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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal May 2012

Last Post 2095 days ago

Bed Planted

30 May 2012 23:40:17
Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' ?

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' ?

I was delighted that Linda called round this morning as she is always great company in the garden. It's been a mad few days so I was glad to just take it easy this morning in good company.

It's funny how someone else's visit can bring perspective. There's a section in the Long Border that I'm not happy about - an area of largely samey foliage. Before Linda's visit I was looking at it and wondering what I might do. Linda never complained about this area but the minute she was gone I made up my mind that the large sections are coming out!

This evening I planted up the kidney-shaped bed that my son turned last autumn, the one where the grass was growing back at my open day :P All sorted now.

See you in Bloom tomorrow if you're going!

When is the best time to...

28 May 2012 20:48:19
When is the best time to...

When is the best time to...

I always find that the best time to do anything in the garden is when you think of it.

As my eldest son is off for the summer and the weather is dry, it was time to get him out and painting.

The wood on these pergolas has not been done in a few years so, even though the poor clematis was just about to flower, down it had to come!

For Mary

28 May 2012 20:31:36


You asked about this plant yesterday, Mary, and as I walked past it in the garden, I realised that it is looking its absolute best.

This plant (presumably Helianthemum) came from our previous house as a few stems in the side of the Abelia planter. It got the better of the Abelia (see the few yellow leaves sticking out) a long time ago.

That makes it about 11 years old, older than our youngest child :)

I guess I always liked orange.


28 May 2012 00:32:21
Rosa 'Double Delight'

Rosa 'Double Delight'

The weather is smashing, absolutely wonderful! I can ask for nothing more!

The result has been that today and yesterday were spent, with the whole family, in the garden and I didn't do a tap.

Yesterday I went out with Sammy at 8am and we ate all our meals out there. 

Okay, it was a bit hard to sit and look at the lawn, unedged. And then to notice a plant that needed moving and not do it. But I sat on my hands until late today when I finally did a little spot of weeding.

The Matthiola scent is amazing. It is the plant of the moment, sending sweet wafts across the garden. I remember seeing it for sale in Terra Nova last year and Bruno advised me to buy it. Cheers, Bruno :)

May 2012 Photos

Who Gave Me This?

28 May 2012 00:19:41
Who Gave Me This?

Who Gave Me This?

I thought I was quite good at keeping records but a tour of the garden today revealed this iris!

It is beautiful but I know I didn't buy it.

Did someone give it to me and I never took note!?!

Please let me know if you did. It was planted last year or the year before but has never flowered until now.

Will I, Won't I?

25 May 2012 23:19:17
Cerinthe major var. purpurescens

Cerinthe major var. purpurescens

I've been humming and hawing about potting my Ricinus on into their 3rd pot-size for ages.

There has been no growth for ages but I noticed in the last few days, things have started to FINALLY shoot up, including the Ricinus.

Considering the Ricinus should be planted in the ground in about a week, was there any point to potting on now? Also on the down-side was the fact that there would physically be no space for them in the greenhouse if they went into bigger pots.

But the upside for potting-on won out in the end. My Ricinus are smaller than they were this time last year. If I pot them on now and maybe plant them out a week later than last year, might they not grow better? Mine never grow a whole lot bigger once they go into the ground so the growing has to be done first.

So, yes, I bit the bullet this evening and missed Chelsea to pot them all on!

Sinocalycalycanthus again

25 May 2012 23:07:15
Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'

Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'


The flowers are more beautiful as they open...


WCO, WIO, WWO (26.5.12)

Great Day

25 May 2012 22:58:59
Great Day

Great Day

It has been very frustrating lately as the lawnmower was acting up so the grass wasn't cut. Because I have so much grass, if it's not cut and edged, the whole place looks sloppy. I began to get despondent.

So what a relief to actually see a reasonably nice garden emerge today after hubby cut the grass. I got the edger out myself and started doing the rounds, weeding as needed.

There are plenty of new photos in the May album. What a difference the sun makes!

May 2012 Photos

Lecture Tomorrow

23 May 2012 23:06:47
Laburnum & Potentilla

Laburnum & Potentilla

So, who's going to Jimi Blake's lecture tomorrow night at 7pm?

It's a lecture, prompted by Jimi's recent lecturing tour in US, entitled ''Gardens And Plants Of Pacific North West America''

The soirée includes dinner and costs a mere €12. Message Jimi via hiswebsite or facebook if you are likely to attend.

I am going early to visit June and Jimi's two gardens first. It's worth missing Chelsea coverage for this!

PS. The photo is from my garden.

Pear Shaped

23 May 2012 19:31:10
Orchid Bed

Orchid Bed

This is a photo of my Orchid Bed today, just after I'd laid polystyrene chunks at the base of the Cypripedium section and just five minutes before it all went pear shaped!!!

The little pots on the left are the seedlings I potted on last night and had no space in the greenhouse for them. I put them on that vacant 'access strip' in the Orchid Bed.

Of course, as there were pots there on the 'access strip', the temptation was to walk right beside the slate.

CRACK! The slate (unsupported by earth on the Orchid Bed side) collapsed inwards and cracked! There was some choice language I can tell you!

And there were other problems, which are detailed and would not be worth the telling. Suffice it to say, all mended now. I'm not finished yet but getting there!

I'm off to watch Chelsea. I feel I earned it!


22 May 2012 19:31:08
Sinocalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'

Sinocalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'

I drove up to Aughrim this morning to get perlite and grit for my Orchid Bed. They were sold out of perlite :(

I did buy myself two little pressies when I was there - Hosta 'Big Daddy' (on my list for a while) and an interesting, oddly-marked Persicaria.

Then it was home again in time for Chelsea. I did some potting up in the afternoon but had to leave one batch of newly potted seedlings outdoors as there was no room at the Inn (or th greenhouse in this case).

I'm looking forward to this evening's Chelsea. I'm so glad Chris Beardshaw got gold for that beautiful garden and, although it's not my cup of tea at all, you have to admire Sarah Price's plant combination skills. Her planting is so delicate and finely tuned, I found myself revelling in it, despite myself :)


21 May 2012 23:23:30
Arisaema intermedium

Arisaema intermedium

This is a small Arisaema. It keeps company with the mouse plant Jacinta gave me and some Dactylorhiza that, like itself, came from Terra Nova.

I planted the Arisaema in front of a black permanent planter so that it would be shown off to best effect. It's very easy to loose sight of something small like that.

I think its lovely, more subtle than many of the others.

Hardy Orchid Bed

21 May 2012 17:34:07
Hardy Orchid Bed

Hardy Orchid Bed

This task has been going on for far too long and I'm sick of being crippled with indecision. So, this morning, I set about work, in earnest, on the Hardy Orchid Bed.

I removed more earth and sunk slate around the edges of the bed as a barrier against tree roots. Then I sunk more slate, as divisions between the different types of orchids that will require different composts.

Finally I mixed compost for the Bletilla and Calanthe sections and planted them up. Hopefully I can get some perlite tomorrow and deal with the other two sections.

Hey, what a surprise! Who would have thought that all those miniature azaleas that I moved this spring would actually flower this year regardless!

More photos in my May album...

May 2012 Photos 

Discount January Bulbs

21 May 2012 16:33:02
Tulipa 'Banja Luka'

Tulipa 'Banja Luka'


Now who says it isn't worth while buying and planting discount bulbs in  January?

Chelsea on TV

20 May 2012 14:24:15
Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata

Don't forget.

The BBC Chelsea coverage starts this afternoon at 5pm.

I, for one, won't be missing any of it.


19 May 2012 18:34:08
Encyclia cochleata

Encyclia cochleata

I was looking at my Hippeastrum (commonly known as Amaryllis) today and I've come to the decision that I want rid of them.

I have two large pots, with three bulbs each, and one small pot. The colours are mostly red but there is a nicely striped pink one.

I don't have the space to be carrying this stuff. So, if you want them, speak up!

A rainy day here in Wexford and I did little except feed my orchids. Oh, and repot the Brassia!


Summer Still Absent!

18 May 2012 19:04:15
Stipa elegantissima

Stipa elegantissima

It wasn't very pleasant outdoors today but at least the rain stayed off.

I did a few other bits and pieces, like dead-heading the last of the tulips in the Annuals Bed. I nearly forgot to mark the divisions between the two types of tulips before removing the faded blooms. That would have been a disaster when it came to lifting!


Rhodo Grove

18 May 2012 18:45:08
Narcissus 'Thalia'

Narcissus 'Thalia'

Perhaps it's due to the inspiration I got from the Bay Garden yesterday but I set about work with great gusto today.

I have a long-term plan for a rhodo grove in the garden. Maybe 'grove' is too fancy a word for it but I want a reasonably sized area of trees, with rhods as the understory, and shade-loving plants.

The area that is earmarked for this is where I have my fruit trees. And today I under-planted the trees with three rhodos (R. barbatum, R. 'Percy Wiseman' and R. 'Tortoise Shell'), one Kalmia 'Pinwheel' and one Hydrangea 'Vanille Fraise'.

The grass is still in place in this so-called 'rhodo grove' so it's not yet one large bed. It's only trees and bushed planted in circular areas of cleared grass. Clearing the grass will be the next job but I'm not in a desperate hurry as I've no perennials to plant there yet anyway.

May 2012 Photos 

Linda's Garden

17 May 2012 19:34:32
Linda's Garden

Linda's Garden

And after the Bay Garden it was a quick jaunt back to Linda's where hot tea and delicious home bakes were waiting for us.

Of course, being the group we were, we had to have a mosey around the garden before anything.

It was looking great, with loads of colour and new beds since I was there last. The hill at the back looked particularly lovely, being a mass of tiny blue forge-me-nots and pink saxifrages. I will put up some photos soon.

Thanks for a lovely time, Linda. And I am so envious of your lovely sun-room and your obvious knack with all those succulents and other light-loving plants.

The Bay Garden

17 May 2012 19:23:03
The Bay Garden

The Bay Garden

Today I met up with Fran, Clare, Linda, HeadGardener, JoanG and Rubberboots at the Bay Garden in Camolin.

The rain stayed off and we had a great wander, being a perfectly sized group for such an event.

Ian McDonald said the garden was about 3 weeks behind where it normally is at this time of year, due to frost and cold weather but it still looked great to me.

At the end of the tour I dallied to ask Ian some questions, among which about the vigour of the variegated Iris pseudocorus that was looking so good in the garden. But I nearly missed the boat because when I arrived back at the plant sales every one else had snaffled them up :O Lucky Ian had two in the back :)

Well organised, Fran, it was a great day!

The Thrifty Gardener

16 May 2012 18:03:44
Rhododendron 'Virginia Richards'

Rhododendron 'Virginia Richards'

I planted a row of bushes today and the good thing was that only one of them cost me any money, the Calycanthus floridus I bought in Johnstown last January.

There were three Sambucus nigra, made from hardwood cuttings last February. Two Abutilon vitifolium from seedlings and one Kerria japonica, which Dick gave me in Johnstown and I believe was originally a division.

All were a good size with strong roots so should take off now.

I also removed the grass from the areas in the fruit grove where I am planting three rhodos. and a Kalmia. But they'll be planted another day.

Here's a link to my May photos as it's hard to find the album now that I have so many :P 

May 2012 Photos 

Recommendation Please

15 May 2012 15:10:05
shady house plants

shady house plants

Can someone give me a recommendation for a small neat Hosta please?

I want it for the front of my Orchid Bed but want something that won't obscure the orchids.


Failure to Launch

14 May 2012 09:52:25
Krista's Meconopsis (back of the Orchid Bed)

Krista's Meconopsis (back of the Orchid Bed)

Does anyone else feel that they've been gardening for months and months and yet the garden hasn't even gotten going yet?

Everything seems so slow to grow and fill out. For months it seems that the best we can aspire to is 'neat' in the garden, maybe with a few colourful tulips!

It is a sad state of affairs to feel worn out before summer is even properly here. Maybe it has to do with the mild winter that kept me, uncharacteristically, gardening when I would normally have been skulking! And then the cold spring weather when we should have been out enjoying our gardens!

I have a few jobs that need doing for ages and I just can't motivate myself to do them - finish Orchid Bed , plant Abutilon hedge, sort out new Sarracenia bed.

Okay, moan over. I'd better get out and do something before the weather comes (again) this afternoon :P

Pink Spots

13 May 2012 12:33:05
Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Did I mention it has pink spots?

Apparently only about 10% of the hybrid 'Ulla Silkens' present with such a pronounced and unmuddy white. So I am lucky.

Actually, thinking of giving up gardening now.

What's left to achieve now that I've flowered a Cypripedium? ;D

I really did try...

11 May 2012 18:07:10
I really did try...

I really did try...

I have a new policy now. When get a new orchid I must get rid of an old one. As there is one in the post to me, I decided to jettison a 'rescue orchid' that was taking too long to be rescued. I put it outside the back door to die!

The problem was that I told my son, Sammy!

Next thing I knew he was watching 'Wallace & Gromit's Wererabbit' while cuddling this knackered-looking orchid. I couldn't believe it!

But I don't think it can last too long because no orchid I know responds well to being parked away from light, covered in a blanket and fed orange juice :O

Shocking Pink

11 May 2012 17:47:38
Rhododendron 'Cunningham's White'

Rhododendron 'Cunningham's White'

I have noticed with dismay that two of the rhodo's I recently bought are opening a very shocking kind of pink.

I already have one shocking pink one and that is enough. Yikes!

I much prefer the subtlety of this rhodo, thought to be 'Cunningham's White'. The flowers could be bigger but it's still nice.


11 May 2012 17:41:47
Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii

Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii

I spent the morning planting around the new Orchid Bed.

What a novelty to plant in semi shade! Then the hail drove me indoors :(

Camassia is looking good now. But that's in full sun.

Because I Love Linda Too

10 May 2012 17:07:47
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Nora Barlow'

Aquilegia vulgaris 'Nora Barlow'

There you go, Linda.

I got my seed from Alison originally too :)

Houdini Plant Defies Slugs

10 May 2012 15:22:22
Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise

Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise

I thought I'd give you all a laugh on this wet miserable day.

This orchid was attacked by a slug some time ago, before it flowered. It bit half way through the flower spike before I spotted it.

What usually happens in that situation is that the flower spike keels over and breaks. But this orchid is made of stronger stuff, it seems :D

FCO, FIO, FWO, cyms to greenhouse


09 May 2012 18:48:14


09 May 2012 12:33:45
Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

I have been watching this hardy orchid like a hawk for the last while, checking its progress first thing every morning.

I was so delighted to see it open today.

This is the first Cypripedium I have flowered myself.


09 May 2012 00:03:52


I did a little bit of planting today - most of the Caherhurley plants and 10 Verbena bonariensis from last year's seedlings.

The Caherhurley plants went to the back of the Long Border (pictured).

The Verbena went to what I call the Prairie Border. But it had pretensions beyond what it has achieved. I continue to aspire to Piet Oudolf's designs but I continue to fall far short!

What the Heck!

08 May 2012 16:04:36
What the Heck!

What the Heck!


What on earth is this plant - the one with tall spires, growing through the Aquilegia???

I have put the photo in my May album for a better look!

For Sally

08 May 2012 10:32:58
Prunus serrulata 'Shogetsu'

Prunus serrulata 'Shogetsu'

I also love this cherry blossom tree, Sally.

Here's a photo I took yesterday and added to my May album but now, prompted by your recent journal, I'm posting it here.

I love the bark. I love the blossom. I love the autumn leaf colour. I love the habit.

I love it so much that I bought it three times! That was probably a bit excessive but when you're on to a winner...


07 May 2012 15:24:37
Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata'

Armoracia rusticana 'Variegata'

Here's the horseradish I featured a while ago.

I think it's looking great, especially against the dark foliage of Angelica (the one Jacinta put a photo up of a while back).

Bad News

07 May 2012 11:57:40
Anthemis punctata subsp. cupaniana

Anthemis punctata subsp. cupaniana

The frost from the night before last got me too.

It was less evident yesterday but today I can clearly see hostas, dahlias (that I put outside the greenhouse to make space for seedlings), Aralia, Sambucus (small golden one) and various other herbaceous are all burnt.

This Anthemis has escaped though.

Here's more rain!

Good News

07 May 2012 11:51:12
Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

The good news this morning is that, although the Cypripedium pictured isn't yet open, it is getting there.

And... a Cypripedium reginae I planted in the garden last autumn is alive and poked up this morning. Hurray.

I had kept the C. reginae in a pot last year and it never flowered so in the end I planted it out (in a less ideal situation than I am now making for the new plants, like the one pictured, in a Hardy Orchid Bed). Fingers crossed.

Little Bit

06 May 2012 20:29:34
Mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream'

Mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream'

Very cold last night. The greenhouse thermometer reported a shocking 0.8

Not a lot done here. Yesterday I repotted my Nepenthes into aquatic baskets and did a little bit of pricking out and potting on in the greenhouse each day. Somehow I'm finding extra corners to squeeze a few more seedlings in!

Then today I fed my tulips and watered the Buxus in pots.

My fingers were going numb out in the greenhouse Cold, cold, cold :(

Primula Id. Please?

06 May 2012 18:31:49
Primula Id Please

Primula Id Please

I grew this Primula from seed and this is the first time it has flowered.

In fact, I have about 20 of them in the same place and they have all flowered white. 

It seems to be a candelabra type.

Any help with species name please?


Something Beginning with Z

05 May 2012 12:08:10


This indoor orchid opened this morning.

It is a very reliable and easy flowerer, flowering almost twice a year.

In fact, for anyone looking to try a different type of orchid (after tiring of phals and Oncidium types), I'd recommend Zygopetalum as a good starter.

Zygos come in a range of sultry, dusky colours and, in my experience, are tolerant of a range of light and heat environments.

Besides, my teenage son informs me that it is a cool name :)

See how the colours change in different light!


04 May 2012 17:06:24
Arisaema nepenthoides

Arisaema nepenthoides

I bagged this one from Terra Nova last May at the Birr Plant sale.

Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait until it clumps up!

It is called A. nepentoides because it reminded someone of tropical pitcher plants.

I'm not so sure of the likeness!

Oh No!

04 May 2012 17:02:40
Meconopsis paniculata

Meconopsis paniculata




For Fran

04 May 2012 16:20:20
Kirengeshoma palmata

Kirengeshoma palmata


There you go, Fran!

Kirengeshoma palmata (or what's up of it so far)!

Hardy Orchid

03 May 2012 21:34:14
Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Cypripedium 'Ulla Silkens'

Here comes one of my hardy orchids. It's a Cypripedium and will have a pink, pouched flower.

Bought with four growing points. Three shoots grew. One shoot is showing bloom.

Difficult plants really!

As I couldn't garden today, hubby went to work on the far end of the new shady bed, a third of which will contain Hardy Orchids, clearing the grass to make space for the Mahonia.

This is now my priority (between bouts of potting on at least).

Still Coming

03 May 2012 21:26:20
Dichelostemma ida maia

Dichelostemma ida maia

I put up a photo of this plant earlier.

It is one for a pot in a cold greenhouse..

It seems to be taking an age to open or maybe it's just the watched kettle syndrome!

Pitcher Plant in Flower

03 May 2012 12:20:44
Sarracenia leucophylla

Sarracenia leucophylla


I like this. It's the flower of an American Pitcher Plant.

I've just put up a few other photos of these flowers in my May album.

My May 2012 album is 9th from the end!

A Little Angel

02 May 2012 17:53:46
Ornithogalum umbellatum

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Sometimes it all seems a bit much.

And then you catch sight of something like this little beauty.

Fran put me up to getting this one :)


02 May 2012 17:49:01



Oops, I must have sown more seeds than last year :P




Only One Thing For It...

01 May 2012 15:41:16
Only One Thing For It...

Only One Thing For It...

Yes, on such a miserable day, there was only one thing for it.

It was time to retire to the greenhouse for potting on.

Of course the table in there, for potting on purposes, is covered in plants so I had to squat by the door to do my pricking out.

It was very cramped and damp but Rhododendron 'Lady Alice Fitzwilliam' lent her scent to proceedings, which cheered me up no end. 

A few seedlings later and there is now not enough space to be cruel to felines in there!

Actually, I can't even get to the back to water any more so the weather had better let up soon!

Rain & Wind

01 May 2012 15:31:06
Tulipa 'Ballade'

Tulipa 'Ballade'

It's not a good sight out there at the moment.

The grass is tall and wet.

There are loads of breakages.

Piles of stuff is waiting for shredding or burning.

The cherry blossoms are all in flower but being blown to high heaven.

I can't believe how these tulips are hanging on for dear life!


01 May 2012 15:15:41


Caught this exchange in the pouring rain and howling wind of the garden this morning :D


Mushroom to Arisaema : Can I share your umbrella please?


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