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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal May 2014

Last Post 1272 days ago

Wag The Dog

30 May 2014 16:18:18
Wag The Dog

Wag The Dog

This Japanese maple was one of the few plants that travelled with us to Wexford when we moved here in 2001.

After several years in a pot, it was planted on the sheltered/hidden side of this border because of the terrible winds we used to experience in the garden back then. We had birch trees snapped in two in those days and I still balk at the thought of my £30 acer that the wind magicked into a dead stick. But gradually, over the years, extensive planting has reduced wind and we are where we are today.

At the same time, this acer has grown bigger and, as it has a very weeping habit, it gradually encroached on the grass so that it came to hang out over it. Mowing was always a danger.

As there is no way such a large tree could be moved, I decided on a policy of letting the tree (the tail) wag the dog (the border). So, with a bamboo, string and the edger, we remarked this circular bed to give the acer more space and cut the sod out.

I'm not even sure I need to plant anything else at the front but, once I've given it a coat of thought, there are plenty of ligularia seedlings and annuals that could slot in there.

Top 10 Garden Plants

29 May 2014 23:18:50

Brugmansia

29 May 2014 14:35:51
Brugmansia

Brugmansia

I put the brugmansia out in the garden yesterday.

Fran and Clare, you'll be pleased to know that there is acutally enough space to swing a cat in the greenhouse now.

Not that I acutally want to swing a cat in there !

Anyway, I have lots of flowers this year.

Hardy Orchids

29 May 2014 14:26:32

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This is Cypripedium Ulla Silkens.

It is going from strength to strength in my Hardy Orchid Bed.

The key is preparation before planting!

The flowers are only just opening now so I'm sure I'll post again.

Carnivorous Blooms

29 May 2014 14:17:00
Carnivorous Blooms

Carnivorous Blooms

The first of my sarracenia are opening now.

These are temperate, carnivorous plants that I have growing in three specifically-designed bogs.

Hopefully more photos will follow.

After 6 Years!

27 May 2014 11:05:06
After 6 Years!

After 6 Years!

Yesterday when Fran and Clare were looking around, Clare spotted my epiphyllum.

Well, I can tell you I was dead grumpy with that plant. Grown from a 2008 cutting, the plant had never flowered.

This year I was sure it was going to be 'the year'. I'd potted them on (I have two) and fed them well and they'd had buckets of sunshine. Then I saw the  usually new growth on leaves and NO flowers yet AGAIN.

I was so disgusted I hooshed the plants out of the greenhouse and put them with the others to endure the torrential rain of the last few days!

Wasn't it just my bad luck - the hatiora I had also grown from 2008 cuttings has long since flowered and I only kept one hatiora but TWO epiphyllums and they have never flowered.

So, imagine my complete and utter delight to see flower buds on the epiphyllums when I looked at them with Clare and Fran. Oh, happy, happy days :)

Visit & Tree Dahlias

26 May 2014 23:26:16
Visit & Tree Dahlias

Visit & Tree Dahlias

It was great to see Fran and Clare here today, despite the appalling weather.

They put on a brave face but I think we had fun all the same.

I took no photos but thought I's put up this tree dahlia instead.

It is one I grew from seed last year, Dahlia imperialis.

Thanks a million for coming, guys.

Lord Bute

25 May 2014 17:44:05
Lord Bute

Lord Bute

This is a gorgeous pelargonium.

It is called 'Lord Bute'.

I just love it.

After the Rain

24 May 2014 14:51:13

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It's all looking very green, but bedraggled, out there!

New Best Friend

24 May 2014 14:10:23
New Best Friend

New Best Friend

Some of you may already know that I have several stony banks in my garden. They pose their own set of problems.

The hero of my steep bank is Persicaria affinis but I never wanted to plant it on the small bank (pictured). The reason why I didn't want to put such a good do-er on the small bank is that it flowers pink and I have a yellow Hypericum hidcote hedge along the top of the small bank. Pink and yellow - ugh!

After much messing about two autumns ago, I was digging Geranium magnificum out of the garden. I really don't like its foliage but it does have nice blue flowers. And the thought struck me - why not try it on the small ditch! I had nothing to loose, the plant was otherwise for the compost!

So I did and before long any unwanted geraniums were finding themselves spliced ond on the bank. I must confess that in my fixedness I forgot about the pink/yellow thing completely :P

But the end result is that now most of the small ditch is finally clothed. It is no longer a headache and the last horrible job I have to attend to before any Open Day. And, actually, it doesn't look bad at all. So my new best friend is the geranium.

Who Knows!

24 May 2014 13:49:34
Who Knows!

Who Knows!

So, who can tell me what this medicinal fruit is?

No prizes for the correct answer, just glory!

Here Come the Irises

24 May 2014 13:34:32
Here Come the Irises

Here Come the Irises

It's stopped raining here but I have absolutely no energy today.

I spent a while walking about and hanging out in the greenhouse but nothign got done.

The laburnum is at its peak and the irises in the iris bed are just opening. Champagne Elegance, a repeat flowerer, is the first.

Weeding & Rain

23 May 2014 12:56:20
Enkianthus campanulatus

Enkianthus campanulatus

I managed a bit of weeding before the rain came down and then continued for a bit while the rain came down!

It's quite windy out there now - lots of damage done to the lupin trees.

But I've been moving some plants around lately in the garden so the rain is welcome.

Mad Stuff!

23 May 2014 12:35:44
Mad Stuff!

Mad Stuff!

When weeding in the Long Border I unearthed a round white object.

I excavated further and discovered a whole cluster of them buried at the foot of Cotinus 'Grace'.

They are squidgy and I thought it was really unusual that they were all buried underground.

Although I originally hoped for the excitement of snake eggs, I am sorry to say that they seem like mushrooms on the inside!

Clipping & Proteas

21 May 2014 23:15:02
protea seedlings

protea seedlings

It was a glorious day today and I got out and at the garden.

Besides working on the Long Border I did a fair bit of clipping.

The beech hedge on the drive got its first proper clip and I'm very pleased with the tapestry of colours in it. I planted alternate copper and green bushes.

I took no photos but this one from yesterday shows how my baby protea seedlings are doing.

May they grow big and meaty and never cause me a spot of bother!

Caught Twice!

20 May 2014 23:49:18
Caught Twice!

Caught Twice!

It seems I have been caught twice in the one week with my jeans tucked into my socks.

Oh well, I am a gardener.

What else can I say?

Recycle

20 May 2014 21:08:52
Recycle

Recycle

Recently a garden bench died on me.

The metal ends went to the creative Fran and I was left wondering what to do with the wood.

Problem solved.

Keep it Moving

20 May 2014 19:05:54

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After a great day yesterday at the Bay Garden and Linda's (photo albums are now uploaded), it was orchid day today.

That's the day when I water and feed all my orchids.

I took the opportunity to move the cattleyas out to the greenhouse, rahter than put them back in their places around the house.

The orchids are the plants on the top of the shelving in the black tray.

The greenhouse will be their summer quarters.

Wet

18 May 2014 16:11:08

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Before the rain came down, I took a few photos in the West Garden.

I spent the day in the greenhouse, potting and feeding.

It started badly though, by me, watering my foot!

And then I got wet outside when it started to rain.

Pelargoniums

18 May 2014 00:31:26

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Since Liga hasn't posted on here for a bit, I thought someone should make a mention of pelargoniums :)

So far this year my best do-er is Quantock Millenium (3rd photo). The plant is covered in buds.

I am more interested in plants that are covered in flowers than those with more interesting or unusual blooms.

Also doing well now is 'Elegance Jeanette', recently purchases in Powerscourt (1st photo).

And lastly is a picture of the Pelargonium grandiflorum that came from RitaD. It's dark blooms look nice against those of the white Aldi plant.

Staking, Moving & Rediscovering

17 May 2014 22:38:58
Staking, Moving & Rediscovering

Staking, Moving & Rediscovering

The day started by me realising I had to stake the annuals I planted out yesterday. I was hoping not to have to but that's what happens when you grow them in the tray for so long! Still, I prefer to not have to manage dozens of individually potted plants for weeks, even if it means having to do a spot of staking in the end!

The next task was to reposition a hosta and day lily. I know, I know! It should have been done at least a month ago! But it wasn't done then so it got done today. I sincerely hope I can keep them hydrated!

On a positive note, when I replanted the hosta I turned it round so the slug damage went to the back ;-)

And then I did some work on the Long Border (pictured). I was delighted to rediscover my hakonechloa, yellow grass, which I thought I had lost. It was a small division when it was originally planted and it had become hidden under some other plants. I potted it up and will grow it bigger before finding a suitable place for it.

So Much Happening

17 May 2014 10:09:29

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I was delighted to get the West Garden finished yesterday.

And then I finished off planting the new Lasagne Bed. I had shamelessly abandoned it, nearly finished, and was only goaded into action when I noticed some of the plants waiting to be planted were drooping.

There's another blind spot of mine, watering plants in waiting outside the greenhouse!

And then everything got a really good watering.

It looks like a beautiful day.

Star Wars

17 May 2014 00:17:33
Star Wars

Star Wars

This magnolia, although young, is blooming well.

I bought it for its bloom size.

And it does not disappoint.

Topical one for Bruno

16 May 2014 19:11:40
Topical one for Bruno

Topical one for Bruno

Bruno recently challenged me to make a flower arrangement.

And since we are all going to have to endure Nicky Chapman's efforts at Chesea next week, I thought I would have another go.

Actually, truth told, what happened was that my matthiola keeled over in full flower.

Lucky I had propagated a replement but I was determined not to waste that fabulous scent.

Laburnum & Camellia

16 May 2014 18:59:03
Laburnum & Camellia

Laburnum & Camellia

I thought I would put up this photo from yesterday as people were saying it was nice on facebook.

The laburnum is just coming into flower and the camellia hedge is just going over.

It is the story of all our gardening endeavours :)

Under Construction

15 May 2014 23:27:30
Under Construction

Under Construction

Well, while you were all watching Peter's Super Garden (must catch it on iplayer), it felt like I was building, at least a super garden, but more probably the whole of Chelasea here!!!

Yes, the planting is well underway in the West Garden.

This is my little subtropical garden.

Begonias

14 May 2014 23:27:07
Begonias

Begonias

I seem to have a begonia thing going on this year.

I love the foliage ones and the blousy flowery ones too. I love the hardy ones and the tender ones.

Speaking of which, Begonia 'Red Undies' popped  its head up in the flower bed today!

Stones & More Stones

14 May 2014 20:15:20

Blind Spot

13 May 2014 23:26:56
Dendrobium

Dendrobium

I seem to be doing ever so much potting on this year. And all in a year when I've grown few seedlings.

I cleared the greenhouse a lot recently, when all the big plants went outside for planting but somehow it's full again! It might have something to do with the spate of propagating I've been up to :P

Anyway, today I turned my attention to the plants outside. I have a strip of membrane beside the greenhouse where I put anything that is ready for planting out.

The problem is that if the plants on the membrane don't get planted out, they just sit there. I tend to forget that they may need potting on if they are not to be planted out immediately.

This is my blind spot!

So today I applied a dose of realism to the plants on the membrane. For example, the cleredendron tree! I have no idea where I am going to plant this. It is not something that can be squeezed in between perennials. It requires thought and planning. So it probably won't go in until next year's Lasagne Bed is complete. Yet I do want it. So I potted it on. The same for a few left over box bushes from last year's topiary job, etc etc.

I must say, I do feel like I've put in a much needed few hours!

And here's a photo of an orchid which has nothing to do with what I've been talking about! It's good to be random!

Watching Chelsea

13 May 2014 19:53:26
Encyclia (Prosthechea) cochleata

Encyclia (Prosthechea) cochleata

I've been watching the preparations for Chelsea programme that's on BBC1 every day at 1pm. Great stuff.

Other than that it was an orchid day, with a little potting on and greenhouse work.

I thought this orchid looked particularly nice today so here's a photo.

Day of Showers

12 May 2014 19:16:14
Magnolia, Abutilon & E mellifera

Magnolia, Abutilon & E mellifera

It was a day of showers here.

I continued working in the West Garden, pruning the forsythia and tying up the romneya.

But I had to keep running inside from the rain. Then I'd go out again and do a bit, then run inside again! It went on like that!

I took a walk round the back of the Long Border and marvelled at how big Euphorbia mellifera has got.

It is flanked in the photo by Abutilon vitifolium (just coming into flower) and the magnolia (just going out of flowering).

Pale Blue

12 May 2014 19:03:52
Pale Blue

Pale Blue

I noticed this pale blue camassia in the garden.

Checking back, I think this one was sold to me as 'Alba'.

Well, it's good to have something unusual.

Clare's Garden (Clara)

12 May 2014 07:54:24
Clare's Garden (Clara)

Clare's Garden (Clara)

After Charleville and lunch at Powerscourt on Saturday, I took a trip to see Clare's beautiful garden.

It was looking perfect as ever, so full of healthy plants and colour.

I loved Clare's little sachets for covering hellebore flowers that she is hybridising. I also loved the way she has cut and propagated her aeonium to make a more striking specimen. I might copy that Clare.

I put up the album last night so enjoy.

Celosia 'Twisted'

11 May 2014 20:41:16

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I saw this in Powerscourt and had to have it :)

Charleville

11 May 2014 20:30:43

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I was also at the Charleville visit yesterday and had a wonderful time.

It was my first visit to this magnificent garden and I am glad I saw it in spring before summer.

Fran, Clare, Mary and Myrtle were all saying how the garden is so much more colourful in summer but, for me, I thought the spring planting was just superb.

I could write a lot but, in the end, there is not one bit of that garden that I didn't like and there are a few ideas I will be copying.

It was super to see everyone again, and all in good form.

What a brilliant day!

 

One of my favourites

09 May 2014 23:03:44
Astilboides tabularis

Astilboides tabularis

This plant is one of my favourites.

It's the one with the horizontal dinner-plate leaves in the middle of the photo.

It's called Astilboides tabularis and I love it so much I've asked a friend to pick me up a second one at Kilruddery on Sunday.

The flower isn't significant but that leaf shape is just gorgeous and it's perfectly hardy!

A Right Stinker

09 May 2014 20:27:34
Arum elongatum 'Crimea'

Arum elongatum 'Crimea'

This one you can smell before you see it!

Camassia

09 May 2014 18:23:24

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You have to love camassia at this time of year!

When the borders are just gearing up for summer, camassia adds a lot of colour.

I don't ever remember it being in flower the same time as that pink saxifrage though!

Cypripedium

09 May 2014 09:26:20
Cypripedium Aki 'Pastel'

Cypripedium Aki 'Pastel'

This is the second orchid to flower this year in my outdoor Hardy Orchid Bed.

Hatiora rosea

09 May 2014 09:17:54

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I grew this plant from a cutting I got from RitaD in 2008.

This is the first year that it is really flowering well and I think it is a stunner.

I keep it in the greenhouse, where it has come through the bad winters.

The flowers close in the evening.

I originally had a lot of cuttings but gave them away, one by one, so this is the only plant left. I wonder does anyone else out there have one?

Anyway, many thanks, Rita. RIP.

Garden Visit, 10th May

07 May 2014 18:30:30

Last Tulips

07 May 2014 18:24:15

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Yesterday's wind did most of my tulips in.

Only these lily flowered ones at the front of the house are still looking good.

They are called 'Ballerina' and I am going to enjoy using their eight clay pots once the tulips finish up!

Is that an awful thing to say when they're still looking good?

Already, wishing for the next stage in the garden!?!

Scent

07 May 2014 17:36:31
Matthiola incana 'Alba'

Matthiola incana 'Alba'

I adore the scent of this shrub, Matthiola incana 'Alba'. It is just heaven. And the foliage is grey too so it is a lovely thing.

I spent the day working in the west garden and have a few bags of pressies (surplus plants) for my neighbour to show for it.

I had to bite the bullet this year and move a largish Trachycarpus fortunei. It was completely shaded out by the melianthus. When they were planted and were small the intention had been to lift the melianthus in autumn. But it is doing well where it is and I prefer to leave it.

Poor trachy roots got torn a good bit. I hope I don't loose it.

Still not ready to plant those big tropicals but it's happening!

Coming into Flower

06 May 2014 22:32:16
Iochruma australe

Iochruma australe

This delicate little brugmansia cousin is just coming into flower.

I am very pleased to see lots of buds.

Moving it along

06 May 2014 21:09:51

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At this time of year there are a series of dependencies.

Vegetables need to be planted in the greenhouse border before they start to suffer too much and plants need to go out, once danger of frost has passed.

I bit the bullet today and moved a lot of the big boys out of the greenhouse. They are lined up by the wall now, awaiting planting.

And peppers and chillies went into the greenhouse border (we're taking a break from tomatoes in the border this year. They will stay in pots).

Got to keep those plants moving!

Rhododendron barbatum

06 May 2014 18:52:37
Rhododendron barbatum

Rhododendron barbatum

I bought this rhodo for its trunk.

With age it will be mahogany and peeling and of similar garden value as Acer griseum.

Maybe next spring it will give me its red flowers.

But, in the meantime, I think it looks pretty enough with its new growth.

More Potting

05 May 2014 17:56:25
LC Coastal Sunrise

LC Coastal Sunrise

It was wet again today so I nipped out to the greenhouse to do some potting on :

tomatoes

Primula alpicola

Polygonatum verticillum

Eupatorium lingustrum

Alchemilla saxatilis

and some cordylines and cyclamen.

 

Wet Wet Wet

04 May 2014 14:33:54
Wet Wet Wet

Wet Wet Wet

It is very wet today. I haven't even taken a trip out to the greenhouse, which is very unlike me. But I gave everything in there a good water and feed yesterday so there can't be too much trouble.

My attention turned to the streptocarpus I've been propagating and I must say that the Ukrainian ones are proper little madams when it comes to obliging.

One particular one, that I set to propagate last November, has only now produced baby plants. Actually, not 'plants' - one single plantlet! And I have two others from November that have not yet produced anything!

So I managed to separate the first six of the Ukrainian streps from their parent leaves and pot them up yesterday. It's a step in the right direction.

Apple Blossom Walk

03 May 2014 21:45:08
Apple Blossom Walk

Apple Blossom Walk

Bord Bia organised some walks through apple orchards countrywide for today.

We visited a local orchard for an informative talk and view of the blossom.

I must say that some of the fields were truly magnificent. There were aged apple trees, pruned for optimal fruiting, which meant that they looked almost vase shaped.

The really thick, gnarled, blackened trunks looked fabulous, contrasted against the airy pink and white blossoms.

If only we had had a little sunshine for the ocassion.

Busy, Busy

02 May 2014 22:46:46
Busy, Busy

Busy, Busy

I didn't feel like digging holes today so instead I mixed up two wheelbarrow's of compost and manure mix and started planting the plants that I'd already dug holes for.

I went great guns and got most of them down. It was so satisfying to see the long, long border finally take shape and water it all in.

This has made a substantial dent into my plants-in-waiting area. I took a look at it this afternoon. Although I've tried to pot on and discard there are a number of unloved plants there.

I wonder who has the most unloved, ignored plant in a pot amongst us?

Took a trip up to my neighbour to see his new carnivorous bog. He has done a beautiful job.

Cockatoo

02 May 2014 22:27:49
Impatiens niamniamense

Impatiens niamniamense

Here's this plant again.

Another nice one, with claw-like flowers.

I wonder how tall it will get! I like tall!

 

Summer Chocolate

02 May 2014 22:11:44
Albizia 'Summer Chocolate'

Albizia 'Summer Chocolate'

I saw a beautiful specimen of this tree in Mount Congreve last autumn.

Mine is colouring up nicely. The leaves start green but the sun turns them purple.

I'm not sure I'll get away with this outdoors overwinter but I'm enjoying it a lot.

Trollius

02 May 2014 22:03:10
Trollius

Trollius

The first of my trollius us coming into flower.

I don't have a name for this one as I got it in a plant swap.

I like the tight habit of the petals.

Love this to bits

02 May 2014 19:14:11
Clianthus puniceus

Clianthus puniceus

I adore this shrub.

It is covered in flowers right now.

Another change of plan

01 May 2014 22:55:21
Another change of plan

Another change of plan

There was another reason why I didn't get on with planting up the new Lasagne Border today.

I had a mini epiphany about the arisaema I have grown from seed - about 20 flowering size plants.

I think they will be too far away from the areas of spring interest in the Lasagne Border.

Meanwhile the iris in this border (see the spikey leaves) is for the axe. It is a temperamental one that may need to be divided annually to flower. I have lost patience with it and it is due a trip up the road to my neighbour in the wheelbarrow.

I'm going to put the arisaema in here, where they will be better appreciated in spring.

Change of Plan

01 May 2014 14:56:54

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I was supposed to be working on the new border today but it rained last night and this morning the urge hit me to divide primroses. It seemed a good time, with all the moisture about, and I'd been putting the job on the long finger!

So Avondale, Belarina Pink Ice and Drumcliffe got divided and spread further in their respective beds. My goodness but Drumcliffe is a good do-er!

And I dug out all the lily of the valley, which is in a bag on its way up to my neighbour now. It was dangerously close to my precious sanguninaria so out it came!

I had to dig up Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin' to get the lily of the valley out and it was the perfect opportunity to separate the bulbs and spread them further. I collected a load of little bulbils too, which I am going to try to grow on. You could never have too many of those little reticula-like irises in spring!

Of course I got wet but that's just a consequence of gardening :)

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