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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal January 2012

Last Post 2209 days 10 hours ago

A Nice Grass

31 January 2012 18:12:31
Briza maxima

Briza maxima

Here's a nice little grass I grew from seed last year.

It adds great movement to the border as it sort of shudders in the breeze.

It is supposed to be an annual but seems a bit mixed up, like all the other plants, at the moment.

I put a last few photos in my January album.

WCO (rest : coelygne, D.nobile, loddigesii)

More on the Orchid Bed

31 January 2012 16:06:37
Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'

Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'

It wasn't raining today so I decided to get on with some work in the garden.

While I was busy, hubby lifted the two Coronet apple trees and the two gooseberry bushes. The gooseberries got replanted and the apple trees went into pots.

It's great to see that view, through the arch, finally opened up and no longer obstructed by an apple tree right slap bank in the middle of the path. I'm sure many polite people, who came to last year's Open Day, were wondering if I'd lost the plot completely with that dwarf apple tree :P

Today, I worked on the Orchid Bed, or the backdrop to the Orchid Bed, to be more precise. I planted the variegated fatsias, Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer' and eight dwarf azaleas that I dug up and moved from the Long Border.

The eight dwarf azaleas had originally been planted at the front of the Long Border but, before long, I was expanding the front of the border (as you do) and the poor little azaleas became lost at the very back.

The idea of rhodos as a backdrop to the Orchid Bed is...

1) Hopefully they will flower at the same time as the orchids, making a nice display

2) Rhodo shallow roots won't interfere with fussy orchids

3) Rhodo evergreen foliage should obscure the ugly native hedge between us and the adjacent field (the dwarf azaleas are planted on a bank for height)

So, there you go. And for my photo, I have a snap of the spotted marsh orchid, just poking its nose up in the West Garden. The Orchid Bed won't have spotted marsh orchids in it but the photo ties in with the theme of this journal rather well.

Rain & Slugs

30 January 2012 20:29:33
Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

It was miserably wet here today and no weather for gardening.

It is such a shame as I'm itching to finish the Orchid Bed and lay mulch.

I took the opportunity to repot some indoor orchids and was disgusted to find another slug munching one of the flower spikes on my Laeliocattleya. There is some damage done but, fingers crossed, I got it in time.

I was looking forward to a really good display from that plant this year as it has three flower spikes!

Fed up (a bit) but looking forward to Friday's Altamont visit. I hope it doesn't rain.

Oh, by the way, Lidl are doing hellebores this Thursday for €4.99 and they look like nice ones. I may take a jaunt down.

Look What I Got!

28 January 2012 17:25:31
Fatsia japonica 'Variegata' & friends

Fatsia japonica 'Variegata' & friends

I was back in Woodie's today and spotted this gorgeous variegated Fatsia japonica.

I was absolutely delighted as they were a good size for €11.99 so I bought two.

Fatsia is hardy for me and I love its large foliage. A variegated one seemed like a dream come true! Only when I got it home and looked it up did I find that the variegated one's hardiness is H3 (to -10/-15). Still, I'm glad I got them.

I also picked up a largish Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer' and yesterday I bought a second Mahonia x media 'Charity'.

Standard unit of measure used.

Frost & Fog

28 January 2012 16:42:37
Frost & Fog

Frost & Fog


A very cold and foggy morning in this neck of the woods.

Crimean Aroid

27 January 2012 20:39:17
Arum elongatum 'Crimea'

Arum elongatum 'Crimea'

One of the Arisaema is up and today I saw two Corydalis solida where I am quite sure there was nothing there yesterday!

And then there's this little early aroid, Arum elongatum 'Crimea'. I've been watching him for a while now and can't wait.

He flowered in April last year so, with the mild winter, goodness knows when he might open this year.

More photos in the album!


27 January 2012 16:44:00


This is one of the many Geum crosses in my garden.

Originally I grew Geum 'Blazing Sunset' from seed. It is a tall plant with almost-red, double blooms that repeat flower if dead-headed.

I also grew a second one from seed. It had a much more compact  and shorter habit and had little buttercup-like flowers, the colour of orange juice.

I loved 'Blazing Sunset' but the only thing I liked about the other type was it's colour.

Well, geums are promiscuous so after a few years seedlings began to pop up here and there. As you can see, there are some nice orange crosses that repeat flower (and some of them are fully double). So, I think it's a result!

Orchid Bed Progress

26 January 2012 19:50:15
Orchid Bed Progress

Orchid Bed Progress

And here is where all that earth for the lasagna bed came from (by the way, my bed is lasagna, as opposed to lasagne as it only has one layer :))

My son was not looking forward to this job this morning and was not a happy camper being wokenen up to work. I wasn't looking forward to it either.

So we set to work excavating a pit in the area that is to house my hardy orchids. Mostly I loosened the earth with the fork, Zak dug and shovelled and wheel-barrowed and I shovelled the earth out onto the lasagna bed.

We took it in turns to talk. I spouted about orchids and then Zak went on about pokémon games and such like. We were monologuing really, neither paid the other too much heed but we were there to listen and that is so much better than working on your own. The whole job went really quickly and was finished by 12:30!

I could do with one of Conrad's standard units of measure - to mark the scale in the photo, you understand!

Fran is Such a Bully!

26 January 2012 17:16:54
Fran is Such a Bully!

Fran is Such a Bully!

Honestly, Fran's recent journal chilled me to the bone.

I mean, I wouldn't want to let the side down (or should I say 'site')!

The thought of you all turning up to my Open Day and looking at my half-digested lasagna was worrying me. I thought that maybe some of you might not appreciate the new look I was working to introduce - immaculate cocoa mulch on one side, uncomposted organic matter on the other. There might be a throw away comment from Scrubber or an aspersion Myrtle and then where would I be?

I must admit, this 'new Italianate look' has to be an acquired taste but I was thinking of writing about it in my next Irish Garden article so that everyone would be fooled and think of it as a new trend and then even the likes of Fran would be building one!

But, well, there you go. DOES THAT LOOK ANY BETTER NOW, SIR FRAN?

A mere mornings work and several barrows of earth later and my lasagna has topping!

Here Come the Tulips!

26 January 2012 13:23:54
Tulipa 'Giuseppe Verdi'

Tulipa 'Giuseppe Verdi'


Well, the early tulips are lest!

These are Kaufmanniana types (supposedly one of the ones that persist).

This is my second spring to enjoy these cute little earlies.

Orchids in Flower

25 January 2012 19:28:56
Orchids in Flower

Orchids in Flower


A few orchids which are in flower at present.




WWO WIO + Milt (rest ; cattleya x2 & LC 'Blossom Bounty' )

What is it?

25 January 2012 17:26:02
What is it?

What is it?


I wonder who knows what this is?

No prizes, just glory!


24 January 2012 16:20:45
Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata


My first Iris has opened, ahead of the snowdrops!

Eranthis poking up, Hepatica budding, it looks like spring!

No Dig Border

24 January 2012 16:14:00
No Dig Border

No Dig Border

I am going to try out a process I read about recently in Anne Wareham's 'Bad Tempered Gardener'.

The idea is to create a new border with no digging.

I have marked out the edges of the new border and, in the photo, my son is laying organic matter thickly on top - mulching, if you will, but with compost that is not yet decomposed.

The border must be left for at least six months and then is ready for planting.

This process is not so very different from what I saw in Jimi Blake's garden, where he started a new bed by dumping a load of manure on the relevant area of his drive and left it rot down. This will just take longer.

My son was unimpressed when he learned that the book HE had given me for Christmas had given me this idea and caused him this work!

So, anyone who visits this year will have to excuse one messy under-construction border!

There are photos in my album of the work in progress and one of the under-construction orchid bed - just for Myrtle.

Full Flower

23 January 2012 23:19:29
front of the house

front of the house

The early daffs are in full flower out front of the house and I love them.

We planted 100 Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' in autumn 2010, the same time that the bank was planted with Persicaria (the brown stuff in the photo). 

The bank had been a native hedgerow up until the beginning of 2010. It reached from the higher level to the lower, in this photo, with a mass of hawthorn and brambles, reaching out to the road and completely covering the lawn.

I planted the Elaeagnus ebbingei hedge at the top in spring 2010, just after the hedgerow was removed.

Hardy Orchids

23 January 2012 19:31:08
Canna warscewiczii

Canna warscewiczii

Between sicknesses and birthdays, I was lucky to get out to the garden this afternoon at all.

I made a start on the first new bed, marking it out and removing the edge strip. This new bed is in shade and will include a section for hardy orchids, made by hollowing out and creating a bog bed.

I had better get a move on. My son is home from college this week so the idea is to get him to do the hollowing out!

The photo shows a Canna I grew from seed in 2010. It is now 5ft tall and, indoors for the winter, it is flowering. Cannas are easy from seed - everyone should try them!

Shrubs, New Borders & Box

21 January 2012 23:12:55
Mahonia x media 'Charity' (net photo)

Mahonia x media 'Charity' (net photo)

I have decided that I need more big shrubs - several. I also need several new borders. I will start on the first on Monday.

And I want a load of small Buxus as I will underplant my fruit tree area with them, eventually clipping them into balls. Underneath the fruit trees is a real problem area. It has to be hand-mowed so always looks messy and branches are constantly being broken.

No gardening got done today but on our way up to Dublin I managed to pop into the National Garden Exhibition Centre and pick up the Mahonia I've been looking for. I would have liked to spend more time but we were in a hurry so I literally had to run around.

Mahonia x media 'Charity' will go at the back of the first new border. It is evergreen so, eventually, it will do a screening job on the compost area.

Extra Pounds & Chocolate

20 January 2012 20:35:54
photo from net

photo from net

The problem with coming indoors for the winter is that the extra pounds tend to pile on and I get very unused to real work.

Getting into the swing of it now, I did a lot of hours in the garden today - planting bulbs, clearing and mulching. And boy did I feel it when I came indoors!

I had forgotten how good cocoa mulch smells. Opening the bale and shovelling it out, last spring came back to me in a rush of chocolatey scent.

I can't praise cocoa mulch highly enough, having experienced such phenomenal growth in my garden last year from using it. It's also so light to move - handy for anyone who has been inactive all winter.

Organic Pest Control & Awards

20 January 2012 18:12:07
Organic Pest Control & Awards

Organic Pest Control & Awards

My cousin's company, Nemos Horticultural Limited, has been shortlisted for an Irish Times Innovation Award. They are among the final three in their category because of their organic product to fight Vine Weevil and other pests. The invention  is an Irish one and has been trialled at various nurseries, such as Kilmurry and Pat Fitzgerald's...

"SuperNemos is a biological control product containing microscopic beneficial nematodes (found in healthy soil), which are specially formulated to aggressively pursue several or different groups of insect pests.

SuperNemos is UNLIKE ANY OTHER bio-control (nematodes) product sold on the market, which contain only one single beneficial nematode species, and can only target one group of insects pests".

To buy the product, here is their website... Supernemos 

And here's a link to the Irish Times nomination page...

The Irish Times Innovations Awards 2012

I'm very proud of my cousin and his innovation.

Witch's Bouquet

19 January 2012 12:56:20
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

In the garden today, I noticed how the witch hazel really looks super when the flowers form great clusters.

Disappointingly, I really can't get any scent off them though :(


FCO (rest - nobile2 (2nd or 3rd week), loddigesii, Coelogyne)


18 January 2012 14:29:55


The mulch arrived this morning at breakfast. I contemplated getting out and laying it straight away but then thought better.

Instead I headed off to Woodie's to buy some bargain bulbs. And why not? It's great bulb-planting weather,  bulbs are going cheap and they had better go in before the mulch, if they're going in at all.

My main purchases were the dwarf white daffodil, Thalia, and orange Darwin Hybrid tulips but I picked up a few other packs too.

And, would you believe it, they had a whole trolley of perfectly good orchids reduced to €1, just becasue they'd finished flowering. I really don't need a third Miltoniopsis in my life but when I say it there, complete with newly emerging flower spike, I had to save it!

PS I also bought a spade and fork.

Hellebores & Snowdrops

17 January 2012 19:07:36
Helleborus orientalis

Helleborus orientalis

It's not long since I cut back my hellebore foliage to reveal the flower heads, just barely up out of the ground. And look at them now!

I think there is very little as exciting as the sight of the first hellebores of the year.

For me this year, the snowdrops are an important feature of the spring garden. I used to have just a single clump of them but since a good friend gave me a load last year, they are popping up everywhere.

I did take note of where I planted the snowdrops but when you're wandering around the garden, those notes are never handy. So the snowdrops are taking me by surprise - a few here, the odd one there, a clump under the Acer griseum...

I started out, planting my snowdrops, very wisely, by dividing them into groups of three to cover the most ground. But patience eventually deserted me and I was planting proper clumps by the end. Boy do those clumps look good coming up now!

As it's colder here than many places, my snowdrops are not yet in flower but any day now...


16 January 2012 22:38:40
Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'

Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'


I have pear blossoms in January!

Like Spring, Only Warmer!

16 January 2012 16:42:40
Cynara cardunculus

Cynara cardunculus

It was mild again here so it was time to tackle a few jobs. In fact the weather is just like spring, only warmer!

While I weeded and cleared two borders of spring interest, hubby moved my four roses and the Japanese acer.  The Japanese acer nearly had him defeated and only time will tell if it'll survive such rough handling.

The new spade, the old spade and two forks did NOT survive the endeavour. They were all broken, doing the job. I think it's time to invest in some better tools.

I ordered cocoa mulch, which I hope to get down on the spring borders before the Corydalis and Chinodoxa start coming up.

And the grass got cut today - it makes such a difference.

There's no sign of the Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin' that I planted in autumn although the Iris reticulata are well up. I wonder if mine are duds!


15 January 2012 18:34:57
Punica granatum

Punica granatum

There were fabulous scents to greet me today when I entered the greenhouse.

It wasn't just the Coronilla, placed right at the greenhouse door, but now my Christmas box has also come into flower and smells fabulous.

I put some photos in the January album but, as many people have put up photos of Christmas box recently, I have opted to show the unscented pomegranate tree on this journal instead. I love the sunny new growth of its leaves.

Other news : I won a June Blake plant for one of my photos of June's garden last year. So that really made my day.

Stress over Seedlings

15 January 2012 18:24:33
Hieracium maculatum 'Leopard' seedlings

Hieracium maculatum 'Leopard' seedlings

Even in a mild winter, like this year's, I find seedlings provide plenty of winter stress.

We're delighted when they shoot up in autumn but then we stress all winter that they will die. Is it too cold? Is it too hot, in the greenhouse, in direct sun? Have they been over-watered or maybe under-watered? Would it have been better if they hadn't emerged until spring?

And what if the tiny seedlings seem to wither and die! Are they really dead or are they just gone into dormancy, as would normally happen for perennials?

All we can do is wait and see and don't discard until spring is well advanced!

The picture shows some seedlings of Hieracium maculatum 'Leopard', which germinated on 1st October 2011 and seem to be doing well. Just to the right (those withered grass-like leaves), are about 10 Roscoea humeana, which germinated on 22nd October 2011 and, just recently, decided to go back to sleep. At least I do hope they are sleep and not dead.

Spring will reveal all.

I Hate Slugs

14 January 2012 16:12:27
I Hate Slugs

I Hate Slugs


This summer when I put my orchids out in the greenhouse, I am going to put a circle of slug pellets all the way around them!



Reading & Planning

13 January 2012 19:35:36
Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic'

Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic'

The newly released book on Hardy Orchids by Kew Publishing arrived today and will keep me busy for a while. I will be reading it cover to cover and feel a hardy orchid bed coming on...

Conflicting advice abounds though - the Johnstown website and original Frosch one say that Cypripedium should not be planted too close to tree roots, to avoid competition. My new books says that hardy orchids do particularly well under trees, possibly due to beneficial tree-root funghi!

I am also reading a very good book, called Weeds by Richard Mabey. It is really well written and intriguing. It's not the sort of book I would have bought for myself but it describes the diversity and ingenuity the 'weed kingdom' in such an engaging way that I can't put it down.

Oops, how will I read my new book with this one already underway!

I'll be lending the Weeds book out to one of you when I finish it (if someone is interested).

Misty Morning

13 January 2012 10:40:47
Misty Morning

Misty Morning

As we're in a bit of a valley, we get a lot of mist in early morning.

However, since I stopped leaving the house for work at 6:30, I rarely see it any more.

There's plenty of mist here this morning though and frosty windscreens.

Silly me for watering in the greenhouse yesterday!

Thin Leaved Pulmonaria

13 January 2012 00:40:37
Pulmonaria longifolia subsp. cevennensis

Pulmonaria longifolia subsp. cevennensis

Hosta gave me this Pulmonaria back in the summer.

It is unusual because of its narrow silver leaves.

It is currently the only Pulmonaria in flower in my garden and it's looking great.

We think it is  Pulmonaria longifolia subsp. cevennensis

Who Knows?

12 January 2012 14:48:55
Who knows what this is?

Who knows what this is?

It was another beautiful day in Wexford so that meant gardening o'clock!

Today I concentrated on the shrubs that need moving. The Viburnum that Hosta gave me last year got moved to its permanent position, on the corner of a bed. It has grown well since it went down last year with good spreading roots. I gave it a bucket of manure as a reward for such laudable behaviour.

Then I dug a hole for my Japanese Acer and four holes for the roses that need to be moved, before running out of stem.

I'm not quite sure the holes I dug are big enough and, as we all know, if you think they mightn't be big enough, they definitely aren't. I might need a hand tomorrow with the acer and roses so hubby is warned.

Finally I watered the greenhouse, cur back the cape gooseberries and potted up the Fritellaria uva-vulpis and fringed white tulips I was given at Johnstown.

Oh, by the way, can you guess what that is in the photo? It is a perfectly healthy perennial. Go on, give it a guess!

Annoying Crab Apple

11 January 2012 17:11:07
Celmisia allanii

Celmisia allanii

Another smashing day here in Wexford so out I went to garden.

I pruned the roses and started cleaning a bed of spring interest.

Tulips, snowdrops, early irises and even Podophyllum are poking up now. The crocuses should open soon and one of my two Hepatica is in bud.

As I was concentrating on the areas of spring interest, my attention turned to the two crab apple trees, planted in the large Annuals Border. The Annuals Border is planted with tulips this year, for the first time, so I want them to be shown off to best advantage. 

The two crab apples, Malus 'Golden Hornet' have the most irritating habit of holding on to their shrivelled and blackened crab apples. It looks quite unsightly until the foliage becomes bushy enough to obscure them. Of course, this doesn't happen is spring so, to better show off my tulip area, I cut off all the ugly crab apples, taking care to avoid the new spurs.

More News

11 January 2012 11:01:51

Out of Sync

10 January 2012 22:44:37


This kaffir lily that Fran gave me is completely out of sync.

I couldn't believe it was flowering again when I saw it today.

It decided to skip flowering in autumn this year, when it should have done, but flowered in summer instead and now it's going again!

It is such a beautifully delicate shade of pink. Not like Fran at all.


10 January 2012 22:36:01
Primula acaulis 'Drumcliffe'

Primula acaulis 'Drumcliffe'

This Primula is one of the newly introduced Kennedy Irish primulas from last year.

I split it in three before planting and it has bulked up well.

It's flowering at the moment, as are many primulas.

I love the foliage on this one but am slightly disappointed to see a pink tinge on the white petals.

Hi Ho Hi Ho

10 January 2012 17:33:43
Hamamelis 'Westerstede'

Hamamelis 'Westerstede'

Encouraged by the good weather and the general activity of other members on this site, I got out to the garden today.

It was good to be out and to start the spring clean-up. It was hard to remember that it isn't spring though and not to cut back everything just yet!

I focused on the cliff at the back of the house (the bane of my life) and the border in front of it. Now the cliff is bare but weeded.

There's a lot of moss on the tarmac this year. I will have to buy a product!

The hellebores are well up and I was delighted to see the first of my three witch hazels was in flower. New photos in the January album.


10 January 2012 17:20:13


All of the remaining calendars were sent off to the individual garden.ie-ers in the post today. The only exceptions are Bill and Linda's as they are local to me.

The delay in receiving the calendars was down to the fact that the box they were in burst and they had to be repackaged by the post office. However, when I got the calendars today they were all undamaged and they are now on their merry ways to you, as a little souvenir of our club. Apologies once again for the delay.

Deborah & Linda @ Johnstown

10 January 2012 00:06:09
Deborah and Linda at Johnstown

Deborah and Linda at Johnstown

And here we have the queens of the raffle.

I wonder why HeadGardener is acting like he has the hump?

Could it be because of the star raffle prize of pink teddy-knitting-kit that Deborah had in her handbag?

I know Bill was gutted when that went...

Scrubber & Moya @ Johnstown

09 January 2012 23:48:54
Scrubber & Moya at Johnstown

Scrubber & Moya at Johnstown

Did I mention before what a rowdy table was to the right of me?

Between tog swiping antics, Cork met Donegal and rumour has it that Carlow also  played an active role in the antics. We had come to expect this kind of behaviour from the Cork contingent but I understand that, on this occasion, they were seriously egged on by a fast-driving gal from Donegal!

It was plain to see that  Bruno and Conrad were fighting a rearguard action, seated at the end of the table, in trying to maintain some semblance of decorum.

Myrtle & Periwinkle @ Johnstown

09 January 2012 22:54:05
Myrtle & Periwinkle with the trolley of goodies

Myrtle & Periwinkle with the trolley of goodies

Now here is a team, coupled with the shy-to-be-photographed Maureen, who would put Jedward to shame for sheer energy and exuberance at our Kris Kindle.

There was no messing with these ladies yet they remained good humoured through all adversity.

And poor Periwinkle was suffering terribly from the cold that prevented her return to Donegal. But Donegal's loss was our gain.

Fran @ Johnstown

09 January 2012 22:15:23
Fran at Johnstown

Fran at Johnstown

Here's Fran, counting up his pennies to see if he has enough for the Cryptomeria

A Few Presents & Purchases

09 January 2012 19:32:54
Cypripedium 'Aki Pastel' (Johnstown photo)

Cypripedium 'Aki Pastel' (Johnstown photo)

This is going to be another long journal because I have so many people to thank for the beautiful presents. Here we go, in no particular order...

Periwinkle (you are absolutely and completely thoughtful and an angel),

Martin (I feel a second fern area coming on),

Keego (so lovely to have a momento of Airfield),

Deborah (it will not defeat me this time!),

Linda (are you psychic? How did you know I wanted that book?),

HeadGardener (hurray, a hardy ginger),

Drumanagh (my first plant with a career on the big screen!)

Elizabeth (one from my wish list)

Hazel (indulging me in my Euphorbia spree)

Dick (it will remind me of the tulip fields in Amsterdam)

AitAlainn (how on earth was that still in flower in January!)

Liga (a great collector's plant)

Conrad (you are to blame if I'm too busy reading to come on this site)

Clara (so stylish and tasteful)

Jurga (your talents are endless)

Myrtle (always thinking of me and finding something different)

Bruno (you have expanded my plant vocabulary yet again)

Wellie (always a place for that little beauty)

And thanks to whoever provided the Kris Kindle gift of horticultural fleece (always comes in handy) and white fringe tulip bulbs with fork (as I ended up with Damo's KK present when he left early).

And I can't remember who gave me Fritellaria bulbs but thank you and for the many seeds too!

And, between all that, I somehow managed to find time to buy a few purchases...

Actually, I did very well for myself, my prized purchase being the hardy orchid...

'Aki Pastel'
Dodecatheon meadia
Calycanthus floridus
Iris tectorum 'Variegata'
Erysimum linifolium 'Variegata'

The Best Bad-Ass Gardeners in Ireland

09 January 2012 12:15:15
The Best Bad-Ass Gardeners in Ireland

The Best Bad-Ass Gardeners in Ireland

As the dust settles on our biggest-yet, unofficial get-together, I just thought I'd offer a few words. By my count, we had a whopping 56 attendees (including 45 signed-up garden.ie-ers). It was a great event, possibly our best yet, with people travelling from the four corners of Ireland, among which - Cork, Wexford, Clare, Galway, Antrim and even darkest Donegal. And I think everyone who came enjoyed themselves immensely.

Johnstown did us proud. We had a seating area put aside, just for us, and there was sufficient space for everyone. The table settings were beautiful and the catering ran smoothly. It must have been no mean feat for them to deal with so many people all in one go but they did it seamlessly. In the garden centre, people had been requesting plants to be put aside and this was done efficiently and there was even a trolley-storage option given to those of us who were shopping in dribs and drabs. A very big thank you to Johnstown, from garden.ie, for a super day.

In addition, I would like to say thanks to Myrtle, Mairin and Periwinkle for organising the Kris Kindle. I didn't envy those ladies such a formidable task! They were hampered by the sheer number of attendees, which made even number calling a major job. But together they coped admirably.

Thanks also to Linda, Martin, Deborah and Magiclou's children for their help with the raffle. It was great to have Linda, Martin and Deborah's experienced input on the best way to organised such a big raffle. And boy was it big! There were so many prizes, donated by generous people, that a very large proportion of ie-ers got something!

And finally, thanks to Jacinta for the beautifully made name-tags and her dexterity in staying on top of who had a badge and who didn't.

There was much high jinx on the day and, no doubt, word will soon spread on the fun and games. All I'm saying is that there was a very rowdy table on my right!!!

It was, of course, practically impossible to get a group photo of us all. But we did try in the car park at the plant swap. There are lots of photos in my album and many other attendees have put up great photos too.

All I can say is - what a day! And aren't we just the best group of bad-ass gardeners in Ireland?

Get-Together, Final Journal

07 January 2012 11:38:37
Get-Together - Final Journal

Get-Together - Final Journal


Well, folks, there's only one more sleep now until we all meet up at Johnstown Garden Centre tomorrow.


This is going to be a whopper of a get-together as last minute interest (the Begleys of Terra Nova know who I'm talking about there :)) has pushed the numbers up to a whopping 58!


Myself and poor Jacinta are struggling to keep up with the lists and badge-making! A list of attendees is in the journal directly below this.


So, here is a final recap on arrangements for tomorrow...

1) Park to the left in the Johnstown car park
2) Meeting at 12:30 in the café (the reserved section)
3) Wear a silly hat (if you can)
4) Collect your name badge from Jacinta
5) Hand your wrapped Kris Kindle present to Myrtle and get a number in return (if you're taking part)
6) Give any raffle prizes to Rachel/Linda
7) All garden.ie-ers to get a raffle ticket
8) Organise plant/book/seed swaps among yourselves
9) Pay for anything you consume at Johnstown
10) Pay for your calendar (if you've ordered one)
11) Try to talk to everyone (it will be hard)
12) Have a great day!

Attendees for Get-Together

07 January 2012 11:37:41

Book Lending, Anyone?

07 January 2012 00:07:37
Book Lending, Anyone?

Book Lending, Anyone?

I have just finishing reading the Bad Tempered Gardener by Anne Wareham. I got it for Christmas and it is a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing read.

Okay, she is a bit challenging with some of her ideas but it certainly made me rethink certain things, such as digging.

Why did Paddy keep springing to mind when I was reading this book, I wonder :D

I want the book back but could lend it to someone who wants a bit of a read.

I think this kind of book is just right for lending as it will probably only be read once by a person.

In addition, if someone wanted to borrow (and give back to me at a later stage) the following books, of similar ilk, then let me know and I will bring them along Sunday.

The Curious Gardener by Anna Pavord

On Gardening by Helen Dillon

Glitch at Last Chance Saloon

06 January 2012 16:57:50
calendar cover

calendar cover

Unfortunately there have been some delays in the post from England.

As a result, the main batch of calendars (the first order I placed) has not yet arrived and I only have the calendars from the second smaller order :P

This means that I will only have five calendars to distribute at Johnstown on Sunday.

So I will be giving them to the first five people who placed orders with me - Milliemouse, Jacinta, Scrubber, TheH (Hazel) and Fran.

But, for the rest of you who ordered, the good news is that I will post your calendars off to you early next week at no additional cost. So, could you please send me a private message with your postal address in it and could you pay me the €10 on Sunday please.

I have two calendars left (part of the order on its way) but the cost has had to go up to €12 each to cover my posting to you. If you want one, let me know.

Thanks for your understanding, folks, but there's nothing more I can do.

PS Our confirmed number for Sunday is now 55 and Johnstown have received in their new stock. They have 100's of perennials at €4 each, less 20% discount!

Last Chance

05 January 2012 16:33:07


Right, I have 4 calendars left.

It is your last chance to buy one as I'm fed up now and won't be ordering any more.

A batch arrived today and they look beautiful (even if I say so myself).

The calendar has a different picture, or collage of pictures,  per calendar month and has all the plant fairs, Open Days and events that I know about marked in.

The pictures show garden.ie club events through 2011, featuring our many members at various locations. The month of December is shown, featuring Elizabeth7's lovely and apt poem, which does well to round up the gardening year.

The cost is €10 at Johnstown or €12 if you want me to post it to you.

Last chance - message me now to pre-book or forever hold your peace!

A Few More Books

05 January 2012 10:55:48
A Few More Books

A Few More Books

I also have these few books on offer. If you want one, let me know...

1) Tulip by Liz Dobbs, 2002, 104 pages

2) A-Z of Popular Garden Plants, consultant edited by Alan Titchmarsh, 1985, 256 pages

3) The Easy Garden, Month by Month by Michael Jefferson-Brown, 1988, 140 pages

By the way, I think this is a brilliant way to circulate books we don't need any more and hopefully it will continue at future get-togethers. We can all save a fortune by passing on what we no longer want.

As Myrtle said, there is probably also the need for a borrowing option. For example, I have several books that I am not about to read again short term but I do want to keep them - especially journal type books with no photos. We could lend such books out.

Liga lent me a super little gardening book last year by Karel Capek and I laughed until I nearly bust a rib from it and I lent her Anna Pavord's Curious Gardener, which had had the same effect on me. We have our books back now.


04 January 2012 15:02:41
Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

I think the official and scientific description for today's weather is 'yucky'.

After sorting out my seeds, I checked the greenhouse for watering.

Then I cut back the hellebore foliage (I forgot to do it earlier too). It's lovely to see the flower heads just emerging from the soil! No sign of Symplocarpus yet, in the same bed.

It was very windy for taking photos but I managed to get one of this Corydalis that is going for gold at this rate as it's been flowering for ages. It is a cross between flexuosa and the more tender cashmiriana and it is called 'Kingfisher'.

The Corydalis looks great with orange cow slips, which are also still flowering. It was all a bit hard to capture on film as they are very small plants but I put individual photos in my January album.


04 January 2012 12:47:40



Just sorting out a few perennial seeds to bring to Johnstown.

It will be first come, first served.

Get-Together (5 More Sleeps)

03 January 2012 10:29:44


As Clare said, just five more sleeps until our mammoth garden.ie get-together at Johnstown. And boy is it gong to be a bumper one. We have had several more people put their names up, giving a whopping total of 51 (50 of them definite) attendees!

Johnstown are looking forward to seeing us and have reserved a 'new area beside the café' for us as we would not fit in the conservatory. Apparently it is separate so no one else will pass through. I haven't seen it but we all will on Sunday.

Johnstown are expecting a lot of new stock in this week (indoors and outdoors) and there is a 20% discount off plants, seeds, pots and tools.

When you arrive (at 12:30), please park over to the left in the car park. That way, all our cars will be close to each other, facilitating any plant swaps that people have organised among themselves.

I hope everyone will do their best to wear some festive headgear and don't forget your Kris Kindel present!

I expect the garden.ie calendars that I have made to arrive today. The page pictured shows the month of January 2012 but the pictures relate to our Johnstown meeting last year. That was a good one too. If your eye sight is up to it, you can just make out how this year's get-together is marked in under 8th January. They cost €10 each. I have a few calendars left so, if you haven't pre-ordered yet, please send me a message to avoid disappointment.

Oh, and does everyone really already have a plant encyclopaedia? I am giving two away free (see previous journals). Does no one want one?

And, that's it for the minute, except for the list of attendees...        FCO

Profile People
AitAlainn 1
BrunoCork 1
ClaireE 1
Clara 1
Cliona 1
Conrad 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
Joann 1
Joybells 2
Kate & Graham 2
Keego 1
Kitty 4
Liga 1
LindaB 1
Magiclou 1
Mairin 1
Milliemouse 1234 1
Monkells 1
Moya 1
Myrtle 2
Periwinkle 1
Rachel 1
Scrubber 1
Simon Craigie 1
TheH (Hazel) 1
unagrant 1
Violeta 1
Wellie 2
Yellow Rose 1
Yuko 1

Here Come the Daffodils!

02 January 2012 15:02:57
Narcissus ''Rijnveld's Early Sensation'

Narcissus ''Rijnveld's Early Sensation'

The early daffodils are on their way up in my garden. I have four of this trumpet variety, called 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation', in bloom. They are planted just outside the garden, on the grass verge, at the entrance.

Last year these same daffodils came up on 20th February so I wonder does that mean we are 49 days ahead of ourselves this year!

I noticed that Blarney Castle in Cork had this same variety of daffodil up on 22nd November. But I am so much more inland than they are and my garden is much colder. 

Roll on spring.

New Year's Resolutions

01 January 2012 20:58:48
Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile

Glancing at the photo album Yorkshirelass just put up, I am reminded of one of this year's gardening resolutions - grow more poppies.

Here's a few that spring to mind in no particular order...

1) I will grow lots and lots of poppies. I'm not sure where but I will grow lots of them

2) I will sort out and make home-made metal stakes before spring

3) I will grow lots and lots of orange pot marigolds

4) I will not forget to nip out dahlia shoots to give rise to bushier plants

5) I will water my orchids more frequently in the summer

6) I will take cuttings in June and July

7) I will walk barefoot on the lawn regularly

Who Wants...

01 January 2012 15:15:39
Who Wants...

Who Wants...

Does anyone going to Johnstown want the following....

1) Yellow Oncidium Orchid (as picured, I have 3 to give away)

These 'rescue orchids' are on the road to recovery but will not flower this year. They should eventually flower as pictured. A medium term project for someone who wants an easy orchid.

2) "Reader's Digest" New Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants and Flowers Readers Digest: Amazon.co.uk: Justine et al Scott-McNab: Books, Published 1997

I would like this to go to someone who will use it. A great encycaepedia if you don't have one.

3) "Reader's Digest" Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants and Flowers: Amazon.co.uk: Reader's Digest Association: Books, Published 1982.

As above but smaller. I would like this to go to someone who will use it. A good first encycaepedia. FWO FIO


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