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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal June 2013

Last Post 1696 days 12 hours ago


30 June 2013 23:13:18


Did anyone else buy the badminton set for sale in Aldi.

It comes with net and all but does take up a bit of space.

We had great fun playing yesterday!

Garden Shots

28 June 2013 16:45:36

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Two more shots of the garden, taken today.

Blood Red

28 June 2013 16:35:13
Blood Red

Blood Red

Here's Dr. Acula, one of our resident gargoyles.

Strange how he has surrounded himself with blood red flowers!

Soft & Romantic

28 June 2013 16:31:49
Soft & Romantic

Soft & Romantic

I love this.

I'm really an old fashioned gardener at heart :)

Martagon Lilies

27 June 2013 23:20:47
Lilium martagon + var. album

Lilium martagon + var. album

The Martagon lilies have been lovely this year and are just beginning to go over now.

I see some Asiatic ones about to take up the baton and bloom

More Peonies

27 June 2013 18:41:00

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Here are three more...


Paeonia 'Jubilejnyi' (possibly my favourite)

Paeonia 'Francoise Ortegat'

Paeonia 'Duchesse de Nemours'

Peony Time

27 June 2013 17:34:33

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Some peonies in flower at the moment.


They are...


Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'

Paeonia 'Seedling Krasnovy'

Sold as 'Red Magic' but clearly not!

Slow Crawl

27 June 2013 14:37:43

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Fran gave you all a quick dash around the garden.

But I can only give you a slow crawl!

Here are some photos of the next bit of my garden - the bit I worked on today.

These two photos show two halves of a circular border. One half has dark leaved planting, known as the Ligularia Bed and the second half is what I call my Prairie Border.

These two beds can get weedy, especially the Prairie side, so I have to stay on top of them. I was very pleased to see that Ligularia have self seeded in many places - a first for me.

It was an overcast sort of day which threatened more rain than it produced.

All Change!

27 June 2013 00:18:24
All Change!

All Change!

I thought this shot of the start of a grass path looked quite enticing. That's Mr Owl to the right.

The blue bearded irises came from one plant originally, which my son Zak (now 20) insisted on buying when he was little.

It's funny to watch the changing of borders over time.

At one stage the border on the right relied on spring bulbs and carnations. The spring bulbs are mostly still there but the carnations are long gone.

The border on the left had a bad problem, where I could get nothing to grow on the concrete and rubble at the front of the border. Aren't geraniums fantastic?

Non Dash Garden Shots

26 June 2013 19:55:04

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I finished off the last area that had to be planted today. It was around the recently created carnivorous bog planters (with the little walls).

I do have plants left to go into the ground but no complete area to plant. Once I've edged and weeded it will become obvious where the gaps are and I can fill them with those plants.

There's a smallish patch of grass that has its cards marked but I'll only deal with it this year when I get everything else done! No rush.

The newly-fixed lawn mower has been busy so, having also finished planting, I attacked the borders - edging, weeding and cutting back.

Thankfully it's not as big a job as I feared and I was pleased with the good chunk I got done. It can't be bad when the majority of the weeding revolves around self-seeded poppies, Lychnis and Verbascum!

I love when you can't actually get into the middle of a border any more because growth is so dense :)

Anyway, here are some photos. I didn't dash. And you're only seeing what I sorted today. There are more photos in the June album...

Douentza, June 2013


25 June 2013 21:39:03
Hordeum jubatum

Hordeum jubatum

My day was spent working with the orchids and moving the last of them out to the greenhouse.

I daren't say it but, touch wood, the lawn mower is fixed!

This is my favourite of all grasses. It is called squirrel grass or foxtail barley. Best stick with the botanical name - Hordeum jubatum.

It is an annual but usually comes through the winter for me.

Garden Views

24 June 2013 22:08:10

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I had a good day gardening.

Besides removing grass and creating a new extension to the border, mentioned before, there was planting, weeding, edging, more planting, mulching, cutting back and dead-heading done.

It is good to see the mass of plants-in-waiting going into the ground.

Added Another Bit

24 June 2013 19:59:40
Added Another Bit

Added Another Bit

I added another bit to this shady border today, just beyond the hardy orchid bit and before the pallets for the pot-tidy.

The great thing about that was that I was then able to plant all the remaining shady plants that I have. It is a personal record for me because two of the plants Paddy and Mary gave me yesterday actually went into the ground today!

Shade is not plentiful in my garden.

I'd better watch out or that border's going to end up running all the way along that boundary :P


24 June 2013 19:40:13


This is Dracunculus vulgaris.

Its flower doesn't last a very long time but it is spectacular.

I love it.

Smith Garden, Wicklow

23 June 2013 19:56:26

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Not the best day here in Wexford/Wicklow but it didn't stop me from going to Terry Smith's Open Day.

Who did I bump into there but Paddy, Mary, Hazel and Elizabeth. It was great to see them all and I had a bit of a chat with Hazel and Terry.

The garden was looking fabulous but Terry's black and white bearded irises really stole the show!

A few photos will follow although the weather played its part in reducing their number.

Periwinkle's Garden

23 June 2013 13:15:49

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My photos of Periwinkle's beautiful garden on her Open Day are now up.

You can view them here...

Periwinkle's, June 2013

The garden is open again tomorrow, as part of the Donegal Garden trail.

If you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

Donegal & Back

22 June 2013 19:00:54

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I went to Donegal and back yesterday, with Fran and Clara, to attend a Periwinkle's Open Garden. Exhausted but happy!

The garden was looking fantastic - soft, romantic, fragrant and well cared for. I will put up some photos in good time.

Myrtle was also there and everyone was in great form.

This means that I've covered the four provinces of Ireland in the last two weeks, to see gardens - Glenleam & Dhu Varren in Kerry, Caher Bridge and Lorna McMahon's in Clare/Galway, Periwinkle's in Donegal and various in Dublin and Wexford.

I wonder is this some kind of garden.ie record!

Geography for Elizabeth

22 June 2013 10:42:06

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Since Elizabeth is looking for garden geography, I thought I'd put this aerial photo of my garden up again.

It was taken in June last year so the place hasn't changed much since then - a few more borders, that's all.

But the place has really come on since Spring 2010, when my son Josh, aged nine, drew the enclosed map :)

Josh's map is upside down, compared to the aerial photo, but he drew in all the important bits - Swings, Greenhouse, Babies' Hill, Shed, Pond, Vegetable Plot (including potatoes), lawn mower (grrr) and Snuggles' grave (our cat who died). You can see all these features in the aerial photo, except the cat's grave. Josh decided that none of the flower borders were worthy of a mention :)


20 June 2013 20:17:41
Mertensia maritima subs. asiatica

Mertensia maritima subs. asiatica

I did plenty of jobs today including clipping hedges, mulching, sweeping and weeding.

Hubby is run ragged mowing with the push mower. Hopefully this Saturday the ride-on will get sorted!

There is lots left to do.

I noticed an infestation of insect that looks like woolly aphids or white fly in two separate places. They are all over one of the Beech hedges and also in the Hellebore Bed (which I started cutting back and spraying today).

There is no way the hedge can be sprayed though as it's far too big. I'll just have to wait for the wind to change!

On the positive, the lupin tree is alive with bees. People in Galway were saying the bee population is noticeably in decline this year. But not in Wexford.

Here's a cute little plant that has just come into flower.


20 June 2013 10:33:37
Pelargonium 'Aztec' and Rita D

Pelargonium 'Aztec' and Rita D

I went to Bloom this year on the Friday and when I was there I got a call from Liga.

Liga is the Pelargonium Queen and had been to Bloom the previous day. She said she had meant to buy Pelargonium 'Aztec' but forgot and would I pick it up for her?

I had made a conscious effort to steer away from that Pelargonium stall because, well, they are pretty irresistible and I find pelargoniums too labour intensive and already have too many this year.

So I bought Pelargonium 'Aztec' for Liga and when I sat down for coffee, assessing my purchases, it was easily the prettiest thing in my haul. I thought about going to get one for myself but decided against.

Well, as you can see, Pelargonium 'Aztec' is still looking wonderful and, while I'm waiting for an opportunity to hand it over, I'm using it as part of my display. I think it looks super with the dark petalled Pelargonium grandiflorum that originated with RitaD. 

I feel trouble brewing!!!!                    

Doing a 'Fran'

19 June 2013 23:54:22

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After a little potting on and planting, I spent a few hours 'doing a Fran'.

Doing a Fran involves arranging pots artistically.

While Fran's famous semicircle didn't work out for me, in the end I was satisfied with what I had done in four different places.

Garden Shot

19 June 2013 23:31:06
Garden Shot

Garden Shot

A garden shot I took earlier.

Tree Lupin

19 June 2013 00:07:38
Tree Lupin

Tree Lupin

Loving this tree lupin right now.

If I am not mistaken, it came from Dick.

More photos...

Douentza, June 2013


18 June 2013 23:45:34


I love the way this Meconopsis goes over.


18 June 2013 17:33:26
Roscoea cautleyoides 'Jeffrey Thomas'

Roscoea cautleyoides 'Jeffrey Thomas'

This is one of the plants I seem to be currently collecting - Roscoea.

This one is an old reliable, Roscoea cautleyoides 'Jeffrey Thomas', looking particularly nice under Rhododendron confetti.


18 June 2013 17:26:45
Veratrum & Hesperis

Veratrum & Hesperis

Another scorcher today. Isn't it wonderful to be able to write that?

Here I am typing with blue fingers from MiracleGro. I've no idea how I get it all over the fingers on my right hand, but I do :P

I spent the day running around like a blue-arsed fly but have so much more left to do. Lawnmower problems are ongoing so hubby has mowed with the push mower and now that the grass has abated all the edges obviously need doing :(

Found a sneaky carex, who appeared from nowhere and grew enormous overnight,  in one of the border. That's the end of him.

The most fantastic scent in the garden now is the Matthiola, despite the old roses coming into bloom. I don't have a good sense of smell but Matthiola is really something!


17 June 2013 21:31:48


I'm absolutely shattered after a full day working in the garden. The weather was glorious though.

First I planted up the ex-annuals border. That took a lot of time and was fiddly as I was being careful not to slice up the tulip bulbs and relocating numerous annual seedlings as I went.

Then I weeded the low ditch - nearly all of it - another big job.

I cut the beech hedge along the drive, deadheaded Geums, Camassia, Veronica etc and did some random pruning for aesthetics.

The saga of the lawnmower continues. You know what, I'm not going to go there!!!

And then a neighbour arrived with a present of a hen!

No photos taken here today so the photo is from Caher Bridge two days ago and shows Dipelta floribunda.

Lorna McMahon's

17 June 2013 00:08:32

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Yesterday, as part of my galavanting out west, I also visited Lorna McMahon's beautiful, mature and enormous garden in Galway Town.

This garden makes excellent use of water and several sections have Japanese themes.

There are many mature trees, walls of Rhododendron blossom and vast swathes of primulas. The enormity of the garden is staggering.

Lorna mentioned that she hopes to launch her own version of the orange Meconopsis cambria next year. It has a deeper, richer colour that the usual one (see photo album that I hope to put up tomorrow) and looks pretty pretty sexy to me. This will be one to watch out for.

Caher Bridge Visit

16 June 2013 22:36:43

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I was delighted to finally make it to Caher Bridge yesterday but nothing had prepared me for the hedonistic treat in store there.

I knew about the Moon Gate beforehand and Carl's clever use of the bridge as 'borrowed landscape', to act as his own private folly, but the reality is so much more than any photo can show. And I was totally unprepared for the terraced area at the back of the house. It completely blew me away!

To say the garden was looking fabulous is an understatement, especially when you consider that we were not graced with any sunshine the whole visit.

A link to the photos is below. Enjoy...

Caher Bridge, Co. Clare, June 2013


16 June 2013 02:04:08

Smith Garden, 23rd June, Get Together?

14 June 2013 10:06:27


I was just wondering if anyone was going to Terry Smith's Open Day on 23rd June on the Carlow/Wicklow border?

Terry's profile name is Sumjak and she has a lovely big garden, full of ornaments and well-grown plants. I've only ever seen it in spring, when it was awash with tulips, so I intend going in summer this year.

I thought it might be nice if a few of us met up.

For the moment I need to do some gardening as I'm off to Clare/Galway this evening to visit Caher Bridge Garden and hopefully see a few orchids on the Burren.

PS It's too hard to find a photo of Terry's just now


14 June 2013 00:17:40

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Not wanting to hog too much of the 'journal time', here is my last post for the evening.

It shows the little cactus that is flowering for me at the moment. It's a cute little one, which isn't prickly, and you can break off pieces and stick them in sand and they just grow. I remember this cactus from when I was at school (which is a very, very long time ago). Sorry, no name again.

Alison (Drumanagh), one of the very first ie-er to visit my garden, brought it to me. Actually, I think it was supposed to be for the kids. Oops :P

I've never had a cactus flower so I'm delighted with it.

And here is the last of my Cypripedium to flower, Cypripedium Ulla Silkens. I think she is pretty perfect.

Another from Rita D

14 June 2013 00:00:49
Another from Rita D

Another from Rita D

This plant was grown from a cutting given to me in 2008 by the late garden.ie member, Rita D. Rita grew a lot of lovely exotic plants and is sorely missed.

I think this plant is Rhipsalidopsis but I'm not sure.

It flowered for the first time last year but it only gave a few flowers. This year there are a lot more.

The flowers open in the sun and have closed slightly for the photo.


13 June 2013 23:26:46


I love this shrub to bits. It is just the bees knees!

It was grown from a seedling given to me by Deborah at Terra Nova in April 2011.

I'm not sure how this is going to fair longer term in my garden as the weather has seen off its two sisters.

But, for the moment, I will revel in its wonderful glory.

Gratuitous Echium Shots

13 June 2013 23:20:29

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Echium wildpretii subsp. wildpretii

Arisaema from Seed

13 June 2013 23:01:24

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Success at last!!!

Here are the first of my Arisaema, grown from seed, to flower.

This seed was sowed back in 2010 so it's been a long haul.

The two in the first picture were from a batch of mixed seed, including A. consanguineum, A. nepenthoides and A. ciliatum. I think they are A. ciliatum but can anyone in the know confirm? They're right little beauties anyway, no matter which one they are.

The second one is supposedly Arisaema consanguineum, silver variety - if I managed to keep the labelling correct over the last three years.

Happy Days!

Dhu Varren, Kerry

12 June 2013 23:31:25

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Last Saturday I slipped away from the kids to visit my favourite Kerry garden, Dhu Varren.

The sun shone and the garden smiled back in its full glory. It was looking fantastic and seemed to have matured, even since last year.

While I was there the first of the exotic butterfly chrysalis in the tropical greenhouse hatched. Mark and Laura import the larva each year but last year was too wet for the poor butterflies to survive.

I spent several hours enjoying the garden and marvelling over the vast range of exotic plants. The names read like the catalogue from some Botanic Gardens in some far flung Mediterranean place, not our very own Kerry!

But the best bit was the lovely long chat over tea and scones with Laura and Mark and listening to talk of their many 'plant travels'. Many thanks to Laura and Mark and to my long-suffering son, who accompanied me.

I will put up an album of photos in time.

Native Plants

12 June 2013 10:13:52

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We're just back from a few wonderful days in Kerry.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled out of the cottage one morning to water the box of seedlings I'd brought on holiday for extra minding (as you do), only to almost stumble across these.

They are Dactylorhiza, native Irish orchids, and there were eight behind the cottage we stayed in, two in the long grass and numerous out on the road. We were in a pocket though because they disappeared just up the road.

I was both delighted and amazed. My son Sammy christened them Doctor Elise as he couldn't pronounce the name :)

Sorting the Greenhouse

12 June 2013 00:12:05

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Today the greenhouse had to be sorted out.

I spent the day feeding/watering the orchids and moving a chunk of them out to the greenhouse for the summer.

I filled a long tray with clay peddles and put it in a portion of the greenhouse which I then painted with a wash to shade the glass. It is my first year using this wash.

I then put the Cymbidium, Pleione and most of the Cattleya out! It felt mad to be painting the greenhouse with a sun-inhibiting wash on such a dull day but we live in hope!

You know, I really have too many orchids!

Here's are some photos taken in and near Glenleam Gardens, Valentia, Kerry on our recent trip (home of Luma 'Glenleam Gold', the original of which we saw). It's a good place for a nice walk with the kids.



11 June 2013 10:42:46
Echium wildpretii & Clianthus

Echium wildpretii & Clianthus

Home again and I'll add a photo once I find one.

OMG, the garden has grown in the last week. I don't think there's an inch of space in any of the borders!

The grass has grown too as the lawnmower was broken so hubby didn't get to mow before we went away :O Maybe I should just learn to love buttecups!

The first thing I noticed coming home at midnight last night was Echium wildpretii - the shortest, at 4.5 ft, is a tower of pink blossom! E. pininana is also in flower and amazing but E. wildpretii almost knocked my socks off.

An inspection this morning revealed that lots of things are flowering for the first time (maybe I should go away more often!) and there is plenty new in the garden too - Cornus kousa, Clianthus, Arisaema from seed sown in 2010, a Cactus (I've never ever had a cactus flower before), Cypripedium Ulla Silkens, irises, Meconopsis, Rhododendron, Primula japonica and lots more.

I had a great break but it's good to be home. There's loads to do but I'm destroyed. I think I need to sleep for about 24 hours!

Gingers & Ricinus

02 June 2013 22:58:37


There is a lot to do in the garden at the moment and I have been feeling rotten with this cold.

Yesterday I planted the gingers - there must be about 15 large ones by now. And today hubby took pity on me and took over and planted the Ricinus communis - all 49 of them!

The Ricinus are so small compared to previous years but the best place for them now is in the ground.

Clianthus and Echium pininana are in full flower. Pelargonium are looking great (Liga would be proud) and surprise, surprise Iochrum australe is in flower!

And there is a mad Viburnum conspiracy going on because the two Viburnum 'Mariesii', obtained from completely different sources and at different times, have flowered simultaneously for the first time :P

No photos taken today so here's one from Bloom!

Bloom Gardens

02 June 2013 00:01:03
Vertical pallets as a green wall

Vertical pallets as a green wall

We can all gripe about the Bloom gardens if we want by comparing them to Chelsea and finding them wanting. 

I didn't go to Bloom to gripe but one thing I will say is that the palette of plants used in the gardens really could be more imaginative!

However, I did love some of the ideas in some of the Show Gardens. I loved the Concern garden (well, most of it) and its exotic planting. I love the Fairy Garden with Cypripedium and beautifully detailed fairy scenes and I loved the other small garden that used wooden pallets as a green wall. What a really exciting idea - I wonder how hard that would be to do at home...

PS I'm not going to upload an album. It takes too much time to upload photos to garden.ie, which is a shame. They are on facebook for whoever is on there.

Check These Out in the Plant Pavillion!

01 June 2013 12:15:06

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Of course we are all looking for different things in Bloom but I thought I would just list a few of the plants that caught my eye this year, in case you are heading off and are similarly interested :)

1) Alstroemeria 'Verona', Kilmurry Nursery. This is a fabulously coloured, tall Alstroemeria that I tried to buy last year when I visited the nursery (Fran, Mary and Paddy may recall this). However, Kilmurry took it off me and immediately chopped it up for propagation material. I was devastated but the kind owners took pity on me and gave me a propagation piece free of charge. It has done brilliantly! Kilmurry have lots for sale this year.

2) Sinningia leucotrichia, The Carnivorous Plant Sellers (sorry, no name). This is an amazing plant that I saw in Dhu Varren Gardens in Kerry last year. It is tender but has soft grey foliage and bright orange flowers. Google it! You will want it. It is expensive though at €9.50 for a small plant. PS It's not carnivorous but is just being sold with carnivorous plants.

3) Podophyllum?, Mount Venus. I spotted this plant on the Mount Venus display. It looks like a podo but I never got to ask what it was. Someone should ask. Maybe they have it for sale.

And I also saw a plant that Jacinta has been after for ages but I am not revealing its location until I know that Jacinta (who's going in today) has successfully bagged one ;-)

Bloom Haul

01 June 2013 11:35:16
Bloom Haul

Bloom Haul

It was my turn to visit Bloom yesterday. I went with my daughter and husband.

First of all, apologies to anyone I met as you may have noticed I've got a really bad cold and my voice is affected.

The first person I met was Joann, by the Eremerus and Allium display in the Plant Pavillion. She was a gal on a mission but we exchanged words of mutual encouragement  before embarking on our separate ways.

Then I bumped into HeadGardener at the Mount Venus stall. He looked like he was going to spend more than €25 there so I have him my voucher from the Irish Garden magazine :)

And that was pretty much it for ie-ers! I chatted to a few people I knew in nurseries but even missed a proper chat with Gerry Daly as he had left by the time I got back to the Irish Garden stall.

So, here's what I got...

1) Trillium kurabayashii, €15, Rare Plants, Ireland (wanted chloropetalum but went with this).

2) Sinningia leucotrichia, €9.50, from the carnivorous plant seller (don't know their name). I saw this plant in Dhu Varren last summer and was completely awestruck!

3) Lewisia cotyledon 'Rainbow', €3, a seller outside the Plant Pavillion, quite fashionable considering the African Concern Show Garden!

4) Eryngium agavifolium, €6, I got this from Terra Nova before and rotted it. Time to try again!

5) Lilium 'Manissa', 5 bulbs for €7, a trumpet/oriental cross of tree lily proportions

6) Gloriosa superba ' Rothschildiana', 5 roots for €5, I chose roots that are in active growth as we all know what happens with the Lidl ones!


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