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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal November 2012

Last Post 1911 days 19 hours ago


30 November 2012 17:10:31


Fran says he doesn't have many flowers left from the garden.

I have a few :)

Well, from the greenhouse.

I wouldn't normally cut flowers but at least we can see them now.

Misty Morning

30 November 2012 10:56:51
Misty Morning

Misty Morning

It was a cold one last night.

Plenty of frost and mist here this morning.

It's the last day in November so I added a few photos to my November album before it closes.

Douentza, November 2012


28 November 2012 20:44:32


Here we go again with a good old-fashioned, winter pastime.

I bought a pack of Hyacinth bulbs and put them in glasses over water. Well, except when I ran out of suitable glass vessels.

The boys helped a bit.

These are going in the cold room, under a bucket to make it dark, until they start to send down roots.

Favourite Photo 2012

27 November 2012 22:46:26
Brugmansia & Helianthemum

Brugmansia & Helianthemum

Maybe I read Hazel's journal slightly wrong!

I thought we were to find our favourite photo of 2012 from our garden.

This is my favourite photo of 2012, taken on 30 June.

I love this to bits!


27 November 2012 16:17:20
Eucryphia 'Pink Cloud'

Eucryphia 'Pink Cloud'

I had been worried that my recently purchased Eucryphia 'Pink Cloud' was not pink at all.

But, good news today.

The blooms at the top of the tree are pink and the ones below white. Probably just a teething problem.

Another Staking Failure

27 November 2012 16:08:29


Yesterday I showed you a staking failure with an orchid.

Here's a little something I prepared earlier :P


26 November 2012 16:05:13
Cymbidium 'Mrs White'

Cymbidium 'Mrs White'

This is what happens when you lack the courage of your convictions.

I wanted to let the flower spike of this cym orchid hand down, as they do in the wild.

But then I started worrying about lack of space and the weight of the flowers!

So, as you can see, the poor plant is rightly confused.

But a flower is a flower, no matter what, in my book!

Winter Walk

25 November 2012 18:29:05

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We went for a walk around Altamont Gardens today.

The leaves are almost finished falling but haven't yet been collected up so it was a kind of in-between time to visit this normally immaculate garden.

There were Viburnum and Mahonia in flower. And one Daphne had a single flower. Other than that, it was the reflections that were the main attraction.

It started to rain when we were down by the 100 steps and we got quite drenched. But it was great to shake the cobwebs away. Then it was cream tea in the Forge restaurant afterwards and every one was happy :)


23 November 2012 17:53:16


Loved this precocious little Hellebore.

Euphorbia x pasteurrii

23 November 2012 17:40:53
Euphorbia x pasteurrii

Euphorbia x pasteurrii

I thought this plant looked lovely in the sunshine today.

Thanks, Bruno.


22 November 2012 23:10:30
Liquidambar styraciflua 'Thea'

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Thea'

Okay, everyone. It's getting on to Christmas. And Christmas has to mean nice gardening pressies for us gardeners.

We ran this thread a few years back and it's time to do it again!

What gardening pressie are you wishing for from Santy?

Me, I want a good wheelbarrow. Okay, okay. I really want millions of really expensive and impossible-to-find orchids. But, failing that, I could really do with a decent wheelbarrow.

The summer before last, when I visited Hosta in Mallow, I wanted to take a photo of her garden. There was a wheelbarrow full of debris in the way (as you would expect in any well-kept garden). So I went over to cheekily move Hosta's wheelbarrow a few feet. Well, the thing nearly floated off the ground it felt so light!!! I couldn't get over it. And it got me to thinking that there must be value to be had from spending money on a decent wheelbarrow.

So what are all you getting?

The One that Got Away

21 November 2012 19:35:12
The One that Got Away

The One that Got Away

I got out at the garden today, clearing the spent annuals from the Annuals Bed.

This has to be done before the tulips can go in.

As I worked I started dreaming about those beautiful red and orange symmetrical expanses of tulips all over again. And now I can't wait!

I found this little rogue Helychrisum in the Annuals Bed and it made me smile. I didn't have the heart to pull it up. It is especially surprising since I haven't grown Helychrisum since 2010 yet there must be dormant seeds still in my earth.


21 November 2012 19:26:58


I thought I'd give you an update on my Lasagna Bed.

For those who remember, it was made last spring. It is the bed to the right in this photo.

I took the membrane off today and Bob's your uncle. It's ready for planting now, although I won't get to it until spring.

I wrote a longer piece on creating no-dig borders in the December Irish Garden, which should be out soon.

Gingers in November

20 November 2012 17:27:44
Hedychium greenei

Hedychium greenei

These gingers is going for broke in the greenhouse at the moment.

I love the flower - just my colour - but these contrary yokes refuse to flower for me in the garden :(

I have Brugmansia in flower in the greenhouse too, which is gas since we had our first hard frost three night's ago. Like in many places, we also had gale force winds two nights ago.

I'm feeling very lazy. Would some kind soul come and plant my tulips for me please?

***** Slugs

18 November 2012 19:41:48


I really, really hate slugs!

Look what one did to this poor orchid that was about to open its beautiful black flower, with pale pink ruff!

I'm not sure the flower spike can make it now!


Bits & Pieces

17 November 2012 16:13:11
Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces

I caught up on a few bits and pieces today, not least of all washing all the labels I have amassed. I had to do it. I had no clean ones left! It was quite a job as some writing was very stubborn!

I also potted up the 22 Mirabils jalapa 'Variegata' that I lifted some time ago. I was going to store them dry but, why take the risk when I have heat in the greenhouse! The same for the Colocasia, if it's not too late for it.

And I even sowed a few seeds. So, not a bad day's work for a Saturday in autumn!

3rd Orchid

16 November 2012 17:10:34
Cattleya forbesii

Cattleya forbesii

This is my third orchid of the season to open.

Sammy won the competition.

The one in his room opened before Josh's!

Last Flowers

14 November 2012 22:28:16

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Click to zoom

I spotted a few last flowers today.

The Sanguisorba is just getting going! It is so late this year!

And I've had value for money with the white nerines...

Cherry Blossom

14 November 2012 14:19:31
Prunus serrulata 'Kanzan'

Prunus serrulata 'Kanzan'

I love the autumn colour of cherry blossom trees.

I still maintain that they are one of the best trees to have.

If they weren't so common, we would all pay kings' ransoms to own one!

They're Coming...

12 November 2012 14:12:47

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Click to zoom

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The race is on as to which orchid will be third to flower.

The boys have one each in their bedrooms, which is about to flower, and every morning they check to see who has won.

Will it be Josh's Cymbidium Mrs White? (All my Cymbidium are hybrids with no cultivar name so we have called them after the characters in our favourite board game, Cludo!).

Or will it be Sammy's small Cattleya forbesii?

It will be a closely fought battle, in any case!




10 November 2012 18:13:02
Cattleya forbesii

Cattleya forbesii

I have a great visit from Carl Wright of Caher Bridge today.

He is great company and a font of information.

It's his second time to visit at this time of year so we said he really should come some time when the garden actually looks half decent. lol :D


Wet Day

09 November 2012 17:22:46
Wet Day

Wet Day

A wet day, round the business end of the garden...

Some Whites

07 November 2012 14:15:30

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I noticed some nice whites in flower around the garden this morning.

Each has its story to tell.

The hardy corn poppy came from the garden of Shelser, a wonderful person and great gardener who used to contribute to this site and left many of us this lovely flower.

The feverfew was rescued from June Blake's dump last July (with her permission). It had been pulled up so had already suffered before I got it. Then I abandoned it to go on holiday, leaving it in a plastic bag. However, it has rallied well and is looking fabulous now, reminding me of why I wanted it in the first place!

The Eucryphia was bought just recently as E. lucida 'Pink Cloud'. It's not looking so pink at the moment so I wonder about the label...


2nd Orchid of the Season

06 November 2012 12:21:34
2nd Orchid of the Season

2nd Orchid of the Season

This is my second orchid of the season to open.

The first bud began to unfurl yesterday morning so I picked up the plant and brought it over to the kitchen table to show everyone.

Only, in my excitement, I dropped the plant!!!

As you can see in the photo, the bud to the right is hanging because it broke in the fall :(  But, at least I have 10 unbrokeen buds to look forward to.

This is another easy orchid, a Cambria (term for an orchid of mixed parentage (usually including Oncidium) coined by the Dutch growers). It was given to me by Liga and has a lovely scent. Unfortunately I have a rotten cold at the moment so can't smell a thing.

View from my kitchen window

05 November 2012 13:06:21
View from my kitchen window

View from my kitchen window

And, following on from Bruno's thread, here is the view from my kitchen window today.

Well, it's the patio doors really but...

Well, that's all your getting...


05 November 2012 12:38:40


Caught this pair having a right old chin wag in the garden this morning!

The one on the left is Miss Anthropy and the one on the right is her boyfriend, Dr. Acula.They're a right pair and they deserve each other.

My teenage son, Zak, named them. He moved them into their latest position (which I'm happy with) last spring. They are very heavy so when he had done that, there were lots of names he wanted to call them ;-)

Pottering About

04 November 2012 18:01:59
Larix decidua

Larix decidua

It was a gusty day here, with torrential downpours. How lucky were we to do our course yesterday instead of today!

It was orchid day so I spent a good while tending to them. Then it was out to the greenhouse to sort out what needs to be put out. Since the greenhouse is being kept frost free, any ungerminated 'cold seeds' need to be ousted.

I sorted most of the pots of ungerminated seeds into crates and carried them to the shade of the big cherry tree. I ran out of crates so there are still some pots in the greenhouse. I wish I had more of those big plastic, latticed crates. They are so handy for carrying things about and keeping small pots together.

Anyway, there's time enough to sort the rest of the pots out.

As I didn't take any photos today, here's a pic from Kilruddery of Larix decidua, Ireland's girth champion larch. It is a really beautiful, majestic tree. But not for a small garden :)

Plants Person Course

04 November 2012 12:23:06

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Click to zoom

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You've already seen the journals from others so I will keep it brief.

We had a wonderful day in Mount Usher, which is a treat at any time of year, especially autumn.

After a great lunch and chat at Fran's, we visited Kilruddery. It was my second visit to Kilruddery and, despite the valid emphasis on how lucky we are that it has survived, I would not be in a rush to visit it again next year. Besides a resolve to plant more beech, there was little I could take from this visit.

This was our second session of six in the Seamus O'Brien Plants Person course. Seamus is a font of knowledge and rare gems of information and I am enjoying them immensely. I do feel, however, that the emphasis is on trees, rather than herbaceous. This lesson and the last have been pretty exclusively about trees and we have the conifer lesson coming up in January. That makes at least three out of six lessons almost exclusively about trees.

But, we learned loads, like why the beautiful mahogany Acer griseum is called 'grey', why the New Zealand Dacrydium cupressinum tree keeps its juvenile foliage for 100 years, and about the recent appearance of killer tree fungi for Chestnut and Ash.

There was an ad hoc and tantalisingly interesting mention of how Irish plants originate from the Iberian peninsula, rather than via the Germany route, as English plants do, and about the two land bridges.

Did I say I would keep it brief?

Mount Usher, Nov 2012

Kilruddery, Nov 2012

Heat & Calendar

02 November 2012 22:54:57
club calendar 2013

club calendar 2013

I finally bit the bullet and have heat in the greenhouse.

I was given an old gas comping cooker for free and some fire bricks for placing over it, to 'hold' the heat. It is on in the greenhouse, at the lowest setting, now and seems to be keeping the greenhouse between 3.9 and 5 degrees. It is going to be a cold one. There's frost outside already - our first real frost this winter!

We had two yokes of gas already from an old barbecue so they are being used in the heater. Of course, since I don't know exactly how much gas was in the cannisters, how much the cannisters cost or how long they will last, it is not possible yet to know if this is a cost effective way to do things. But, here goes.

By the way, due to an unfortunate cancellation, I now have one spare calendar. So if you would like it (photos can be viewed here... Garden.ie Club Calendar 2013), the cost is €15, for collection at our Johnstown get-together, or €17 if you want it posted to you. Send me a message.


02 November 2012 00:09:35
Eucryphia 'Ballerina', Huntingbrook, November 2011

Eucryphia 'Ballerina', Huntingbrook, November 2011

We had to run errands over in Meath today.

Despite very  blatant attempts to get me to look the other way as we passed a garden centre, I saw a lovely-looking one near my brother-in-law's house!

So when we had to run into Dunboyne to get something, I said I'd come if I could be left at the garden centre.

My brother-in-law warned me off ... "don't go there", he said. "Daylight robbery", he said. "In the olden days there were highway men", he said, "nowadays there are garden centres", he said!.

They even tried taking the wrong road on the way to Dunboyne so we wouldn't pass by the garden centre. But I got my way in the end!

I made it to the garden centre for a hasty look round between pick-ups.

And it was a lovely garden centre! Near the  door were five different genera of orchids - guaranteed to put me in the right mood even if my orchid tastes are more demanding than that which  garden centres can provide nowadays. There was a lovely selection of shrubs and, as I had a browse I came across two types of Eucryphia.

I had been looking for Eucryphia lucida 'Ballerina' but I found 'Pink Cloud' and a lovely, well-proportioned tree it was too! I got it onto my trolley just before the phone rang to say the game was up and I was wanted outside.

It pays to persevere and I have a lovely tree to show for it now :)


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