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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal July 2014

Last Post 1278 days 8 hours ago


24 July 2014 23:43:37
Cattleya purpurata

Cattleya purpurata

And to anyone who said that large-flowered species cattleyas could not be flowered on a windowsill, I say phooey!

Seriously though, I'm very pleased with this one. It's been a long time deciding whether it likes me or not ;-)


24 July 2014 21:19:24

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I spent the afternoon in Jurgita's happy place and I think it is my happy place too now.

The garden has spread in all directions since I was there last and there are more projects and plans brewing.

Anyone heading there this weekend is in for an absolute treat. Jurgita is such a friendly and welcoming hostess and has an easy-going attitude which will make everyone feel right at home. Put all that together with boundless energy and creativity and you're beginning to get the idea now!

The stream, woodland and many other areas are waiting for you. Have fun :)

PS Jackie, Jurgita is minding your plants for you.


23 July 2014 20:25:20

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Don't get me wrong, the weather is fabulous, but it is soooo hot.

It is very hard to do any work at all in the garden.

It seems that the transmission is going on the ride-on lawn mower so we will have to bite the bullet and get a new one. A big expensive, of course :(

But, for one reason or another, it has been a bit of a pelargonium day so here are two of mine that are looking good now.

Who Wants?

23 July 2014 15:20:34

Tree Lillies

22 July 2014 21:18:25
Tree Lillies

Tree Lillies

I just noticed these tree lillies coming into flower now.

In fact there are loads of lillies all over the garden, just about to burst into flower.

You may think that these are lost a bit at the back of this border but it is good to have little surprises where you don't expect them.

Interesting Plant

22 July 2014 20:36:17

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This is an interesting plant I grew from seed.

It is called Swertia kingii.

I have included the top photo to show how the small green and white flowers are arranged on the flower spike.

Sense of Place

22 July 2014 17:31:26
Sense of Place

Sense of Place

I think it is important that a garden has a sense of place.

Our gardens are not pockets in isolation but creations that belong in a particular time and place.

I think you easily get a sense of place at Douentza from the surrounding countryside.

Thank you, Fran

22 July 2014 17:04:36

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Thank you, Fran, for this beautiful brugmansia.

It is absolutely gorgeous.

I must confess that I was a bit sceptical that it was going to be pink when I saw the bud yesterday but, as you can see from today's photo, it has opened into a gorgeous pinky/orange colour.

Love it to bits. And he already has a little brother, from a cutting I made earlier this year, to keep him company.

I suspect that the single-flowered brugs are more reliable than the double but will let you know in due course ;-)


21 July 2014 18:15:57


July is an excellent time to take cuttings!


20 July 2014 21:11:14


It's a bumper year for the brugmansias.

Lobelia bridgesii

20 July 2014 19:43:04
Lobelia bridgesii

Lobelia bridgesii

This is Lobelia bridgesii. It is a great, hardy plant that I grew from seed a few years ago.

I saw it in Carmel Duignan's also two days ago too.

I love the shape of the flowers.


Carmel Duignan's

20 July 2014 16:48:30
Carmel Duignan's

Carmel Duignan's

I had wanted to visit Carmel Duignan's renowned garden in Shankill for some time and it did not disappoint.

It was looking fabulous and crammed with so many exotic and unusual plants.

Of course I was in great company, as you can see from the photo :)

As I was nominated 'scribe' for the visit, I have put botanic names on the photos in the album. The following is the complete list of my notes for Myrtle and whoever else is interested. Some of these are going straight on my wish list...

Phymosia umbellata (Pan Global Nursery)
Dahlia 'Admiral Rawlings' (Wollerton Hall)
Buddleia agathosma
Salvia confertiflora
Salvia discolor
Salvias (Derry Watkins, Bath)
Pelargonium ex-sidoides (takes -9 in Carmel's, usually sold as P. sidoides).
Mitraria coccinea (takes complete shade)
Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera taiwaniana (takes -9 in Carmel's)
Ficus digitata
Tropaeoleum 'Margaret Long'(Irish cultivar)
Rosa bonica
Rosa 'Bengal Crimson' (flowers 4 times a year)
Fuchsia boliviana
Diascia personata (flowers for 6 months)
Hemerocallis 'Doodle Bug'
Sonchus arboreum
Clematis 'Mary Rose'
Tanacetum 'Golden Feather'
Acacia provissima
Hagenia ethiopica (surely a mistake for Hagenia abyssinica)
Alacendonia malreoa (sorry, I must have written this down wrong but it flowers all year (whatever it is))

Lazy Day

19 July 2014 19:20:08
Lazy Day

Lazy Day

As you can see, there's not a lot going on here at the moment :)

At long last

19 July 2014 19:10:04
Pelargonium 'Ardens'

Pelargonium 'Ardens'

This has got to be the hardest pelargonium in the world.

It has taken me FOREVER to flower it.

But it is a cracker.

What a find!

19 July 2014 19:05:05
What a find!

What a find!

Look at this gorgeous dark-leaved ipomea I picked up in Tesco's for €2.99 yesterday!

Joan's Garden

19 July 2014 18:05:12

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I had a wonderful day yesterday and it started with a visit to Joan's beautiful garden.

I had only even been to Joan's in spring before and I had certainly come away with the impression that it was a garden of mostly spring interest as it was full of pretty primulas and other early-flowering delights.

Well yesterday I got such a surprise to see how wonderful the garden looks in summer. I saw no evidence of a spring penchant there at all and the garden is crammed with bright flowers, all immaculately maintained.

It just goes to show what can be done in a small space by someone who really loves their garden.

Thank you so much for a wonderful visit, Joan. An album will be uploaded soon.

Tina's Visit

17 July 2014 23:14:35
Tina's Visit

Tina's Visit

Tina came to visit yesterday, which was a wonderful treat.

We had a stroll around the garden, a cup of tea and a bit of a chin wag.

It's always nice to see friends and Tina is great as we share a love of exotic and tender plants so have loads to talk about. And the weather even held! What more could we ask for.

Today I got a text from Tina, who was in Woodie's, and guess what she had in her trolley but only the last two Hydrangea aspera 'Hot Cholcolate' that Mary featured on this site recently. Tina was texting to ask if she should pick one up for me. Guess what I answered!

Anyway, wasn't Peter's video just great? I nominate Hazel to go next!!!

And here is one more from me, this time a step into the greenhouse...

Douentza, a look around the greenhouse - Rachel Darlington

Garden Visit, 18th July

16 July 2014 09:35:02

An Echium

16 July 2014 00:34:36
Echium russicum

Echium russicum

I bought this echium in Dhu Varren Gardens in Kerry two years ago. It is a hardy one called Echium russicum.

But, unfortunately, it died soon after coming home.

I hung on to the pot for a bit and lo and behold some seedlings poked up. I was hopeful that they were seedlings of the same plant so I kept an eye on it and now, this year, I have flowers.

I think it is a lovely one, even though it is short.

Tomorrow I am going to dig out a large clump of non-descript heuchera from the front of the long border and plant this in, together with Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'.

Videos & a Few Jobs

15 July 2014 21:23:28
Videos & a Few Jobs

Videos & a Few Jobs

I cut back the delphiniums today. Those who visited may have noticed that they needed cutting.

The reason why I didn't do it sooner was that the cloud-pruned tree behind them would then have been visible and it needed a hair cut. I did both jobs today.

And I cut back the cat mint and did some potting.

Here are two more mini videos from the garden. I remember a thread earlier this year on 'a dash around the garden'. Maybe this will start a trend of videos of people's gardens???

Go on! Who's next?

Douentza, a stroll from the patio doors

Douentza, the long border


15 July 2014 00:17:54

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Just recently I've become involved in some swaping of plant material with people and it's just brilliant fun.

The two parcels in the first photo contain streptocarpus material and are now on their way to other growers. I can expect two nice parcels in return this week.

But the big news recently was my swapping for this fabulous frangipani cutting. It was too big to come by post to me but came, with the additional gift of a visit on Open Day, from the owner.

That is the great thing about open days. You just don't know who may turn up :)

Thank You

14 July 2014 19:26:34

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I would like to say a great big thank you to everyone who came to my open days.

It was a great turn out this year, especially on the first and last days, and I will definitely be doing it again next year, probably in conjunction with Philip Hollwey.

It was lovely to see Clare & Greg, Myrtle, Periwinkle, Paddy & Mary, Hazel, Joan, Damo, Liga, Ruth & Henry and the lurkers from Dundalk (you know who you are :-) ) together with many others not from this site. Thanks also to those who read about the open days from my article in the Irish Garden. It's good to know someone is reading them :)

Yesterday some very nice ladies were asking me why I didn't open more often. Well, the truth is, I'm exhausted now and need some down time!

The michauxia and epiphyllum graceously decided to open today, one day late, as you can see from the photos. But such is gardening!

And for those of you who couldn't make it, here is a little 1 minute video to give you a taste of the garden...

Douentza, through the arch

Will it, won't it?

12 July 2014 09:03:32

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The million dollar question today is whether Michauxia tchihatcheffii (and no, I have no idea how to pronounce that!) will have opened.

Surely at least one of the epyphyllum that have been flowering on and off all week (flowers last a day) will coincide with today's Open Day!

I am going out to glare very hard at them now to see if that will help!

Day Off

11 July 2014 23:59:09

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It was a beautiful day today and everything was pretty much done in the garden so we went to Altamont.

It is looking lovely as usual and we had a nice leisurely stroll. I didn't feel like taking photos but have these three.

The new restaurant is a real asset.

I picked up Colquhounia coccinea 'Mollis' at the plant sales so I'm a happy bunny.


10 July 2014 10:31:28


The task for today is to do up the pots for the left hand side of the house - the ones I didn't get around to for last Open Day.

As the site is about to go down, I thought I would stick up my Open Day reminder now.

I am open this Saturday and Sunday from 11-6. It is my last one for this year.

GPS : 52.67527, -6.54488

See you there!

Wisley Amethyst

09 July 2014 21:25:25
Roscoea 'Wisley Amethyst'

Roscoea 'Wisley Amethyst'

It was a lovely day today and I did my favourite gardening task of all - dead heading.

I love wandering around the garden with the secateurs and the trug, cutting flowers and ocassionally cutting something back because there is nothing harder to do!

I wonder how long it will take before weeding and edging need attention! Oh well.

I noticed this roscoe that I picked up in England last year, when I went on the mad adventure with Deborah, Fran and Kristina. Happy days. It is in flower and reminding me of what a great time we had.

Cloud Pruning

09 July 2014 21:19:14
Cloud Pruning

Cloud Pruning

Just an update on how the newly established 'cloud pruning' area is developing.

Proposed Visit

09 July 2014 00:27:18

Having A Rest

08 July 2014 18:21:16

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I'm having a rest from gardening.

Today I set about watering my poor neglected orchids. I missed watering/feeding them altogether last week with preparations for Open Day so I'm glad to give them some attention now.

What do you think of my Ukrainian strep?

It is from the breeding house, Dimetris, and all their streps are very much sought after and very difficult to get in this part of the world because they're not in the EU.

This one has not yet been named in English so it's 'hot off the press', so to speak :)

Gone Potty

07 July 2014 23:14:31

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As Mary said, I've gone a bit potty this year.


The third pot is with a little help from my friends.

Thank you, Scrubber, for the dahlia, Deborah, for the tradescantia and Liga for the trailng pelargonium :)

Nice Sweet Pea

07 July 2014 22:56:03
Nice Sweet Pea

Nice Sweet Pea

I like this sweet pea.

It's called 'Chocolate Cream'.

Yum yum!

Sarita, our Indian princess

07 July 2014 11:45:48

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May I introduce you to Sarita, our Indian princess.

She is made of straw and I think she adds a great new dimension to our garden :)

Open again next weekend, 12th and 13th July.

Open Day Notice

06 July 2014 00:09:17
Plant Sales

Plant Sales

A final notice to anyone planning to come to tomorrow's Open Day.

I will be giving a guided tour at Douentza at 11ish and Philip Hollwey is giving one at his garden at 2:30ish.

Philip will be at my talk in the morning so if you plan on taking in both gardens you may wish to follow him home!

Of course you don't have to turn up so early. I am open 11-6pm.

See you tomorrow!

PS There will be signs from the Carnew/Bunclody road.

Mountain Climbing

03 July 2014 12:15:35
Mountain Climbing

Mountain Climbing

The persicaria bank is beginning to look a little yellow at the top as a result of all this drought.

I had to send a certain junior hero up this morning with the hose.

Indian Saris

02 July 2014 19:34:01
Indian Saris

Indian Saris

I knew those Indian saris in the attic would come in useful again one day...

Knitting and now sewing for Open Day - let it never be said that I didn't go all out!


02 July 2014 11:41:01

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I took a break from gardening yesterday morning to photograph my streptocarpus collection.

I really love these easy house plants and might be slightly hooked!

The album is now on gaden.ie, complete with names.


Last June Photos

01 July 2014 11:12:15

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I have uploaded the last of the June photos to my album, if anyone would like a look.

Unfortunately, I have stopped writing the plant names on the photos as it takes far too long. I do put them on in facebook though, if that's any help, or you can of course ask me if you want a particular id.

Anyway, here are some sarracenia photos from one of my bog planters and you know where to find the album!

Going out to do gardening now!


Special Delivery

01 July 2014 00:23:35
Special Delivery

Special Delivery

We got a special delivery for Open Day by tractor this evening :)


PS The photo has nothing to do with it.



01 July 2014 00:12:41


Hubby was busy cutting hedges today.

He was busy doing the top of the hedge that screens our dump when I heard an almighty yell and scream for me to come help.

My heart was in my mouth as I raced over with horrible images of the chain saw massacre in my mind!

I found hubby between the hedge and the dump and I knew what had happened...

Last year Sam took a notion to dig a big hole. He was influenced by that book, Holes. He was quite helpful in the garden at first but then when he wanted to continue digging and I had nowhere for him to dig I sent him to behind the hedge and told him he could dig a hole there.

He dug a 3ft hole before he got bored.

And, you've guessed it. Norman forgot about the 3ft hole when he was cutting behind the hedge and busy looking up and ended up in it.

Luckily nothing was broken, just some cuts and bruises.


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