morning primrose die.

They open as bright yellow saucers but only last a short time.

Then they wither and form this beautiful orange colour - almost nicer than the unwithered flowers.

Perfect Photo

11 October 2011 13:05:02


I am now officially trying, all out, to get a good photo of my Persicaia ditch.

The Persicaria is now completely red and looks fabulous when the light catches it.

The ditch at the very front of the house, planted last autumn, is just as good.

I really want to capture it on camera but it has eluded me so far.

The light was not great today and this photo doesn't capture it.

I guess I have a few weeks to work on it before the Persicaria is past its best.


10 October 2011 22:47:24
Brunnera macrophylla

Brunnera macrophylla

My camera surprised me today and took this great photo of Brunnera macrophylla.

This isn't any of the fancy cultivars. Despite being given several divisions of nice cultivars last autumn, I lost them all over winter.

But, not letting a bad winter keep me down, I've since bought 'Jack Frost' and it is doing great for me. 


Garden Shot

10 October 2011 14:45:17
Miscanthus 'David'

Miscanthus 'David'


It's a bit blowey today all right.



10 October 2011 14:18:10


Yesterday I did a mini tidy up in the greenhouse.

It's not as neat as Paddy & Mary's but it'll do until when the cape gooseberries, tomatillos and tomatoes are done.

It's a bit windy out there today so I closed the whole thing up for once.

Speaking of fruit...

09 October 2011 19:49:57
Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'

Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'

It's a good year for pears in my garden.

I have two trees and one has about 20 pears on it.

I can't wait to sink my teeth into these.

I adore pears but it's so hard to buy nice, properly ripe ones.

Berry Seeds

09 October 2011 19:46:31
Solanum lacinatum fruits

Solanum lacinatum fruits

The first three of my Solanum fruits have ripened and I hope many more will follow.

As each fruit is supposed to contain about 30 seeds, there will be some for Headgardener, donor of my three plants back in spring.

The fruits will remain in a plastic bag for about a week until they are nice and smelly. I will then clean and dry them and store them in the fridge.

Autumn Crocus

08 October 2011 18:53:37
Crocus speciosus

Crocus speciosus

I did my bit today, spurred on by last night's Gardeners' World.

They mentioned how work, at this end of the year, is repaid many fold the following year so I decided to take full advantage.

I did a bit more planting in the Long Border, notably the 15 Stipa tenuissima that I grew from seed this year and which are all healthy plants now.  I think this short grass, running through the border, will look great and really liven it up.

And I dealt with the great clumps of Geranium I took out of the Long Border a few days ago. They had been lying unloved on the lawn until now. They are actually not nice enough for the Long Border but I do have a low ditch running one side of my garden and the Geranium might make it look presentable and keep the weeds down. I split it into about 24 pieces, which was great and they are planted up now.

The hose is on, as I write, and it's feet up for the rest of the evening.

Another Garden Shot

07 October 2011 17:12:44
Ricinus communis & Solanum lancinatum

Ricinus communis & Solanum lancinatum


Although busy making seed, the Ricinus and Solanum are still looking good.

There are new photos in my October album.

They also show the Lophospernum, which has just come in to flower. FIO

Garden View

07 October 2011 17:10:39
Agastache mexicana 'Sangria'

Agastache mexicana 'Sangria'

The Agastache is just going over now.

But I sure got a run for my money with this one.

This one, called 'Sangria', and 'Apricot Sprite' were my favourites this year.


07 October 2011 14:27:36
magazines, bolstered between two outsized gardening books

magazines, bolstered between two outsized gardening books

I got as far as putting on my gardening trousers today but never went out.

I felt the need to spring clean. Some people hoard and some people throw out the baby with the bath water. I do the latter when I get going.

The main focus of today's clear out was books. But, can you believe, not a single gardening book went to the Charity Shop!

I took the opportunity to sort out all my gardening magazines. These also did not go to the Charity Shop. It was wonderful to make enough space to get them all together and in order. It will make it easier to find relevant ones in the long winter months ahead.

So, on the back of Hazel's recent journal, what do I read for gardening magazines?

1) The Irish Garden is my number one, for obvious reasons.

2) The Garden, the RHS publication. Thanks so much to Pat for giving me a load of back issues of that one and introducing me.

3) Rustica, a French weekly magazine that I used to subscribe to.

4) Gardens Illustrated (don't worry Linda, I have your issues separate and must remember to give them back!). Hmmm, maybe I should ask for a subscription for Xmas...

For Paddy & Hosta

06 October 2011 23:22:26
From Mt Usher

From Mt Usher

Hosta & Paddy,

This is what we saw in Mount Usher.

Poor Magnolia

06 October 2011 19:25:52
Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

See what's happened to my poor Magnolia.

Nothing actually happened, as far as I know, but look at the big chunk of bark that has come off.

I wonder can the tree survive at all and how on earth this happened.

I was thinking of rubbing some antiseptic on it but recent research says to leave well enough alone. Any advice?


06 October 2011 18:32:34
Ibicella lutea flower and seed capsule (photos from the web)

Ibicella lutea flower and seed capsule (photos from the web)

My Devil's Claw or Ibicella lutea seeds arrived today.

This plant, with pretty yellow flowers, grows in desert regions. It is covered in a sticky resin which catches and kills insects. The plant, however, does not produce digestive enzymes to eat its victims so is classified as protocarnivorous.

Ibicella gets its common name of devil's claw from the vicious seed capsules that it produces. These are claw shapes and designed to embed into an animals foot. The animal dies slowly, supplying nutrients for the emerging plant.

Seeds & Bad Weather

06 October 2011 18:05:39
Deinanthe caerulea

Deinanthe caerulea

I took a seed-hunting trip around the garden this afternoon.

Unfortunately the wind and rain is taking its toll.

Some seeds have seemingly rotted on the plants, which is a terrible shame.

I just caught the seed pods of my Crûg lily in time before they split completely open and would have dispersed to the high winds. Thank goodness. I plan on lots of Lilium duchatrei in a few years time.

I'm still holding off on collecting seed from Ricinus communis and Solanum lacinatum (I have two orangey fruits so far on the Solanum but think they can go more orange still).

The photo shows my herbaceous hydrangea, still flowering on, in the shady spot where it beds with Lilium duchatrei.

Myrtle at Mount Usher

05 October 2011 23:43:32
Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne

I had a wonderful morning with Myrtle at Mount Usher Gardens in Wicklow.

Although the gardens aren't yet in the full throes of autumnal colour, it was pretty good.

We followed the Tree Trail and, although the first part of the map defeated us, we didn't do too badly picking out the many fabulous trees (many of which are Irish Champions and many others are quite unusual).

It is always great to visit a good garden with a kindred spirit and we were even lucky with the weather. Thank you for the great company, Myrtle.

Hey, look at this mad strawberry tree! Doesn't that look like a knee?

Top 10 Perennials

04 October 2011 22:13:43

White & Brown

04 October 2011 19:47:24
Lupinus arboreus

Lupinus arboreus

I did loads of work today - from about 10am to 6pm. That wouldn't be usual for me at all.

It was a beautiful autumn day and I decided to tackle the long border. Some plants needed division, some tall plants needed to be moved back and there were also a lot of gaps.

What I did was to remove the enormous clump of Achillea 'The Pearl' and divide it. I also took Helenium 'Moorheim Beuaty' from elsewhere in the garden and did likewise. I was delighted to see how many big clumps I got. And I replanted them all throughout the border.

The result, in the Long Border, will hopefully be 4ft swathes of orangey brown and pure white from mid summer.

I also moved the yellow Heliopsis to beside the blue Eryngium, also in the Long Border. Although the Eryngium was good this year, it could have done with something to contrast it and the yellow would be perfect.

I took no photos today so am putting up this one from yesterday. It is the tree lupin that Dick gave me. Somehow I thought it would flower yellow so I am delighted to see it is white and, yes, it has a lovely scent.


03 October 2011 21:21:29
Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile

I did lots of gardening today.

Lots of weeding and lots of cutting back.

I discarded several plants - ones with bad manners.

And then I cam in and found my reward. My Dendrobium is almost open :)


03 October 2011 20:15:04
Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata'

Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata'

I grew variegated horseradish as an ornamental this year.

I loved it in Deborah & Martin's garden in Limerick so had to try it.

At home, I have found it to be good but maintenance is required. The plants are vigorous and put out an awful lot of ordinary green leaves that need to be removed for aesthetics.

This one is looking quite good at the minute.

Can you see it?

03 October 2011 18:23:30
Cryptotaenia japonica f. atropurpurea

Cryptotaenia japonica f. atropurpurea


Can you see it better now?

Teeny weeny weeny flower!

Mine is smaller

03 October 2011 16:27:19
Cryptotaenia japonica f. atropurpurea

Cryptotaenia japonica f. atropurpurea

Fran recently put up a journal on his teeny tiny aster flowers.

I bet mine is smaller...

Sheets of Rain

02 October 2011 20:06:52
Geranium scheckteri

Geranium scheckteri

It is quite unbelievable here. There are sheets of rain descending, like someone turned on a tap or, worse, decided to tip a table top that had become water logged!

It must be bad because I have turned to reading. I never read in summer as I don't have time - just articles in magazines! But now I have the luxury of several good gardening books and I'm getting my teeth into the first of those.

Between the raindrops, I managed to get a garden photo.

This South African Geranium hasn't flowered for me yet but has produced a mass of pretty foliage.

South African Bulbs

01 October 2011 23:04:26
Velthemia bracteata

Velthemia bracteata

Back in the depths of November 2009 I bought a few miniature bulbs by mail order from South Africa.

I had originally been looking only for Haemanthus coccineus but ended up buying a number of other bulbs too (as you do!).

I was told I would have to wait 1-2 years for the first of these to flower.

But, you know, 1-2 years has a habit of passing. And now I am looking at the first of these bulbs coming into flower.

And although it isn't yet in flower, I am pleased to present Velthemia bracteata, complete with emerging flower spike :)

Orchid Day

01 October 2011 17:15:33
intermediate orchids

intermediate orchids

Today was an orchid day for me.

I brought all my intermediate orchids in from the greenhouse and washed their humidity trays and the stones. They are now installed in their winter quarters. I see two have flower spikes already :)

I also fed my warm orchids. As it's getting on in the year, this is probably the last time I should water them after noon. FWO

A nasty old wet day here in Wexford.


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