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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal November 2011

Last Post 2243 days 10 hours ago

Xmas Get-Together

30 November 2011 12:00:52
Xmas Get-Together

Xmas Get-Together

I hope everyone is looking forward to our Christmas get-together in Johnstown on Sunday 8th January. I certainly am :)

I think we will have a bumper meeting because we have 30 confirmed attendees so far! A total of 31 attended last year. Please check the naughty-or-nice list below to check if you're on it if you are coming!

The list should show everyone who has confirmed and the number of people they will be bringing. I know the number of people you will be bringing will change immediately as, for example, I can't imagine Jacinta turning up without Steve and he's not on there! Do let me know how many people you may bring as the more confirmed, the more likely we are to get extra space from Johnstown.

I would like to take Jacinta up on her offer of organising name badges as she did such an excellent job for our first Xmas get-together. Thanks, Jacinta.

I have mailed Gerry Daly, asking him to put a notice for our meeting in the 'events' section on this site so that should attract people who look in less frequently.

Now, don't forget that if you are coming you should buy one gift for less than €10. It can be whatever you want but it should be wrapped. And plants can be wrapped you know - it is down to your creativity! Names of everyone who provides a gift will be put at random into a hat and each person will select one gift from the pile.

We will also have a raffle, to include five €20 vouchers kindly donated by Johnstown. If anyone has anything they would like to donate to the raffle, please PM me. (But no-one is obliged to.)

Looking forward to a great day! Oh, what time do you think we should meet at?

ClaireE ?
Conrad ?
Elizabeth 7
Fran M



Kitty +1
TheH (Hazel)

Cannas & Christmas Trees

29 November 2011 14:29:43
Canna warscewiczii

Canna warscewiczii


Our Christmas tree and decorations are due to go up this weekend.

But here's the usual problem!

What on earth am I going to do with the Brugmansia, Citrus and Tetrapanax that are currently in its place?

I'm looking forward to seeds from a Canadian site and one Disa orchid in the post to me. But, other than that, I'm firmly ensconced indoors and plan on staying here.


Nice Light

27 November 2011 12:53:23
Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

Magnolia grandiflora 'Gallissonniere'

There's great light today. It does so much to raise the spirits and I love to see what photos I can grab.

This summer-flowering Magnolia is looking good now as the underside of its leaves are a lovely downy brown. I usually only get a smattering of flowers very late on.

But the tree is looking good now because it has finally grown tall enough to be viewed from underneath, displaying its leaf undersides!

Anyone for Tea?

27 November 2011 12:48:32
Camellia sinensis (tea plant)

Camellia sinensis (tea plant)

This  plant is Camellia sinensis, otherwise known as the tea plant.

It is a slightly tender plant and only the top young leaves are picked for tea production. This plant is usually grown in China or India.

I grew it from seed last year and planted a few of them outdoors, as an experiment, this year, bringing a few others in as back-up. They get away with growing this outdoors in Botanic Gardens at Kilmarruagh.

I wonder will it flower for me next spring, if it comes through our winter. The flowers aren't as pretty as ornamentally grown Camellia but I'd still like to see them!

Slide Show

26 November 2011 23:55:26
December 2009

December 2009


Sparked on by Philip's recent slide shows, I did one myself.

It is just over 3 minutes so hope it is not too long. What a nice thing to have and keep...

Douentza 2011 - YouTube 


25 November 2011 15:42:25
Euphorbia 'Silver Swan'

Euphorbia 'Silver Swan'

I just love this Euphorbia that Hazel gave me earlier this year.

I am not sure it is 100% hardy as I lost its 'White Swan' sister last winter.

But, touch wood, it's looking mild so far!

PS One of the Watsonia seeds I sowed last February has actually germinated - much excitement!

Close Up for ID

25 November 2011 10:18:59
Close Up for ID

Close Up for ID



Here it is again, close up!


And for whoever missed our crossword...

Autumn 2011 garden.ie crossword

Plant Id

25 November 2011 10:17:04
Plant Id

Plant Id

Can someone help with the identification of this plant from Huntingbrook?

I took this photo on my phone last time I was there so it is in full flower in mid November, with white daisy-like flowers and leathery leaves.

I think it is herbaceous but with quite woody stems, like old Penstemon.

I'm sure Jimi said he got it in Ravensburg (which specialises in shrubs) so I wonder might it be a type of sub shrub after all.

Wind Swept

24 November 2011 17:12:25
photo from yesterday

photo from yesterday

It was ferociously windy here today and, although the rain kept off, it was just freezing outside.

What a great day to get a garden visitor and my visitor was Carl Wright from Caher Bridge!

We had a quick scurry around, with Carl, who's mad interested in mushrooms, spotting fungi in places I didn't know I had places! He even picked some to take away and photograph!

Then it was indoors to thaw out, where we discovered a shared interest in Canary Island plants over some warm tea and a bite. It was a great day all in all and it' lovely to make new friends.


23 November 2011 18:41:59



Sam enjoying tucking in to some fruit from the garden after dinner today - some pears and the cape gooseberries grown from seed.

Actually, the cape gooseberries are more his brother's thing. Sam's a pear man.

Coming to an End

23 November 2011 16:43:28
Coming to an End

Coming to an End

Right, this is the last week I'll be spending in the garden until February 2012.

Yesterday myself and hubby laid some plastic membrane on the cliff. Actually he did most of the work.

Today I did a final bit of tidying up, tomorrow I have a visitor and Friday I will fleece whatever needs fleecing.

I will then scuttle indoors to prepare for Christmas, only sparing the occasional time for house plants, to sow a few more cold seeds and check on the greenhouse stuff. My seed sowing will start in earnest at the very end of January.

There are a few more photos in my November album, including a lovely mum that has just come into flower and the Celmisia.

Lucky 23

22 November 2011 13:53:26


I thought I might take it easy today but it was not to be.

The postman arrived yesterday with my 23 bare root Sarracenia so they all had to be potted up.

But it wasn't a hard job and I had bought peat and alkaline-free sand in preparation. Now it's all done. I left them sit in rain water as the tray method is the one used for Sarracenia in pots. However, normally, at this time of year, they would just be kept moist so as to avoid fungal diseases. But it's been so mild that I felt the need to give the plants their normal requirements. It hardly feels like winter yet.

I'll have to start giving some serious thought to the location and shape of my new Bog Garden next spring. What fun :)


21 November 2011 22:49:47
Keukenhof, 18 April 2011

Keukenhof, 18 April 2011

I had to look at this photo, taken in the the Keukenhof in April 2011, again this evening to remind myself!

This is the tulip display that I am trying, in my own small way, to replicate.

God loves a trier!

Fingers crossed for April 2012!

Planting Tulips

21 November 2011 18:33:18
Planting Tulips

Planting Tulips

It was an early start for me this morning but I was determined to get all the tulips down in one go. And I did! Hurray! I can't straighten my back but, hurray!

I put four photos in my November album of the process, which started badly with me making a silly error. I realised when I had laid out all the red tulips that something was wrong as I had loads over. Hubby worked out what I'd done wrong and it was soon fixed.

Planting continued into darkness. I just managed to pop the last few in before it was too dark to see.

Just as well I finished as my Sarracenia arrived in the post today and need potting up.

I think Elizabeth and Hazel have already mentioned having Open Days in June and August. What about mine for April next year so you can see my tulips?

Xmas Get-Together

20 November 2011 19:46:45
Xmas Get-Together

Xmas Get-Together

It is that time of year again. It's time to decide when and where we should have our Christmas get-together.

I've done a bit of ground work and, due to Santa grottos and peaks in xmas tree sales, here is what is on offer...

1) Fernhill Garden Centre, Athlone, Saturday 3rd December (http://www.fernhill.ie/)

    *they will give us a talk on winter gardening

    *we may be given some items to raffle

2) Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas, Sunday 8th January  (http://www.johnstowngardencentre.ie/)

    *January sale will be under way

    *we may be given vouchers to raffle

The get-together will probably follow the usual format. We will meet about 1pm in the restaurant, chat and do our Kris Kindle gift exchange (everyone buys one gift, not exceeding €10 and we draw them at random). We would hope for a good turn out.

So, if you can come to one of these get-togethers, please vote now for the one you would prefer and that's what we will run with. Thanks.


20 November 2011 16:13:06


I started the calculations for my tulip display this morning in earnest.

I found a 'bulb calculator' on a web site and that was quite useful but the more I puzzled the worse the problems got. I even tried enlisting the help of my son and husband.

My son (who had been very good at Technical Drawing in school) pronounced that he couldn't deal with feet and inches.

My husband, after spending some time understanding the problems, spent a longer time re-iterated it all in a slightly different language and then came up with the 'brilliant' solution of reshaping my existing Annuals Border, to a regular rectangular shape, rather than its current curved edges :P Thanks, guys!

So, out I went with tent pegs and string and started marking the edges of the blocks of colour. The problems became fewer when I could actually see it in front of me. 

I have enhanced the string lines, using a computer program, so you can actually see them in the photo. I will have it 4 blocks of solid colour - red, orange, red, orange. There are 6" gaps between each block.

The horizontal band next to the greenhouse is the space I can't populate will tulips as I don't have enough, likewise for the small horizontal band at the front. The display, marked out, will take 126 tulips per block. I have 125.

I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow so I can start laying out early and get them all planted the same day. A 6" stick and a 12" once will come in handy.

It Has Arrived

19 November 2011 19:24:05
'Prinses Irene' & 'Carlton'

'Prinses Irene' & 'Carlton'

My precious is finally in my arms.

It had an early start this morning from Co Antrim, in the boot of Conrad's car, and I picked it up at Huntingbrook this afternoon.

My precious is TULIPS - wonderful, glorious, beautiful tulips (shush, Bill). I got the single early 'Prinses Irene' and the double early 'Carlton'. They will be planted in my Annuals Border.

Thanks to Conrad for his part in my precious' epic journey and it was great to meet you finally at Huntingbrook today. It was, of course, great to also catch up with Keego and Bruno and briefly with Jimi himself.

Garden.ie Crossword

19 November 2011 00:08:04
Garden.ie Crossword

Garden.ie Crossword

In response to Elizabeth's plea for light entertainment, here is the garden.ie Autumn Crossword.

The crossword is interactive and can be completed on screen once you follow the link. Just click in a cell to get the first clue and get started.

Elizabeth, I hope that it is easier than your newspaper crossword...

Autumn 2011 garden.ie crossword

Little & Large

18 November 2011 20:42:05
Nerine 'Alba'

Nerine 'Alba'

It was such a nasty dirty day today that I thought I was going to get nothing done.

But somehow I did managed to squeeze in a little big of seed sowing between the raindrops.

I have called this journal 'little and large' because I sowed theseeds for Magnolia 'Big Dude' that Anne gave me and some tiny Lobelia seed.

I meant to keep back some Lobelia seed for spring but it's nearly impossible to do that with the tiny seeds. They always all come out at once!

Here's the list of what went into compost today...

Stipa elegantissima  
Stipa gigantea  
Mertensia maritima subs. spasiatica
Allium cristophii  
Cyclamen coum 'Show' Mixed
Cyclamen hederifolium 'Silver Cloud'
Lobelia polyphylla  
Lobelia excelsa  
Verbena hastata 'Pink Spires'
Calendula   'Candyman Orange'
Magnolia   'Big Dude'

The photo shows a Nerine I bought in Aldi this spring. It was simply marked Nerine 'Alba'. I hope to goodness it's bowdenii so it will be hardy.

Head Hurts

17 November 2011 23:35:11
Head Hurts

Head Hurts

Okay, now my head hurts from thinking about it so much.

I need to be all prepared for when my precious arrives.

The problem is how to measure.

Each block of colour will be 42" wide (containing 8 bulbs, 6" apart).

String attached to tent pegs is very useful for marking the straight lines to keep the blocks of colour separate.

But I think I will need to run diagonal or horizontal lines, across the colour blocks, to be able to plant as pictured! Aargh! The ability to levitate may also come in handy.

Is the mystery any clearer now or is that too much detail?

Competition Time!

17 November 2011 20:49:16
Sarracenia alata (from the web)

Sarracenia alata (from the web)

Okay, to take our minds off my wanderlust delivery, here is a little competition.

The prize is a selection of seeds from my garden.Here goes...

Two nights ago I bought 23 Sarracenia divisions from a private seller on a carnivorous plant website. The collection includes 14 Sarracenia species and seven documented hybrids. The cost was in sterling and includes postage from UK.

How much did I pay?

The competition will run until 6pm tomorrow and whoever guesses closest to the actual price is the winner. A maximum of 3 guesses per person please! Liga, sorry, you are excluded as you know the answer already!

Breaking News

17 November 2011 18:57:26
lowland Nepenthes 'Miranda', old and new pitcher

lowland Nepenthes 'Miranda', old and new pitcher


Apparently my precious has turned up in a little known place called Ballycastle in County Antrim. I've never heard of it!

And, get this, apparently NOTHING will happen tomorrow whatsoever!

What on earth is going on?



17 November 2011 15:50:03
Velthemia bracteata

Velthemia bracteata


It would seem that my precious left Newtownabbey at 8:33 this morning.

It is on the move but there is no word yet as to its whereabouts.

Unconfirmed rumour has it that it was headed north, to the Antrim area, rather than south towards Wexford!

What is going on?

Newtownabbey, Belfast

16 November 2011 19:35:40
Primula 'June Blake'

Primula 'June Blake'



It arrived in Newtownabbey, Belfast at 18:57this evening

Belated Halloween

16 November 2011 13:34:00
Dicksonia antartica

Dicksonia antartica


Look what I spotted in the garden this morning!

No, I haven't touched up the photo in any way. The liquid inside my tree fern is really that red!

Happy Halloween! FCO


16 November 2011 08:20:17
Musa basjoo

Musa basjoo



It arrived in Tamworth at 23:45 last night and left again at 4:19 this morning.


Did I mention that it started life in Amsterdam on 14th?

Leaving Barking

15 November 2011 22:20:50




It left barking at 21:09 this evening.


15 November 2011 16:32:45
Rodgersia aesculifolia 'Irish Bronze'

Rodgersia aesculifolia 'Irish Bronze'



It arrived in Barking at 14:13 today!

Acer palmatum

15 November 2011 16:30:36
Acer palmatum

Acer palmatum

The Acer pictured was bought as a very small plant in 2008, just a twig really.

Two others were bought at the same time but I really can's say where they vanished to.

But, it just shows, you can grow acers from small plants.


15 November 2011 13:04:31
Annuals Border

Annuals Border



It left Brussels at 6:03 this morning!

Cherry Blossom

14 November 2011 16:10:25
Prunus serrulata 'Kanzan'

Prunus serrulata 'Kanzan'

The cherry blossom trees are really looking spectacular at the moment.

They get their autumn colour in November, as Ladygardener recently pointed out.

You really can't beat them as they have two seasons of interest, looking spectacular in spring and great in late autumn, when you least expect it.

If they weren't so common, we'd all be paying fortunes just to own a cherry blossom!

Dahlia, Iris, Lily & Orchid

14 November 2011 14:24:41
Dendrobium in flower

Dendrobium in flower

Another nice dry day here in Wexford, although the air was heavy with moisture.

I lifted the last of the dahlias, cut back some perennials and planted out the six repeat-flowering bearded irises I bought recently - 'Peach Jam' and 'Orange'. The tubers are very small so I wonder what I'll get next year - foliage probably!

The spade broke and a bag of grit split and made a god-awful mess in the back of the car. The grit is now cleaned up but I'll have to get a new spade immediately! Any recommendations?

And I planted the last of my bulbs - 10 pale purple martagon lilies, with black spots, sown in two planters. FWO FIO.

Facebook 'Like' Buttons

13 November 2011 23:18:34


13 November 2011 13:08:04


The grass really needs a cut now.

Maybe the sunshine will dry it out and allow that to happen.

A November Flower

12 November 2011 17:40:07
Celmisia allanii

Celmisia allanii


I noticed this little Celmisia coming into flower today.

Two and half years later...

12 November 2011 12:19:00
11 Nov 2011

11 Nov 2011

And here is what the same area looks like today

Tree B (in the journal below) is the one showing colour against the neighbour's shed roof in this photo. It is Prunus serrula 'Pink Perfection'.

The copper beech hedge is taller than me in places now.

I have just uploaded the two photos to the November 2011 album if you want to see better :)

Trip down memory lane...

12 November 2011 12:16:33
19 Apr 2009

19 Apr 2009

In my journal of 19 April 2009 I put up this photo.

I had just planted bare root hedging and trees to obscure my neighbour's monster shed, viewed from the entrance to the greenhouse.

The yellow letters, transposed on the photo, represent (as per my journal of 2009)...

A = Flowering Cherry (Prunus Shogetsu), which will eventually grow to obscure our neighbour's shed

B = Flowering Cherry (Prunus Pink Perfection), planted for same reason as above

C = Cornus Controversa Variegata. Small now - a beautiful green & cream tree

D = Copper Beech hedge planted in a semi-circle to echo the Cornus. Dark leaves will show off the pale Cornus leaves

E = Neighbour's enormous shed

F - Hypericum Hidcote hedge planted on the hill dividing our garden

Regal Mist

11 November 2011 15:50:45
'Regal Mist' (red)

'Regal Mist' (red)

Although Chrysanthemum 'Alex Young' is my favourite by far, I love the way this red one fades, ever so slightly changing hue.

More photos of  the mums are in my 'Greenhouse 2011' album. It's a way back though so good luck with finding it!

Two mums have yet to flower for me - the white, 'Clare Dobson' and the gold, 'Dorridge Vulcan'.

For Fran - Alex Young

11 November 2011 15:46:09
Chrysanthemum 'Alex Young'

Chrysanthemum 'Alex Young'

Fran, here is a photo of the bronze Chrysanthemum I gave you fully open.

It's my favourite by far.

There are more photos in my Greenhouse 2011 album.

Orchid Whinge

11 November 2011 12:34:14
Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile

It's a miserably wet day so it seems like a good time for a whinge.

When I bought this Dendrobium nobile it was in full flower. There were sets of three flowers in each leaf axle of the single cane and it looked and smelt absolutely glorious.

I knew species Dendrobium were difficult but, finally, two years later, I have managed to get it to flower again.

But the problem is the number of flowers. First I got one set of three flowers from one axle on one cane. Now I have a second set of three from the same cane just opening. But they're opening, just as the first set is dropping (new buds pictured to left, wilting ones to right)!!!

I should be happy because a second cane on the same plant has two sets of flower buds in two axles. But these are just beginning and will, no doubt, come into flower as the the previous ones fade!

I suppose there's something to be said for having the flowers continuing over a longer period but, after two years, it's all just a little bit disappointing!


11 November 2011 12:02:11
Velthemia bracteata & Streptocarpus saxorum

Velthemia bracteata & Streptocarpus saxorum

It's absolutely bucketing down out there.

I took a mooch out to the greenhouse. Well, not a mooch really. More like a sprint.

Only to find that my leaky greenhouse has allowed water to fall on some of the dahlias that were almost dry!

I'm not gardening in that! Yuck!

New Book for Christmas

10 November 2011 22:54:37
New Book for Christmas

New Book for Christmas


Look at this book on growing hardy orchids that Kew Publishing is launching this month.

There has been such a dearth of information on this subject that I am sure the book will be on many people's Christmas List. It's definitely on mine.


Autumn Colour

10 November 2011 16:06:51
Acer palmatum

Acer palmatum

I made a late start to the day's work and only lifted one Dahlia - 'Painted Girl'. It is one that my daughter bought me so I am glad I didn't forget this one. I must make an effort to just finish the job with the dahlias tomorrow!

The main focus of today's work was clearing the Annuals Border. I got a good bit done but this is also not finished yet.

And, guess what! The compost area is all full to overflowing again!

It seems that, in my garden, the really nice autumn colours have suddenly appeared. The Acer pictured has been nice enough until now but now it is gorgeous. The same for the cherry blossoms, beech and Liquidambar. Strange but welcome!


09 November 2011 16:14:26
Meconopsis paniculata

Meconopsis paniculata

I love this monocarpic poppy. It looks fabulous all year round.

I kind of wish it would never flower, just continue with the yellowish foliage indefinitely. The rain sits on it beautifully.

I did plenty of cutting back, along with lifting dahlias.

I'm getting a bit fed up now and looking forward to coming in for the winter.

Terrified Dahlias

09 November 2011 16:05:39
Dahlia 'Nuit Dd'été'

Dahlia 'Nuit Dd'été'

OMG, I cannot believe how many dahlias I have.

I mean I didn't buy any this year as I  had lost practically all of them to frost the previous year and decided I would stick to lilies in future! The only new ones this year were from Deborah's seed and the species ones I grew from Jimi Blake's seed!

In the garden they don't look very numerous but when you go to lift them, they go on and on and on.

I haven't finished lifting them yet but I noticed that this Dahlia is obviously terrified at the prospect as it has gone pale.

All year I was looking at this Dahlia (which survived last winter) and wondering which one it was as I surely never bought that colour! Only today did I work out which one it is. It is the almost-black 'Nuit D'été'.

Well, it was almost-black last summer but I think the cold has drained all the colour out of it!

Crûg Compost

08 November 2011 16:24:34
one compost square

one compost square

I'd been nagging hubby for ages to build me a proper compost area. But the objections and obstacles seemed to mount so I kind of gave up on the idea.

Then we visited Crûg Nursery in Wales and, although hubby wasn't interested at all, he came in for a look since I had been banging on about this wonderful nursery and their plant hunting expeditions for so long. Hubby was soon bored and seemed to wander off. I found him eventually, round the very back, examining the compost set-up! "That's easy", he says. "I can do that"!

And he was as good as his word. Soon after we came home hubby built me two square, boxed-in compost holders from pallets.

But I did a sneaky one and immediately commandeered a complete 'compost' square for storing empty pots. I had seen Headgardener do this and thought it was a brilliant idea - so handy! So we started using the second square for compost.

And today, with the compost square full to overflowing, hubby got pallets and built a third square. He also turned all the compost, from the first square into the new one. It is decomposing nicely and should be ready by spring.

Deborah's Dahlias

08 November 2011 16:09:28
Deborah's Dahlias

Deborah's Dahlias

This spring I grew a number of Dahlia from seed that Deborah sent me. It wasn't my first time growing Dahlia from seed but it was the time when I was most pleased with the results.

The seed was collected from 'Bishop of Oxford' and 'Fuchsiana' plants and, although no plants inherited their parents' bronze foliage, there were some really 'wow' blooms among the bunch. The orange flowers were fabulous and even Jimi Blake commented on them when he visited and told me to make sure to tell Deborah about them!

Well, I've never lifted a Dahlia in my life before but I decided I would lift these as I wanted to keep them and they would surely be less robust than established tubers.

I dug them up today and, I can tell you, there is nothing flimsy about these monster tubers. Isn't nature so wonderful that one year's growth can produce this!!!

So, I washed the tubers well and now have them drying in the greenhouse. They should be safe as no frost is forecast for tonight.

I don't where I'm going to put all my seedlings in spring, what with all these dahlias to be potted! But it's not a bad complaint to have :)

Lily & Iris

07 November 2011 16:18:28
potting area

potting area

As I had already made up a peat and sand mix to repot my Sarracenia, I decided to use the leftovers to sow some lily seeds.

A lot of lilies are ericaceous. As I can never be bothered to look up which is which, I just always pot or sow lilies in ericaceous.

And, while I was at it, I sowed a few Iris seeds and more Meconopsis nepaulensis.

You could never have too many Meconopsis nepaulensis!

Pitcher Plants

07 November 2011 16:12:16


I lifted my American pitcher plants today.

After a lot of deliberation I decided to overwinter them in exactly the same way I did for the last two winters - in the cold greenhouse.

Sarracenia are almost hardy. Winter 2009 weakened one plant and it never recovered. I bit the bullet t and discarded it today. Winter 2010 killed the Darlingtonia. But I think that was largely due to the way I potted it. I am left with seven Sarracenia and a Fly Trap and they are straining the confines of my Bog Planter.

On my way to the greenhouse, I spotted the boys' old cracked sand pit. Now wouldn't that make a great Bog Garden? Watch this space!

A Few Bits

06 November 2011 19:41:59
orchids and neps

orchids and neps

Brrr, cold today but bright and cheerful once you're outside!

I planted the last of my bulbs - some alliums and Iris 'Katherine Hodgkins'. I noticed the Iris bulbs weren't as firm as I thought they should have been but I planted them anyway. I remember believing that certain Nerine bulbs were gone rotten because they were a bit soft but they grew fine. So I hope it is just the case that these Iris bulbs are supposed to be less firm.

Then I remembered the martagon lilies I received last week - free replacements for previous ones which had turned out the wrong colour! So I'm not finished! I think I will plant them in pots in the greenhouse once I get some more ericaceous compost.

And, of course, to plant my bulbs I had to do a fair bit of cutting back and even a little weeding. I cut back the Crinum, Galtonia, hardy Gerbera and Lobelia tupa and mounded a load of mulch over them. That will protect them for the time being.

The Colocasia and some last bits came in from the greenhouse and I even lifted a Dahlia. Just one Dahlia - more for convenience of bulb sowing than anything else. But a job done is a job done!

The White Stuff

06 November 2011 11:19:39


We had our first real frost last night. It was + 0.4 in the greenhouse so probably a few degrees lower outside. A blanket of frost greeted the early risers. But that wasn't me. When I got up at 9:30 the frost was left only in the shade.

The mid term ends today and the lads are back to school. That means I will be able to finish my winter protection tasks without feeling guilty about spending the day in the garden.

I need to lift the Sarracenia and the dahlias and move the last few pots of Buxus to the side of the house. I will bring the last few things from the greenhouse indoors - notably the Colocasia. I then need to cutback and fleece my Crinum, Tetrapanax, Hedychium forrestii, Musa basjoo and Galtonia.

I don't really want to cut back the echiums and Isoplexis so may leave them a bit longer. It is doubtful that I will get these two through no matter what I do, if we have a harsh winter. So we'll see.

I double checked with Crûg yesterday about the hardiness of myginger,  Zingiber mioga 'Crûg Zing' (-23 it says on the label). They confirmed that they grow them in an open fields but if I'm worried I should cover it with something. I think I'll fleece it. But not yet as it's about to flower. Currently I'm fleecing it at night only to protect the flowers.

Can you tell  I'm worrying a it now!


05 November 2011 19:14:58
Erysimum linifolium 'Apricot Twist'

Erysimum linifolium 'Apricot Twist'

Yesterday I took a last few cuttings in the garden and I think I got in there just at the bell, what with the frost last night.

I noticed a lot of new growth on the perennial wallflower pictured so collected nine pieces for cuttings. I also swiped some pieces off a tender Fuchsia.

All my cuttings, including some bits from a friend, are potted up now indoors and on the heat mats. I'm sick of loosing cuttings in the greenhouse so am taking no chances.

A Morning in Good Company

04 November 2011 23:44:55
Eucryphia 'Ballerina' in Huntingbrook

Eucryphia 'Ballerina' in Huntingbrook

I had a lovely morning at Huntingbrook.

I had just popped in to collect a plant but was invited to join an unofficial garden tour, with two others, led by Jimi. Lucky me!

How could I say no?

It was really great to hear first hand about some of Jimi's plans for next year and see how he is opening up new views through the borders. There is always so much going on at Huntingbrook!

Aren't Sons Great?

04 November 2011 19:37:36
new border

new border

Look what greeted me on my return home today!

Aren't sons great?

I Spy...

04 November 2011 19:34:12
Zingiber mioga 'Crûg Zing'

Zingiber mioga 'Crûg Zing'


Look what I spied today!

It looks like my ginger is going to flower, frosts permitting.


I blame Myrtle. I've just been out to cover the ginger with a bit of fleece as it looks like we'll get out first real frost tonight. I also covered the Isoplexis.

Name Change

04 November 2011 19:23:16
Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea'

Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea'

I noticed this Actaea in flower this afternoon in the Long Border. I love the white flowers and can't understand why breeders knock themselves out trying to produce a pink flower.

We were all aware that this plant used to be called Cimicifuga but is now Actaea.

But, did you know that the species name ramosa has also changed and become simplex?

So, the plant pictured was bought as Cimicifuga ramosa 'Atropurpurea' but is now Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea'! What fun and games!

Upside Down

03 November 2011 23:18:39
Cyperus involucratus

Cyperus involucratus

Look at my funny upside down cuttings!

They are from the not-quite-hardy Umbrella plant.

I have taken a number of cuttings, as insurance, in case I loose my plant this winter.

The funny thing about propagating this plant is that it is done upside down in a glass of water. It is quite easy and two of the cuttings have taken already.

Puya for Jemo

03 November 2011 19:27:58
Puya coerulea

Puya coerulea

Here's a photo of my Puya, in its winter quarters, otherwise known as the bathroom.

I think when I pot it on next spring I will cut off the lower spikes so as to get to keep my fingers!


Pots of Tulips

03 November 2011 12:12:15
Tulipa 'Blumex' & Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades', Keukenhof, April 2011

Tulipa 'Blumex' & Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades', Keukenhof, April 2011

When I visited Keueknhof last spring with Kristina, I was really taken with this combination of tulips.

I have tried it on a small scale, using two large ceramic pots to house the arrangement of the parrot tulip 'Blumex' and the Anemone 'Blue Shades'.

Lets see how this turns out next April!

The rain is coming down out there again now so that's it for gardening for the day!


02 November 2011 22:55:36
Furcraea bulbils

Furcraea bulbils

One of my Furcraea bulbils has shot up so it's actually growing.

The others seem to be doing nothing but they're still alive so they may just take longer.

Horizontal Strobilanthes

02 November 2011 17:25:11
Strobilanthes atropurpurea

Strobilanthes atropurpurea

This is my Strobilanthes. I have about six of them, all of which were grown from seed this year.

As you can see, they've decided to grow horizontally!?!

Not much done today besides potting up my new rhodo and feeding some orchids. FCO

Wish List

01 November 2011 20:23:59
Rhododendron barbatum

Rhododendron barbatum

Due mostly to the kindness of other ie-ers my Wish List has reduced by 3 plants in the last little while. Three plant, which have found their way into my possession.

Today I spent the day driving around the country like a mad lunatic but I now have a Rhododendron barbatum to show for it! Barbatum is a magnificent giant rhodo, which develops peeling bark and has blood red flowers in spring. It has been on my Wish List since I saw it in Mount Usher and The Botanic Gardens last year. Now, thanks to garden.ie friend Accsean, I actually own one myself. This tree will be a major contribution to my garden.

But, let the rhodo not overshadow Red Gurkha! Garden.ie friend, Elizabeth, spotted some time ago that this hardy ginger was in the catalogue of Desirable Plants of Devon, who were to visit Cork in October. Elizabeth very kindly secured Roscoea 'Red Gurkha' for me and, rumour has it, it is awaiting me at Huntingbrook Gardens. I can't wait to get my hands on this most beautiful perennial.

And, thirdly, I actually managed to get a Wish List plant all by myself! Amazing - no help from other ie-ers!

I found seeds for the perennial oregano, Origanum 'Hopley's', for sale in the Chiltern seed catalogue. I saw this pretty purple oregano in Helen Dillon's garden this autumn and determined I would get it. I even remembered to place my seed order during the October sale, getting 25% off.

So, a very big thank you to Sean and Elizabeth. It was with great pleasure this evening that I deleted the three photos from my Wish List photo album on garden.ie


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