a mediateam website

See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal February 2016

Last Post 690 days 23 hours ago

Japanese tree training & topiary

28 February 2016 17:32:15
Japanese tree training & topiary

Japanese tree training & topiary

Before the mulch went down, I did some work on the pre-topiaried cypress that's been in the ground for six years.

Guess what? I made a video...

Japanese Style Tree Training & Cloud Pruning - DIY style - YouTube

Witch Hazel

23 February 2016 16:23:34
Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

I know you have all been talking about witch hazel for some time on this site and I too am in awe at Gracedieu's selection. But here's a two minute video about my 'Arnold Promise'...

Witch Hazel - Hamamelis - YouTube


Much Mulch

22 February 2016 20:14:49

Click to zoom

Click to zoom

Lost my last journal so here goes again...

I started putting our own mulch on the garden today. Of our three compost bays, about a quarter of each is usable. I will buy more but there is something magically about mulching with one that was made by us :)

I also got strep potting underway, a job that was on my conscience for a while. Feeling happy that the guilt can be assuaged.

The two photos show Camellia 'Debbie' and a supposedly black cymbidium called Cali Night 'Geyserland'. Those buds are looking alarmingly pink to me for a black flower :O What do you think?

Pruning Sambucus/Elder

21 February 2016 14:19:13
Pruning Sambucus/Elder

Pruning Sambucus/Elder

It is February so a good time to prune elder. I have seven in my garden and just love the dark leaved kind.

I noticed this year that two trees had 'gotten away on me' and needed rejuvenating pruning.

So I made this video to show the normal annual sambucus pruning needed and also the rejuvenating kind. I hope you enjoy...

Easy Sambucus / Elder Pruning - annual prune & rejuvenating pruning - YouTube

Dahlia, Calla & Begonia

20 February 2016 15:40:18

Snowdrops etc

14 February 2016 15:48:51
Snowdrops etc

Snowdrops etc

I continued clearing and weeding today. The snowdrops are looking well here but just about to go over. I'm pleased with how they are doing and hope to divide them again soon.

Here are two videos, iploaded recently about Monte Palace Garden in Madeira, an amazing place with an olive tree from 300BC and a cymbidium walk...



Happy Gardening!

Dahlias, Streps etc

11 February 2016 22:47:34
Dahlias, Streps etc

Dahlias, Streps etc

There was a hard frost when I got up this morning but, since we had a scheduled electricity outage, I decided to do some gardening. It cleared into a beautiful day.

I potted about half the dahlias (until I ran out of compost) and potted some streps on the table outside as it is so messy to do indoors. And then I did some more cutting back. So a productive day for me!

Here's a video of a greenhouse update, showing the dead horse arum of a few journals back, cymbidiums and the sorry state of my pellies.

February Greenhouse - YouTube

Altamont Snowdrop Week

09 February 2016 16:57:43
Altamont Snowdrop Week

Altamont Snowdrop Week

Hi guys. I went outdoors to garden today and managed to remove the climbers from the arches as the arches are being replaces. They also lifted easily out of their shoes, which was nice. And then I was driven indoors by... snow!

Anuyway, it meant I got the Altamont video ready so here it is...



08 February 2016 14:36:40


I decided on a new approach to clearing the garden for this year.

Instead of completely finishing one border before I move to the next, I will just cut back all the dead stuff first. I did this today in the Long Border, for a few hours, and the advantage is that I feel like I am getting some area covered. Of course I didn't finish. The Long Border is very long but now when I look out from the house I can see Rhodo. 'Christmas Cheer' in flower and even the snowdrops, without them being obscured by dead sticks.

I'm going to add an extra foot to the length of that border, at the front. It will help the shape and give a bit more space. Tomorrow...

Compost issues are now emerging as it was too wet to make a lasagne bed this year. The result is the compost bins are full and have not been turned so cannot be spread on the garden! And a large volume material is coming off the garden. Hmmm...

We were at Altamont yesterday (between the showers - very lucky). The photo is from their plant sales. It is looking super but there seems to be fewer and less beautiful hellebores this year in the garden! I did notice though that Altamont is still using cocoa mulch yet my supplier has dried up. Grrrr! There will be an Altamont video soon about the plant sales, as I covered the garden last year on my channel.

Okay, that's enough for the minute.

Exciting Plants at Madeiran Market

07 February 2016 11:41:39
Exciting Plants at Madeiran Market

Exciting Plants at Madeiran Market

Here's a video about the exciting market in Madeira and plants I bought there.

It was very hard to keep control...

The Madeiran Market & Plants I Bought There - Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal - YouTube

Dead Horse Arum & Tulips

06 February 2016 17:55:04


Last year I planted tulips in the ground in January. This year it was February.

I'm getting later and later but I bet they'll be grand!

But I got a lovely surprise in the greenhouse today when I saw this arum beginning to sprout. It is called dead horse arum because of the smell of its flowers. I'll keep you posted!

Tool of Choice

06 February 2016 13:03:00
Tool of Choice

Tool of Choice

The object in the picture was the gardening tool of choice in Madeira. When I was there I saw lots of municipal gardeners using it.

I couldn't imagine it being handy but I suppose any tool requires you to  get the hang of it. My tools of choice (and what I grab when I go out to garden - after the gardening trousers are on, you understand) are...

1) strong trowel, preferable with a ruler on the side (currently using a plastic one I won from a Terra Nova event)

2) felcro

3) claw - a kind of metal claw that scrapes the surface of the soil 

4) kneeler (as long as it's dry I'm not fussy)

5) half-moon edger - I use this to cut the border edge and give me a line to weed to

What do you use?

Gardening Trousers

05 February 2016 21:47:21
Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

Well, I got as far as putting on my gardening trousers today but then the rain came down. So I didn't go out and I just stayed in and edited videos.

So sad!

Seeds & Holidays

03 February 2016 17:34:23


Well, I sowed my first seeds yesterday - Scilla Maderensis. It will be four years until they flower, if they do germinate. But it will be worth it.

This was one of the two plants I wanted to buy in Madeira but sadly I couldn't find it. I am glad I have the seeds.

The photo shows me, posing with Melanoselinum decipiens n its natural habitat on a mountain in Madeira. It's not called giant Madeiran cow parsley for nothing. This plant grows on top of the mountain in a cooler environment, which is why it is hardy for us in Ireland.

And here's a video about an orchid nursery I visited in Madeira...

Madeiran Orchid Nursery - Orchid Farm (Orquidaria), Caminho dos Saltos - YouTube


02 February 2016 08:36:29


I did my first gardening of the year yesterday. My poor muscles were very stiff afterwards but I felt content.

Recent storms destroyed my three arches so they are looking very sad, in various stages of collapse and dilapidation. I thought about doing without them for a while but then decided that they really are needed for the design of the garden. New ones are on order.

I had a laugh reading my journal from 28 October 2008, which was the date when the arches were first put up. There was little else in the garden then. It was the same month I created the existing shape of the west side of the garden. Ah, memories.


Garden.ie Members

Not a member yet?
Join now to:

Join Now

Existing Members

Forgotten password

Garden.ie CLUB

Join Ireland's first online garden club! Share pictures of your garden, make new friends and chat with other gardeners. It's simple to join and free! Register Here

Featured Members


Thousands of gardening facts at your finger tips:

Ask Gerry

Gerry DalyTry our unique advice service from editor Gerry Daly. Got a question right now? Search here to see if it has been answered already:

a mediateam website

©2018 Garden.ie. Mediateam Ltd, Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18.

Tel (+353 1) 2947777 Email info@garden.ie

Website Design by KCO.ie