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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal August 2012

Last Post 2013 days 19 hours ago

Great Day

21 August 2012 22:14:09

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I was expecting a visit from Fran and Clare today and we were going to visit Alatamont afterwards. But it started to absolutely spill out of the heavens, like a tap turned on. I phoned Fran to see what he thought and he said they would come anyway. I had put the phone down when I got a text from Fran saying '"it will clear up in an hour". Well that text was like a some kind of magic charm because suddenly the tap above was turned off and sunshine came. And it lasted the rest of the day!

Fran, Maria and Clare arrived about 12 and we did a tour of the garden and had a bit of a sit down before heading off to Altamont, where we were met by the dapper, yet very vocal, Scrubber. So vocal in fact that we heard him calling from the other side of the lake!!!

And we all did the long walk, the 100 steps, including Clare, who is now well off the cigarettes and rushed up them! The garden was looking great and Robert Miller's herbaceous was wonderful, although ever-so-slightly gone over since my last visit.

I saw an amazingly coloured phlox that I wanted to buy. What was the adjective Scrubber used to describe the colour? But they didn't have it. And Scrubber saw an amazingly coloured phlox that he wanted to buy, a kind of mauve - very pretty, but they didn't have that either. So I settled for Hydrangea 'Ayesha' and Scrubber settled for... well, let him tell you.

It was a lovely day, in great company and even the weather was on our side.

By the way, I forgot my camera when going to Alatamont so the photos are from my garden. Thank you, Elizabeth, for Roscoea 'Red Gurkha' and Scrubber for Hydrangea 'Kyushu', both of which came into flower today.

Visit from MaryJoe

20 August 2012 22:18:49
Hydrangea 'Vanille Fraise' (won 2nd prize for hydrangeas at Hort. Show)

Hydrangea 'Vanille Fraise' (won 2nd prize for hydrangeas at Hort. Show)

I had a visit from Mary today (profile name of MaryJoe). I was worried about the weather but, except for a bit of a shower earlier, it turned out a nice day.

Mary is a great visitor, noticing so many plants, knowing all the names and offering helpful tips on cultivation. She was very polite too as we were half way around the garden before she mentioned that her name was Mary, and not MaryJoe, as I'd been calling her :P

There was a moment of much confusion when Mary, glancing down at the drive, clearly referred to my birch. I, however, somehow got it in my head that Mary was talking about the beach hedge under the trees and launched into a monologue about the problems I'd been having with it. After about five minutes, I stopped, realising that Mary had said birch :P

Anyway, it was lovely seeing Mary and I'm very pleased that she found time to visit me on her journeys. I look forward to our next meeting.

More Lilies

19 August 2012 19:50:55
Lilium 'Apollo'

Lilium 'Apollo'

There are plenty of lilies coming into flower for me now.

Some people have put up journals before about certain ones. I guess we all shop in Lidl and Aldi :)

Check out my August album for the lily that got me 2nd prize, in category, at the Bunclody Horticultural Show. But my favourite is the one pictured on this journal.

It is called 'Apollo' and I've had them for years so they have formed a great big clump now.

They smells absolutely fabulous and we always use the table and chairs beside them in the West Garden for dinner when they come into flower.

Douentza, August 2012

Thank You, Hosta

19 August 2012 19:03:32
Thank You, Hosta

Thank You, Hosta

Two opened today.

Thank you, Hosta :)

More Rain

19 August 2012 17:05:51
Eating Area

Eating Area

The day started well enough and myself and Sammy even managed to have our breakfast outside together (something we've not been able to manage for quite a while now).

Yesterday had been sunny so we were hoping to get the grass cut today. But before long the customary rain was falling. I managed a bit of weeding, deadheading and edging  but it was tricky.

The photo shows our outdoor eating area (does anyone remember the journals when we laid that stone circle, I wonder :)) but we won't be eating dinner there tonight.

Best Garden :)

18 August 2012 19:58:22
my cups & certs

my cups & certs

Back from the Bunclody Horticultural Show.

I won Best Ornamental Garden, Best Overall Garden, most wins in individual flower categories and Best Overall Flower entry.

And, Josh got 2nd for his handwriting and 2nd for his card while Sam got 3rd for his puppet and 3rd for his Biscuit-Tin-Lid garden. Norman got 3rd each for his herbs bundle, eggs and chutney.

I didn't think anyone could beat Tombrick Garden ;-)
I'm a happy bunny tonight.

Bunclody Horticultural Show, 2012

A Bit of Competition

18 August 2012 00:44:05
Biscuit-tin-lid garden

Biscuit-tin-lid garden

The local Horticultural Show takes place tomorrow. It's been a few years since we last participated but this year our family is putting in a few entries.

Josh has been making a card, drawing a picture and doing handwriting. Sam has made a puppet and a biscuit-tin-lid garden and hubby even entered a few veg.

So, this evening I took a tour of the garden, in the rain, to collect a few bits for Sam's garden.

Then, back indoors, I polished my orchids leaves with milk and boxed up the pot plants for the show. I'll be up early tomorrow to see what is still standing for cutting from the garden.

I'll let you know how we get on!

Bunclody Horticultural Show, 2012

Rainy South East

18 August 2012 00:36:46

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

There is nothing new in this journal.

We all know it's wet.

We all know we have been cheated of a summer.

But today we four brave ie-ers defied the elements and went garden visiting in the rain.

We visited a very welcoming Kilmurry Nurseries, where even the jaded pallet of gardeners with filled borders was tempted!

Bit of a story that I won't bore you with, but I came away with the beautiful Alstoemeria 'Verona' :)

And, in the end, good company makes a great day.


Really Scary

15 August 2012 19:20:26
poor bamboo wind chimes

poor bamboo wind chimes

It's really scary out there at the moment. All my plants are dancing a jig.

At least two Verbascum and the Lobelia tupa are down.

And there's a rabbit, bold as brass, sitting in the middle of the veg patch in the middle of the storm!

Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia

15 August 2012 12:34:50
Verbena hastata

Verbena hastata

I wonder how many of us can boast a plant who's a film star?

I can.

Okay, well not exactly a film star but my plant did star in a film. Well, it appeared in a film set, at least :)

This Verbena hastata was in a set for Astérix & Obélix: God Save Britannia, which was shot in Ireland in 2011.

After filming all the plants were auctioned off and, as I couldn't get to the auction but would dearly love to have gone, Alison (Drumanagh) kindly picked this little baby up for me.

Thanks, Alison. And Verbena hastata, aka Astérix, says no autographs, please.


14 August 2012 00:09:59
Teucrium hircanicum

Teucrium hircanicum

Here's another plant that is flowering for the first time for me.

Grown from seed last year, this purple Teucrium looks great with the pink Francoa!

Douentza, August 2012

Paulownia Pollarding

12 August 2012 14:28:33
Paulownia tomentosa

Paulownia tomentosa

This spring I used a slightly different method when I pollarded my Paulownia. If you want big leaves and vigorous growth on your Paulownia, you need to pollard them in spring.

Of course, as bad luck would have it, we had the late frost just after I'd pollarded these trees and, as they have hollow trunks, I was terrified I'd loose them. But all was well.

Instead of cutting them back to about one foot, I cut them to maybe three feet. The result is that the trees have grown much taller than last year. I suppose they are 9-10ft now whereas last year I got 5-6ft.

I am really pleased with the result and will be doing this in future.

Here Come the Lilies

11 August 2012 20:00:12
Lilium 'Conca d'Or'

Lilium 'Conca d'Or'

Another brilliant day here, with just a touch of wind.

What with dealing with the orchids, I didn't get to the garden until after 6pm but it was just perfect then - a lovely summer's evening.

I did some edging, dead-heading and weeding and got my eldest son to dig up all the lavender around the big Cedar tree. The tree is shading the lavender out now so it's for the compost. I took cuttings earlier on this summer. Then it was dinner outside. A good day!

The lilies are just starting to open and I am looking forward to them. Not such good news for my son, whom we've recently discovered is allergic to lilies. But fine for the rest of us!

Grasses, Oh, and an Orchid

11 August 2012 00:12:14
Paphiopedilum henryanum

Paphiopedilum henryanum

What a smashing day it was today. I was quite determined to enjoy as much of it as I could because we don't know how long it will last.

So, new policy with my youngest! He always wakes up dead early. I (being the opposite of Jacinta) could sleep for Ireland. But for the last two mornings I get up early and me and Sammy go into the garden together and have breakfast at the two-man-table that no on ever uses, right at the front of the garden. It is lovely and we talk about nonsense and Sammy notices a plant or two.

So we did that. And then much later we all sat out in the shade of the parasol in the West Garden and played board games.

And, although I wasn't supposed to be doing gardening, I brought my trug of compost over to where everyone was, and I potted on the grasses. Just a little job, all together...

And, after potting on,  I was rewarded with a super 18 Stipa tenuissima (always handy), five Stipa barbata 'Silver Feather' and an abysmal three Stipa gigantea.

So I took no photos. Except for my paph orchid that opened today. Isn't it a smasher?

Nice Shades

09 August 2012 21:45:09
Nice Shades

Nice Shades

I'm very pleased with the tall, pale pitcher plants that I grew this year.

They are quite elegant, compared to the red, stubby ones.

The only disadvantage is that that the ones I have need staking!

Nice lids too!

Not Sure About This

09 August 2012 21:37:10
Telekia speciosa

Telekia speciosa

I'm not sure about this shade of yellow at all!

Great leaves, super size but...

the jury's still out.

I'll have to see how it shapes up but I'm not well disposed to it so far...

And I do like yellow, just not this shade!


09 August 2012 21:21:14

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

A smashing day here so I did practically no gardening.

Thinking of those who cannot enjoy the good weather as their world has been turned upside down!

I did plug a gap in the Long Border though with this pretty Leucanthemum I recently bought at the Warble Garden when I was there with Myrtle and Periwinkle.

It was marked 'Wirral Pride' but I don't think it's that at all. It is tricky to tell the Leucanthemum apart and I'm not sure which one it is.

But the main thing is that I bought the one I liked.

It could do with some staking but I'm all out of string!

Sometimes the simplest...

08 August 2012 20:53:10
Lychnis coronaria

Lychnis coronaria

Last Year I had a lot of gaps in the central part of the Long Border so I filled them with Lychnis coronaria, which seeds prolifically in my garden and I had potted up.

I had to pull a lot of it out this year to give space to other plants but I left a lot too.

Because, after all, it is gorgeous.

Sometimes the simplest plants are the best of all. Lots of new photos...

Douentza, August 2012

Peep Show

08 August 2012 17:37:44

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Do you see my cloud-pruned tree?

It is planted in the central point of the Long Border and is only visible in winter when everything dies back. And, from this sneaky vantage point, when the delphiniums are cut back.

One day it will be big and will dominate the border. But for the minute I need to make sure it gets enough space and light and a clip a couple of times each year.

Good Day for Exotics

07 August 2012 19:01:42
Lobelia bridgesii

Lobelia bridgesii

I spent all day weeding, edging, cutting back and staking. I even did a bit of planting, having cleared an area of perennial cornflower that I grew from seed a few years back.

At one stage I began to wonder why I was bothering. No one is coming to visit and soon it will be autumn.

The I saw this plant had sneaked into flower. Happy days.

This is year two for these grown-from-seed plants. I sometimes think the ones that make you wait for year two to see the flowers are more appreciated!

Success at Last

07 August 2012 18:49:27
Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens tinctoria

I have been trying to grow this plant for ages, ever since I heard about it from Deborah Begley.

Deborah sent me lots of seed one year but I had abysmal success and lost the few tubers I'd managed to grow that winter.

My friend, LindaB, however, had no such trouble. She grew a whopping plant, which she kept indoors, from about one seed :P

But Deborah took pity on me and in the throws of the Johnstown Christmas get-together, I was passed a division of this plant.

Look at it now! It has loads of flowers and is really healthy. They're so wonderfully big! I adore it. Thanks a million, Deborah.


06 August 2012 18:54:18
Persicaria affinis (planted on bank)

Persicaria affinis (planted on bank)

Don't you get the feeling lately that the season is turning?

There's definitely a feel of late summer about the place.

I feel like screaming and kicking to stop it but I doubt that it will have any effect.

The Japanese anemones are coming and my Persicaria is turning colour.

It changes from pink to red at this time of year and the banks look wonderful, clothed in it.

I have lots more photos in the new August album but will stop now as I have taken up far more than my fair share of journal time today.

Mad Colour Combo

06 August 2012 18:36:43
Helenium 'Moorheim Beauty'

Helenium 'Moorheim Beauty'

I was astonished to see this odd colour combination in the Long Border this morning.

It's certainly interesting and thought provoking.

But I can't actually make up my mind as to whether I like it or not :D

Annuals Border

06 August 2012 18:26:56
Alonsoa warscrewiczii

Alonsoa warscrewiczii

Thinking of planting the Annuals Border up permanently next spring with perennials.

For the moment, the Alonsoa is the star in that bed.

Myrtle, any tips for dead-heading Alonsoa? Cut with a scissors vertically from the stem or cut the whole stem back?

Good Year For Astilbe

06 August 2012 18:22:08
Good Year For Astilbe

Good Year For Astilbe

Usually Astilbe doesn't do terribly well for me.

I guess my garden is too dry.

I mean, I grow it and it flowers but the flowers never stay for too long.

This year though - wow!


06 August 2012 18:06:30
Epipactis palustris

Epipactis palustris

I noticed this hardy orchid was fully open this morning.

Such a cutie.

Altamont Photos

05 August 2012 15:44:01
red side of Rober Miller's herbaceous borders

red side of Rober Miller's herbaceous borders

My Altamont photos are now up if you would like to look.

My favourite bit of that garden is still the large herbaceous borders by the Plant Sales. The red side of that border is everything I aspire to!

I love the white sections too and some of the blue side.

But, don't get me wrong, the main garden is looking spectacular - the roses, down by the water and the crisply edged mixed borders.

I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful and well-maintained garden so near.

I did plenty of gardening today, weeding, edging, clipping back and got drowned wet into the bargain! But it was nothing a hot shower couldn't cure. No camera batteries at the minute so no new photos :(

Fields of Barley

04 August 2012 01:40:25
Fields of Barley

Fields of Barley

The plan for today was to visit Altamont Gardens but there were such torrents of rain this morning that we put it off.

Then, miraculously, it cleared and stayed clear and we had a wonderful day in the gardens. Mary was quite right. They are really looking excellent at the minute (photos to follow).

It's raining again ow though.

I snapped this photo of a field of barley on the way to the gardens. It really looks ornamental at the moment.

New Secret Weapon!

02 August 2012 23:25:22
(web photo)

(web photo)

The main thing I've been doing in the garden the last few days is heavy-duty staking. There has been so much wind.

My Eryngium are not yet fully open and I am really looking forward to them. I re-jigged the late-flowering part of that border last autumn so I'm expecting it to be nice when it finally comes into flower.

But the Eryngium can be divils for lying down on the job and need sturdy staking. It is usually impossible to get bamboos into the ground down there so the whole business is a bit of a headache!

This year I decided to sink 4ft tree stakes into the ground, with the driver. I put about nine of them in as the Eryngium clump is now quite large. I am very pleased with how well it all went and you can only see one of the stakes!

With my newly discovered secret weapon (the stake), I then put a few more in for Verbascum, Lobelia tupa etc


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