a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal July 2012

Last Post 2034 days 4 hours ago


31 July 2012 20:01:28
Canna warscewiczii

Canna warscewiczii

So that was July. Good riddance.

I noticed this Canna in flower today. It's one I grew from seed back in 2010.

Cannas are easy from seed as long as you use a clippers to penetrate their shell. They have the common name of Indian Shot as they are so hard they were used, when bullets ran out, in blunderbusses in the 18th century.

Some Cannas will flower the same year from seed but they certaily won't reach their full potential in year one. They're certainly worth trying.

New Plans

31 July 2012 12:44:18
Stipa gigantea (web photo)

Stipa gigantea (web photo)

To tell the truth (and I hope Elizabeth doesn't throttle me), I was relieved that it's raining today. I didn't feel like gardening, my bits are aching from yesterday, yet I really should go out as visitors are expected. So rain is a good excuse for staying in.

I started to firm up on some plans for the back area of the garden. For those who have visited me, it's the large, uncultivated area at the top of the cliff, beyond the veg beds. I suppose it is about a sixth of my garden.

Anyway, I fancy a circular lawn, surrounded on three sides by deep beds. I will have a 3ft grass path around the back of the beds for access etc.

And the ditch behind that, that separates me from the neighbours, will have Stipa gigantea on it. The tall grass will look great, on a height, behind the back bed! Such a pity so few of the Stipa gigantea I sowed last year, for this project, have germinated :(

While all this is manageable by myself, I would also love steps to lead , from the lower garden, to the upper (beside the Buddha & Bamboo). But this would require a digger, at a minimum.

Oh, and the veg beds need redoing - properly - with raised wood beds and gravel paths between. The central gravel path could lead to the circular lawn...

Tried to draw it on paper but it's too wet to take measurements outside :(


30 July 2012 23:05:13
Actinidia chinensis 'Jenny'

Actinidia chinensis 'Jenny'

This is a kiwi plant.

Actually, more correctly, it is a Chinese gooseberry, being hardier than the kiwi.

I bought it in May last year but it is just beginning to 'get going' for me.

If I don't cut it back, I will get fruit. But it will be hard to not cut this vigorous climber back as they get enormous.

I love the furry leaves.

Summer Pruning

30 July 2012 16:56:57
Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis

I hate summer pruning. So much so, that I didn't bother last year. So this year, it's an extra hard job, with lots of very thick, woody Philadelphus stems to hack through.

And I do have a lot of Mock Oranges. I counted 16 in total :(

I pruned three bushes and then it started raining but it soon cleared up and I got out and finished it off. I had an unseasonal go at my three Forsythia (en passant, as it were) as they were annoying me and a Ribes and I had to remove some Rosa rugosa branches (ouch) to get at the Philadelphus hedge.

Sammy thought I'd lost it completely and started telling me that I was taking too much off and that it couldn't be right because that one had fruit (rose hips on the Rosa rugosa). The postman seemed shocked too and hubby got a terrible fright when he saw how much he had to put through the shredder :D

Good Year for Hydrnageas

29 July 2012 18:25:21

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

On the positive, it has been a very good year for Hydrangeas.

I copied the idea of yellow Hypericum hidcote, coupled with blue Hydrangea, from my neighbours. I love it but hubby is not convinced! I think he believes the only good Hydrangea is a dead one!

Hydrangea 'Madame Emile Moulliere' was bought last autumn when I saw it in Philip (a neighbour)'s garden and Hydrangea 'Vanille Fraise' came from Myrtle. No sign of the strawberry yet but it's a grand plant and isn't droopy at all, despite Myrtle's warnings.


I did some weeding today and staking.

The grass has been cut but quite high, because it got a head start on us, so it still looks crap but so it goes.

Who Can Guess?

29 July 2012 16:49:33
Who Can Guess?

Who Can Guess?


Right, just for fun, who can guess what this is?


Bloomin Weather

28 July 2012 23:19:07
Antirrhinum majus 'Madame Butterfly'

Antirrhinum majus 'Madame Butterfly'

The weather is taking its toll on my positivism at the minute.

In Kerry it rained 65% of the time but when I got home the whole garden was parched and  the water butts were really low.

The grass, of course, was knee-high (well, figuratively) but the stuff in pots outside the greenhouse was wilted. The one bloomin week that I go away, it turns into a drought!

I did emergency watering last night and a more extensive watering today and I'll just have to wait and see if those potted plants revive!

Then, of course, after all that watering, it bucketed down this evening. We had hailstones even (for the second time this July)! Grrr!

A few photos from today...

Douentza, July 2012

Bad Boy

28 July 2012 23:09:04
Nepenthes x 'Miranda'

Nepenthes x 'Miranda'


For those of you who wanted to see how this Bad Boy turned out...


28 July 2012 21:08:12
Tansy in June Blake's

Tansy in June Blake's

When I visited June Blake's Garden I was really taken by a plant with small white double flowers. I love anything with small white, especially double, flowers - Achillea 'The Pearl', Gypsophila, some forms of Camomile.

Anyway, I asked June what it was and was it for sale and she said she never planted it. It arrived with the birds and was 'tansy' and that she didn't have it for sale.

Then we went round the back to look at something else and there was an enormous lump of this tansy, rooted up, and on the way to the compost. So, of course (I say 'of course' but there are many that wouldn't be so kind), June said I could have it and I was really delighted it.

So now I'd really like to know what this plant is called. I've googled 'tansy' and get all kinds of nasty-looking yellow things. Can anyone help with an id.

By the way, the photos I took of June's on 19th are up now and so are the ones of Jimi's...

June Blake's, 19th July

Huntingbrook, 19th July

If Carlsberg did plants...

27 July 2012 22:58:30
Dhu Varren (from the web)

Dhu Varren (from the web)

Hello, I'm back. What did I miss?

I visited Dhu Varren Gardens in Kerry and 'must highly recommend it. The garden has such an exciting collection of exotic plants and succulents that it is a real plants person's paradise and a must-see if you are anywhere near Kerry.

The greenhouses were wonderful, busting with things I wanted to own yet could not pronounce - one humid, one dry.

Usually the humid greenhouse holds exotic butterflies but this year's bad weather has not suited them. There was many desirable things in the dry greenhouse too, including an Agave 'Carlsberg' (I hope to be corrected on the name for this one as something is not right). It was an Agave with extra texture and depth, a head and shoulders about the ordinary ones and, as Laura pointed out, it had to be accompanied by the line... íf Carlsberg did agaves then...

The owners, Mark and Laura, were great, founts of knowledge and not a bit reluctant to share it.

I came away with three types of echium and the addition of Kniphofia northiae to my Wish List.

But the bad news is that I was in Limerick before I remembered my camera. Grrr. So, no photos!


20 July 2012 01:16:30
Nepenthes x 'Miranda'

Nepenthes x 'Miranda'

Here is the newly unravelling Nepenthes pitcher unrolling his ruff!

By the way, the photo of same from a few journals back is now unjammed. Thanks Craig and team.

Great Day

20 July 2012 01:05:44
My boys @ Huntingbrook

My boys @ Huntingbrook

I had a great day at Huntingbrook Gardens and June Blake's.

Both are looking absolutely fabulous right now. Visit, if you can!

There have been so many changes in Huntingbrook since I was there last autumn and all of them are good. The new lawn adds a different dimension and the view to it (via removed beds (so brave)) is brilliant.

I think Jimi has honed bohemian chic down to a fine art. I mean, who else can put four yellow, plastic chairs on their lawn and make it look designer???

June's was just sublime too. But, actually, we never expect less from June. The grasses in mounds have gone and there are now tree ferns in their place. And, breaking news, June is expanding her garden beyond the usual bounds. Besides mow paths through the long grass, the border is extending, on one boundary, to eventually incorporate shrubs (but I saw plenty of the Himalayan Primula there already!).

Seriously, both are looking really good at the minute!

I have lots of photos but it will take me a while to sort through so, in the meantime, here is one that stood out (Sam had just climbed up from the newly opened Ring Fort and was knackered!)

Changeable Day

18 July 2012 17:15:51
Epipactis palustris

Epipactis palustris

It's a very changeable day.

One minute it's sunny and I'm out in the garden.

The next minute it's bucketing and I'm in the greenhouse.

I got a fair bit of potting on done though. Lets hope for a mild winter so I can bring these seedlings though.


We have just had HAILSTONES! IN JULY!


18 July 2012 17:09:31
Long Border

Long Border

I can't believe that at 46 years of age I should suddenly develop allergies! Yet that seems to be what's happening.

I realised a year or two ago that Abutilon vitifolium gave me some kind of reaction. I narrowed it to the 'dust' on the stems. Not only did it irritate my skin but it affected my breathing and I soon learned to keep my mouth tight closed whenever I went near it.

Then about two weeks ago I was potting up Tetrapanax. Same thing - breathing problems and a feeling like my throat might close (okay, this sounds all very dramatic but it wasn't dramatic in real life - I had plenty of warning to move away). I never noticed before that it has some kind of 'dust' on its stems too. I mean, I've brought this plant indoors for two winters, digging it up, potting it, replanting and I NEVER had a problem until now.

Then today, out I went to the garden for a spot of staking and cutting back. Soon my nose is streaming and I end up getting that feeling in my throat again. I was nowhere near the Abutilon or Tetrapanax but suspected the Verbascum this time. But, again, I've had these Verbascum for years and they never bothered me until now.

Anyway, just having a rant. I shouldn't really. It's a lovely day :)

Warble Bank

17 July 2012 22:57:19
Warble Bank

Warble Bank

If you love blue then you must visit the Warble Bank Garden in Newtownmountkennedy in Wicklow.

But my favourite bit was the yellow planting along the path at the entrance. I love planting that takes you by the shoulders and gives you a good shake and that's exactly what this did. I'm not mad about yellow but I would love to copy that scheme!

And, of course, I had great companions. Thanks for allowing me to invite myself along, Myrtle :)

Look What's Opening!

17 July 2012 13:08:00
Nepenthes x 'Miranda'

Nepenthes x 'Miranda'

Look what's opening!

Speak No Evil

16 July 2012 17:57:06
Arisaema costatum

Arisaema costatum

This Arisaema reminds me of the caption 'speak no evil'.

That's because something has made off with his tongue :O

The bright bit at the back of the throat reminds me of traps in insectivores. The insect is lured to the light, and hidden traps, but there's no way out.

Surprisingly, this plant isn't carnivorous though. I always find that hard to believe when looking at them.


16 July 2012 17:51:52
Lobelia tupa

Lobelia tupa

A cold, damp day here.

The kids' swing died and they had great fun dismantling it so that it can be dumped.

Don't these flowers look like claws?

Friends, Cuttings & Chelsea

15 July 2012 19:14:19
Lilium regale etc

Lilium regale etc

The sun came out today and I'm sure it did wonders for gardeners' morales countrywide.

I got some Lavender, Persicaria and Santolina cuttings done first thing and then went along to a local garden to see some ie-ers there. Bruno, Conrad, Keego and Magiclou were all there with Jimi Blake as part of their course.

It was great to catch up with people and, of course, a few plants were exchanged. I'm still smirking to be the proud owner of the Chelsea plant-of-the-year, Digitalis 'Illumination Pink'. Conrad was good enough to give me one of these precious plants. Thanks a million, Conrad. And the Crûg climber isn't bad either ;-)


14 July 2012 17:27:07

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I need to do a bit of potting-on but can't get motivated.

On the subject of seedlings, these cyclamen seedlings popped up recently. Aren't they such pretty little things?

And, this Mertensia is looking very good too. Thanks a million for the seeds, Myrtle. Unfortunately the slugs loved the plant too so I've only got one left. But at least I have one good one :)

Bog Garden

14 July 2012 17:17:04
Bog Garden

Bog Garden

I feel a larger Bog Garden coming on!

Could it be the weather?

Here are some of the Sarracenia in the greenhouse that haven't been housed yet!

Watch this space.


Visit to Pat's

13 July 2012 17:13:31
Visit to Pat's

Visit to Pat's

It was another miserable wet day in Wexford but my spirits were cheered by a visit to Pat's beautiful garden in Ballymurn.

Pat was active on this site a few years ago but fell into 'bad journalling ways' and didn't post for a good while. His garden never stood still though and is a joy to visit, despite the worst the Wexford weather can throw at him!

Pat is an architect and a planner and, word has it, that he designed the whole garden on paper before lifting a spade. It is a beauty, with a traditional rose garden, large ornamental pond, hidden grass garden at a height and fabulous late summer beds of purple Verbena and pink Echinacea. Only the Verbena is in flower so far, growing enormous on Pat's sandy soil. But there was plenty of colour in evidence now too from lilies, alstroemeria and hemerocallis, to name but a few.

Thanks for a lovely visit Pat and I do hope you decide to have an Open Day, maybe in September.

Pat's Garden, Ballymurn, Wexford

Colour Faux Pas

12 July 2012 18:38:11
Colour Faux Pas

Colour Faux Pas


I think that cerise, self-seeded Lychnis coronaria is a step too far!

The yellow Hypericum hidcote hedge is going nowhere so the Lychnis will be the one for the chop!

Ruffled Dmitri

12 July 2012 14:14:51
Iris ensata 'Ruffled Dmitri'

Iris ensata 'Ruffled Dmitri'

It's raining again now but the morning was good and I managed to get quite a bit of planting done.

I planted 30 of the dahlias that I grew last year from seed that Deborah Begley sent me. I had been in a real quandary as to where to put them, having used the best ones already. But then I remember a neglected strip round the back of the house, behind the dry stone wall. This area never gets any good stuff in summer as it's very dry. Hey, but it's not so dry this summer so in the dahlias went!

Isn't it strange how you can fail to see your garden objectively! If you had asked me two days ago if I had enough space for 30 big dahias, I would have said no. Yet this space was crying out for some summer colour.

And I planted the six Arisaema costatum that I bought at Bloom in a nice little spot, all together for impact. Mine all grew in the end, Fran, despite a slow start!

And a few more bits and pieces went into the ground too. It makes an enormous difference having the greenhouse tidy - you can see what's what!

Oh, and here's a nice Iris I bought at the Bay Garden when I visited with other ie-ers this year. It's an ensata so is enjoying the damp weather. I bet you're all sorry you didn't buy one now!


11 July 2012 21:33:54


Yesterday and today were devoted to sorting out the greenhouse. It gets into a mess so quickly!

The real reason for sorting it all out was to move my orchids out from the house to their summer quarters. The cyms have been out for ages but the other ones...

I put protective fleece down one half of the greenhouse (lets face it - it has to be useful for something as it doesn't save plants from frost!) and set up humidity trays with clay pebbles. I also cleared the table as I will need it for watering/feeding, using two basins and a jug. 

A sprinkling of preventative slug pellets and Bob's your uncle. Actually, Bob isn't my uncle. Bob is one of my Cattleyas - Cattleya 'Bob Betts' ;-)

Well-Dressed Trees

11 July 2012 18:24:20

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

When passing through Oilgate today I had to stop and take some photos of the very well-dressed Cherry Blossoms, lining the main street.

Aren't they just brilliant?


New Beds

09 July 2012 17:49:25
New Beds

New Beds

Here we are looking across three new borders. Aren't perennials great!

They give such wonderful results in such a short time (and most of these were from seed).

The border in front was planted this spring and the two behind were planted last year!


09 July 2012 17:39:17



While the blue is surely a fluke, a lot of my borders are intentionally orange.

I did some planting in this one today and, what do you know, the Tropaeolum from Bruno, that I thought I lost, is still alive :)


09 July 2012 17:34:56


It was never the intention, but this border has ended up blue!

Hampton Court on TV

09 July 2012 11:17:26
Prostechea coccineata

Prostechea coccineata

Hey, did anyone spot my little orchid when they were watching Hampton Court coverage lately. Of course it wasn't really MY orchid, just one like it.

This is Prostechea coccineata and I mentioned it before. It is my only orchid currently in flower (except for phals).

It has a maximum of 3 flowers at any time, but mostly two. An old bloom falls as a new one opens. Three blooms have gone over to date, it has three blooms and I see more buds coming.

I keep waiting for the plant to finish flowering as it desperately needs repotting! However, a plant that refuses to stop blooming is not a bad complaint to have!

House Leeks

08 July 2012 16:42:31
Sempervivum arachnoideum subsp. tomentosum & Sedum kamtschaticum 'Variegata'

Sempervivum arachnoideum subsp. tomentosum & Sedum kamtschaticum 'Variegata'


Can't remember why I wanted to put a journal up :P


Took a few photos today.


Hoping the Open Day is going well in Cork!


07 July 2012 23:52:05



Love this flower :)

But, as Paddy says, it's a pity they are hidden!


07 July 2012 21:29:14

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Inspired by Liga's love of pelargoniums and the way that she, and Helen Dillon, grow them so beautifully, I decided to do a job on mine.

I have been growing my pelargoniums very badly, I must admit. Part of the problem is that they are in clay pots so dry out too quickly (I know, I know, I listened to that advice too but I find they like water!). And when hubby does the watering for me, he steers clear of anything in a clay pot. 

I threw out the ones I don't like (I grew some from seed a few years ago but they were nothing special so time to stop being precious), thus selecting the ones I want to keep.

So, although alive, the good pelargoniums are very misshapen. I took cuttings -  to start again! I should have done this in spring but never got round to it. Last year's pelargoniums really aren't a good idea. They lack vigour!

If all the cuttings strike, I'll bring spares to our next meet!

So, while they are all fresh in my mind, maybe someone can help me identify these good pelargoniums?

PS My favourites are 'Vancouver Centennial' and the one from Rita D that's a bit like 'Lord Bute' (not pictured).

A Tale of Two Gardens

06 July 2012 23:44:13

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I have just uploaded photos for the two beautiful gardens that I saw today.

I saw Myrtle's Garden in the morning and it was looking wonderful, a riot of colour. The new area is very cleanly and professionally finished, with a wide path to allow for soft planting to cascade outwards.

Personally I love Myrtle's taste in plants so a visit to her garden is always a joy. Thank you, Myrtle, for your hospitality.

Myrtle's Garden

And then it was off to the Dillon Garden, which is really in its stride at the moment. I won't repeat myself as I already wrote about this in my last journal.

Besides the mild inconvenience of weather, the only disadvantage was the large number of spoilt photos, due to rain blurs on the lens :(

Dillon Garden

But, look, see how the two gardens have so many similarities, cunningly captured by camera :D

The good thing about rain...

06 July 2012 20:09:27
A drenched Liga, Helen Dillon and me :)

A drenched Liga, Helen Dillon and me :)

Well today was an absolutely disgusting day. It was raining when I left the house, it was raining in Myrtle's garden, it was raining on the way to Renelagh and it was raining all through my visit to Helen Dillon's.

But the good thing about rain is that there were no other visitors at Helen's. And since there are no other visitors and myself and Liga were obviously cracked about gardening (otherwise why would we go out in that), Helen spent a lot of time chatting to us and was as nice as anything. We talked about hardy orchids and pelargoniums and mail order plants and even got wind of a planned change in Helen's garden that she is toying with.

I think I can say for myself, if not for Liga, that we floated out of Helen's on cloud nine, despite the driving rain's best attempts to beat us down. Well, you just can't keep good gardeners down.

Verbascum, Blue etc

05 July 2012 23:41:00
Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

Corydalis 'Kingfisher'

Myself and Joshua did Verbascum today.

It was a good day to deal with Verbascum as we saw it yesterday, on our excursion to Leitrim, and the boys had learned the name.

We planted all the Verbascum seedlings I'd grown on various ditches and cliffs and watered them in.

Then we emptied all the pots of dead plants and seedlings and I used the spent compost on my privet hedge. After Josh's attention had flagged, I planted some other stone-loving plants on the cliff.

And, nothing to do with anything, here is a photo of a Corydalis, that I picked up in Wales last year. It has a very blue colour. That's Joan's Heuchera in the background. Thanks, Joan :)

Isoplexis canariansis

05 July 2012 23:26:52
Isoplexis canariansis

Isoplexis canariansis

I am now reliably informed that this plant has been downgraded to a Digitalis.

I will continue to refer to it as Isoplexis canariansis as its name change did not make it any more hardy.

A beauty, none the less.

Hydrangea Id

05 July 2012 20:12:41

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Can anyone help with the identification of this Hydrangea please?

I have lots of these in my garden, bought cheaply from a nursery with poor labelling. It's not the best Hydrangea but it's doing a job of work in my garden now.

Sweet Little Plant

05 July 2012 12:48:20
Sweet Little Plant

Sweet Little Plant

Look at this gorgeous, sweet little plant I grew from seed.

Wouldn't you just love to stroke it?


03 July 2012 23:38:10


Did I mention it was wet?

And raining.

And soggy.

The garden is definitely green but it is making me feel blue.

I've spent three days gardening in the rain and I really feel like seeing someone else's sunny garden now. Who has a nice sunny garden that I can visit?


03 July 2012 20:01:29
Lilium martagon var. alba

Lilium martagon var. alba

Another wet day here.

The air is laden with moisture, even when it's not actually raining.

Paper Dolls

02 July 2012 20:20:28
Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls

When I was a kid, paper dolls were my favourite thing. I used to love cutting out the clothes, with the stitches, and fitting them on the dolls.

I've just been edging the borders in my garden and it occurs to me that it is very similar to cutting out paper dolls.

Before you start, the doll can look great fun but, until you've done all the cutting out, your doll is pretty useless.

Well, I often imagine that I have a quite nice garden but until all the edges have been cut out, it is hard to see it. It seems to me that once the edges are done, suddenly a nice garden emerges.


02 July 2012 19:09:59
Franoa 'Pink Giant'

Franoa 'Pink Giant'

Last year my boys chose one set of seed each as theirs. Sam chose a beautiful black Roscoea and, being in rhyming mode, Josh chose Francoa.

The Francoa did really well. I gave away loads of plants but planted loads in the new borders. They didn't flower that year and I was a bit disappointed in them.

But this year they have grown really big (3-4ft) and look great mass planted. The first one has just flowered and it's lovely. Well done, Josh!


01 July 2012 20:31:13
Hares boxing (net photo)

Hares boxing (net photo)

There was a great big hare in our garden today.

Sammy, who's always up first, saw him from his bedroom window about 8am, up at the veg plot, and went out and chased him.

Then later Norman saw him, while mowing.

Then I saw him, when I was edging at about 5pm, and both myself and Sammy chased him round the back of the Long Border and all up the other side, where we lost him.

Sam saw him again later up by the Prairie Border and then it started to rain so we went inside.

Well, would you believe it! That hare came and sat in full view on the drive, bold as brass. So the two little fellows went out in the rain and gave chase again. But it was all to no avail and he high tailed it out of view!

I suppose hares are as bad as rabbits for eating plants :P


Garden.ie Members

Not a member yet?
Join now to:

Join Now

Existing Members

Forgotten password

Garden.ie CLUB

Join Ireland's first online garden club! Share pictures of your garden, make new friends and chat with other gardeners. It's simple to join and free! Register Here

Featured Members


Thousands of gardening facts at your finger tips:

Ask Gerry

Gerry DalyTry our unique advice service from editor Gerry Daly. Got a question right now? Search here to see if it has been answered already:

a mediateam website

©2018 Garden.ie. Mediateam Ltd, Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18.

Tel (+353 1) 2947777 Email info@garden.ie

Website Design by KCO.ie