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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal October 2012

Last Post 1848 days 21 hours ago

First Orchid of the Season

31 October 2012 11:52:46
Dendrobium kingianum

Dendrobium kingianum

This is what I love about orchids....

Just when the garden gives up the ghost for summer, the orchids start to flower. Putting aside Phalaeonopsis, which flower 24/7, this is my first orchid of the season to flower.

It is a Dendrobium kingianum, probably Berry 'Oda', and it was given to me a long time ago by my dear friend Myrtle. It is not the first time this year that this reliable and easy orchid has flowered.

But back to Phalaeonlopsis, which I do really love, but I read a quote by Christopher Lloyd just recently, which I thought applied very well to them...

We are naturally grateful (though gratitude is a terribly exhausting virtue) to those of our plants which keep on flowering, on and on and on, but is there not a kind of relief bordering on the vindictive when we can at last get at them with shears or secateurs and wipe the smirk off their silly faces?

Fast & Furious

30 October 2012 19:18:04
Acer

Acer

 

Don't know about you but leaves are falling fast and furious in my garden at the minute.

Leaves

29 October 2012 16:50:53
Leaves

Leaves

We had a competition to see  which team could collect the greatest number of different fallen leaves in the garden today.

The boys won with 48, I cam second with 40 and hubby got 23!

A yellowed Abutilon leaf was voted the most beautiful.

But what will I do with them now? Thinking of drying them for cards or something.

How many leaves can you name?

Aeonium in Flower

28 October 2012 01:32:08
Aeonium in Flower

Aeonium in Flower

This evening I realised that I had forgotten one of the Aeonium when I brought them indoors yesterday. This one is a big boy.

Bringing it inside, I was astonished to see... a flower!

But it's not great news really. It seems that some Aeonium are monocarpic and die after flowering :(

Bright Day

27 October 2012 16:47:09

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Last night's coldness has given way to a bright, crisp, sunny day. We escaped the frost here so the only damage in the garden is Impatiens tinctoria, which has been blackened.

Halloween is in full swing but there was still time for a scoot around the garden with the camera...

Douentza, October 2012

 

Fall of the Giants

26 October 2012 22:16:54
Paulownia tomentosa

Paulownia tomentosa

Leaves have started to tumble.

The Paulownia lost a lot of their leaves today and look quite bare.

What a difference a few days make.

Compare this photo from today to my journal photo of 23rd (just three days ago)!

It's going to be a cold one tonight. It's already just 4 degrees inside the greenhouse. I brought the Aeonium indoors earlier and did a bit of  wrapping with fleece in the greenhouse.

Lifting the Last Tenders

26 October 2012 15:07:55
Lifting the Last Tenders

Lifting the Last Tenders

A while ago I discovered that the most satisfactory way to grow tender gingers is to plant them in the ground for the summer. Once again, I have not been disappointed because now that it's time to dig them up for the winter, I find myself with a forest of gingers to my credit. They have multiplied so much.

I grow tender gingers with nice foliage. That way, even if they don't flower, they make a nice statement in the border.

Yes, today I dug up the last of my gingers, lifted my Mirabils and Colocasia. There is frost scheduled for tonight :(

I am in two minds as to what to do with the Colocasia. I thought I might experiment with storing the bulbs dry, although it is doubtful that this will work. I intend storing the Mirabilis dry, as I did last year, with good results.

Detail

25 October 2012 11:27:21

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I just love the detail in orchids. We had several recent posts on white phal orchids and how good they are. There is no disputing it.

But the devil is in the detail, as someone also said quite recently ;-)

I have three beautiful white phal orchids, each given to me by a different friend. At first glance, they all seem the same. But...

if you look closely, no two are identical.

The one from Clare has a yellow core, with a heavy centre. The one from Anne has apple green at its core. And the one from my niece has a yellow core that is much lighter. All are profuse flowerers.

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it before but I love orchids.

Douentza, October 2012

Beware

23 October 2012 23:44:15
Beware

Beware

The Donegal Postman, Michael Gallagher, is predicting a cold winter and 'plenty' of snow before Christmas.

Michael told The Daily Newspaper he 'has no time' for modern forecasting techniques and instead, bases his forecasts on nature observations

It must be said that Michael has an impressive track record with his previous seasonal forecasts for Ireland having correctly predicted a wet summer this year, last year's mild winter and the previous cold winter.

Let  us beware!

Making the Most of it

23 October 2012 17:29:58
Paulownia tomentosa

Paulownia tomentosa

The weather is set to change so I was out making the most of the lovely autumn weather today. The are was laden with water and it rained, ever so slightly. But not enough to chase anyone indoors.

I got my son busy digging up two of the apple trees that must go. It is good to see next year's plants coming into effect.

And I did a good bit of weeding, some edging and planting. I planted the final 10 Persicaria affinis cuttings, 17 Stipa tenuissima (from seed) and relocated a lot of Verbascum that had seeded in the wrong place. I really hope I get Verbascum growing on the small ditch next year! I've done my best to establish it.

Broken Record

22 October 2012 16:09:08

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At serious risk of sounding like a broken record, aren't we having the most glorious autumn?

With beautiful days like this and such an extended autumnal period (I hate when it all seems to be over in a few wet weeks), I could completely revise my opinion of autumn!

So, here are a few more photos of plants with gorgeous autumn colour (names are under the photos). Just because you haven't seen enough already!

PS The calendars arrived today so it was v. exciting. I am really pleased with them.

Peonies

22 October 2012 15:37:44
Peonies

Peonies

I think herbaceous peonies have great value in a garden.

Look at the super autumn colours I'm getting out of this one!

Bits 'n' Pieces

21 October 2012 18:51:25
phals from yesterday

phals from yesterday

It was a lovely day today. I got a few bits and pieces done but nothing major.

I did a round of seed collecting but was disappointed. A lot of seed has been spoiled by rain and even something as simple to collect as Calendula 'Candyman Ornage' has been spoilt. The Alonsoa I cut back the second week in August is still flowering and nowhere near ready for seed collection. I will try again in November and hope for better luck.

On the bright side, the Freesia I sowed in pots in the greenhouse in January 2012 are finally coming up. What took them so long? :P

I sowed some Hermodactylus tuberosa bulbs in pots in the greenhouse and two trays of Meconopsis paniculata.

Food Hero Competition

21 October 2012 00:08:22
Food Hero Competition

Food Hero Competition

My aunt, Kathy Byrne, has been nominated for a Food Heroes award in the UK by the local school where she works with the children to grow fruit and veg.

Read about it and, more importantly, VOTE for her here...

Kathy Byrne, Food Hero

Some Good Colouring

20 October 2012 20:14:09
Some Good Colouring

Some Good Colouring

Here are a few trees that are colouring up nicely at the moment.

 

Disappointing Trees

20 October 2012 20:03:21
Parrotia persica

Parrotia persica

I am quite disappointed in three trees, bought for autumn colour.

The first is the Iron Tree, Parrotia persica, bought in February 2011. I planted this spreader by the drive so that it will come out and soften the hard edge of the drive eventually. This is the best autumn colour I've had from it so far and it's okay, but nothing to write home about.

The second shrub is Euonymous alata, which was bought as a large shrub from Johnstown in March 2011. The leaves are completely green now. Last autumn they stayed green until they dropped.

The third is Liquidambar styraciflua 'Thea', bought in 2010. This colours a bit, but not much. I've seen how it's supposed to look and it's amazing.

It is all very frustrating, especially as I have acid soil and that's supposed to help colour in many cases!

However, I've found that trees sometimes need time to adjust to their positions and soil so hopefully, in a few years, they'll buckle down to it.

Bog Orchids

19 October 2012 18:04:54

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The postman brought me three new Disa orchids today to add to my collection.

I bought small divisions that will take two years to flower - always doing things on the cheap, me!

Anyway, the big thing about the South African Disa orchids is that they can be grown in the same conditions as Sarracenia. Except they're not hardy, while Sarracenia are. These orchids are bog plants so they need to sit in water, exactly the opposite of what is required for most orchids.

I had been looking for Disa uniflora for some time and I am very pleased to have gotten one with an orange flower.

I potted the orchids up in 50% perlite 50% peat in pots that sit in trays. The trays hold rain water. I happened to have a lovely little cup, just perfect for my Disa uniflora!

Id Please!

19 October 2012 17:48:11
Id Please!

Id Please!

I spotted this bush in my neighbour's hedge.

The flowers are lovely but the habit is very untidy (or maybe that's just the way they keep it as they're not gardeners).

Any thoughts on what it is?

Labels

18 October 2012 15:43:18
Nerine undulata 'Crispa'

Nerine undulata 'Crispa'

I did a few tidying up bits today.

Among other things, I labelled any plants-in-waiting that didn't have labels.

Sometimes I don't bother with labels, especially when it's something obvious. However, when winter rids plants of all foliage, it's no longer obvious as to what's what any more.

The weather is still very mild and I feel that plants are benefiting from the long season of light. Early frosts can't do much good as they cut the growing season short but we don't need to worry about that this year.

I'm looking forward to the Keith Wiley talk at the Botanic Gardens this evening.

Amorphophallus

18 October 2012 14:49:52
Amorphophallus konjac

Amorphophallus konjac

I unearthed some Pleione, Amorphophallus and Arum to bring indoors for the winter today.

This is Amorphophallus konjac. They grew well this year after taking a year off last year and just not growing at all.

Unfortunately, I don't think the big ones are flowering size yet. Oh well. Maybe the year after next so...

Cornus kousa for Tina

17 October 2012 16:20:10

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Hi Tina

Here are some photos of Cornus kousa that I took today. It's a bit of a dark, wet day though!

The autumn colour is lovely and I am really happy with it this year.

I've had this tree since 2010 but never remember the colour looking this good. It hasn't flowered for me yet either. Maybe next year...

It was small when it arrived by post in a box from Johnstown Garden Centre but it has grown well.

There are two other photos of it in my October album, (look for 6th and 9th October) when it was just starting to colour up.

Douentza, October 2012

48

16 October 2012 17:25:07
48

48

I'm not sure where they went but I've just planted 48 rooted Persicaria cuttings, mostly at the top of the Persicaria cliff.

I've a few more left so they'll go in tomorrow.

I did the lazy thing - something I never normally do - and I didn't water them in. Well, there's supposed to be rain coming and it's bloomin difficult to water up the top of the cliff.

Calendar 2013

16 October 2012 12:00:48
Calendar 2013

Calendar 2013

Just got the final dates for the calendar. I am inputting them now and will send it off for printing today.

Any last orders?

If not, there's no need to reply to this journal.

Another Beautiful Autumn Day

16 October 2012 11:09:53
Rita D's Pelargonium

Rita D's Pelargonium

It looks like another lovely autumn day.

I'm looking forward to getting out there.

Full Day

15 October 2012 19:08:09
Nerine ? 'Alba'

Nerine ? 'Alba'

It was another lovely day here. The grass was completely soggy and the moisture hung in the air but it was sunny and bright.

I started out intending to plant a few extra Persicaria at the top of the cliff but got easily distracted. In the end I did a good bit of weeding and edging done instead.

Impetuously, I planted out the Melanoselinum from Noelle's seed (wonder how she's doing down under!) and, in a mad fit, planted out the 'back-up Echium wildpretii' that I had bought from Dhu Varren this summer. I had wanted to keep this back-up safe, just in case the half dozen in my garden snuff it. But in a mad fit, I planted it out, on a slope with lots of grit. What was I thinking? Oh well, it's done now!

The white nerines I bought from Lidl in March 2011 have finally flowered. They are beautiful. I just hope they are hardy enough!

PowerWalkers & Hedgehogs

15 October 2012 12:05:12
Disanthus cercidifolius

Disanthus cercidifolius

My house is on a very quiet country lane. That means that there are few passers by - only the occasional jogger or power-walker. And most of these take their hobby very seriously and never look up. All except one woman.

I can't remember her name but, whenever I am down the front of the garden, she stops for a chat. This lady, originally from Dublin, took up walking when she was diagnosed with cancer. She is fanatical. No matter what time of day you take the car out round my neighbourhood, you will see her walking (almost power-walking but not quite). I've seen her at 7am in the morning and she gets all around!

Today I was down the front of the garden and I heard her calling. Did you find my present? she asked. Soon she explained that she had found a hedgehog on the road so had popped it into my garden. That brought such a smile to my face!

And then she was off, complimenting me on the Persicaria ditch and how there was only the occasional weed (:)), marvelling at the nerines and standing on tippy-toe to peer in and comment that she too used to grow figs in Dublin and did I get fruit. And then she was asking had my tree ferns come back in the end and lots of other things. It was all a bit overwhelming with the compliments and not knowing what to say but she has brightened my day already.

Only after she had gone did I think I should have asked her in for a look. I only ever think of this after she is gone because she catches me by surprise, when I'm not expecting to meet anyone, and then it's hard to get a word in with the multiple complements. I must ask her next time!  And where is that hedgehog?

New Plants Person Course

14 October 2012 16:45:20

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Yesterday I started the Plants Person Course at the Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens with Seamus O'Brien.

It had been a long year since I finished up Jimi Blake's course. A long year with no 'plant fix' to look forward to of a Saturday!

It was a crisp, bright autumn day and I arrived half an hour early (eager or what?). Soon the others, including a number of us ie-ers, arrived.

It was a brilliant day, kicking off by looking at the Kilmacurragh collections, propagations and hearing about the history of the place. Seamus O'Brien was indefatigable!

It wasn't just the Latin names, of which he knew every previously revised version and spelled them all, on the fly, without error. And it wasn't his knowledge of dates, although he recited them at will - from the Cromwellian conquest to the re-routing of of the main Dublin to Wexford road to the dates when specific seeds were sent to the Botanic Gardens and by who. And it wasn't just the array of information at his finger tips about Champion Trees and ones whose discovery made botanists rethink the whole classification system and those that are endangered in the wild and at which Botanic Gardens any given species was being preserved, ex situ! It was the whole kit and caboodle!

So, roll on next month :)

More Scruffy Corners

12 October 2012 15:10:40
Phyllostachys aurea 'aureocaulis'

Phyllostachys aurea 'aureocaulis'

There's great light today. I love good light. It always puts me in a good mood.

I tackled some scruffy corners today - a ditch where geraniums are establishing, two newly planted mixed hedges and around some trees. I also weeded and edged a border in the vicinity. It's so much easier to tackle borders as they end up looking well. It's hard to psych myself up for the areas that need doing but aren't going to look great even once they're done.

Hey, has anyone else noticed a load of blackberry seedlings this year? I have lots, the kind that come as gifts from the birds. I never had this before.

By the way, I know I said last call for calendars before but I've had to wait until next week as that's when the ISPA come up with the 2013 fair dates.

This year's calendar has extras too - gardeners' reminders dotted throughout and recognisable by the mortar board icon! They include reminders such as ... last date for rose pruning, Chelsea Chop, time to sow cold seeds, tulip planting time.

So, if you missed out on ordering already, now's your chance.

Garden.ie Club Calendar 2013

Seeds

11 October 2012 20:13:16
Asclepias syrica 'Cornuti'

Asclepias syrica 'Cornuti'

I collected these Asclepias syriaca seeds this summer and was marvelling with my sons at how beautiful they are. The 'parachutes' are so silky and soft.

I'm not sure the plant is worth growing (any one with experience of it?) but , for the moment, the seeds are to be enjoyed.

Messy Corners

10 October 2012 15:53:08
Aster novi-belgii 'Lady in Blue'

Aster novi-belgii 'Lady in Blue'

I made an amazing discovery today. If I scrape the side of my trowel along the tarmac, the moss comes off. Guess what I spent the morning doing?

I also got to neatening up a few messy corners and weeding around some trees.

The asters are looking well now. But only the blues are in flower. The pink one, 'Patricia Ballard', hasn't even opened yet!

Cornus

10 October 2012 10:19:02

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Yesterday when taking photos, I was reminded again of what a great genus Cornus is.

Here are photos of three that look well, in my garden, at the moment.

Names are under the photos.

Hostas

09 October 2012 23:48:56
Unnamed Hosta

Unnamed Hosta

I completely adore hostas in autumn.

Their decay is artistically fascinating, aesthetically pleasing but short lived.

The photo shows an unnamed Hosta - ordinary in summer but stunning in autumn!

Check out my album...

Douentza, October 2012

Verbascum

09 October 2012 22:25:27
Verbascum 'Snow Maiden'

Verbascum 'Snow Maiden'

I just love Verbascum.

This one is a hybrid, known as 'Snow Maiden' and she is a giant, with big cabbagey leaves. Not the prettiest or the most graceful but I adore her as she gives superb height and very pretty asymmetrical flowers.

I usually remove a lot of the lower leaves to allow the plants below to get some light. And often I need to stake (with tree stakes) late in the season.

But I can honestly say that this plant (of which I have many) goes a long way to contributing to the character of my garden.

I hope to bring some seeds to Johnstown for the seed swap.

Douentza, October 2012

Last Call For Calendars

09 October 2012 08:44:37
July

July

Hi everyone,

This is your last chance to buy the Garden.ie Club Calendar, if you haven't done so already.

The cost is €15 plus postage (unless it can be given to you at our Xmas get-together then there will be no postage cost).

I intend ordering the print run on Thursday and there won't be a second one. Thanks.

Here is what the calendar looks like...

Garden.ie Club Calendar 2013

Calendar 2013

07 October 2012 14:04:06
Calendar 2013

Calendar 2013

I have just put up an album with all the Garden.ie Club Calendar 2013 photos. The album also contains the calendar cover and one sample page of the 'dates'.

The calendar (unofficial) is a wall one with the picture on the top and the dates page down below. The dates for June may not yet be complete though as I am still waiting for certain fair and Open Day dates before I can input them and go into production.

If you are having an Open Day next year, please tell me now!

If you would like to buy a copy of this calendar, it will cost €15 plus postage. Please let me know if you want one and haven't already done so.

And if anyone has any good 'people' photos out there (maybe something from the Blarney meet), then I could still find space.

Garden.ie Club Calendar 2013

Autumn

06 October 2012 13:29:01

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While the leaves haven't really started to fall, autumn is definitely here.

Oh well!

I've put up a few photos in my October album...

Douentza, October 2012

Details on the 2013 Calendar, for whoever's interested...

Calendar 2013

I'm off to water my orchids now.

How to Judge a Garden

04 October 2012 23:09:16
yesterday's photo

yesterday's photo

I went to a very interesting talk this evening by Paul Culter (Headgardener of Altamont) who was talking about how he had judged the Bunclody Garden Competition this summer.

It was especially interesting for me as my garden won the Ornamental Garden category and the overall best garden.

The way Paul judged was that he had a maximum of 100 points to give to each garden. The garden with the most points won.

The 100 points were divided into five categories of 20 points each. The categories, earning up to 20 points each, were as follows

1) General Appearance - how well maintained the garden was. This category considered the general impression the garden made, looking specifically at weeding, grass, edges, hedges, deadheading etc.

2) Plant Use & Diversity - judging the gardener's use of plants and whether they were grown in appropriate conditions. The gardeners ability to grow a wide range of diverse plants would earn extra marks.

3) Design - the overall layout and design of the garden was considered, including the successful use of various materials.

4) Cultivation Skills - the ability of the gardener to demonstrate a variety of plant cultivation skills

5) Ornamental Features - judging the use of garden ornaments, sculpture, containers and other features

But the judging was close. My garden earned 87 points out of 100. However, the gardens that came in second and third place got 86 points each! Category one (General Appearance) seems to have been the one that swung it for my garden this year, with the emphasis on maintenance.

It seems I was just one half-moon-edger away from second place. But a miss is as good as a mile in my book :))

The talk came with a slide show and my appetite was really whetted to see some of the other gardens. Especially the one that came in third place as I have never visited it and it looked wonderful.

There may be a Bunclody Local Garden Open Day next summer, giving people a chance to visit some of our best local gardens.

ON A DIFFERENT TACK, FOR DETAILS OF THE 2013 CALENDAR SEE MY JOURNAL BELOW

Calendar 2013

04 October 2012 15:37:22

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The garden.ie 2013 calendar is under production.

The calendar, like last year, is a wall one with a box for each calendar day and a large area for pictures above. The pictures (a few of which are shown here) are ones that were taken at our numerous meetings, Open Days and get-togethers in 2012 and show our club members.

Unfortunately, for reasons that I cannot fathom, the price has increased from last year. This means that this year's calendar will cost €15 plus postage (if it needs to be mailed to you).

Because of the increased  price, I have disregarded any requests so far for the calendar. So, if you do want one, please let me know.

Oh, and if anyone has any garden or Open Day dates for next year, please let me know and I'll put them in. Likewise if you have a gem-of-a-photo hidden away somewhere!

Tropical Plants

03 October 2012 18:46:24

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I'm having a rethink about this whole tropical planting thing.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I love and even prefer tropical plants.

The problem is that when a lot of them get going it's right at the end of the season.

I don't sit out at this time of year and neither does my family as it's too cold and miserable so a lot of plants are wasted really.

Nerine filifolia

03 October 2012 17:41:27
Nerine filifolia

Nerine filifolia

Here is Nerine filifolia, in flower at last.

I bought this bulb as a baby in 2009. It came in the same batch as the Velthemia, pictured two journals below. But the Velthemia is flowering for the second year, while it's the first flowering of the Nerine.

Quite delicate and pretty really.

Too Late the Hero

03 October 2012 17:31:16
Alonsoa, Mirabilis & Calendula

Alonsoa, Mirabilis & Calendula

Here's the Annual Border.

Too late the hero!

Velthemia

03 October 2012 00:48:12
Velthemia bracteata

Velthemia bracteata

This South African bulb is now in flower.

Cornus etc

01 October 2012 19:15:08
Cornus controversa 'Variegata'

Cornus controversa 'Variegata'

There's not a whole lot of gardening happening here at the moment, despite today's good weather.

My son 'bent' a bone in his arm last Friday. It was sore all weekend and we finally brought him to the hospital today where they put it in plaster. He's been very stoic all weekend although obviously miserable.

On my way to the greenhouse today, I took this photo of the Wedding Cake tree, which is finally beginning to fill out a bit and actually looks something like a tree now. You have to live with these things when you buy small!

PS Periwinkle, those are some of your Cyclamen at the base. Thank you :)

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