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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal July 2013

Last Post 1571 days 22 hours ago

New Ornament

30 July 2013 23:18:48

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Hey, what do you think of my cool new ornament.

It's a solar powered Buddha!

I think he's the business!

Tina's Visit

29 July 2013 21:37:31
Helenium 'Waldtraut'

Helenium 'Waldtraut'

I had a visit from Tina today and we spent a good relaxing time walking around the garden chatting.

It was great to catch up and talk about real gardening because soon enough we'll be into "orchid o'clock" all over again and, as we all know, this affliction hits myself and Tina quite badly :)

And I would just like to say a big thank you , Tina, for the presents you brought. There was absolutely no need but I am really delighted.

After Tina left I planted out the last of my Echium and Verbascum seedlings and some Erigeron karvinskianus that had also been raised from seed.

Plants People Asked About

29 July 2013 14:08:37

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I thought I would put up a little journal about some of the plants people asked about at the Open Day.

Maybe others, who didn't come, are interested in them too.

1) Paulownia tomentosa

These are magnificent trees that can be treated in one of two ways. Either...

a) Leave the tree to grow and it will grow tall and produce flowers or

b) Do as I have done in my garden and pollard these trees every spring. As a result the trees grow tall and produce leaves of massive dimension.

A real show-stopper that can be easily managed in a small space or used to create that jungle effect.

2) Veronicastrum 'Album'

This is a lovely perennial with a candlestick like habit. It is very neat and tall.

There are a lot of mediocre veronicastrums out there so make sure you see it in flower before buying. I got this one from Kilmurry Nursery last year.

3) Monarda 'Croftway Pink'

I spotted this beautiful Monarda in Altamont the day before my Open Day. I bought it and it was planted about twenty minutes before Myrtle arrived :)

I love the contrast of the pale pink flowers against the darker bracts.

Open Garden

28 July 2013 12:02:16

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The Open Day couldn't have gone better yesterday.

By an uncanny miracle, when hubby mowed the lawn the day before, after the showers, all the grass turned back green! I couldn't believe it!

And yesterday, despite rumours of heavy rain just down the road in Bunclody, we had none. We had no rain, no wind and even the sun wasn't too hot!

I must have done something right in a past life to deserve that.

It is a very odd experience to open your garden to strangers. Friends (and I include ie-er meetings in there) are one thing and although it is nerve racking, at the end of the day you know you are among friends! But strangers!?! Now that's another ball game.

I had a very weird moment yesterday when I stepped into the West Garden with Jurga, Ingrida and Violeta and found a pack of strangers sitting around chatting and drinking tea. I mean, the West Garden is where I sit with my family and eat meals and play board games!!!

But the thing that really made the day was the support I got from my ie-er friends - Myrtle, Clare, Scrubber, Linda, Jurga, Violeta & Ingrida. They were all in fine fettle and the craic was mighty.

Myrtle is the most gracious of garden visitor, asking all the right questions and noticing all the right things. She caught me on the hop with a few plant names and was gracious enough to wear a hat that matched the colours in the Long Border and to sit on the seat there.

Clare (Clara) brought her lovely granddaughter (whom Sammy later berated me for missing) but they missed the Open Garden signs, lovingly coloured in by my nephew's kids (see photo) and ended up in Bunclody. Clare phoned Jurga, who phoned Liga, who phoned me (as you do!) and all was put to right. We knew the party could get started when Clare arrived! She is always the life and soul.

Peter (Scrubber) was his shockingly debonair, mixed with a heavy dose of schoolboy naughtiness, self. Being on a day out, there were no denizens or Sr. Josephine to reprimand him! Scrubber was even observed rakishly producing phone photos of his own Tetrapanax and comparing them audibly to the one in his host's garden! As he left he was onserved to utter 'Breathtaking'. A super comment you might think but you should hear how he has behaved at art exhibitions!

Linda (LindaB) looked fabulous and definitely added a 'touch of Chelsea' to proceedings. Fresh from her cycle trip to Australia, she was mannerly enough to keep any observations on poorly grown antipodean plants to herself.

Jurga (Hoeys) arrived with the two other Lithuanian ladies, Violeta and Ingrida and Jurgita's small son. I always enjoy their company, glamour, fun sense of humour and exceptionally good manners to always keep the conversation in English while I am there.

Jurga, owner of the most enormous vegetable plot I've ever seen, feeds half of Wicklow and was up until 2am last night topping and tailing berries with the help of her friend Violeta. Jurgita seems to work non-stop but never tires as she cracks jokes in a proper Irish accent!

Violeta, the Queen of Yellow, always asks thoughtful and hard questions and her artist's eye is quick to pick out detail. Of course, being an artist, Violeta noticed the portraits of my kids in the hall. I have made note for root cuttings of that Romneya in autumn, Violeta!

Ingrida I know less well than many people but would like to change that. She stunned me with her command of descriptive skills in English, describing the habit of certain flowers better than I could. Ingrida grows many beautiful roses and is a fellow Cypripedium grower. She was good enough to notice the Monarda 'Croftway Pink' I bought in Altamont the previousl day and had planted that very morning.

So thanks to everyone for coming and making the day so good. I really appreciate it and it was lovely to see you all.

I have no photos of people at the Open Day but will put up a few ones of the garden, taken after everyone left.

Open Day Tomorrow

26 July 2013 10:36:42
Open Day Tomorrow

Open Day Tomorrow

Last reminder.

Garden Open Day tomorrow. 27th July, 2-6pm. Douentza, Knocknalour, Bunclody, Co Wexford.
All welcome.

I hope to have signs from the Bunclody/Carnew road.

Douentza is a one acre garden in a rural setting near Carnew/Bunclody. The garden is about nine years old.

It was built and is maintained by me, Rachel Darlington, columnist for the Irish Garden magazine.

Umbrella

25 July 2013 12:10:47
Umbrella

Umbrella

Some people have all the style.

Caught sight of this lady in the garden this morning.

The thing about parasols is that they can double as umbrellas!

What are they?

24 July 2013 23:56:07

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Here are two close up photos that my nephew took in my garden a week ago.

Can you guess what they are?

And no cheating looking at conversations on facebook!

A Few Jobs

24 July 2013 23:06:51

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I started out by cleaning up the greenhouse. Sweeping surfaces and floor and rearranging plants. It wasn't really a priority but I felt like doing it.

The rest of the day was spent edging, deadheading, weeding and even cutting back.

The rain teased me all day but never came. Then half an hour ago the heavens opened. I feel like going out and dancing in it!

We have a heap of house guests arriving tomorrow to stay for a few nights. The fact that it's the lead up to my Open Day is slightly inconvenient but so it goes!

Photographer

24 July 2013 22:03:38

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My nephew-in-law recently visited the garden and took some photos.

He is a photographer and took some really interesting close-up shots.

Unfortunately they're on facebook but I copied three down for this journal.

Poppy Tree

23 July 2013 13:56:17
Poppy Tree

Poppy Tree

I love this shrub.

It takes really poor soil and full sun so it is perfect for my garden.

I have two now as the the second was propagated from root cuttings from the first.

It has lovely glaucous foliage and spectacular flowers!

The Best Garden Ornaments

23 July 2013 13:42:28

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I just have to say that I have the biggest and most expensive garden ornaments imaginable!!!

To be less brash, I have positioned them on the hills surrounding my garden, where they lend to the background view.

Can you see them there in the distance?

So who can top that then?

A Day with Pots

22 July 2013 23:36:05

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Still not a drop of rain has graced this part of the country. It is overcast at times and threatening but the promise has not been fulfilled.

I decided to use up any large pots that I have knocking around, holding dormant tulips, to make impact for the Open Day.

So, with hubby's help (damn, those things are heavy!), I planted up two large pots with Lilium tigrinum. These are tiger lilies, grown from bulbils sown in 2011, but many are going to flower this year.

I also put two large Canna warscewiczii in clay pots. These were grown from seed originally but have flowered previously and look good now.

And I planted my recent acquisitions of Agapanthus 'White Heaven', Astrantia maxima and Alstroemeria psittacina in the garden.

Douentza, July 2013

Tomatoes & Tomatillos

22 July 2013 22:53:28

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It is turning out to be an excellent year for tomatoes.

We have a border along the south side, on the inside, of the greenhouse and that is where we plant ours.

The very end of the greenhouse is shaded with whitewash and fleece and I keep my orchids there.

Hubby was unhappy when he realised that some of his tomatoes and tomatillos would be in the shady end as he said they did not need shade. I believe there were some unkind things said about orchids!

Well, here's the result. The tomatoes/tomatillos under shade ( int he orchid end) are bigger than than the ones without!

The tomatillos are taller than me now (5ft.2) and the toms are a healthy height too. Fruit is setting.

Beware the Browns

21 July 2013 23:21:17

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It seems that the brown that creeps into gardens at the end of July has come early. All of a sudden I noticed that a lot of plants needed cutting back and deadheading. But that's why secateurs were invented!

I spent a long time agonising over whether or not to cut back certain key Geraniums now. My Open Day is on Saturday so obviously I didn't want to cut back now.

In the end I cut back a section of one of the geraniums and compared it to the uncut version. Yes, cutting back is better than leaving brown. So I did it. And the garden seems much fresher now. All I need is a little rain to revitalise it. There were 'spits' a half hour ago so I live in hope...

Red Undies

21 July 2013 19:00:58
Begonia 'Red Undies'

Begonia 'Red Undies'

It seems that many people on this site have red undies.

Mine were looking beautiful yesterday in the evening light :)

Birthday Pessie

20 July 2013 19:29:49
Birthday Pessie

Birthday Pessie

This is the lovely pressie my youngest two got me.

It's a clock/thermometer and I think it looks great here.

I potted on seedlings today - Cautleya spicata, Lobelia siphilitica, Gentiana tibetica, Actaea spicata and a double primula that only yielded three plants.

It's really not the weather for seedlings but what can you do?

Lilies

20 July 2013 17:29:47

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I noticed these two lilies in flower in the garden

The first is Lilium nepalense and the second is Lilium duchatrei.

Both like some shade but are lovely ones.

Tombrick

20 July 2013 00:08:04

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Tombrick Garden was wonderful today, full of shade and lush plants.

The owner cleverly recycles his water from the pond, using a Lidl pump to irrigate the borders. It must be one of the few gardens looking moist and green this year.

And the planting is beautiful, full of strong colours and choice plants. I saw Crinums in flower, magnificent Iris ensata, Veratrum an enormous Kifsgate rose and many types of different Alstroemeria, to mention just a few!

Note to self : buy more Alstroemeria!

Newtownbarry House Gardens

19 July 2013 19:58:43

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It was my birthday so I wanted to visit a garden. My first choice, Ballymore, is no longer open to the public. Patthana is open only in August and does not allow children and, despite rumours to the contrary Ram House in Coolgreany is still closed.

I was a bit exhausted after researching that lot so decided to go local and visit Tombrick Gardens. Also, to my shame, I had never seen Newtownbarry House Gardens so decided to take that in too.

Newtownbarry Gardens is in Bunclody and called after the old name for the town. The gardens included mature trees, a rose garden, woodland walk, lawns and the pièce de résistance is the large sunken garden with pond.

The planting fitted well with the older style of the garden. Photos are being uploaded now.

 

Altamont

19 July 2013 12:39:00
Altamont

Altamont

Any guests who visit us need to know that the place we will take them is Altamont Gardens.

We had visitors so off we went to Altamont yesterday.

The gardens were looking great but the devil in me was relieved to see that the plants and grass were as frazzled as my own :)

And the new café is just super. It was long needed.

Penstemon

19 July 2013 00:19:49

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It's a very good year for Penstemon.

My favourite at the moment is this outrageously coloured one that I grew from seed.

The seed came from an Estonian site and was labelled Penstemon hybrida 'Spirite'.

I can't find trace of that name on the internet although the site is still selling seed under the same name.

I just love the completely unbridled and unapologetic colour.

Napenthes

18 July 2013 23:50:45

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I mentioned yesterday how Nepenthes are really loving this heat.

The  two Nepenthes in the third photo are highland Nepenthes so they tolerate cooler temperatures and less humidity and are therefore easier to grow. They have been know to have many pitchers but this year is looking like a bumper year.

The Nepenthes shown in the first two photos has lowland parentage and is trickier. I bought this one in 2009. It has never pitchered so well. Normally I get 2/3 pitchers but at the moment I have an astonishing seven, while an eighth leaf tip is swelling!

There is no increase in humidity for these Nepenthes so their improved pitchering is solely down to the increase in temperature. They love it!

 

Species Dahlias

17 July 2013 14:01:36

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I've had a few woes with species dahlia seed but these two are now doing well in the garden.

The first is Dahlia australis and the seed came from Huntingbrook. It will be staying in situ from now on as they are hard to store overwinter.

The second is Dahlia merkcii and this came from Krista. I think she felt sorry for me with all my Dahlia coccinea woes that year.

A third one that is doing well for me at the moment is the Tree Dahlia, Dahlia imperialis. They are good sized plants and I have four in the ground and two back-up for the greenhouse.

Heat & Water

16 July 2013 23:31:14

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This morning I thought Impatiens tinctoria was looking a bit limp so the hose went on it.

Then this afternoon I noticed, to my horror, that the Persicaria at the top of the bank is suffering. Lucky the hose has a long reach!

But Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex' is looking really well and so are some other heat-loving plants.

The Nepenthes have never pitchered so well before. They are luxuriating in the extra heat.

Bad Shopping Experience

16 July 2013 12:42:11
Bad Shopping Experience

Bad Shopping Experience

I had to visit Wexford this morning and, for no good reason (maybe because I'd missed my cup of tea), I started to feel down.

I decided to visit Coolaught on the way back and get myself a nice treat to cheer me up.

I spent absolutely ages there, looking at hydrangeas and Cornus kousa.

My heart was set on a big Cornus kousa 'Satomi' or 'China Girl'. They were €42 each but they were as tall as me. In the end I decided they were too expensive and risky, especially in a summer where they would need watering every day.

I came away with nothing! From Coolaught! I must be coming down with something!?!

The photo shows Campanula patula in my garden, where I think the colour goes particularly well with Geranium 'Ann Folkard'. Can you see the Arisaema?

Here it comes

15 July 2013 20:17:09
Here it comes

Here it comes

This Aeonium arboreum is just coming into flower.

The whole stem contorts and reshapes with the effort of flowering.
I love it :)

On Fire

15 July 2013 14:59:38

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I love red in the garden and, with this exceptional weather, they are certainly putting on a firy show!

Day Lilies

15 July 2013 14:36:30

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Here are a few Day Lilies looking good right now.

Several flowers are just not lasting the course with this hot weather. Iris ensata, for example, just packed up early for me.

But the Day Lilies are in their element.

Pots

12 July 2013 23:16:57

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I remember last year I said I wasn't going to bother with pots any more because they are too labour intensive.

I wonder what on earth happened to that resolution!!!

See my nice brown grass!

Open Day

12 July 2013 00:50:16

Another Day in Paradise

10 July 2013 19:46:30
Another Day in Paradise

Another Day in Paradise

It really feels like paradise at the moment, with this gorgeous weather.

More emergency watering done but very little else.

Anyone else noticed brown/dead patches on their lawn?

Perhaps My Favourite

10 July 2013 19:42:45
Perhaps My Favourite

Perhaps My Favourite

This is perhaps my favourite Sarracenia.

I'm nearly sure it's a leucophylla  but need to check the label.

I adrore the markings on this one and the gentle curves in the hood.

My Cabbage Palm Forest

10 July 2013 19:31:53
Cordyline indivisa

Cordyline indivisa

 

 

Well, perhaps in a few years ...

WATCH OUT

09 July 2013 19:53:55
WATCH OUT

WATCH OUT

Obviously newly planted things need careful watering in this weather but some other plants may be vulnerable too.

I got a shock today when I discovered Primula florindae and Ligularia 'Brit Marie Crawford' flopping on the ground. Both are down a couple of years but not planted in moist soil, which they would prefer. I've gotten away with it until now but not this weather!!! I gave them a good watering today.

So, take a trip around your garden and check areas that you haven't looked at in a while! It may save a plant!

More photos (including long shots) in the July album...

Douentza, July 2013

Meat Eaters

09 July 2013 15:02:56

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These plants are really enjoying the sunshine.

More Black

09 July 2013 14:31:45

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This is Arisaema costatum.

Like most plants, they look better when planted in groups.

If you can afford to buy them in groups.

I happed upon these bulbs (going quite cheap) in Bloom last year and am very glad I did.

Black

09 July 2013 14:21:41

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I think this little Roscoea is kind of special.

My son, Sammy, grew it from seed (with help) and it is called Roscoea 'Blackbird'. I think it is a R. scillifolia but I am not sure and the company that sold me the seeds wasn't sure either.

It is quite hard to get a decent photo of something so small, especially when it is black. This is the first of five of them to flower.

And well done, Sammy!

Bouquet

08 July 2013 11:38:28

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I would never normally pick flowers from the garden.

However, one of my sons requested a bunch of flowers for a certain special somebody today.

He came around the garden with me, saying he knew nothing about flowers, but was quick to point out that pink and red do not go together (Mum, honestly!!!) And, as a joke, suggested the grass spikes (which I think look very well in this arrangement). The certain someone says she has no favourite colour so we went with pink peonies, on my suggestion, as they're looking well now.

Anyway, here it is. I hope she likes it. I hope she's not allergic (as everyone is nowadays)! I hope it's not too much! Hey, you know what? It's not down to me. I am just the facilitator!

Enjoying the Garden

07 July 2013 00:26:06

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I must admit that I've done little else except enjoy the garden the last while.

We have both the parasols up and today I spent the whole day outdoors with the boys, playing board games.

The greenhouse is like a sauna so I gave the plants in there a good watering and topped up all the humidity trays.

What absolute bliss this weather is!

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

06 July 2013 21:04:54
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Who can think of petunias without remembering this quite?

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again.

Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Touch of the Tropics

06 July 2013 13:19:10

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In this sunny weather, the bananas and gingers are coming into their own.

Off out now!

This is no weather to be stuck indoors!

 

Foxglove

04 July 2013 22:39:25
Foxglove

Foxglove

This is Digitalis 'Illumination Pink', the perennial foxglove.

It was Chelsea Plant of the Year for 2012.

More Orchids

04 July 2013 20:46:26

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Here is a Disa orchid, which came into flower in the middle of last night.

I love these South African orchids as they are unusual and require to sit in water, quite the opposite of the majority of orchids.

The second one is Epidendrum radicans and it is just opening.

The third is an Encyclia and it has been in flower for just ages, with two spikes. It is a real cutie although quite small.

Wahlenbergia

01 July 2013 22:56:21
Wahlenbergia

Wahlenbergia

This is another first flowering for me.

It is Wahlenbergia rivularis 'Snowcap' (great name, huh?),

So far so good.

West Garden

01 July 2013 17:42:37

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I'm off out to do some gardening in this part of the garden now.

It is looking its best and the scent is fabulous.

A Few Roses

01 July 2013 12:38:59

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I am not good with roses so I choose carefully and disgard ones that give me trouble.

But they ar eso beautiful...

A Few Orchids

01 July 2013 12:28:49

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Here are a few of the orchids still in flower here.

The Epidendrum in photo three is just opening.

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