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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal June 2012

Last Post 2061 days 11 hours ago

Hardy Gingers

30 June 2012 23:34:56
Hardy Gingers

Hardy Gingers

You may have noticed the beautiful hardy ginger in the Coolaught photos I recently uploaded. That one is called 'Wisley Amethyst' and is just amazing.

But the one I had on my wish list for absolutely ages was 'Red Gurkha'.

And, can you believe it, Elizabeth saw it in my Wish List Album last autumn and when she was going to buy plants at a talk in Cork, with a UK seller, she saw that they had 'Red Gurkha' for sale in their catalogue and offered to buy it for me. Such incredible thoughtfulness and kindness!

I gladly took Elizabeth up on her offer and she bought the plant and sent the it back to me via Jimi Blake who was also at said event.

Well, I received a pot of compost that autumn and it really took a leap of imagination to believe that this plant was in there.

And look! Whaddya know! Here it comes.

Thanks a million times, Elizabeth, and sorry for all the trouble I caused you. I feel quite guilty now :)


30 June 2012 21:45:28
Brugmansia & Helianthemum

Brugmansia & Helianthemum

Tomorrow I'll have to get cracking on the garden - edging, moweing etc.

But for the moment, I'm pleased with this :)

For my final June photos...

Douentza, June 2012


29 June 2012 13:59:14
Philip's Meadow

Philip's Meadow

I have just uploaded photos of Coolaught and Philip's garden to this site.

For those doing  Jimi Blake's course this year, my photos of Philip's garden will be a bit of a spoiler. I believe you are going there soon to see his Meadow (and it is well worth seeing!). It has an ephemeral quality that defies words.

Coolaught Gardens

Philip's Garden

Gardening Stands Still for No Site

29 June 2012 00:02:40
Rsocoea 'Wisley Amythist'

Rsocoea 'Wisley Amythist'

I hear we're back in business! It is hard to know where to begin as gardening stands still for no man (or site).

So I will skip straight to today where, after a few hours gardening and a minor felco incident, I headed off to meet ex-students from last year's Plants Person's Course at a get-together. We had agreed to meet at Coolaught Gardens in Wexford.

If you haven't visited Coolaught, then you should. The nursery is excellent and the gardens are full of inspiration (photos will follow).

There was a bit of an incident over Deutzia 'Strawberry Fields'!!! I mistakenly picked one out of a friend's trolley and, realising my mistake, put it back. Unfortunately, I then managed to pick it out of another friend's stash and buy it! He was not a happy bunny (despite my generous offer of a cutting) until the nursery managed to find him a last plant somewhere. I also came away with Hydrangea 'Love You Kiss'.

Then it was back to Bunclody for a garden visit. Our host was another fellow Jimi Blake student and I have mentioned his garden before. It was my second visit to Philip's garden and I was not disappointed. Everything, including the meadow and woodland, looked fabulous in summer. And a new tweak, based on the Arts & Crafts Movement, really helped meld the whole garden together. There was food and drink and plants too.


26 June 2012 22:27:26

Favourite Rose

26 June 2012 10:20:16
Rosa Céleste

Rosa Céleste

I woke up this morning and, what a surprise - rain!

I am trying to muster courage to go out to garden but, while I'm mustering, I thought I'd show you my favourite rose.

I bought this Alba rose from Altamont gardens many moons ago, maybe eight years ago. It is now taller than me but this wasn't immediately obvious as it was cascading over the lawn until we put in a stout stake and hoisted it back with rope yesterday. What a surprise to see how tall it had got!

Rosa 'Céleste' was supposedly Corona North's favourite (Corona was the force behind Altamont for years) and I have never seen another until I visited Heywood Gardens last Sunday and saw it there. They stopped selling it in Altamont some time ago (I know because I was looking for a second one).

Anyway, this rose is single flowering but what a glorious event when it is in flower! It smells of Turkish Delight. The foliage is also nicely glaucous and it is very disease resistant. Anyone who has visited me recently will realise that I have moved away from growing roses in the last few years because I can't be bothered dealing with the blackspot and aphids. And, also in Rosa 'Céleste's favour, it should not be pruned (which is kind of handy really because who can remember to do it mid summer after flowering!).

I nearly forgot

25 June 2012 21:49:58
The Lutyen's Garden

The Lutyen's Garden

I nearly forgot to put up a journal to mentione dhte other wonderful garden I saw on route to Hazel's yesterday.

I visited Heywood Gardens near Abbeyleix in Laois.

It's a beautiful garden, the main surviving section being a Lutyen's Garden. It has been planted up with plants that Gertrude Jekyll would have originally used when she planted it.  Although a bit 'tame' by modern standards, it was lovely. There were also the ruins of an Orangery and various follies.

The Trench family originally built the house. I read a hilarious story, when I was there, about Richard Trench, Archbishop of Dublin.  He had an irrational fear of paralysis. One day at a large banquet he was observed to be leaning over his soup and mumbling to himself in a very distracted way. Archibishop Trench was heard to say "it's happened at last, I can't feel my leg". To which the lady next to him replied "you'll be relieved to hear, Archbishop, that it's my leg you have been pinching".

Heywood, Co Laois

Nice Day

25 June 2012 19:27:14
Nice Day

Nice Day

Lots going on in the garden at the minute.

I spent the day pottering.

There are plenty of peonies in bloom and the succulents are looking well, if you want to take a gander through my new photos...

Douentza, June 2012

Hazel's Open Day

25 June 2012 00:24:33
Hazel's Open Day

Hazel's Open Day

I was at Hazel's Open Day today. I wouldn't have missed it. And even the weather smiled on the occasion (although Hazel confided that she had a bit of pull with someone on the inside upstairs, if you get my drift :))

The garden is beautiful and consists of many and varied areas. There is clever use of hard landscaping, with full use made of different textures and colours. And the web of paths is very enviable to those of us who suffer from a surplus of grass!

The willow fencing, Sedum lawn, woodland area and boardwalk were all very nice but my favourite bit was the little stream at the end of the garden, with the rippling water and soft planting in rich blues and vibrant yellow.

Thanks for a brilliant day, Hazel. I loved your garden.

Hazel's Open Day


22 June 2012 19:30:37


After more than a month of hard choices deciding which ones to buy and a  feverish week, waiting for my parcel to arrive, it's here at last.

This is my early birthday present, chosen by me for me,  and it contains five orchids.

Lovely healthy plants they are too. I'm dead chuffed :)

I am now at capacity for orchids. The problem is that the ones I like, Cattleya, require lots of light. And there're only so many south facing window sills in a house :(

So, after this, it's either get rid of some or choose ones like phals and paphs that require less light. Oh look! Speak of the devil, a Pahphiopedilum somehow found its way into my basket :O

Paphiopedilum henryanum
King of Taiwan 'Dashin #1'
Sierra Skies 'Leone'
Bob Betts
Cattleya mossiae var. coerulea

More Rain

21 June 2012 17:34:41
More Rain

More Rain

Another day of torrential rain. Sigh. It could have a negative effect on my mood except that my early birthday present is on the way :)))

Between the deluges I managed to plant a tree peony and some dahlias at the back of a border over in the West Garden.

I lifted all my dahlias last autumn but this spring I can't for the life of me imagine where they fitted in before, as everything has grown so much :P

Just one more thing to do and the West Garden is ready for this year's action!

For Verbascum Lovers

21 June 2012 09:41:39
Verbascum bombyciferum 'Saffron Towers'

Verbascum bombyciferum 'Saffron Towers'

Some people were commenting on my Verbascum in the last few journals.

This is the nicest Verbascum in the garden (if we don't count the new spore Verbascum 'Ishtar', which I am a bit prejudiced towards :))

This one pops up in the West Garden and one other place, where it was originally sown. I suppose I get about 10 volunteers, that come to fruition, in a year. It is a good number but not enormous. I could always do with a few more of this plant and I love the way it pops up in the most unusual of places.

This Verbascum is great for foliage and architecture and has yellow flowers. Other kinds have prettier flowers but look less well when not in flower.

And before you ask, I have been unable to collect seed from this plant. I've managed with the other three types of Verbascum in my garden but this one defeats me despite many and varied attempts :(

I think this spike looks very funny, like it's in jail. It kept getting tangled with the fence and freed and now looks like it's looking over wistfully

All Planted

20 June 2012 23:30:32
All Planted

All Planted

Well, I got all the tropicals planted in the West Garden. The planting included some 25 Ricinus communis.

By the way, I think I'm going to stop calling it West Garden as that sounds like something from Cluedo. Anyone got any better suggestions?

I also got everything watered in and hubby worked on the veg beds. Now it's bucketing rain out there so it's good timing really :)


19 June 2012 21:19:20


I got cracking today on the West Garden, cutting back a mass of hedge and foliage and I edged the lot.

Then I laid out all the tropicals for planting there. I didn't actually get them planted but knowing where they're to go is half the battle.

It's a disappointing year for my Ricinus, bananas and gingers but there's no point in crying over spilt milk. I know what went wrong (putting them in the cold greenhouse too early) and next year, hopefully, I can do better.

Gardening, Remember that?

18 June 2012 17:09:55
Orchid Bed

Orchid Bed

It was hard to remember how to do it as it had been so long since I last gardened :P

But I guess it's a bit like riding a bike :D

Anyway, I got loads done. I used up the last of the mulch and I finished planting the border that extends from the Hardy Orchid Bed and mulched it.

You won't be able to see much from this photo but I mulched some sections in fine bark and others in grit, depending on the type of orchid.

All orchids are in active growth and I think I see a flower spike on the most advanced of my Bletilla :)

Douentza, June 2012

Sci Fi

17 June 2012 19:48:25
Sci Fi

Sci Fi


Who needs sci-fi when you have plants?

New photos here...

Douentza, June 2012


PS Delighted. I found my felco. It had been mising for over a month :))

Sick of it

16 June 2012 22:00:07
Kalmia latifolia 'Pinwheel'

Kalmia latifolia 'Pinwheel'

Like everyone else, I am completely sick and tired of the rain and wind.

The garden is a disaster, everything is flattened and the slugs are having a field day!

Australia is starting to look very attractive.


The Jaws of Death

16 June 2012 19:47:10
The Jaws of Death

The Jaws of Death


An insect's last moments.


FWO, FIO, FCO (not cyms)

Alpha-Female of Orchids

14 June 2012 12:21:27
Laeliocattleya 'C.G. Roebling Sentinel'

Laeliocattleya 'C.G. Roebling Sentinel'

My new orchid arrived this morning in a 28" package.

My sons told me that I was worse than them the last few days, waiting for this parcel to arrive - worse than they are, waiting for a video game from ebay!

The orchid is Laeliocattleya 'C.G. Roebling Sentinel' and arrived in perfect condition. It is now the alpha-male (or should I say alpha-female) of all my orchids.

I am moving my orchid interests to the Cattleya alliance now as I love big, scented, breath-taking flowers. But it can be very difficult to know what you're buying by mail order. All flower photos in catalogues are given equal size so you have to go try and find the flower dimension before ordering (and that's not always easy).

For example, I bought the plant to the right just recently. It is also a Laeliocattleya and also has beautiful, large flowers. But look at the size difference! And this is not obvious when you are viewing on line.

Oh, and did I mention the best bit about my new orchid? I got it free! It is a division and was offered to me, by a complete stranger, on an orchid forum for FREE!

Garden Shot

13 June 2012 21:53:19
Garden Shot

Garden Shot

A very rainy day here so little was done.

Between the raindrops, I took a few photos.

By the way, if anyone else is coming to the Japanese Garden near Gorey on Friday, let me know. Seven of us confirmed so far!

Look What I Discovered!

13 June 2012 16:02:53
Look What I Discovered!

Look What I Discovered!

Last year, when my Verbascum 'Snow Maiden' self-seeded, they threw up this little seedling.

As you can see,  it is variegated. The surrounding foliage shows the normal foliage of other Verbascum 'Snow Maiden' plants.

Well, I think I like it.

I've been watching it like a hawk and I'm going to start propagating it to see how it does.

Without being rude, please, what do you honestly think of it?


12 June 2012 14:45:32
Beschorneria yuccoides 'Quicksilver'

Beschorneria yuccoides 'Quicksilver'

I finished planting the Annuals Border this morning. I got a bit wet but finished up about 11am so that wasn't too bad.

Only after putting a few of the Salpiglossus in the ground did I notice the label - Callistephus 'Lilliput Blue Moon'. Double and triple ARGH!!!

I had a look at some of the plants (at this stage separated from their labels) and there was no telling the Salpiglossus and Callistephus foliage apart. Oh well, it's done now :P

It's fairly bucketing down out there. But I did take a few pictures...

Douentza, June 2012

My Beschorneria is still not in flower (photo taken this afternoon). You know what they say about a watched kettle!

Annuals Border

11 June 2012 19:29:47
Aquilegia & Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

Aquilegia & Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

I got to planting it up at last! Hurray!

But I didn't finish! Boo!

The Annuals Border is home to some 500 annuals each summer and this year the display is largely orange and hot pink.

Just to confuse you, the photo does not show the Annuals Border. 

The Annuals Border holds/will hold (when I've finished planting)...

Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata' (Terra Nova Strain)

Alonsoa warscrewiczii
'Candyman Orange'
Antirrhinum majus 'Madame Butterfly'
Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red'
Salpiglossus sinuata 'Ali Baba'
'Variegata' (Terra Nova Strain)
Solanum laciniatum
Ammi majus  

Time to stop lazing around and get this show on the road!

Garden Visit Next Friday?

10 June 2012 22:42:34
me & my boys

me & my boys

Today I visited the beautiful Japanese Gardens in Courtown, Co Wexford.

The gardens are only one acre but are so peaceful and refreshingly different that they should be on any Wexford garden itinerary. I have added a few photos...

Glenavon Japanese Gardens, Courtown, Co Wexford

And here is the link to the Wexford Garden Trail, where Glenavon is particiating...

Wexford Garden Trail 

Myself and Fran were planning to visit this coming Friday at 2pm and were wondering who else might like to join us?


09 June 2012 23:37:20


It was great to see Myrtle today although she did arrive in the middle of a power cut so there was no cup of tea for either herself or Ron. A sorry state of affairs after a long trip from Dublin!

Myrtle has been my friend for a number of years now and has watched my garden evolve. Last year she visited on a miserable rainy summer day but made the most of it with her cheery banter and insightful observations. This year Myrtle was greeted by long grass and toppled plants but she never let on that anything was amiss for a moment.

It was lovely to have a long chat and proper banter although I did feel sorry for poor Ron who suffered in silence yet remained cheerful. Talk again soon, Myrtle :)

Phalaeonopsis in flower

08 June 2012 16:27:47
Phalaeonopsis in flower

Phalaeonopsis in flower

I was on the phone to Liga when... crash, bang wallop... one of my Phalaeonpsis orchids was knocked to the ground by a swirling son.

A flower spike was broken off, the second in three days :(

So I spent a while reorganising the phals, staking them up and setting then further back on the shelf.

The last thing Liga said to me as I ababdoned the phone call, telling her what happened, was 'be nice!'. 

No Room @ The Inn

06 June 2012 21:39:19
No Room @ The Inn

No Room @ The Inn

Since summer rolled in this year, I have made a surprising discovery.

I have realised that I have no space in my borders!!!

Okay, there are a few blanks but the plants in waiting far outnumber the remaining spaces.

And in some places, especially the Long Border, I feel exercises in damage control coming on. I walk around saying 'where has such-and-such disappeared to, under those leaves' or 'I'd better dig that up and move it before its neighbour smothers it completely'.

This is a new departure for me as I've always had gallons of space between plants. Busses could have been driven through the middle of some borders without damaging anything!

I think there will have to be some new borders next year!

Pleased with Primulas

06 June 2012 20:49:32
Pleased with Primulas

Pleased with Primulas

It seems that I can grow primulas.

Considering my dry, stony soil and they many counter warnings I got, I'm pleased with that.

They really are worth going to some trouble for, don't you think?

South African Geranium

06 June 2012 20:34:44
Geranium scheckteri

Geranium scheckteri

A first flowering for me.

I got this Geranium from Terra Nova in 2010 so it's come through the bad winters.

It has never flowered until now but it earned its keep with its delicate silver foliage.

It is dripping with buds!

Some Hardy Orchids

06 June 2012 20:18:15
Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'

Dactylorhiza maculata 'Kilmarnock'


I love this orchid.

It's just starting into flower and will soon be covered in tiny purple flowers.

Ricinus for Keego

06 June 2012 19:46:32
Ricinus for Keego

Ricinus for Keego

Hi Mary, here is the photo you asked me to post.

The Ricinus is very slow this year. Last year, when I planted them out on 1st June, they were twice this size. 

I started the Ricinus off 10 days earlier last year (4.2.11 compared to 14.2.12) and I didn't pot them on as quickly this year but that really shouldn't account for half size! These are going in the ground next week.

Good luck with yours. Did you do better?

Tulips & Alliums

05 June 2012 23:21:57
Allium unifolium

Allium unifolium

I have some 500 tulips lying on the grass to 'dry out' at the moment!

But it is bucketing down, the deluge is constant and the forecast is not good :P

There was no gardening for me today except for a quick potting-up of the six Arisaema bulbs I bought at Bloom.

This little Allium is growing on me! It is it's second year in my garden and, despite looking very delicate and diminutive, it is a sturdy little thing and, apparently, a good spreader.

For me, it is a purplish colour although I am reliably informed that it is pink for others. I'm thinking this might be down to my acid soil.

New Photos

05 June 2012 13:32:48
Long Border

Long Border

I have added a few new photos to my June album...

Douentza, June 2012

When things grow...

05 June 2012 13:14:38
Lupinus arboreus var. alba

Lupinus arboreus var. alba

I just love when things grow. It's always so discouraging when you plant up a new border and the perennials look so pathetically small.

This area was planted last year. It used to be my 'Rose Garden' but it got redone in 2011 and planted with a load of really tiny plants that I'd grown from seed.

I just adore this tree peony. It was a cutting that Dick gave me and look at it now! The scent is absolutely fabulous and it is a rarer white variety. I just love it.

Annuals Border

04 June 2012 22:29:22
Astilboides tabularis

Astilboides tabularis

I lifted the tulips from the Annuals Border and weeded and raked it in preparation for planting.

I washed and laid the tulips out on the grass to dry. But I hadn't banked on the water fight that ensued :P

The boys have the week off school so it's unlikely that a whole lot of gardening will be done this week.


02 June 2012 17:37:37
Amorphophallus konjac

Amorphophallus konjac

I cannot believe how slow the Amorphophallus have been this year!

I stored mine dry last winter and potted them up on 20 February. About a month ago, with no sign of life and free heat mats, I moved the potted bulbs to the heat mats.

I've had three of the babies emerge since then and now, today, the three big boys are on their way up. Still another six babies sulking :P

The gas thing is that Amorphophallus bulbifer (a big, but not flowering-size, bulb) did not send up any growth at all last year :P Yet it didn't rot  - a bit like my Arisaema grifithii!

It seems it just took a year off!?! I'm glad to see it finally coming this year!


02 June 2012 17:11:15
Iris 'Champagne Elegance'

Iris 'Champagne Elegance'

It's quite drizzly again today but that didn't stop a few games of outdoor table tennis.

I was going to water and mulch the bed I planted recently but rain halted play there.

The photo is from yesterday.



Day @ Bloom

01 June 2012 21:48:47
Zombie Gnomes

Zombie Gnomes

Yesterday I hit Bloom with Liga. We had a super day.

The standard of the gardens is very high this year, underlining how far this festival has come since 2007. I did love the circular metal cages, used in the Wedding Garden, but the one by Growise, entitled 'My Garden' was the best for me. I suppose the question was  - which garden would you live with, if you couldn't change it or add other plants? While several gardens were very pleasing and cleverly designed, I'd have to choose 'My Garden' in answer to that question. I do love gaudy flowers, you see!

There were a few gardens there for the kids too and my lads would have been delirious  over The Lorax Garden, if only they had seen it.

The retail experience wasn't as good as previous years though. I had done a complete circuit of the Plant Pavilion before I bought my first two purchases (from Rare Plants Ireland)...

Dictamnus albus var. purpureus
Rhodiola fastigiata  

These remained my only purchases until quite a bit later when I bought the following two small plants for in front of my Hardy Orchid Bed...

Heucherella . 'Sweet Tea'
Thalictrum ichangense 'Evening Star'

The best buy was three Arisaema tubers for €10 so I bought six Arisaema costatum (mistakenly thinking they were A. dilatatum that Deborah recently journalled about :P).

A lovely Trollius 'Golden Queen' for €3.50 (the plants outside the main pavilion are much cheaper!) also found its way into my bag.

Myself and Liga had coffee with Violeta and Jurga and three of us were marvelling at having money left in our pockets!?! The nurseries missed a trick there.

Violeta and Jurga were in fine form (Violeta got a gorgeous Alstroemeria - a bit tempted myself) and so were Bruno, Fran, Mary & Paddy, JoanG and Hazel. Gerry Daly was there, of course, and Jimi Blake, June Blake and three ex-students from last year's Plants Person Course. But you can't be guarantee to bump into people so if you want to meet up, exchange numbers beforehand!

Liga was my companion and what a great one she was too. We had such a laugh. Although, rumour has it that Liga performed a little 'voodoo' on the Pelargonium Stall, causing their display to collapse on two separate occasions :O

If you're heading off to Bloom, enjoy! We are lucky to have such a great annual event.


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