a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal January 2013

Last Post 1813 days 7 hours ago


29 January 2013 18:18:56

Cattleya Bob Betts

28 January 2013 16:40:34
Cattleya Bob Betts

Cattleya Bob Betts


Here's Bob!

Please Sign Petition

27 January 2013 21:27:40

An Post

27 January 2013 14:17:24

Here Comes Bob

26 January 2013 18:45:29

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Meet Bob.

Bob, the Orchid.

Or Cattleya Bob Betts, to give him his full name.

Note the lack of single quote marks. That's correct. It's an orchid thing! Orchids are different, you see, and often don't have single quote marks! I could go into it but I fear I would bore you :)

Bob is fussy about correct nomenclature.

Bob is supposedly one of the best white cattleyas, a cross between Cattleya mossiae and Cattleya Bow Bells.

I first saw photos of Bob on an orchid forum and was awestruck. I quickly asked all sorts of questions, like - can he be grown on a windowsill?

Well, the answer is clearly yes because here he is, coming into flower on my windowsill. Happy Days!


25 January 2013 15:43:39


24 January 2013 19:59:39


I took my Pleione orchid bulbs out of the fridge, where they overwinter, and potted them up today. I have quite a little collection now.

My first Pleione were bought in a packet from Johnstown in 2010, Pleione formosana. When they flowered they had a nice purple colour. Then I saw Liga's Pleione of the same name, which were pink. This was an issue of some interest so we had to do a little swap. Actually Liga gave me a lot of her pink bulbs. Such a good pal :)

Then last spring I bought a  fancy Shantung clone from some company on line and then in autumn Terra Nova had three kinds of Pleione for sale...

...and then Gracedieu went and sent me the catalogue for Butterfield Nursery (the UK National Pleione Collection holders). So, of course, I had to treat myself to two more types.

As I said, quite a little collection!

But I like Pleiones. They are easy enough to cultivate, requiring little attention in summer in the greenhouse. In winter this deciduous orchid is kept in a bag in the fridge and requires no attention. And many types bulk up nicely over time (the bowl in the foreground of the picture is the result of my original Johnstown bulb - even though I've given a fair few of them away!)

PS Hazel, the windowsill wasn't free. I had to relocate some phal orchids to find space!

Photography Indoors

23 January 2013 18:02:48
Photography Indoors

Photography Indoors

No frost today but bitterly cold.

Waiting for another few orchids to open - any day now...

Photography indoors is hard in winter. The problem is the light. I get the best results from early morning light if the plant I am photographing is on a window that catches it. Otherwise it's best to take the plant outside. But you can't do that with more delicate plants. The tripod isn't that useful.

And I need to find a large black sheet to put behind orchids for background. The cover of the book I use is not satisfactory any more. It's mostly to small.

Just musing really...

The Difference a Day Makes

22 January 2013 17:30:31
The Difference a Day Makes

The Difference a Day Makes

Sunshine yesterday.

Frost today.

Must be January!

New House Plants

21 January 2013 19:17:23

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I picked up these two new house plants today.

I love Begonia rex but can never get the hang of them. I either give them too much light or, if they survive that, I kill them thorough over-watering. But when I saw one going for €2.99 I thought I'd give it another lash. The leaves are second to none.

And I also picked up this asparagus fern. I had to have it. This one reminds me of my Mum, who used to grow it and I remember we had one in the hosue for years and years when I was very little and it was always pristine. The pot I've put it in was Mum's too so I thought that was very apt.



Azaziel & Peach

21 January 2013 14:44:00

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Couldn't believe it. Sunshine!

I love sunshine.

Our hens are loving it too. Azaziel and Peach are allowed full freedom in the garden in winter.

But, unfortunately, soon we'll have to restrict them. They're already beginning to scratch where they shouldn't and re-arrange the earth and grass.

They do like it underneath my Trachycarpus fortunei, where they've made themselves a nice little dust bath!


Remember Summer?

20 January 2013 15:35:58
Remember Summer?

Remember Summer?

I was reminded of the summer today when I got my hands on this aerial photo of the garden, taken June last year.

I'm really delighted to have it.

Must be the recession because we could never afford one of these photos before yet someone came by and sold it real cheap today.

But, roll on summer! I want my garden back!

Hanging in there

20 January 2013 15:29:15
Hanging in there

Hanging in there

Some sleet fell here today and a bit of drizzle.

We may escape the worst of this harsh-snap, according to met Eireann.

The echiums have their fingers (or, should I say, leaves) crossed.

For Myrtle

20 January 2013 15:23:01

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Here you go, Myrtle.

I took photos of the daffodil currently in flower in my garden.

Actually, it's not technically in my garden but on the grass verge just outside.

I sought out these daffs as they are early flowerers and called 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'. But they don't usually flower until February.

There's a bit of slug damage but they're holding their own.

Daffs Before Snowdrops

19 January 2013 13:59:35
Pinus wallichiana

Pinus wallichiana

On a tour of the garden this morning, I was delighted to see some snowdrops in flower. Not fully opened but in flower. They are ones in the shade of a deciduous bush and I hadn't been looking for them. I'd been looking for the ones that I planted more centrally to enjoy, but those are just green stems so far.

Isn't it gas because I have a swathe of daffodils in full flower at the front of the house? I think it's very funny the way my daffodils are up before the snowdrops!

So I then ran to inspect my early irises but couldn't see them. On closer inspection, they are just emerging. So I started weeding around them. And before I knew it I'd weeded two beds, with an un-gloved hand, no kneeler, unsuitable clothes and the camera bouncing around my neck :)

That's my first weeding of the season, albeit a bit impromptu.

Orchid Morning

18 January 2013 14:46:51

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I was very pleased when Tina said she could make it to my place for an orchid morning today.

Tina is just about as mad about orchids and myself and Liga :)

Anyway, we had a great old time and natter and talked lots of 'orchid'.

Thanks for coming, Tina.


16 January 2013 00:27:53
Pelargoniums & Hoya

Pelargoniums & Hoya

Yesterday I got out and potted up any of the Johnstown plants that came in bags.

It was bitter but the job was soon done.

Then, since I had the compost out, I potted on a few Pelargonium cuttings from the house, which had been doing well.

The cuttings in the greenhouse are best left alone but the ones in the house had grown and needed space. Lucky I had one windowsill left for them!

See, Liga, I am taking care of my pelargoniums this year!

Guess What?

14 January 2013 19:00:06
Guess what I bought at Johnstown?

Guess what I bought at Johnstown?

Well done, Hazel. A resounding success! What a super job!

Not to forget the fluidity and good-organisation of Deborah, Bruno, Conrad and Joann. You were all super duper! Although those naughty boys did wind me up, letting me think for a few minutes that I got no Kris Kindle :0

And weren't Jacinta's badges works of art? Only outdone by her actual art display on the wall!

It was good of Gerry Daly to come and I know everyone was delighted to meet the man behind it all.

Thanks a million to the many people who gave me lovely plants. I got some real gems yesterday. And, like Terrishoots, I then felt obliged to treat myself in Johnstown because of all the money I'd just saved through fellow ie-ers' generosity :)

But, hey, didn't they have some nice things in Johnstown? Those new Kennedy primroses were very grabbable and all those small perennials for €4 just couldn't be ignored! I was so impressed with the selection of orchids that, of course, I had to buy one :)

But, like many others, the main thing that struck me was what a lovely bunch of friends I have! I feel very honoured to be able to call you all my friends.

And what a considerate and thoughtful lot you are too. I think Elizabeth already mentioned how one of her throw-away comments resulted in multiple Ajuga divisions. Well I had the same thing and, only mentioning once that I'd forgotten to buy foxglove seed, I found myself being offered them by several very thoughtful people.

Big, big thanks! XX

Plants Person Etc

12 January 2013 19:01:28

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I was at Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens today for the penultimate Plants Person session.

The morning was intense, with the conifer identification workshop. The intensity would have been fine if we had not already done so much on trees in previous sessions. My feeling was that it was information for its own sake without much reference to ornamental gardening. But enough moaning.

It was great fun meeting everyone and we had a good laugh over lunch. Fran was clearly seen tapping his watch in admonishment as myself, Mary and Bill rolled back from lunch a full three minutes late :O

But by the afternoon the cold began to make me feel very unwell and it was 'crash and burn' syndrome for me. Although generally known for my perseverance, I decided to call it a day and left about 2:30.

I was feeling really rough on the way home but decided I needed something to put a more positive spin on the whole day. So I dropped into Van de Well Nurseries in Aughrim en route and what did I find there only Sciadopitys verticillata, one of the conifers we had looked at in the morning.

Of all the conifers we looked at today, there were only two that I would want to get for my garden and this Umbrella Pine was one of them. So I had to buy it and I did.

See you all tomorrow. PS I have one or two spare Abutilon vitifolium (white) for Johnstown. If anyone wants one, tell me now. And I still have some books and seeds available from my journal below.

Getting Organised

10 January 2013 22:37:30
Aeonium arboreum

Aeonium arboreum

The thing I hate about get-togethers is organising all the swaps. Actually the thing I hate is the thought of getting out there with the spade in this weather. Brrr! But it is never very hard once you get to it.

And today I got to it. So all my swaps are together in the one spot now, pots wiped and tray washed for carriage. I even wrote all my labels.

Roll on Sunday at Johnstown :)


Books & Seeds

09 January 2013 23:52:51

Remember Jack Frost?

09 January 2013 12:12:56
Remember Jack Frost?

Remember Jack Frost?

My goodness but I was getting used to that constant night and day temperature of 10 degrees! I had almost forgotten about the existence of Mr. Frost. But now he is back to remind us and this morning I'm wondering what this hard frost will have 'seen off' in my garden.

But, of course, gardens look beautiful bathed in clean, white frost, with a touch of moody shadow, so out I went with the camera this morning. And I am sure I will not be the only ie-er to post photos today :)

Douentza, January 2013

Christmas Get-Together

08 January 2013 00:58:16

Cluedo & my 10th Orchid

07 January 2013 17:40:09
Cymbidium Prince Azure

Cymbidium Prince Azure

My 10th non-phal orchid is now almost open.

This one is another cold orchid, a Cymbidium. Being an unnamed hybrid, like all my cyms, I took the liberty of christening them with character names from the popular board game, Cluedo.

I don't know if the RHS will approve but this is Prinze Azrue! Yes, I know, the flowers aren't azure, or even blue. But Prince Azure wears a yellow jacket in Cluedo so his colour is yellow, despite the name. Look, you just have to go with it!

Anyway, Prince Azure is much smaller than my other cyms, probably a mini. Dick and Bruno, this is the one I gave you!

Fran may remember Prince Azure too as he kindly offered to pick this orchid up for me in Woodies, way back in 2010, when I hardly knew him :)

Around the Garden

03 January 2013 15:54:32

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I took another trip around the garden today.

Mostly it was because I had seen that the daffodils at the front of the house are up.

This daffodil, 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation', doesn't usually bloom until February so it's great to see it so early.

Also looking well were the witch hazel and cow slips.

Winter Crossword

03 January 2013 11:53:10

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

It's party time on garden.ie.

Time to take out those santy hats, wrap your Kris Kindle, check your swaps and sort out your spare seeds!

Our annual get-together will soon be upon us.

So, to get us all in the mood, I've prepared a winter crossword.

No cheating now by clicking the 'solve' button on each clue!

Hope you enjoy it.


PS The photos show the fun and frolics from Xmas get-togethers in 2009, 2010 & 2011.




Winter 2012-2013 Gardening Crossword

Best Gardening Product 2012

03 January 2013 10:45:03

More for Johnstown

02 January 2013 19:34:19

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I had a look in the greenhouse this morning and have the following plants to bring to Johnstown. Let me know who wants them. As usual, first come first served...

Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex'  X 2 (slightly tender plant that will get enormous)

Saxifraga stolonifera X 2 (running, climbing ground cover)

Sarracenia hybrids X 2 (carnivorous, requiring bog conditions and rain water only)

Dianthus 'Flashing Lights' (ground cover)

Physalis peruviana (large tender plant, bearing edible cape gooseberries)

Seeds - white tree lupin and Ligularia

Monstera deliciosa - an already large specimen, house plant


And already promised and bringing...

Bruno - Melanoselinum decipiens & Dianthus 'Flashing Lights'

Elizabeth - Dianthus 'Flashing Lights'

Joan G - Curious Gardener (for a lend)

Clara, Hosta & Fran - Pelargonium 'RitaD'

Jemo - Abutilon vitifolium

Pwiseman - plastic cover for Aldi greenhouse

Damo - return of Piet Oudolf book

Scrubber, JoanG, Kate & Graham, Keego, Pwiseman, YellowRose, Moya, Hosta - calendar


To anyone that I promised seed, it has been a bad year so... sorry.

Raffle -  I will be bringing one large (and probably flowering) Hedychium greenei for Hazel's raffle. It is a tender ginger so if you win and don't have a greenhouse, please choose something else!

For Johnstown

02 January 2013 00:37:48
Rita D's Pelargonium 16.10.12

Rita D's Pelargonium 16.10.12

For Johnstown I have some rooted cuttings of the beautiful Pelargonium pictured.

I don't have a name for it but this one is from a plant originally owned by garden.ie member RitaD, who sadly passed away.

I think it would be nice for people to grow it and remember her.

I think I have five cuttings but will need to check tomorrow. Please let me know if you want one.

Get Together & Irish Garden of December

01 January 2013 14:21:57


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