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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal October 2013

Last Post 1545 days 10 hours ago

Mum's the Word

30 October 2013 21:17:02

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Don't tell anyone but I got rid of my yellow chrysanthemums recently. Sssh.

I just don't like the colour - too brash, or something.

And as I got rid of them, because I didn't like the yellow colour, I was delighted to note that Coronilla glauca was coming into flower. And what colour is that? Why, yellow! I just can't explain why I like the one and not the other!

But I did keep these two chrysanthemums, from the Regal Mist series, and my favourite brown one, which has yet to open.

Remember the summer?

30 October 2013 11:36:42

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It's nasty and wet out there now and I was reminded, for some reason, of the wonderful summer trip I did to visit UK gardens with some good friends.

On our first day we headed to Hyde Hall, en route to Beth Chatto's. There was a plant sale on (need I say more).

Large sections of the garden had been newly planted, leaving many gaps, which left us underwhelmed.

But the sun split the skies and the selection of plants for sale was excellent. If I had had a van...


Seed Sale Update

29 October 2013 16:09:44

House Plants

29 October 2013 09:14:25

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I've been concentrating on house plants the last few days and have been rewarded by some coming into flower.

The Tibouchina, which came from a cutting of Tina's this year, is in flower so I brought it indoors. As it is just a cutting I tried to hold it back and cut off all the flowers for a long time but it just won't be held back!

Orchids are, of course, in flower too.

(I have seeds for sale in my last journal, if anyone is interested...

Seed Sale 2013    )

Seed Sale

28 October 2013 15:03:25

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I am about to put my surplus seeds up for sale on ebay but thought I would give garden.ie first dibs.

Five packets of seeds, of your choice, cost €6 including postage within Ireland.

Send me a private message if you are interested. But it's first come first served for certain varieties. I only have limited numbers of seeds in some cases.

The photos shown are from my garden this summer and show three of the plants from which this seed was collected.

Genus Species   Date Collected
Abutilon vitifolium   6.9.11
Anthemis sancti-johannis   2011
Asclepias syriaca   8.12
Atriplex hortensis var. purpurea 6.11.11
Calendula   'Candyman Orange' 13.10.13
Datura metel?   8.2.12
Dierama ambiguum   Spr 2011
Digitalis parviflora 'Milk Chocolate' 13.10.13
Echium wildpretii   6.9.13
Eremurus stenophyllus   5.9.13
Francoa   'Pink Giant' 13.10.13
Fritellaria imperialis var. rubra Spr 201
Hordeum jubatum   9.10.11
Kleinia neriifolia   11.2.12
Ligularia denata   20.10.12
Lilium martagon var. alba + Pink 13.10.13
Lilium regale   25.10.11
Lobelia bridgesii   15.10.13
Lupinus arboreus var. alba 17.10.13
Magnolia wilsonii   10.13
Mirabilis jalapa 'Variegata' 13.10.13
Oenothera   'Sunset Boulevard' 29.12.11
Paeonia mlokosewitschii   12.10.13
Papaver     19.8.12
Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' 2011
Tomatillo     17.10.13
Trachelium caeruleum   31.8.13
Veltheimia bracteata   4.12
Veratrum nigrum   6.10.13
Verbena hastata   4.9.13

Garden View & Daffs

25 October 2013 11:43:59
Garden View & Daffs

Garden View & Daffs

The rain is coming down again. Oops, there's thunder!

No chance of planting bulbs.

I can't figure out where to put the large number of Narcissus 'Geranium' that I recently bought. I bought them for a particular area but they're not suitable for it after all.

There is always the problem with daffodils that, if you plant them in grass, you can't cut the grass until June and the whole place looks messy. But if you plant them in borders, the foliage chokes everything else.

Hmm, another cup of tea and another coat of thought required!

Belated Thank You

24 October 2013 19:49:05
Belated Thank You

Belated Thank You

At our last Christmas get-together Bruno and Conrad were organising the Kris Kindle.

All the numbers were called, one after the other, and still I was sitting there. In the end I realised that I was the only person not to be called (those tricky boys!).

Anyway, when I was called and came up to claim the last pressie, it turned out to be the lovely blue pot pictured.

So, a great big thank you from me to the anonymous person who put this lovely pressie in.

PS Has anyone else noticed that the spell check is now no longer available on garden.ie???

Mammy Moment

24 October 2013 10:57:14
House Begonia

House Begonia

Do you ever have a moment when you you know you are acting like your mother?

I had that yesterday when I spotted this begonia in the hall.

It is an ordinary DIY centre one, for which I have no name, but I bought it because it was so pretty.

Yesterday, as I passed, I noticed that it was in flower and that it really is beautiful. Maybe common, maybe unadventurous but beautiful all the same.

PS There's poor light in the hall so this was the best I could do for a photo without moving the plant!


24 October 2013 00:00:11
Lobelia siphilitica

Lobelia siphilitica

I think this plant was recently featured by Myrtle but I decided to stick up my photo anyway.

This is Lobelia siphilitica [pause for jokes]. So named because American Indians used it to cure that disease!

It is a lovely clear blue and I like it.

Tulips for Spring

23 October 2013 20:32:30

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When I woke up this morning I had no idea of the amount of work that was in me!

I knew I should lift the last of the gingers but I'd been postponing. But there was no rain today.

I started the ginger job, uncommitted, but they lifted easily. There were more than I had imagined but it wasn't long before they were potted up and I even found enough space for them, sitting in the greenhouse border, by just shunting a few other plants up.

I'm so pleased I didn't have to block up the walkways in the greenhouse. The harder it is to circumnavigate, the more plants get neglected!

Then I thought I would get to potting some of the tulips I've been stockpiling. I had bought enough identical tulips for 8 large vacant clay pots. I amazed myself by finishing the job!

The high point of the day was noting that Veltheimia bracteata is sending up a new flower spike.


22 October 2013 12:21:19


It is absolutely bucketing down again today.

It was dry briefly this morning and that gave me the chance to dash out to the greenhouse.

I lifted the calla lilies pictured and washed them as I store them dry indoors overwinter. I have 'Black Star' and 'Picasso', which were pressies from my kids a few years back.

Now I just need to make sure not to mix them up with the potatoes for dinner!


22 October 2013 09:12:53


I thought I'd show you this nice orchid that may be at its best now.

It is a Beallara. Beallara is a mixture of various orchid genus (Brassia, Cochlioda, Miltonia & Odontoglossum). They have been doing all kinds of messing with orchids for years!

I love the way the petals elongate on this one and curl back.

But I don't like the name. It is called Beallara Eurostar, which reminds me of the eurotunnell, for some reason :P

Here's the link to my large 'orchid album' for the intrepid (or the masochists among you)...

My Orchids


21 October 2013 22:40:08
Canna warscewiczii

Canna warscewiczii

I love this canna.

It is Canna warscewiczii, grown from seed in 2010.

One year, when let grow, it got to about 5ft.

I only have two clumps left though as I foolishly left them in the ground one winter. That's what happens when you have a lot of things - you become foolhardy! I'll try and collect seed this year if it ripens.

I love cannas but don't grow many as I find them tricky to overwinter.

Sorting the Greenhouse (again)

21 October 2013 16:02:00

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Since hubby removed the tomatoes and tomatillos from the greenhouse border, there is a lot more space.

The gingers I had dug up and potted recently were still sitting on the lawn so I lifted them indoors.

I spent time rearranging, watering and staking chrysanthemums and freesias, which will flower soon. Canna, Echeveria, Pelargonium, Salvia, Plectranthus, Nerine, Aeonium and Hedychium are all in flower.

One of the Brugmansia is covered in buds. Can't make up my mind whether to bring it into the house or not!

Just when it was looking good I remembered that I still have some gingers to lift :P

Here are the photos...


Douentza, October 2013


20 October 2013 23:03:03

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Today Tina came to call and to pick up her orchids.

Well, we had a good old chat and ogle of all the orchids (including Liga's) and decided we really must meet up again this winter to 'talk shop'.

And guess what Tina brought me? A beautiful orange oncidium-type orchid. I was delighted. How did she know?? :)

After Tina left I sorted out humidity trays for the new orchids and found that they all fit perfectly now that I've commandeered my son's bedroom windowsill (sure he wasn't using it for anything himself). I was quite pleased to see that everything fitted.

Just to give a taste for what's ahead, I've put up a picture of the Dendrobium spectabile I bought as part of this new order. It may look green and uninteresting now but take a look at the second photo, which shows what it will look like when it flowers!

What I Need...

19 October 2013 12:59:00

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What I obviously need in my life is more orchids :-)

Amicia zygomeris

17 October 2013 12:29:10
Amicia zygomeris

Amicia zygomeris

This plant is looking good right now.


17 October 2013 07:24:19


Got large clay pots in Woodies in Carlow yesterday, on sale for €5.99 each!

They had a nice selection of clay pots, even some half ones.

They had orchids for €4.99 too but I was strong!

Last Things to Flower

16 October 2013 08:23:54

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Here are possibly the last things to come into flower in the garden.

They are the autumn crocuses and a repeat flowering iris.

I managed to dig up and pot over half the gingers yesterday and the grass got cut.

Just as well since it's bucketing down this morning!

Best Scent

16 October 2013 07:53:46
Eleagnus ebbingei

Eleagnus ebbingei

This bush mightn't look much but the scent is amazing.

It is the hedge at the front on my garden and yesterday, when I was on the opposite side of the Long Border, it came to me in glorious wafts.

It is a hardy, evergreen, vigorous hedge called Eleagnus ebbingei.

I remembered its scent from camping holidays in France and was determined to put it in the garden.

Tie Dye - for Deborah

14 October 2013 18:59:26
Begonia 'Tie Dye'

Begonia 'Tie Dye'


Not bad for €4, eh ;-)

For Jacinta

14 October 2013 15:30:27
For Jacinta

For Jacinta

Is that better, Jacinta?


Here Come the Boys

13 October 2013 21:56:08
Here Come the Boys

Here Come the Boys


Here come the boys - Paph. henryanum and Paph Pinocchio :)

New Plants Plus ++

13 October 2013 18:07:31
New Plants Plus ++

New Plants Plus ++

I was at a plant fair yesterday so it stands to reason that I came away with a few plants...

I had been after Lobelia tupa since mine died, the Artemesia since I'd seen it in Sissinghurst (sorry for the name dropping) and the Fatshedera since I'd seen it in Mary and Paddy's.

Oh yeah, I'd already unsuccessfully tried Watsonia from seed so I was happy to get some bulbs.

Watsonia   'Mount Congreve Coral'
Lobelia tupa  
Begonia   'Tie Dye'
Artemesia   'Valerie Finnes'
Narcissus   'Geranium'

But I also came home with a cat! We now have a new member to our family. His name is Hugo.

IGPS Plant Fair

13 October 2013 17:47:43

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The Irish Garden Plant Society had a plant sale yesterday in Dublin and I was there.

There were many ie-ers - Liga, Violeta, Jacinta, Paddy, Ali, Eilish and even a few lurkers.

You know who I mean there, Sally ;-)

It was a really nice plant sale with loads of nice things for sale - all properly labelled and well laid out. It wasn't too manic either.

The funniest bit was when Paddy pretended to pickpocket Liga's bag (photo 2). Can you see her face? I think she nearly decked him :)

Looking Good Now

12 October 2013 09:03:38
Looking Good Now

Looking Good Now

Looking good right now - Liriop muscari!

See you at the plant fair.

Stratification & Divas

11 October 2013 22:42:06
Stratification & Divas

Stratification & Divas

Today I packed a lot of the garden ornaments away in a spare wheelie bin. There is a second wheelie bin and more ornaments to go but that's ano5ther day's work.

Today was spent feeding and watering orchids. There is one that is growing so tall I have to brace her against the wall with cellotape and string. And still she hasn't flowered! Such a diva!!

And, what do you know, the awkward package in the fridge since March has germinated. It is Bear's Grass, put in there to stratify, from my cousin in Oregon.

I hope to see some of you tomorrow at the plant fair in Palmerston.

Garden Visit

10 October 2013 18:57:49

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I visited Mount Usher today in the best of company.

Fran, Clare and Joan were there to meet me and we had an unhurried walk through the beautiful gardens.

Light was good. It was dry and temperatures weren't too bad.

It was Clare's birthday and, by God, she was in rare form :))

Happy Birthday, Clare.

Here Comes the Cold

09 October 2013 21:01:27
Primula acaulis 'Rosanna Red'

Primula acaulis 'Rosanna Red'

Rationalising that I probably didn't have enough compost to dig up and pot the gingers today, I didn't do it. In truth I was looking for an excuse.

But I did some tidy up - washing out a plastic wheelie bin. I want to put garden ornaments in it, rather than cluttering up the greenhouse.

And I tidied up my plants-in-waiting area - weeding, sweeping the membrane, cutting off spent foliage and discarding empty pots.

Lucky I checked the plants-in-waiting area as I found a pot of Chilean Glory of the Sun (Leucocoryne coquimbensis) seedlings and brought them indoors just in time.

Hubby checked the greenhouse heaters and there is one on as I type.

The photo shows a lovely little primula that I grew from seed and opened for the first time today. Don't you love it when they turn out as it said on the packet!!!

Long Border

08 October 2013 21:33:08
Long Border

Long Border

I spent all day working on the Long Border and am delighted to say that I have finished.

I got rid of plants that weren't pulling their weight and moved in stronger performers. I also did a good bit of moving plants a foot in this direction or that, to space them better. The border had become quite congested.

It is great to note that the soil is now good enough to plant things directly, without adding compost. For years I'd watched them dividing and replanting on Gardeners' World and thought that I would never have soil that good. But mulching does pay off in the end.

I also dug up the first of the tenders, to be protected in the greenhouse overwinter. The ginger forest still remains but it is just flowering so I am reluctant to move it just yet.

When Green is Orange

08 October 2013 18:16:23
When Green is Orange

When Green is Orange

It is a mystery to me why this ginger is called Hedychium greenei when the flowers are orange and the backs of the leaves are red!

I think this is now my favourite ginger as it looks lovely even before it flowers.

This is the first of my 'forest' of Hedychium greenei to flower. Now it's a race against the frost.

Princess Meets King

07 October 2013 22:58:18

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I did work in the garden today although, truth told, I did more standing around 'willing myself to do it' than actually working.

I took out all the lysimachia. I'm sure that's never the end of it but I will manage it next year as it resurfaces.

I moved and divided some Artemesia lactiflora anda big clump of thalictrum (which I then discovered was a different type of thalictrum than the one I thought it was). I planted Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' and encouraged hubby to move a sprawling Fuchsia 'Army Nurse' to a better position.

The Long Border continues to improve but still has large gaps.

Then, as I'd had enough, I went indoors - only to find that the postman had delivered me a large parcel. So Exciting! In it was the beautiful orchid pictured, called Princess Mikasa. I have not tried any orchids of this alliance before so it is all very exciting.

These vanda-types are work but it will be worth it to eventually get those beautiful blue flowers!

And tomorrow Princess Mikasa will meet The King of Taiwan. Yes, I already have an orchid called The King of Taiwan.

Greenhouse Staging

06 October 2013 15:11:01


06 October 2013 11:48:49

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Wasn't yesterday a complete gift of a day?

We had lunch in the garden - in October!

It is completely unheard of. You'd normally not get away with that sort of thing in September, let alone October. And what a surprise after the two days of rain and misery that preceeded it!

Speaking of gifts, during the rainy days I picked up a little book from my book shelf and started to read it. It wasn't long since I was roaring laughing out loud - really!

Now I haven't laughed out loud on a gardening book since Liga lent me Karel Capek's gem of a gardening book from the 1920's.

Anyway, this little gem was written in 1989 by Nigel Colborn and is called This Gardening Business.

I cannot recommend it highly enough (and Capek's book).

I am not sure who gave this book to me but, whoever you are, thank you so much!

Tina & Orchids

04 October 2013 22:56:27
Tina & Orchids

Tina & Orchids

I was delighted that Tina came to visit yesterday with her friend.

The rain just about held off for us to see the garden.

But that is it really, for the season.

I started collecting up the garden ornaments, to let them dry and be put in winter storage, after Tina left.

It was great to get a good garden chat in and even talk about my seasonly favourite subject - orchids. Tina is an orchid nut too, you see!

I had hoped the orchid pictured would flower for Tina's visit but, as always, they dance to the tune of their own drum. My hand shows the top of the plant. Any day now...


02 October 2013 13:55:22
Miltonia × binotii

Miltonia × binotii

The rain has been coming steadily down for two days now and I don't fancy getting a soaking so I'm staying in.

I'd even resorted to... wait for it... housework.

But then I copped on to myself and rearranged some house plants and started trawling orchid sites instead.

I had a self-imposed rule that I would only get another orchid when I got rid of one. But now that is seeming awfully harsh, especially since there's a Vanda in the post to me!

Paraphalaeonopsis and certain pendulant yellow dendrobiums are also looking very attractive at the moment and then there's that orchid-photography competition, with an orchid prize, that I am trying to win! What's a girl to do?


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