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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal December 2011

Last Post 2153 days 10 hours ago

R is for Rhododendron

31 December 2011 18:52:25
Rhododendron in Altamont Gardens

Rhododendron in Altamont Gardens

We took a walk around Altamont Garden this afternoon. It was great for blowing away the cobwebs and trying out the new camera.

We played 'I Spy' and when it was my turn to choose I chose the letter R.

Quick as a flash my son, Joshua, replied 'Rhododendron'. We all stood there with our mouths open at him and he was very pleased with himself.

There were Rhododendron in flower, hellebores, Cyclamen and the snowdrops are beginning. Daphne mezereum and Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' were also just coming into flower. No sign of the Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' that usually causes such a stir in snowdrop week. Perhaps they lost it last winter, as others have.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Favourite Gardening Book Ever

30 December 2011 23:26:24
Favourite Gardening Book

Favourite Gardening Book

If you could choose one - now I really mean it - just ONE gardening book as your favourite, what would it be?

Mine would have to be...

Dream Gardens: 100 Inspirational Gardens by Andrew Lawson & Tania Compton published 2007

It may not be written by any noteworthy writers or contain any detailed horticultural advice but not all books need to do that.

I have received more inspiration from this book, especially on cold winter evenings, than any other. It has so many pictures, covering all the seasons, that I keep on dipping right back into it and either seeing something new or noticing something afresh.

Some 'inspirational' books can show gardens that are daunting and clearly unattainable, often because of their hard-landscaping (a book co-written by Dan Pearson that I mentioned on Elizabeth's journal earlier springs to mind) but this book is not one of them. Yes, the gardens are all fabulous but they are proper gardens which rely on plants for impact.

Well, I love it anyway.

PS I got a late Christmas pressie today - Christopher Lloyd's 'In My Garden, The Garden Diaries of Great Dixter'. Don't you just love straggler Xmas pressies?

Bark

30 December 2011 18:55:11
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

I was just reading Deborah Begley's excellent article in the latest Irish Garden about bark.

Deborah mentions that once the white-barked birches loose their sheen and form green algae, it is time to get a brush and bowl of soapy water to them.

Hmm, I think mine might be overdue...

Johnstown

30 December 2011 14:25:35
calendar front cover

calendar front cover

We have 45 confirmed people for our Christmas get-together at Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas, on 8th January. We will meet in the restaurant from 12:30 onwards. There is one maybe.

It should be a great day and I hope everyone will take part in the Kris Kindle, bringing a wrapped gift. Festive headwear would add to the atmosphere so I hope everyone will manage that.

There will be a raffle, with star prizes of 5 Johnstown vouchers. If you would like to donate to the raffle, let me know. And if you should be on this list but are not, then please send me a message. We would love to see you at the meeting.

I have ordered an additional five calendars to cope with the demand so, unless someone books them before hand, I will bring them along for sale on the day at €10 each. Let me know if you want to book one before hand.

It should be a great day and I can't wait to see you all again.

Profile People
AitAlainn 1
BrunoCork 1
ClaireE 1
Clara 1
Cliona 1
Damo ?
Dick 1
Drumanagh 1
Eilish 1
Elizabeth 7 1
Fran M 2
HeadGardener 1
Hoeys 1
Hosta 1
Ingrida 1
Jacinta 2
Jemo 1
Kate & Graham 2
Keego 1
Kitty 4
Liga 1
LindaB 1
Magiclou 1
Mairin 1
Milliemouse 1234 1
Monkells 1
Moya 1
Myrtle 2
PCON 1
Rachel 1
Scrubber 1
Simon Craigie 1
TheH (Hazel) 1
unagrant 1
Violeta 1
Wellie 2
Yellow Rose 1
Yuko 1
 Total                        45

Emergency Staking

29 December 2011 14:22:52
Acer rufinerve (Joshua's birth tree)

Acer rufinerve (Joshua's birth tree)

Hubby was out doing some emergency re-staking in the garden today. A few of the Elaeagnus ebbingei, in the front hedge, has gone dangerously wobbly. There was also some membrane lifting, with all the wind.

I took a much more leisurely approach to the gardening and did a round of photo taking.

By the way, I seem to have lost the ability to delete photos from my albums. Did Bruno say he had the same? Can someone else test this? So apologies for the duplicate Melianthus and  Centaurea in my December album.

My Gardening Pressies

28 December 2011 23:09:29
Shelser's Centaurea

Shelser's Centaurea

Well, I had a great Christmas and got a load of super presents. The two younger boys bought presents properly this year, for the first time, so it was lovely to see what they chose.

Surprisingly not everything I got was gardening related and my book wish-list was ignored except by my teenage son, who got me The Bad Tempered Gardener from it. Were they trying to tell me something?

Besides the biggie of the camera and The Bad Tempered Gardener, I also got the following books...

Gardens of Europe by Charles Quest-Ritson

Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen

The Language of Flowers by Mandy Kirkby

Orchids, The Original Classic Edition, by James O'Brien (reproduction of a very old book)

Orchids

28 December 2011 16:35:37
some orchids currently in flower

some orchids currently in flower

I don't have any very exotic orchids in flower at the moment.

The Phalaeonopsis are doing well (but they are such easy ones anyway).

Odontocidium 'Hansueli Isler' has just come into flower, despite a few setbacks, and besides him, I have two Cambria and two Dendrobium in flower.

I made a little collage of four of them for my photo.

I promise you, the collages I made for our garden.ie calendar are more precisely fitting!

Evergreen Grasses

28 December 2011 01:15:40
Stipa elegantissima

Stipa elegantissima

I love short evergreen grasses in winter.

I love them in summer too!

The one pictured is Stipa elegantissima and it was grown from seed this year.

Primula 'June Blake'

27 December 2011 14:17:09
Primula 'June Blake'

Primula 'June Blake'

I don't know who else will agree with me but I think this Primula is a 'must have' plant.

It was bred by June Blake of Blessington and sold this year for the first time.

It is a sunny yellow colour but the main selling point is that it is such a good do-er. It has handsome, healthy foliage and lots of flowers and bulks up in no time and never gives any trouble. As you can see, mine is flowering in December.

Jimi's garden was aglow with it last spring - such a glorious sight!

I believe it is to be marketed properly next year.

Not So Purple

27 December 2011 14:11:16
Silene 'Purple Prince'

Silene 'Purple Prince'

I'm having great fun with my new camera.

Suddenly, with a better zoom, there are plants to be photographed, even in a bleak December garden.

This Silene, which I grew from seed this year, is was supposed to have purple foliage but it doesn't.

Although the foliage is a disappointment, there's a lot to be said for something that's still flowering in December.

May God Have Mercy on You All!

26 December 2011 17:16:33
Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca

Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca

Yes, it's true. I got a new camera for Christmas.

And you know what that means? You are bound to be inundated with floods of photos before long!

I am really excited about the camera and can't believe how close it gets.

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas and Santy brought you all what you wanted.

Between assisting in bike riding and popping next door to borrow tin foil on Christmas Day, I noticed that my snowdrops are poking out of the ground. The daffodil 'Rijnveldt's Early Sensation' is also up and there had been one flower but a slug seems to have breakfasted on that!

Happy Christmas

24 December 2011 11:50:38
Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

With the holidays fast approaching, please accept -- with no obligation, implied or implicit, on behalf of the wisher or wishes -- my best wishes for an environmentally-conscious, socially-responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice, practised within the traditions and/or within the religious or secular belief(s) of your choice and with respect for the traditions and/or religious or secular beliefs of others or for their choice to not practice traditions and/or religious or secular beliefs at all; and for a fiscally-successful, personally-fulfilling, medically-uncomplicated recognition of the onset of what is generally accepted as the new Gregorian calendar year, but with due respect for calendars of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Britain/Ireland/Lesotho (delete as appropriate) great, and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or choice of computer operating system of the wisher.

Have a gret one and I'll see lots of you in Johnstown on 8th January.

Promise of Spring

22 December 2011 23:40:39
Cambria

Cambria

Gardening has gone on the back burner in this house and the last rush for Christmas preparations is in full swing. We visited Santy today but, stranely, he didn't want to hear from me - just from the boys!

Yesterday I got off my *** though and out to the greenhouse, where I gave it a good watering. What a change from last year when we were afraid of our lives to water! It's so mild I think my Physalis peruviana might make it to next year!

But, here's the downside - will all those cold seeds germinate when it's so mild?

And what was I doing in the greenhouse? Well, I potted up two packets of Iris reticulata 'Harmony' that I picked up in Woodie's for €2.50. Speaking of Woodie's, they have some fabulous orchids in at the moment for €6.99 each. They have Miltoniopsis and some Cambria/Oncidium with enormously beautiful white flowers. I was strong though and didn't buy any. I must be sick.

And yesterday I sowed two sets of seed. Speaking of seed, Liga made my day when I got today's post and saw so many exciting seeds to try! It was like a promise of spring. Thank you, Liga.

So that's me at the moment!

The calendars have been going like hot cakes. I had just one of them them left so I took the decision to order five more. Hopefully they will come in time for our January get-together as I feel sure there will be a scramble to buy the calendar once you see it (see two journals below for details). So I have six calendars to sell. Let me know if you want to book one!

I won't wish you all a Merry Christmas just yet as I'm bound to be on again before the Big Day :)

Xmas Get-Together

21 December 2011 10:42:43
Xmas Get-Together

Xmas Get-Together

As the festive seasons draws ever closer, this is the last reminder about our upcoming get-together before Christmas.

We will meet in Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas at 12:30 on Sunday 8th January, wearing festive hats! If you are planning on coming, please let me know. It should be a bumper turn-out as we have 43 attendees confirmed and 2 maybes to date (see list below)

I would encourage all attendees to take part in the Kris Kindle, buying a gift for less than €10 and wrapping it. We will draw gifts at random so all participants come home with something. 

If anyone would like to order our Club Calendar (see journal below), whether for yourself or as a Kris Kindle gift, please let me know asap to avoid disappointment.

Happy Christmas and see you in Johnstown!

Profile Name Number
AitAlainn 1
BrunoCork 1
ClaireE 1
Clara 1
Cliona 1
Conrad  
Dick 1
Drumanagh 1
Eilish 1
Elizabeth 7 1
Fran M 1
HeadGardener 1
Hoeys 1
Hosta 1
Ingrida 1
Jacinta 2
Jemo 1
Kate & Graham 2
Keego 1
Kitty 4
Liga 1
LindaB 1
LizM  
Magiclou 1
Mairin 1
Milliemouse 1234 1
Monkells 1
Moya 1
Myrtle 2
PCON 1
Rachel 1
Scrubber 1
Simon Craigie 1
TheH (Hazel) 1
unagrant 1
Violeta 1
Wellie 2
Yellow Rose 1
  43

OUR CALENDAR!!!

20 December 2011 01:13:34
OUR CALENDAR!!!

OUR CALENDAR!!!

I have created a 2012 wall calendar to remind us of this year's garden.ie club highlights.

The calendar is full of photos from this year's many Open Days, get-togethers and garden visits. It is not a calendar of plant photos but of the people who make up our ever-expanding and super friendly group.

The calendar is on good quality gloss paper and measures 8.5" x 11". It has the 2012 fairs, events and member Open Days marked in.

Our calendar costs €10 and if you are going to Johnstown and would like a copy, please let me know as I will have to pre-buy them and bring them along.

After that date, if anyone wants a copy, you can contact me but I would have to ask an additional €2.50 to cover postage and packaging.

Lotus Effect

19 December 2011 14:09:23
Colocasia

Colocasia

This morning I saw the Lotus Effect in action when I went to spray my Colocasia.

The Lotus Effect is a natural repellence that certain plant leaves have. They repel dirt and liquid in such a way that the liquid does not spread out but 'balls' on the leaf, producing droplets. The leaf doesn't get wet.

In this YouTube video the Lotus Effect is demonstrated with water and also honey. The honey does not stick to the leaf...

Lotus Effect 

All very interesting but it does make spraying my Colocasia impossible! FCO

In Flower

19 December 2011 08:19:16
Chrysanthemum 'Clare Dobson'

Chrysanthemum 'Clare Dobson'

 

It's so mild I have Fuchsia still in flower in the garden and in, the greenhouse, I have Coronilla, Pelargonium and Chrysanthemum.

It's the week before Christmas. Mad or what?

Sterile

18 December 2011 23:52:45
from outside

from outside

I took a quick trip around the garden today.

Although it's been so mild, the main feeling at this time of year is that of sterility.

The garden seems so lifeless and forlorn.

Heading back to the house, I spotted this view from the outside :)

Cropping Problem

17 December 2011 17:16:54

I love the smell of acetaniprid in the morning...

14 December 2011 17:51:45
Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile

It smells like victory!

Actually, acetaniprid (the active ingredient in my anti-aphid spray) smells more like almonds. That can't be a good idea! Of course I don't know if it's the active ingredient that smells of almonds or whatever perfume they put in to counter the appalling smell of the active ingredient!

I fear I am rambling.

But, as you may have guessed, I sprayed a few indoor plants today for aphids. Catch them early for victory in the battle against these insidious enemies. FWO FIO

Wrapping Plants

13 December 2011 15:40:20
presents under the tree

presents under the tree

It is perishing cold today, really bad!

The plan was to move the two coronet apple trees, acer and Viburnum. But I couldn't face it.

Instead I visited the Arboretum Garden Centre to find a present for one of my son's teacher, who is a gardener.

I picked her up two hellebores for €11.98. Hellebores are a great present at this time of year and even if people have them already, who couldn't find space for another hellebore?

I was tempted by the Camellia sasanqua but I reminded myself that I was not there to buy for myself and besides, I feared for its hardiness. They did look great though.

The great thing about buying presents in the Arboretum is that they wrap them for you! Now, I don't know about you, but I find plants tricky to wrap so I think this is a great service.

Snow

13 December 2011 08:05:23
Snow

Snow

 

It's snowing here in north Wexford!

Books

12 December 2011 22:37:40

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

12 December 2011 16:49:07
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

I'm not sure if it was too warm or too bright but my cannas in the wardrobe insisted on continuing to grow.

I cut off their snouts a couple of times but they didn't take my not-so-subtle hint!

So yesterday I gave up and took them all out of the wardrobe and put them in the bath where they can grow as they want.

It's nice and bright in that bathroom so they will be fine if I haven't done any damage so far.

I had been hoping to be able to actually use the bath this winter but I guess it is not to be!

Century Plant

10 December 2011 14:36:02
Agave americana 'Madiopicta'

Agave americana 'Madiopicta'

My son is home from college so I got him to bring in the Agave from the greenhouse.

I kept a space for it in the kitchen.

Last year when I brought it in I 'cut its nails', snipping off the sharp tips at the end of each leaf. It was encouraging to see that all the leaves, except one, now have sharp tips again. I guess they are new growth and the old leaves were cut off.

This plant is special to my son. He adopted one of its babies and named it Tropius, after a Pokémon. I know that one day he will take charge of the parent plant and all its babies.

 

Precious Cutting

09 December 2011 16:59:02
Precious Cutting

Precious Cutting

 

This is my most precious cutting.

It's growing new leaves so fingers crossed that it has taken.

Can anyone guess what it is?

Weekly Gardening

09 December 2011 16:09:49
some plants overwintering indoors

some plants overwintering indoors

My gardening efforts have now reduced to little more than weekly.

I took a trip out to the greenhouse and cut back my mums and Sarracenia. I watered one plant that was very dry and then I scampered indoors before my toes fell off, bringing Nerine filiformis with me.

Inside, I set about watering all the plants. I have been neglectful and some were quite dry.

It looks like I've lost my Geranium maderense, for no good reason. I have learned that you always loose something, for no discernible reason, in winter but there's no point in fretting over it.

Then, back I went to my book and a good chuckle, planning and plotting for next year.

Brugmansia

09 December 2011 16:01:50
Brugmansia

Brugmansia

 

Not bad for December!

Canary Island Corner

09 December 2011 16:00:04
Isoplexis canariansis

Isoplexis canariansis

A while back I put up a post on Isoplexis canariansis, which I grew from seed this year and was about to flower.

Well, one in the garden did flower but it coincided badly with the cold weather and, despite covering with fleece at night, the resulting flowers weren't worth photographing.

My attention turned to the specimen I had brought indoors as I could see the flower buds forming on it, albeit later than the ones in the garden.

But, the buds never produced flowers. They are empty. Maybe next year...

Snow

08 December 2011 19:52:25
photo from the web

photo from the web

 

 

It's snowing in Huntingbrook, Co Wicklow!

Best Dressed Plants

08 December 2011 18:57:07
Best Dressed Plants

Best Dressed Plants

 

In line with the season of good will and gaudiness, my house plants are getting in on the act.

I wonder has anyone else got any better (or should I say worse) dressed plants? :D

Package from South Africa

07 December 2011 19:09:52
Epidendrum ibaguense

Epidendrum ibaguense

It was so exciting today to get a package in the post from South Africa.

There were a lot of succulent cuttings but the best thing was two new orchids for my collection.

PS Do you like the terra cotta pot with the flower painted on it? My daughter, who's now twenty, did that for me when she was very little :)

Winter Sunshine

07 December 2011 18:59:04
orchids & neps

orchids & neps

 

The sunshine is lovely when you get it.

Xmas Get Together

07 December 2011 10:11:13
Xmas Get Together

Xmas Get Together

Our Christmas get-together is now mentioned in the 'News' section of this site. We have 41 people confirmed to date.

We will meet at 12:30 on Sunday 8th January in Johnstown Garden Centre restaurant, armed with a wrapped Kris Kindle pressie (worth less than €10 each and to be handed to Myrtle who is organising that end of things).

Jacinta will bring name tags for all garden.ie-ers and, to increase the festive mood, we should all wear a santy hat!

If anyone not on the list is thinking of coming or if there are any changes to the list, please let me know.

AitAlainn  
BrunoCork  
ClaireE  
Clara  
Cliona  
Conrad ?
Dick  
Drumanagh  
Eilish  
Elizabeth 7  
Fran M  
HeadGardener  
Hosta  
Ingrida  
Jacinta +1
Jemo  
Kate & Graham +1
Keego  
Kitty +3
Liga  
LindaB  
LizM ?
Magiclou  
Mairin  
Monkells  
Moya  
Myrtle +1
PCON  
Rachel  
Scrubber  
TheH (Hazel)  
Violeta  
Yellow Rose  
Wellie +1

All swaps are to be organised separately but if someone is interested in swapping for the following books, please send me a personal message...

The Complete Book of Plant Propagation: Amazon.co.uk: Deni Bown, Mike Honour, Clive Innes, Martin Rickard, et al: Books 

The Easy Garden Month-by-month: Amazon.co.uk: Michael Jefferson-Brown: Books 

Wild Flowers by Colour: Amazon.co.uk: Marjorie Blamey: Books 

"Reader's Digest" New Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants and Flowers Readers Digest: Amazon.co.uk: Justine et al Scott-McNab: Books 

"Reader's Digest" Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants and Flowers: Amazon.co.uk: Reader's Digest Association: Books 

The Tweezers

06 December 2011 16:12:55
greenhouse seedlings

greenhouse seedlings

I got to do some gardening today but it was nothing likeable.

A while back my seedlings in the greenhouse were attacked by slugs so I sprinkled a few slug pellets on them and it solved the problem. Those slugs seemed particularly partial to Euphorbia!

Then, about a week ago, I noticed that the slug pellets were attracting fungal growth. I ignored it and the fungus continued to grow. I began to fear that it would rot my immature seedlings.

So, today, out came the tweezers and I spent about half an hour tweezering off blue pellets and white fuzz. Yummy!

The Smell of Paper

05 December 2011 22:46:54
The Smell of Paper

The Smell of Paper

I am really getting stuck into this book at the moment. It is 'Thoughtful Gardening' by Robin Lane Fox and it was probably on many people's list last Christmas. Although I was given it some time ago, it was in a queue after some other books so is only getting read now.

And, as I read, I have my highlighter in hand and I mark the sections I want to remember or the names of plants I want to get. Pause for dramatic effect!...

Now I, like many of my age, was brought up to believe that books are almost sacred. You got yelled at in my house for turning down the corner of a page or leaving a book turned upside down and open on the pages you wanted to keep. The spine would crack, for god's sake, and we would all fall headlong into the abyss of illiteracy!

In my house we opened new books at the middle page and sniffed to appreciate the smell of newly-cut paper. And you never, ever, ever got rid of books. You stored them forever as a testimony to what you knew or as some kind of trophy. But most of all you certainly never destroyed books. Book burning is what they did in Nazi Germany for god's sake!

However, times have changed. Trash is written. Books are disposable. Houses have less space and teachers instruct students which passages to underline in their textbooks and give out if it isn't done.

And I have changed. I highlight passages I want to find again easily, especially in gardening books. Who does the book belong to anyhow and who's use is it for? My kids won't want it after I'm gone. I feel liberated! Oh and, Paddy, this is my roundabout way of saying I wrote on the book you gave me!

Mushrooms

05 December 2011 09:54:13
Collybia fusipes (Spindleshank)

Collybia fusipes (Spindleshank)

When Carl from Caher Bridge Gardens visited me last month, he was particularly interested in the mushrooms in my garden. Not ones I've planted, you understand. The wild ones!

Today Carl uploaded this photo to his superb funghi album on facebook and I noticed that it was taken in my garden. I didn't even know I had mushrooms at the base of my Trocodendron!

I know I'll certainly look closer at mushrooms after this!

By the way, even if you think you're not particularly interested in mushrooms, I guarantee you will enjoy these fabulous photos of Carl's...

 IRELAND'S MUSHROOMS & FUNGI

Some Unusual Perennials

04 December 2011 17:24:56

Bad Orchid Day & A Good Decision

03 December 2011 18:24:41
new bed

new bed

I have had, what can only be described as, a 'Bad Orchid Day'. I upturned three orchids, at different times in the day and in different locations and spilt them everywhere. I can't blame anyone else, it was me!

Then I thought I was loosing it completely because I went into the sitting room to find bits of compost all over the floor. My son soon confessed to sending the Eucharis flying and thinking he had cleaned it up!

But, on a more positive note, I wanted to mention how I made one good decision this year. It was to build a shady bed under the cherry tree. The idea came to me with a lovely white Hydrangea paniculata from Scrubber!

The cherry tree had stood on its own, with a 'Rambling Rector' running up it, for a few years but this year, in best Ladygardener style, I created a bed at its base by removing grass and just digging holes for the plants that go in.

I have three white Hydrangea there now but the really good thing about this bed is its location. It is close to the greenhouse so every time I visit the greenhouse, I come for a goo.

The result is that the bed gets weeded lots, which is just as well since it backs on to a native hedge. And what a delight it has been to watch orange cow slips and blue Corydalis flowering in it all autumn.

I know this bed doesn't look great in the photo but it is December! Now the excitement revolves around numerous Iris reticulata that are poking up. WCO

Disa

02 December 2011 16:52:32
Disa tripetaloides (from the net)

Disa tripetaloides (from the net)

I received an orchid I had bought in the post today. It is a Disa orchid, which originates in South Africa.

There are many, many types of orchids out there as the Orchid Family is one of the Earth's two largest families of flowering plants.

Some orchids hardy, most are not. Some are epiphyte and some are terrestrial, growing in soil. And among that great number of plants there are even some that require conditions which are the opposite of those we associate with orchids.

When we think of orchids we remember that these plants are prone to die from overwatering. Well, the Disa orchid is different. It is a bog plant and will die if it dries out.

In fact, by a bizarre coincidence, although separated by geography, Disa orchids and Sarracenia (pitcher plants) require very similar growing conditions. They both want a bog-like terrain with zero alkalinity. They both require purity of water. For this reason they are often companion plants.

So, the plan is that, if I manage to source some more Disa, I will plant them with my Sarracenia next year in the newly created bog. Better get digging!

Fleece & Straw

02 December 2011 16:29:33
Fleece

Fleece

It was quite frosty this morning for the second time so far this winter. It's been a good innings!

I was out and about today but as soon as I got home I set to putting straw and fleece over my tender plants in the garden.

First I ran out of plastic pegs but them remembered my trusty tent pegs. There's going to be hell to pay one day when we use that tent and unpack it somewhere like France to find the tent pegs missing!

Then I kept going until I ran out of straw. Wouldn't you think I'd have been a bit more prepared? It's not like we didn't know winter was coming!

Plants cut down, strawed and fleeced were : Lobelia tupa, Galtonia candicans, Crinum, hardy Gerbera, Hedychyium forrestii, Myosotidium hortensia, Tetrapanax papyrifera, Isoplexis canariansis and the base of Meianthus major (which I didn't cut back).

There's a few more I'd have liked to protect so I'll have to see how that goes. A good tip I got from Coolaught Gardens was to pile cooled ash from the fire over tenders (provided you haven't been using coal). They found it didn't negatively affect the soil ph. I did this last year with my Penstemon and some Fuchsia.

So now I have odd looking white mounds around my garden!

Double Dormancy

01 December 2011 14:34:54
Meconopsis paniculata

Meconopsis paniculata

Yesterday I received moist-packed seeds from a nursery in Nova Scotia. They are Trillium seeds, which I sowed today.

Trillium, grown from seed, require a double dormancy and a whopping seven years to flower. My eleven-year-old son, who is home sick at the moment, estimated that he would be 18 when we get to see these blooms! He then remembered the last time I spun him such a yarn, about a hedge which would take five years to get to a decent size and now almost is! 

As we all realise, time passes and even two winters pass quickly enough. Double dormancy means that the seed requires two cold spells (winters) to germinate. Mostly this type of seed can be tucked away in a corner of the greenhouse and forgotten about so they are easy enough to manage.

Last autumn I sowed Cardiocrinum giganteum and Viburnum betulifolium, from my Plants Person course, and as both of these have a double dormancy I should reap the rewards this coming spring.

So that's all about double dormancy except today I decided to cheat!

Encouraged by Liga, I am sowing these Trillium seeds and placing them in the fridge for three months, then they will be out again for three months and then into the fridge again for three months, fooling the seeds into thinking they have had two winters! This way I hope to shave off a year to germination. Wish me luck!

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