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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal April 2012

Last Post 2086 days 10 hours ago

Casting Seed

30 April 2012 22:32:51
my oldest orchid

my oldest orchid

Another windy, wet day here in Wexford. A quick tour of the garden revealed that the stems on my tree peony were broken clean off, including the three fat flower buds :(

I retired to the greenhouse to pot on Ammi and Tagetes. Soon there was no room to move so the dahlias had to be booted out. I put all the advanced, topped dahlias outside.

Then I sowed some Cerinthe and wallflower seeds in trays.

In the afternoon, I looked outside and noticed it had stopped raining. Yippee! So I went to get my poppy seeds and took a tour of the garden, scattering them. I'm a bit late for sowing poppies but better late than never! I sowed nine different types of poppies and Verbascum in situ, chancing my arm a bit with the Verbascum. I sowed some giant Verbascum on the ditch at the side where I would love it to grow but doubt it will. Here's hoping.

Terry Smith's Carlow Garden

29 April 2012 19:44:04
Terry Smith's Carlow Garden

Terry Smith's Carlow Garden

As you may know, Terry (sumjak on this site) had an Open Day today. She handed out a few brochures at my Open Day to whoever was there.

Well, this morning I looked out the window at the gale howling and the plants bending and I though : no way! No way could she hold the Open Day in this kind of weather and no way was I going! Besides, my throat hurt - a great get out clause!

So I texted Terry to see if she was still on and when she replied back that she was, and Scrubber also said he was still on, I knew I shouldn't be such a wimp!

As soon as I arrived at Terry's I was so glad I had made the trip. I thought I had a big garden but it is nothing compared to Terry's seven acres! And sooo many tulips it was mind boggling! Everything was in top shape and weeded to within an inch of its life. I loved the white and green planting combinations, the paved tunnel but the square pictured was my favourite. 

Terry has  the cleverest idea for growing semi-tender plants, planting them in an open, purpose-built house, clothed with transparent plastic to let in light. It was a haven, away from the wind, and had a lovely seating area among the bottle brushes and other tenders.

And just as I was tucking into some delicious cake and tea, Scrubber arrived. He brought me stacks of much-needed empty pots and plenty of banter.

Terry opens as part of the Wicklow Garden Trail so look out for her and DO visit!

Gale Whipping Up

29 April 2012 12:39:37
Gale Whipping Up

Gale Whipping Up

There is a terrible gale whipping up out there.

The trampoline was threatening to take off.

Isn't it lucky I have so much compost waiting to be used!

First Plant Sale of This Year

29 April 2012 00:37:22
Lewisia tweedyi

Lewisia tweedyi

I arrived at Festina Lente Plant Sale this morning at exactly the same moment as Claire. Hardly caught up on our chat, we were joined by Fran and then Clare. It was a lovely morning and soon we settled down to the serious business of shopping.

This was the first plant sale I have been to this year, although Clare refused to believe that :O

I must admit that I was a bit hungry for it and it was probably just as well that the likes of Crug weren't around with their expensive plants. I bought two lovely plants from Rare Plants Ireland - Paeonia mlokosowitschsii and Sinocalycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' but the rest of my money was spent at Caherhurley Nurseries.

This spring I removed about six dwarf azaleas from the back of my Long Border and the gaps are still there. I needed some tall perennials to fill those gaps and you couldn't do better than those healthy pots of Actaea 'Atropurpurea', Heliopsis 'Summer Nights' and Artemisia lactiflora for €3 each. I have all these plants already and know they are good but am not in a position to propagate. At that price, Caherhurley is the champion of discerning gardeners with space to fill!

After two garden visits (see previous journals), Fran and I went on to the Cabinteely Alpine Show, where we met Paddy and Mary and Drumanagh. Actually, everyone was there - Carmel Duignan, Paul Coulter, Jimi Blake etc. It was more than just an Alpine Show (which is what I hoped as I'm not too interested in alpines!)

But myself and Fran got an awful shock on the way in. We paid our entrance fee and were ushered into a room with a table, containing the last few bedraggled plants for sale from members. We thought that was it! The Alpine Show! But then Paddy came rescue us and explained where the displays were and the nursery plant sales :P

Fran's Garden

29 April 2012 00:11:25
Fran's Garden

Fran's Garden

I was delighted to be invited to Fran's garden today and allowed view the new work that has been done.

Fran's garden is stylish and, as we all know from the photos or visits, relies strongly on design. It was looking lovely and the new area is nearly complete. Full of little nooks and crannies and hidden detail, I had a lovely time taking the took over chat and fulminations :)

Thanks for giving me the sneak preview, Fran, and for a lovly day.

Clare's Garden

28 April 2012 23:36:47
Clare's Garden

Clare's Garden

I've just put up a few photos that I took at Clare's garden today. Clare is 'Clara' on this site.

The thing I love about Clare's garden is how it always looks good. I've popped in at night, during the day, rushing somewhere else and I NEVER manage to catch her out ;-)

The garden was looking great as usual and it was nice to see the progress that the lower end of the garden has made since planting up. It looks like a lovely area to see and take the sun.

Clare was a great hostess, as always, despite feeling very under the weather. And I did not leave empty handed. I am delighted with the Iberis cuttings and enormous bag of pots Clare gave me and will soon put them to good use. Thanks a million, Clare, and I hope you feel better soon.

Alpine Show

28 April 2012 20:09:11
Primula auricula 'Silverway' & 'Brazil'

Primula auricula 'Silverway' & 'Brazil'

All I can say is that I was influenced by the day that was in it and my surroundings.

Not much of a defence, I know.

I came away from the Cabinteely Alpine Show with these two auriculas.

Yes, I know, lost the run of myself :P

More journals on the day's escapades to follow.

First Flowering

27 April 2012 13:05:01
Encyclia (Prosthechea) cochleata

Encyclia (Prosthechea) cochleata

This orchid has had its first flowering for me today.

It was bought as a baby in 2010 so I am delighted to have raised it correctly!

The Genus was re-classified since I bought the plant so it's now an Encyclia, instead of Prosthechea (I knew I load of you would be wondering about that ;))


26 April 2012 23:46:49
Some people are a bad influence on each other!

Some people are a bad influence on each other!

Today I took in two great gardens in Waterford, one well-established and one up-and-coming.

We met in Mount Congreve at 11am. We were a small (or as Scrubber put it 'select' group) and were soon on our way, enjoying the fabulous gardens and chatting away.

Anne and Mary had done great ground-work the week before, taking us on the best route, careful to pass by any open peonies and the blue Abutilon for my benefit. Thanks, girls, and goodness knows what else for the other members of our party. Thoughtfulness and informedness were the order of the day, as were magnificent acers, rhodos and magnolias! Lady Alice Fitzwilliam was the star of the garden for me this year - mass planted and in full bloom she was bathed in sweet perfume. Just fabulous (photos to follow)! 

And then it was back to Anne's and a tour of her enormous garden, getting an insight into her plans and the shape the garden is gradually taking. Anne's garden is one of curves and vistas and I look forward to following its progress (Anne, you will adore the woodland section of the Bay Garden. Its curving ambling, style is very reminiscent of what you are setting out to achieve in yours!).

We ate wonderful chowder, fresh bread, pie and Mary's delicious brack and Anne was a wonderful hostess until suddenly I realised the time and that I had to be in Bunclody by 5:10 and rushed off like a lunatic! At the other side of Waterford Town I came to realise that it was Thursday, not Friday, and so I didn't have to be in Bunclody :P

Thanks to Anne, Mary, Paddy, Scrubber, Bill and Michael (nice to meet you) for a super day :)


25 April 2012 12:03:04
Prosthechea cochleata

Prosthechea cochleata

Did I mention that I was given a tripod, with my camera, at Christmas. But I never used it until today. Yes, shame on me!

Woke up feeling iffy and noticed that we finally got the weather we were promised. The heavens have opened! So I starting messing around with my camera instead of gardening, trying to capture an orchid that is just opening. But it was tricky indoors, with bad light and a small flower. Then I remembered the tripod.

Five new orchid photos in my album!

A Good Tip

24 April 2012 23:12:59
A Good Tip

A Good Tip

Here's a tip that may save you a fortune if you garden anything like me.

Sick of spades or forks breaking on you? Have you tried buying cheap ones? Have you tried buying expensive ones?

It's always the same story - when you put your back into it they break at  their weakest point! Maybe not straight away, but within a few months. It's the point where the handle goes into the metal top. Weak point! Snap!

Well, here's what you do! Buy a spade and fork with a 10 year guarantee. I bought my one at Woodies about three months ago (can't remember the brand).  It went snap today when hubby was digging up the final two roses. €35 - snap!

So back I went to Woodies, with my receipt and broken fork, and got a replacement. Simples!

Orchids etc

24 April 2012 21:02:50
Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Plena'

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Plena'

It was a bit of an orchid day for me today.

Time for the monthly flush out with water.

Time to reposition for the season's increased light - phals move from south windows to north etc..

Time to puzzle over why certain orchids haven't flowered :P

Time for... Oops! I somehow though Brassia was a cold orchid and treated it as such. Big mistake. No wonder it hasn't flowered this year!

And I picked up some more compost for potting on. WCO, WIO, WWO

Mount Congreve

23 April 2012 20:43:48
Aeonium 'Velour'

Aeonium 'Velour'

I'm really looking forward to Thursday at Mount Congreve and a big thanks to Anne for organising it. Hoping I can get out of rushing back afterwards but I'm not sure yet. I can't wait to see if the peonies are in flower!

I have three house plants to give away to whoever is interested. Please let me know.

1) Streptocarpus, blue flowering, good health

2) Oncidium-type orchid. Originally a rescue one in bad shape. Still doesn't look good but is putting on new growth.

3) Clivia miniata. Good health.

And a general request from me : If any one has any pots they want to get rid of, at any time, I will gladly take them off you - big, small, medium sized! No need to wash them.

Greenhouse Day

23 April 2012 16:14:16
Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

I spend the day potting on a few things in the greenhouse. The process was seriously hampered though by the fact that I didn't have any suitable compost so had to sieve the ordinary stuff. My goodness it was tedious. I only got Pachyghragma, Antirhhinum and a few other bits potted on. I'll be taking a drive to buy compost tomorrow!

Hubby tackled the rose hedge which is for the chop - 'Charles de Mills', terrible thing, don't care what Gardeners' World say! Hubby got most of them up, including the cursed tap root. To be continued tomorrow as it was a big job!

Then I topped the dahlias, which are still in pots in the greenhouse. About half aren't ready for topping yet so they were set apart. Don't want to top the same ones twice!

Then I tried some Plectranthus argentatus and Streptocarpus saxorum softwood cuttings as the parent plants look a bit straggly. Now, if only I'd had my act together to do likewise with the Pelargonium and Chrysanthemum.

Coming into Flower

23 April 2012 15:49:59
Dichelostemma ida maia

Dichelostemma ida maia


This is one for a pot in a cold greenhouse.

Photos Up - Problems For Craig

22 April 2012 16:08:00
Paeonia delavayi

Paeonia delavayi

The photos I took at the Botanic Gardens are now up. It took forever as we can only upload five at a time.

Unfortunately I made some typo's - Carrleya for Cattleya and Saeeacenia for Sarracenia. But, as we all know, there is no way to change the text on album photos once uploaded. I could delete the photo, with offending text, and upload it anew with the correct text. But then the photo would be in the wrong place in the album and there is no way to re-arrange existing photos in an album.

It will have to stay as is because I'm not uploading that album again. We could really do with some changes regarding photo upload!

If you're going to the Botanic Gardens soon, check out the peonies. They are just opening!

New Favourite Pitcher

22 April 2012 12:21:42
Sarracenia oreophila

Sarracenia oreophila

I fell completely in love with this Sarracenia at the Botanic Gardens yesterday.

The combination of pitchers and flowers at the same time (usually Sarracenia put up flowers before pitchers) and the deep red veining was just spectacular. I have tended towards the red and green Sarracenia up until now.

I bought a load of Sarracenia last autumn and I note that two have a mixed oreophila parentage so they may have some of these characteristics when they get going. Mine are small divisions so it's too early to tell what they're going to do yet.

If you're going to the Botanic Gardens soon, don't miss the Sarracenia display. They are in their own section at the cold end of the Orchid House, just where you enter. They are all in flower now and looking spectacular. Photos going up soon.

New Favourite Tulip

22 April 2012 12:05:22
Tulipa 'Lambada'

Tulipa 'Lambada'

Check out this fabulous tulip I saw at the Botanic Gardens.

I'm going to have to get that!

Photos of the Botanic Gardens are going up now but probably won't be finished until much later today.

A Kind of Afflication

22 April 2012 00:39:14
A Kind of Afflication

A Kind of Afflication

I'm saying nothing about what Liga got but this is what I got.

1) Cypripidium in full flower with multiple growing stems. A total impulse buy but a no-brainer really. No red-blooded orchid-collector could resist. Can't wait to plant this in the garden

2) Pre-ordered Cattleya forbesii, flowering size

3) Brassoaeliocattleya 'TY Naughty', bought previously by mail order and collected from Liga toda, flowering size

Orchids are my Achillea's heel.

Orchids & More

21 April 2012 21:45:41
Wonderful Day

Wonderful Day

I had a brilliant day today up at the Botanic Gardens and the Orchid Fair with my good friend, Liga.

We had a nice leisurely walk, with no kids or husbands, spent ages looking at the peonies and even longer mulling over the orchids.

Of course it wasn't in that order. The orchids came first :)

I have no idea how many times we changed out minds on which orchids to buy, putting one down only to pick it up again a moment later. And it was great - no one telling us to hurry up and decide on this delicate and important task :)

The weather was super and we even had a sit down over cake and coffee (although we did note how we could buy have bought one of the baby orchids for the same price as our snack!)

I will put up some photos when I get a chance, but not tonight.

And this time I even didn't even get lost in Finglas on the way there or back!

Serious Gardener

20 April 2012 16:20:37
Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Plena'

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Plena'

I always knew that when I eventually had the patience and aptitude to grow small plants, I would be a serious gardener.

You know how for years you just concentrate on filling that mass of empty space and can't be farting around will tiny little things that are going to make no impact anyway!

Well, maybe I'm getting there!

Check out this miniature beauty. I love it to bits.


Call Me Baldrick!

20 April 2012 16:06:33
Front : Kilquade box in ceramic pots Back : medium-sized box in larger pots

Front : Kilquade box in ceramic pots Back : medium-sized box in larger pots

When I was at the National Garden Centre in Kilquade recently I was very tempted to invest in some large Buxus balls. They were good value at €19 each and I have had the idea of a 'cloud hedge' on the long finger for some time.

But it was lucky that I had thrifty Linda with me.

Of course one Buxus would never have been enough, even if it was all I could afford. Linda pointed out that box has grown very quickly for her from cuttings but I was unconvinced and hummed and hawed for a bit thinking of the age it would take to get box cuttings to a size that I could plant them out.

Then we saw healthy little plants for €2.50 each and I hatched a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick.

I already have 14 medium-sized Buxus plants in matching ceramic pots. I grew them from tiny plants and am now keeping them at their existing size so they will be proportionate to the pots. Why not use them?

So... I bought 14 small Buxus plants in Kilquade, for little more than it would have cost me to buy one big one.

And today I took all 14 of my existing medium-sized box balls out of their matching ceramic pots and potted them up with good feed in bigger pots. And I planted the new Kilquade box in the ceramic pots.

The medium-sized box really should take off this summer if I keep it well watered as they had been held back in small pots for a while. Next spring I will plant them in the ground in my 'Cloud Hedge' place and they should be big enough to not look stupid.

And I can live with small box in my ceramic pots for a year or two. I don't really have any set place for those 14 green, ceramic pots. They're just handy to have to fill in empty space.

Thanks, Linda :)

Hubby's Favourite Tulip

20 April 2012 14:45:48
Tulipa 'Ballade'

Tulipa 'Ballade'

Just in case you all thought I only had red and orange tulips, here is hubby's favourite one.

He found them in Lidl and asked me to buy them. He is in touch with his inner female side, as you can see.

Actually, I can't believe how nice these ones are and what a long season they have had.

They're not as shapely as Bruno's lily-flowered 'Aladdin', but they have their own charm.

For Keego

20 April 2012 14:42:14
Airfield Poppy

Airfield Poppy

Mary, this is the first of the Airfield poppies you gave me to colour up.

Something tells me this one will be yellow. At this stage the shape is very peony-like.

Can't wait for them all to open.

This poppy was grown by Mary from seed collected from the now-closed Airfield Garden.

Blast, I forgot to sow other poppies elsewhere in the garden. I'll have to get out there with my seeds once the rain stops.

Or Is It?

19 April 2012 17:41:10
Tulipa 'Blumex'

Tulipa 'Blumex'

But this one is pretty good too.

And I always did have a weakness for the parrot ones.

They don't look as neat when mass planted but they have such character with, quite literally, warts and all.

Favourite Tulip

19 April 2012 17:39:36
Tulipa 'Prinses Irene'

Tulipa 'Prinses Irene'


I think this is my favourite tulip.

It is 'Prinses Irene'.

I think she's a stunner.


18 April 2012 19:24:24



Nearly there...

Maybe I should have stuck with the original date for my Open Day!


18 April 2012 13:35:40
Arisaema griffithii - note the long thin tongue!

Arisaema griffithii - note the long thin tongue!

I went out to the garden this morning to finish off the plastic laying job. It's quite time-consuming when you reuse the pegs and membrane from a previous job as you have to cut out all the pegs and then try to relay the membrane so that the previous holes don't show. It was also a bit windy, which never helps :P

Anyway, I had just finished this job and was lifting the tulip pots back onto the now-covered 'Lasagne Bed' when I noticed that my mushroom ornament was not sitting flat. The mushroom ornament had been put in to distract from a bare spot where an Arisaema had died... or so I thought. So I lifted the plastic ornament and lo and behold - Arisaema griffithii in full flower!!!

Of course I did a bit of shrieking and dancing about :)

I bought this Arisaema as a bulb by mail order in 2010 but I only got leaves that year. The next spring I got nothing - no sign of it at all. Wise Deborah Begley from Terra Nova said that they can do that so not to despair. I left it undisturbed. But this spring, as there was still so sign of it, I crossed it off my plant database and started to think about what I would plant there instead.

I'm a very surprised and happy gardener today :)


17 April 2012 23:08:15
Lobelia bridgesii 15.4.12

Lobelia bridgesii 15.4.12

Did I mention I love Lobelia?

I love most all the plants in this genus except the tiny blue trailing things that get grown as bedding.

One that I hope to see flower this year is Lobelia bridgesii. I grew it from seed last year and, as it may not be fully hardy, I hedged my bets. I planted a few in the garden, left one in a pot in the greenhouse and brought one indoors. All survived.

The one that has done best is the one in the greenhouse (pictured) and it was already potted on in early spring. It's more than twice the size of the one that went indoors!

Lady Alice

17 April 2012 13:38:04
Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam'

Here she is at last - Lady Alice Fitzwilliam.

Plenty more blooms to follow and she does smell a treat.

I bought this tender rhodo in 2009 but she then had to face two of the coldest Irish winters in living memory. Although in the greenhouse, Lady Alice had to be brought indoors for the worst of it.

Her buds froze and dropped in winter 2009/10 and again in 2010/11 so I had never seen her flower. Until now, that is, and she's beautiful.


Camassia for Fran

15 April 2012 22:33:16
Camassia for Fran

Camassia for Fran

In my opinion, Camassia is a really useful plant for bridging the gap between tulips and alliums.

Personally, I'm not mad on blue yet I cannot see why anyone would object to this beautiful blue plant. They come in white too. The foliage is good - better than Allium foliage anyway!#

Camassia is just coming into flower in my garden. They open from bottom up, like Gladiolus!


15 April 2012 21:02:14
Nepenthes 'Miranda'

Nepenthes 'Miranda'

Although we haven't had frost (touch wood), some of my tenders in the greenhouse started to show signs of frosting.

I'm going mad at the minute carting loads of small plants indoors every night but hopefully it will pass soon :P

So Sweet

15 April 2012 20:57:14
Anemone neomorosa 'Vestal'

Anemone neomorosa 'Vestal'


I fell in love with this gorgeous little wood Anemone the first time I saw it and had to have it!

It's still settling into my garden but has done well in less than ideal circumstances.

What is it?

15 April 2012 18:21:22
What is it?

What is it?

This shrub-like plant has shot up in my border this year.

It looks for all the world like a dark Sambucus yet I know I didn't plant one there and, besides, they can't grow that fast!

First I thought it was Aralia apioides and was confused as Aralia apioides is supposedly herbaceous yet this is woody. Now Aralia apioides has appeared besides it (and is clearly herbaceous) so it's back to square one again! I've been through my list of everything planted in this border and am stumped! It does look like Sambucus!?!

Shifting Plastic

13 April 2012 22:57:00
Matthiola incana 'Alba'

Matthiola incana 'Alba'

Today was a day for shifting plastic.

I had to run some errands in town so hubby volunteered to remove the plastic membrane from the front Persicaria ditch. I knew this was going to be a big job but didn't want to discourage his enthusiasm ;-)

By the time I came back, the job was two thirds done. I was so impressed. Hubby then decided that he should weed the ditch. I didn't argue and confined myself to cutting the pegs out of the removed membrane for re-use.

Of course there were a few stones that had been missed when my son removed them from the front ditch yesterday - a mere three barrowsfull - so Zak shifted them. I then realised I had enough salvageable membrane to cover not only the lasagne bed but also an area that is part of the medium-term plan for the garden. I laid plastic and stones on the area that will hold my cloud-hedge (see previous journal).

And just as I was putting plastic over the lasagne bed, down came the rain. Good for the Persicaria, good for the garden and time to retire inside :)

Cloud Hedge

13 April 2012 22:00:19
Cloud Hedge

Cloud Hedge

This will be the site of my new 'cloud hedge' next year.

The plastic went on today and will kill the grass by next spring.

More to follow.

New Palm Tree

13 April 2012 12:04:25
Trachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei

I should go away more often!

Yesterday, while I was out enjoying myself, my son and Hubby planted Betula albosinensis (in the specified place) and removed all the rocks from the membrane on the Persicaria ditch at the front of the house (quite a job as they all had to be ferried to the back of the garden to the dump).

Today, hubby is planting this lovely hardy palm Clare gave me. It is just perfect in this position as the previous one in this spot was too small and was beaten back by winters 2009 and 2010. It is going in a pot for a while to see if it recovers and now we will have instant height to the side of the seating area.

Under Strict Instruction

12 April 2012 23:41:20
Under Strict Instruction

Under Strict Instruction

Actually, it just goes to show what an obliging chap our Fran is.

Clare said "get in that pot" and he did! ;-D

There's Always One!

12 April 2012 21:07:36
There's Always One!

There's Always One!


Of course, even on a perfect day, there's always one...

Perfect Day

12 April 2012 20:42:37
National Garden Centre, Kilquade

National Garden Centre, Kilquade

Today myself, Linda, Fran, Clare, Myrtle and Fran's Maria all went to visit the National Garden Centre in Kilquade. I was itching to see the new sections which were done last year.

It was a beautiful day, the gardens were fantastic and the company was even better. In fact, one might say it was all perfect. It's so much fun to share nice places with people who are equally interested.

Big apologies once again to Fran, Maria, Myrtle and Clare for arriving late. Totally my fault! But what a lovely surprise to see you all there and in such good form :)

Retail Therapy

11 April 2012 19:05:36
Acer and Amelanchier

Acer and Amelanchier

Today we visited Altamont Gardens near Tullow in County Carlow. It was a beautiful day and the gardens looked fabulous but, due to a problem with camera batteries, I have no photos to show for it.

Afterwards I decided that I deserved a little treat in the Garden Centre. Betula albosinensis has been on my Wish List for a long time and a few of us had priced it at Altamont back at snowdrop time. They had two - a big one for €34 and a smaller one for about €21. Well today, noting that they were both still there, I decided I deserved the big one. I also bought an orange-flowered rhodo - Rhododendron 'Tortoise Shell'.


11 April 2012 18:41:37
Meconopsis paniculata

Meconopsis paniculata


For those who admired this plant at Open Day...

Potting On

10 April 2012 19:29:05
Sprekelia formosissima

Sprekelia formosissima

With the afternoon's rain, I retired to the greenhouse to do a spot of potting on.

I'm quite pleased with what I got done. This year I'm trying my best to pot on the plants-in-waiting. Previously I've had a bad habit of just leaving them in the same small pot, thinking that I'd plant them out any day soon. Now I'm trying to discipline myself to just pot them on if they need it and I've had some great results. Plants are doubling in size, making them more likely to establish quickly when they do go out.

I also potted on a few seedlings - Calendula, Mirabilis and Ricinus.It was a pleasure using the new clean pots Noelle gave me. Thanks, Noelle :)

Check out this Jacob's Lily that completely surprised me last night. There are two bulbs in a pot and they didn't flower last year so I kind of ignored them. They were indoors over winter but got so little love I didn't expect anything from them. Last night I went to water it and lo and behold, a flower spike. It opened this morning!

Schematic Mulching

10 April 2012 19:07:42
Laeliocattleya 'Coastal Sunrise'

Laeliocattleya 'Coastal Sunrise'

This year I could only afford two bales of mulch so I had to prioritise.

I mulched the beds that hadn't been done last year, the newly planted bed and two others, for various reasons. I also mulched the beech hedge along the drive. The hedge was only half mulched at Open Day but I got out this morning, after yesterday's rain and before this afternoon's rain, and finished the job.

I had an amount of cocoa mulch over but want to keep enough for the Hardy Orchid bed (not directly around the orchids, mind) and another kidney-shaped bed, once they are planted up. But I still had some over.

So that's when the schematic mulching came into play.

I mulched around plants that need either extra feed or moisture retention - roses, lilies and other bits and bobs. Compromises, compromises...

Rain At Last

09 April 2012 13:47:31
front right of the garden

front right of the garden

Thank goodness for the rain. I was beginning to worry a bit about how dry it has been. Everything seems to be getting a good soaking now.

By the way, for those at the Open Day who were asking about Philip's Garden and Terry's Garden, here are some links.

Philip (not yet on garden.ie) doesn't open his garden in Bunclody but I visited last year and took these photos...

Philip's Garden, Bunclody

Terry (Sumjac50 on this site) is in Hacketstown and opens as part of the Wicklow Garden Trail. She is having a Tulip Day this year too...

Terry Smith's Garden (Sumjak50)


Plants People Disliked

08 April 2012 23:51:54
Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata' & Plantago major 'Rubrifolia'

Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata' & Plantago major 'Rubrifolia'

There were two plants in my garden that people told me they disliked on Open Day. There may have been many others I never got to hear about but I got to hear about these two.

They are variegated horseradish, Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata', and a red leaved plantain, Plantago major 'Rubrifolia'.

While I am pleased to hear people's opinion, I cannot agree that either of these two great plants are a weed! Neither are at their peak yet (it is only April) but I think they look nice even now. 

Wouldn't it be a boring old life if we all liked the same things?


08 April 2012 20:59:15



A very Happy Easter to you all.

We had a serious Easter Egg hunt this morning - no faffing about with miniature chocolate chicks this morning, Scrubber. Oh no!

Jacinta's Bench

08 April 2012 20:06:39
Jacinta's Bench

Jacinta's Bench

Jacinta gave me this great stone bench some time ago.

It has been beside the house all winter so it was time to move it to its permanent position.

I think it looks great here in the hellebore bed and gives a great view.

Thanks a million, Jacinta.

What is it?

08 April 2012 19:39:23
What is it?

What is it?


Hey, who knows what this little gem is?


08 April 2012 18:28:54
We Have a Frog

We Have a Frog


Early though it may be, we have a frog already :D

Thank You

08 April 2012 00:05:08
Krista & Fran

Krista & Fran

A really big thank you from me to everyone who braved the elements today to come visit.

I had a great time and, from now on, I think I'm going to wish for a maximum of 15 people for an Open Day because we had the perfect number today.

The wind and rain stayed off and everyone was in great form and I got to speak to everyone, at least a little bit.

Thank you all for the lovely plants and cakes and pressies. Fran's daughter, Aoife, and Milliemouse made muffins and scones to die for. And there was a roulade that Scrubber had been up since 4am baking. Thoughtful Joan brought Turkish Delight, in keeping with the theme, and my boys were going around with Easter Eggs from sources unknown. I think Scrubber found all the hidden chocolate chicks in the garden and Sammy was very proud of him.

I've had a quick look at the journals and photo (Lol, Scrubber's "even earthworms must die" and must have Joan's photo number 10) but will reply properly tomorrow. You are  great bunch of people and I am happy to know you.

Last Minute Jobs

06 April 2012 14:13:46


I noticed a lot of dandelions on the lawn and since people are coming tomorrow I decided on a quick fix. I'd ask the lads to skip around and pick anything yellow off the lawn. That was all well and good except the boys didn't think of it as such a fun job as I did. So I decided to sweeten it for them and said I'd pay 10c per dandelion.

Dear god, what was I thinking? Josh made €12 and Sam made €14.90 and I'm broke! :D

Open Day

05 April 2012 18:54:09
Annuals Border

Annuals Border

This will be the last reminder of my Open Day on Saturday 7th April at 12 noon.

There will be nine garden.ie attendees and one fellow student from the Jimi Blake course I did last year. Unfortunately Jurga and Violeta had to bow out so the garden.ie number is now nine...


I hope it will be a sunny, still day and that you all find your way here easily. I sent out my phone number with directions so, if you get lost, give me a shout. There will be sandwiches and tea and the best of gardening conversation. Looking forward to seeing you all.

All Done

05 April 2012 18:30:27
Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'

Pyrus communis 'Doyenne du Comice'

I spent the day weeding the bank to the side of my garden, the one planted with Persicaria. This is a job where mountain climbing would come in handy as there is a very sheer drop of about 20ft at one point and it is very hard to hold on, there being no plants to sit on there!

I even did the job I resent - climbing to the very top of the cliff, with a shears, to cut the grass that is growing in my neighbours garden behind their hedge and is so tall that I can see it from my garden. I wonder how my neighbours return the cursing favour on me!

Anyway, that's the last big job done. Tomorrow I will be edging the lawn. But as I have allowed only one day for it I won't get it all done. Never mind, I'll do the most obvious placed and those of you who were here last Open Day can cast your mind back to what it's supposed to look like. Lol.  And there will be a bit of fiddling with ornaments tomorrow too. But that's just fun!

Narrow Escape

05 April 2012 10:57:41
Tulipa 'Ballade'

Tulipa 'Ballade'

I did a survey of the garden this morning and I think I got off lightly. Besides the Cistus that was uprooted, the main other thing is that all the blossom has been blown of my cherry tree. One tulip snapped and the tall Darwin Hybrids and Cynara are a bit horizontal. But they should straighten out if the wind stops now.

My main area of concern is the greenhouse, where it has been very cold the last two nights (2 degrees). All my Ricinus and Mirabilis bedding is out there (just a couple of inches high). If the wind ever let up I would transport it back to the house for the short term. But, with the wind, they would all just be snapped in two. If I loose this bedding, I will have an empty Annuals Border this year. Fingers crossed!

Wexford Garden Trail

04 April 2012 14:48:15
Marlfield Garden

Marlfield Garden

I was at the launch of the newly created Wexford Garden Trail at Marlfield House & Garden today.

Although such events are not my bag, it is great that such a trail now exists. The Garden Trail includes well-known favourites such as the Bay Garden and Coolaught and has a total of 21 gardens, making it the biggest Garden Trail in Ireland.

The famous Wexford gardener, Gerry Daly, was there to lead the launch.

Although asked, I won't be joining the Garden Trail just yet.

Wexford Garden Trail

Arrived home to a medium sized Cistus tumble-weeding across the garden. Groan!

The Elements

03 April 2012 23:57:08
The Elements

The Elements

I chose the worst possible job for today.

I chose to shovel, barrow and lay cocoa mulch in the wind.

Dry cocoa mulch has the consistency of dry cornflakes and is easily puffed away, bestowing its goodness on my undeserving neighbours.

I got three quarters of the job done before being forced to give up and retreat, making sure to get the sprinkler on it. Once wetted the cocoa sticks together and forms a layer, trapping in moisture.

I bet I'll have quite a few tulips snapped by tomorrow. But to cap it all, we had hailstones earlier and snow tonight.


03 April 2012 15:41:51
beech hedge

beech hedge

The beech hedge along the drive has never done well. I planted a copper beech semi-circular hedge elsewhere in the garden at a later date and that one is doing better than the one on the drive which was planted before it.

There could be two reasons for the hedge not doing well. The first is beyond my control and would be down to the large volume of stone and rubble near the drive.

The second reason for the hedge not to do well would be due to lack of nutrition. I had Mypex around the hedge and, although I stuffed handfuls of compost and pellets through the Mypex each spring, it may not have been enough. Besides, Mypex is not the best solution anywhere longer term.

So, today the Mypex around my beech hedge all came up, it got a damn good watering and cocoa mulch has gone down on top. Fingers crossed that this will make the difference.

Primula 'June Blake'

03 April 2012 15:30:16
Primula 'June Blake'

Primula 'June Blake'

For anyone interested (particularly Mary), here is the Primula I mentioned earlier in the year. It is a glorious sunny yellow.

As you can see, it's spreading well for me in my dry, stony soil and looks great.

I had a look at Pat Kennedy's catalogue but, strangely, it doesn't seem to be listed for sale there.  June Blake would have it for sale herself for sure.

Visit From Bruno

02 April 2012 20:12:22
Erythronium 'Kinfauns Pink'

Erythronium 'Kinfauns Pink'

Today I got a visit from garden.ie's exotics expert, Bruno.

Despite it being quite cold and overcast, there was no rain and we had a leisurely stroll around the garden and further chat over tea.

Bruno has such an eagle eye. He can spot anything that is even mildly unusual or exotic from metres away. There is such an enormous difference going around the garden with someone who is interested in plants! Bruno was even polite enough to take an interest in my tulips :)

Thanks a million for coming, Bruno. I had a lovely day.

PS Sorry, Elizabeth, I forgot to give Bruno the Abutilon for you :P    FWO, FIO, FCO

More Planting

01 April 2012 23:15:27
Podophyllum & Trillium cuneatum

Podophyllum & Trillium cuneatum

I'm bunched this evening. I have pains in places I don't like to think about! And what do I have to show for it?

Well, I finished planting that bed I was talking about yesterday. It was very stony so wheelbarrows-full came out. I did get help from my eldest son (18 yrs) to dig some holes, notably for the fig tree that had to be planting in a pot and Tetrapanax. But it was still hard. I was planting as it got dark.

Feckin' Aralia echinolcaulis lampooned me with a thousand needles! But I would put up with a lot for that fabulous Chinese signature tree of Jimi Blake's!

The two misplaced bay trees were finally dug up and potted and Chionochloa rubra replaced them on the four corners of the bed. Very Carol Klein, don't you know! Except my Chionochloa were grown from seed last year so they were only the full of 1lt pots. But, not to worry, they will grow.

And gargoyles, Easter Island heads and large Buxus were all moved and positioned. Gardening season must be approaching.


01 April 2012 12:09:06


I did a lot of planting yesterday, working with the final empty bed in the ex-Rose Garden.

It took me until 4 ish to lay out all the plants in the positions I want to plant them. Hubby couldn't believe that nothing had gone into the ground by 4pm. But once that step is done, planting is easy. I didn't finish, mind, so am just psyching myself up to go out now.


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