a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal March 2013

Last Post 1791 days 11 hours ago

Last Session

31 March 2013 14:38:41

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I went to the last session of the Plants Person course in Kilmacurragh on Saturday.

We looked at spring bulbs and spent the morning in Kilmacurragh and the afternoon in Mount Usher.

I had never seen Mount Usher at this time of year and it was spectacular, with seas of Scilla bifolia interspersed with Anemone nemorosa. There were masses of erythroniums too and there were the biggest swathes of trilliums I've ever seen anywhere - ever!

But I was ill prepared and forgot my notebook, pen and spare batteries. Unfortunately the camera batteries ran out soon after reaching Mount Usher :(

It was great to end the course on a high.

All gardeners should get their asses down to Mount Usher right now!

The bulbs may not be that interesting to non-gardeners but the rest of us should not miss out!

Kilmacurragh, March 2013

Mount Usher, March 2013

Back from Limerick

31 March 2013 02:07:09
Terra Nova

Terra Nova

I got back from Limerick yesterday and what a super time I had!

The Limerick Garden Club is such a great audience and I had support from some good friends.

Deborah and Martin couldn't have been nicer and poor Martin so unwell...

After a successful talk (which I think people liked), it was back to Deborah's, where all the problems of the gardening world were solved!

The next day I was treated to a trip around Terra Nova. It is so nice to see great gardens like Terra Nova at non-peak times, when you can better see the structure and how a garden is composed.

Terra Nova, March 2013

I came away with a few treats and also bought a few garden ornaments in the famous TK Max with Deborah afterwards.

So anyone in a Gardening Club who is looking for an exciting talk on annuals, you know how to contact me!

Off To Limerick

27 March 2013 15:59:48
Off To Limerick

Off To Limerick

Well, I'm nearly off to Limerick!

And maybe I'll see some of you tomorrow night (28th) at the Southcourt Hotel at 8pm for my talk on Exciting Annuals.

Looking forward to it and to catching up with Deborah and Martin :)


Grass Verges

26 March 2013 17:18:20

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Just in case anyone thought I was obsessed by orchids, they can now see from the journal title that I am capable of talking about other things too.

Oops, how did those orchid photos get in here?

Anyway, there was fear, followed by much relief today when I got a knock on the door (no, not the heating oil. That arrived this morning). It was two workmen, asking if I was the woman who maintained the grass in front of the house. I feared the worst.

A wind farm is being built near here and they've been widening our road to get the windmills through. I feared for the daffodils planted out front.

Anyway, imagine my relief when they announced that they were only planning to tarmac across the road from us and would leave our grass verge alone. They were asking as a courtesy in case I'd been planting across the road too! I'm not sure what would have happened if I'd objected as the grass verges aren't mine anyway.

Anyway, my grass and my Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' are safe.

My Orchids


The Things I Do For Orchids

26 March 2013 16:56:57
The Things I Do For Orchids

The Things I Do For Orchids

Maybe I shouldn't go into too much detail, lest you think I'm a complete fanatic!

Suffice it to say that several trips have been taken over the last two days, on the basis of a tip-off from Tina.

And look at the result.

Here are my two newest orchids!

They have no names but are clearly Cattleya (my favourite genus).

They are to be named Captain Crimson & Betty Boop (because they are nice mature names). Betty is currently my favourite orchid.

Thank you, Tina!

Great Visitors

24 March 2013 20:29:31

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Liga came to visit today and it was just super to see her again.

Unfortunately no heating oil meant that the warmest room started out at 8.9 degrees and climbed to a toasty 10 by the time Liga arrived :P

We had a great time regardless and chatted and even braved a trip around the garden!

Liga reminded me that she had visited last March and we had also been 'just out' of heating oil. We are soooo rumbled - we never buy heating oil really - we only pretend it has just run out when people come visit :D

Anyway, Liga agreed that I shouldn't water my orchids just yet. But the one advantage was that I was able to bring my pleiones down from the cool of the bedroom to the kitchen, which is now suitably cool for them! See - there are advantages to everything!

Sorry, no photos of people as we were all wrapped up to be wider than we were tall!


On Strike!

23 March 2013 17:28:50

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I am officially on strike today.

On strike for better weather!

Our heating oil ran out and it's 10 degrees in the warmest room.

Normally heating oil running out in March is fine but this year it is!

I don't even feel like it could be right to water my orchids it's so cold!

Yesterday I potted on some pelargoniums, repotted an orchid and potted up my new plants that arrived in the post.

And today I'm completely on strike.

Spring Treat

22 March 2013 23:22:14
Spring Treat

Spring Treat

They arrived today.


All potted up now :)

Gentiana Silken Night
Saxifraga fortunei Go-Nishiki
Anemone nemorosa Parlez Vous
Anemone obtusiloba Large Blue
Anemonella thalictroides Oscar Schoaff
Erythronium White Beauty
Roscoea purpurea Dalai Lama
Syneilesis aconitifolia
Saxifraga fortunei Mt Nachi

Indoors Miscellany

21 March 2013 15:59:24

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

A very blustery, cold, wet day.

I didn't dare bring my seedlings out to the greenhouse for fear I'd loose them on the way in the wind.

Cattleya Bob Betts is still looking good and smells wonderful. Hubby says it's his favourite orchid.

And I just can't believe this Velthemia. It is going to flower again!!!

It has been non stop flowering, or preparing to flower, for this bulb for months.

The bulb isn't bulking up and making more but the flowers are a joy.

I'm expecting Jacinta's Cymbidium, Miss Scarlet, to open very soon.

And where is the postman with my spring treat???

Still Hanging in there...

20 March 2013 14:26:46
Still Hanging in there...

Still Hanging in there...


And Echium wildpretii is still hanging in there.


There are a few more photos in my March album...


Douentza, Mar 2013

Bamboo Again

20 March 2013 14:23:04
P. aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

P. aureosulcata f. aureocaulis


This is a better photo of the bamboo, with a little sunshine to bring out the yellow!

Buddha & The Bamboo

19 March 2013 18:27:27
Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Another bitterly cold day here in Wexford, complete with hail.

I did a little tidying up and pruned my bamboo.

It's so cold now that I'm afraid to lay my mulch for fear of 'trapping in the cold'.

Our hen, Peach, got into the greenhouse and destroyed a few seedlings that I was hardening in there. I wouldn't begrudge her the odd Petunia or Cosmos but I am very grumpy at the tree dahlia seedlings she took! She didn't take them all though, thankfully!

I suppose it's good to have something to moan about :P


19 March 2013 18:04:37


Today was the day for dealing with the Arisaema I've grown from seed, planted in 2010. A big thank you once again to Deborah Begley for the seed and expertise to see me through this :)

I have a mixed bag of results - loads of bulbs but all are smaller than I would have hoped!

1) One Arisaema speciosum (I know what went wrong here - my bad!)

2) Four  A. tortuosum - 2 large 2 small bulbs

3) A bounty of A. consanguineum (silver form).

I potted the biggest 13 up individually and have all these little bulbs over (top plate in the picture).

I don't know if any of the 13 are big enough to flower this year but it looks like I am going to be able to have wall-to-wall A. consanguineum in the new border next year! Happy days!

4) A selection of mixed bulbs.

The label said A. consanguineum/nepenthoides/ciliatum and there certainly is a variety of bulbs (on plate at front of picture).

I wonder if the long ones are A. nepenthoides? I wonder if some of the bigger ones are near flowering size?

Anyway, tomorrow I will try to separate them by type and plant them up in clusters, as Deborah suggested!

Happy Days :)

Indoor Day

18 March 2013 17:51:54

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

It is really cold outside and was raining for a lot of the time so I spent the day indoors.

But I was productive and potted on my Ricinus into bigger pots.

Although they're not as advanced as I'd like at this stage, I do have 49 of them so it should be a good year for Ricinus!

And I sowed 14 new types of seed, from Aralia elata to Bupleurum rotundifolium.

My biggest orchid opened. It is Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise and has five spikes, each with 4-5 buds. So you can expect another photo later when it's in full flower.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

17 March 2013 11:58:59

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom


Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Variegated Borage

17 March 2013 11:44:56
Variegated Borage

Variegated Borage

I was given seeds for this wonderful variegated borage by Deborah last year.

It made a lovely plant and did great in my Annuals Border.

But when it came to collecting seed, t was a disaster. Last autumn in general was a disaster for me with seed collection - too much rain. And, although I collected some seed from the borage, I knew it wasn't viable.

So, imagine my delight to see three little plants of the variegated borage spring up near where the parents had been :)

Aroids & Lilies

16 March 2013 20:47:34
Aroids & Lilies

Aroids & Lilies

Despite a misty start, it was a glorious spring day.

This afternoon was spent potting. First I dealt with the calla lilies and Amorphophallus. I brought the Amorphophallus indoors (nine pots) and put them on heat to get them going!

Then I set to potting on the numerous lilies that I've grown from seed or bulbils. I am really pleased  to see that I now have a whopping 14 large pots of tiger lilies, which will hopefully flower this year. I will really enjoy finding places to put some extra orange umph in the garden.

I also potted on some Lilium formosanum 'Pricei', Iris unguicularis 'Mary Bernard' , Gladiolus tritis and some other bits.

Seeds are germinating by the day in the greenhouse now - Stewertia came up today!

Also, I got delivery of cocoa husk mulch but am heartbroken to learn that Cadbury's is discontinuing this manufacturing part of their operation in Ireland so soon there will be no more :(

The photo's from a few days ago.

Camellia Hedge

15 March 2013 23:29:48
Camellia Hedge

Camellia Hedge

Speaking of plants finally settling in, it looks like my Camellia hedge has finally turned a corner and is looking very promising.

The leaves are looking green and glossy and there are loads of buds. Okay, some of the bushes are still quite small but that's what you get when you buy small!

If you look hard you can see the Libertia I talked about two journals ago to the left!

Sorry about the splodge on my lens (as in the last photo).

Neurotic Old Biddy

15 March 2013 19:27:17
Tulipa 'Giuseppe Verdi'

Tulipa 'Giuseppe Verdi'

I was like a neurotic old biddy today.

I noticed that the main tulip display is poking up at last and there were a few weeds. There were other things to do in the garden but I realised that once the tulips were up any distance, it would be impossible to weed. So I weeded it. But that's not the neurotic bit!

I then looked up at the two crab apple trees in that border. They are Malus 'Golden Hornet' and have lovely golden apples in autumn.

But (and this is a real draw-back with this tree) the tree has a terrible habit. It holds on to its apples, even after they shrivel up into brown mummies! And when the flowers open they are all spoilt because of the brown shrivelled apples beside them.

If the trees were in a less prominent place, I would ignore this problem. But I can't really when they are slap bang in the middle of my main spring display.

So, there I was, like a neurotic biddy, snipping all the little apples off, individually. As I snipped, I remembered having to do the same thing last year :P

I did do some other work but then capped it all off by dead-heading the daffs at the front of the house. It was that sort of neurotic day!

PS the photo shows kaufmania tulips, not the ones mentioned above.

Libertia & Sambucus

14 March 2013 17:49:34
Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra'

Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra'

I did a little bit of gardening today, sweeping up some displaced mulch and pruning a very large elder.

Then I worked on the Long Border, not from the position I'd been working on before but from one of its three arms!

In 2010 I planted Libertia peregrinans, that Mary and Paddy gave me, at a corner of this border and it just seemed to sulk. It was so disappointing because that plant looks fabulous in Gracedieu. However, a little while ago I noticed that it was looking stronger and today I see that it is finally spreading and looks bushy and healthy. Hurray and thank you Mary and Paddy!

I noticed plenty of other exciting things poking up in the garden - trilliums and the third set of erythroniums.

And Rheum nobile germinated for me. Hopefully, second time lucky with this plant.

Prosthechea cochleata

12 March 2013 21:09:54
Prosthechea cochleata

Prosthechea cochleata

I love the way this orchid opens.

See how the green covering splits to reveal the dark centre! It looks like Cinderella's carriage.

And then the green folds downwards to form the little legs under the dark centre!

Multi-tasking , at its best!

I have two flowers spikes on this one now.


11 March 2013 14:20:15
Eremerus & Tulips

Eremerus & Tulips

It was very windy here last night and the wind was coming from a different direction to normal.

The first casualty was a large Euphorbia 'Silver Swan' that Hazel gave me some time ago. Some of my bamboo was down too and the fleece I had wrapped around my echiums was across the garden. The tent pegs I had used to secure it had ripped through the fleece.

On the positive, I was pleased to see that Chionodoxa is not lost and is now up, as is the first big Fritellaria.

And the early kaufmanniana tulips are not blind! (I mentioned my suspicion of tulip blindness to the boys last week and they thought I'd lost it completely).

A lot of plants are much slower than last year at coming.

See the hint of red on the tulip in the photo!

Spring Treats

10 March 2013 13:53:42

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

As it's Mothers' Day all the boys had to come out to the garden to look at my Erythroniums, which are nearly open, and the sneaky Hacquetis, which sprung up without me noticing before.

It is perishing cold though and we all ran back inside pretty quickly.

I did take some new photos though and have added them to my March album...

Douentza, Mar 2013

I was delighted to see at least two buds on Ypsilandra thibetica. I was disgusted when Mary recently posted photos of this plant in full flower as I thought mine had snuffed it. But no, Wexford is just slower than Waterford!

By the way, isn't it the best name imaginable - Ypsilandra?

Corydalis solida

10 March 2013 13:33:35

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I lot of people have posted on here about Corydalis. It is a great little plant for early colour and it soon disappears for summer.

I wanted lots of this early-flowerer a few years back so, instead of forking out for expensive individual plants like the red 'George Baker', I bought 100 small Corydalis solida bulbs.

By the next spring the first had come into flower and now, a few years later, I have substantial patches of these funny little flowers in my spring border.

Of course I have no control over colour, and some of the pinks are a bit wishy-washy, but the plants have made a pleasing spangle of colour and I wouldn't be without them.

Fleece & Pots Out

09 March 2013 17:36:32
Fleece & Pots Out

Fleece & Pots Out

The weather is due to dip and there's an Arctic spell on the way.

I fleeced up my echiums (again) and put upturned pots over emerging tenders.

Nearly forgot to bring my newly bought earthenware pots under cover! I had left them by the back door. But they're safely in the greenhouse now!

It was an orchid day today. Very annoyed with myself! I managed to break a new shoot on a Cattleya. It might have been the one that was going to flower :(

Pleione Shantung etc

08 March 2013 17:05:22

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

I bought this little Pleione Shantung last year.

But I made a mistake with the cultivation and it aborted the flower bud.

Looks like I have the hang of it this year.

Also shown is my Pleione formosana display. So pleased with them.

And Pleione Etna, which is new for me

Garden Pan

06 March 2013 12:15:42

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

From the upstaris bedroom this morning, I took these photos of the front right of my garden. This is the bit I can see from the bedroom.

There are four photos, which pan from left to right (with a slight overlap) and here are the first three of them. You'll have to go to my March album to see all four...

Douentza, Mar 2013

The rain makes everything come up nice and green.

Pleione formosana

06 March 2013 09:41:02

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

If you buy Pleione bulbs then you will probably end up with this one, Pleione formosana.

Pleiones are pretty, a-bit-hardy orchids that flower in spring.

But look at the variation you can get within the formosana species!

A while ago I swapped a few bulbs with Liga. I had the purple P. formosana, in the first photo, and she had the pale pink one, in the second photo.

I would like to hear from Myrtle, Elizabeth and Eilish (and anyone else who grows them), when theirs flower. Let's see how much variation we have!

I have more exciting pleione varieties to follow in the next days :)

My Orchids

Clouds & Hens

05 March 2013 18:21:35
Clouds & Hens

Clouds & Hens

It was outdoors for me today to try and take advantage of the last dry weather.

I got a good chunk of the long border sorted and a few other bits and pieces done. I saw my Erythronium leaves are up - two types. That made me feel happy.

The photo shows my cloud-pruned tree, which is right in the middle of the long border. You will need to look in my March album to see a non close-up!

I am quite pleased with its progress - it's about 4ft now. Okay, the branches could be more horizontal, but it's not bad! You only get to see it at this time of year because soon it will be blocked by herbaceous plant growth. But one day it will be big enough to stand above them and then I will be glad I went to the trouble to do it!

Hubby spent a lot of time erecting a fence around a large area for our hen to run free. When put in it, the first thing she did was to go over to the edge and climb down the cliff into the garden, like a goat! She made a right mess too, having a dust bath in a raised bed and scattering earth onto the tarmac :P We'll have to sort something better out.

Nice Shrub

04 March 2013 14:45:11
Daphniphyllum macropodum

Daphniphyllum macropodum

This is a nice shrub. It is called Daphniphyllum macropodum.

I had seen it in a few gardens and yearned for it but had to go to Crûg Farm in Wales to get one for myself.

Hopefully it will get big and bushy over time.

Cloud Pruning (again)

04 March 2013 14:22:54
Cloud Pruning (again)

Cloud Pruning (again)

I planted another two of the box balls for the cloud pruning area but then went on to do some clearing, weeding and edging.

Although it's not all planted yet, you can see from this photo how it will be.

That's my son, painting in the background. He'd wouldn't be pleased if he knew I'd put his photo up.

Douentza, Mar 2013


03 March 2013 17:21:09
Pelargonium 'Ardens' (net photo)

Pelargonium 'Ardens' (net photo)

Okay, the photo isn't mine! I don't have pelargoniums in flower at the moment. But this one, Ardens, is the one I'm looking forward to seeing most this summer. Isn't it a smasher?

Today I potted up my remaining rooted pelargoniums. The ones I did earlier are nice and bushy now as I've been pinching out the tips. The newly potted ones have a way to go but I should have a nice display this year.

The ones I'm growing are Ardens, Oldbury Duet, Vancouver Centennial, Concolor Lace, Orange Fizz, the unnamed dark one from RitaD and an unnamed pink double. I think I also have another unnamed one that Liga gave me recently.

Can't make my mind up

02 March 2013 17:00:34
Pachyphragma macrophyllum

Pachyphragma macrophyllum

I can't make my mind up as to whether I like this plant I grew from seed or not.

It came highly recommended, from two sources, and is quite an easy plant.

It likes shade, flowers early and is low maintenance.

I saw the March Irish Garden featured it but it just strikes me as very boring!

I've give it another season before making up my mind, I reckon.

Lawn Mowers & Tomatoes

01 March 2013 20:54:23
Dendrobium Spring Dream 'Apollon'

Dendrobium Spring Dream 'Apollon'

Well, the cloud-pruning area still isn't planted. I am so remiss!!!

But the lawn mower is fixed. In the end it costed €17 but involved help from a resourceful brother-in-law from Meath who was paid with a meal of spaghetti meatballs and advice on sowing vegetable seeds.

And, finally, I sowed a few more seeds - to take the place of the ones that have germinated and migrated off the heat mats. Hubby even convinced me to sow some tomato seeds for him!


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