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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal

Last Post 2 days ago

I feel bad about

24 June 2017 21:03:25
Easter egg hunt photo

Easter egg hunt photo

not having any photographs as Ive been told the camera is kaput. Does anyone know how I get photos from a Samsung Y I phone to the computer-Windows 10 on my new laptop. I have tried but failed. I plugged in to computer and to phone thinking it would suddenly work but no.

Am desperately trying to reclaim Eileen's bed as Ground elder has retaken it, I notice I lost about four good lupins  in the resulting jungle. But I have more. Was in Keoghs of New Ross today and got two beautiful almost bonzai'd juniper. They are a little pot bound but anywhere else would have cost about 12 to 15 euro each and I got them for 4,95 each. I am going to 'nestle' them in among the cobbles surrounding my small ball fountain on the patio. I hope it works.

The river is a touch cooler but still a joy to plunge into after working in the dust and heat. As I swam across I see the far bank has lots of lovely wild waterlillies-they look like troillus- yellow and ball shaped and the near bank has a beautiful white-o lord I forget the name-Normally tall and  ah eupotorium? Think it has a common name yes Joe pie weed. Normally pink. Theres a rock on the other side to which I can swim and perch and survey all the beauty around me. Im blessed.

I cleared the weeds back from a little smothered box hedge and it looked as though it had benefitted from the shade!

I also managed to cut down a big branch of the old fallen willow and that opens up the space a bit. Damn! I wish I had my camera!




18 June 2017 01:00:21


Decided to clean circles around every tree and shrub in lawn and then discovered there were twenty eight of them. Took me the whole day and part of another but finally got it done. Then decided to  mow lawn and finish it all off nicely. And of course the mower collapsed yet again when needed. I brought it in today but a new one would cost about 750 Euro so I decided to get it repaired and to then look around . When I got home I went for my first swim in the river. Cold but not too bad at all! Then I got out the strimmer and did both main lawns!!!!Not the easiest but was delighted with the result and the circles  do look well. Went for another swim after that as was sweaty dirty and most objectionable!

Will get my mower back on Tuesday so its a holding action. Lots of nice rose surprises in the scrub and there are yellow day lillies to follow on the present russet ones so Im looking forward to that!

Winding paths

10 June 2017 21:31:48
corner of the bridge

corner of the bridge

We had lovely weather today, quite sunny and dry. It was such a bonus. There was a  lot of strimming to be done as the grass in the Scrub was nearly thigh high! Lot of slogging. Then Scrubber decided to lighten a tree’s shade! This was because he has a cunning plan to put another tree in the lower lawn. Why? Because there are two there and I recently slightly enlarged the circle around one of them and they were then both the same size so a third, in a diagonal line! Suggested itself. Perhaps an Acer?

It’s wonderful the way one thing leads to another. I had redone the path at the very bottom of the Scrub and it looks much better. Then yesterday I worked on another path and enlarged it a bit. As I walked around tonight I realised that I had unconsciously improved the whole path around the garden! One leads on from the other. And today I was fiddling around the very big rock, clearing the top just a little more. Now I find this rock is a feature on the bottom path and also looks very well from the middle path!!! And there is a plum coloured hazel there just beside the rock that now looks much more of a feature especially since I cleared out all the extra shoots that had grown up around it. So paths , hazel and rock are all fairly magically combining. I’m certain Cherub Lute is behind a lot of it! Others would perhaps say serendipity. But walking around the path tonight I did feel that things were coming together in a special way . Then others might say ‘poor old Scrubber, he’s becoming delusional!’ and they might have a point!

The trimming of the tree was so satisfying, a lot of branches down, a few awkward branches trimmed off and now it looks much lighter and airier. Always takes longer than one expects and especially the tidying up afterwards!


The Iron Man!

09 June 2017 21:39:01
Keeping a merry eye on things!

Keeping a merry eye on things!

A surprise for me today when Scrubber went into diy territory! He had a list of stuff for today starting with starting the mower! And lo and behold it started and kept going! I got all my mowing done which was great. Before that I went out to a neighbouring field and got 30 elderflower heads for Anna- a pleasant task as they will be transformed into delicious cordial! As we were in Borris I called into the local hardware and priced two meter lengths of 6mm iron!!!! I hope you are impressed with my technical knowledge! I bought 10 and the lot cost me 8 euro.

When I was home I went over to my beech tree and selected a thick branch. I slipped the rod behind it and brought the two ends together at the front. Then when I took it out it was a very nice curve. I laid the U shape on the ground,stood on the bend and pulled up the two ends (very easy). Thus making a fine strong support for bushy plants, It was very easy and I made ten in about ten minutes with no strain! I think they are about 3.50 to 4.50 euro to buy. And if Scrubber can make them-anyone can. Thats fact not modesty!

Then I decided to remove a large fern from beside a path and trim a rhododendron on the other side. The fern-a native- was huge and took a lot of effort to remove but once that was done and the other side of the path made a bit more definite, slicing into it and spreading the clay so as to fill the hole left by the fern and then a good scattering of grass seed so that in a few weeks time that path will look well I hope. Did a bit of tidying on fern corner but needs a lot more. The 'new' path runs by Fern corner so that when you make one place better you have to improve the other as well!

Did a bit more raking and seeding on another path and then came in. Didnt get all on my list done but then I hadnt the plant supports on my list!!!


Not a bad day

08 June 2017 21:04:23
A corner of the Scrub

A corner of the Scrub

'Ithink Mr Scrubber isnt at all sure of what he wants' suggested Cherub Cynbals' 'Hmmm?' was the only response from cherub Lute. G Nome gathered himself to say something quite cutting but seeing the expression on Micilin Dee's face he held off. But it was fair comment as Scrubber had risen and gone out and dug a big deep hole and planted his new iron square ball topped pole! No Fran its not for pole dancing!! But then he looked again and decided it was too high. So the hole had to be emptied-of the clay that filled it! and another foot deeper and the pole went back in again. G.Nome gave a deep sigh and tried to shrug his shoulders-difficult as they are stone! But this time the hole was deep enough-about four feet and the pole now stands about four feet high. It was a very large pole! I thought it was six feet but my maths has now indicated it was eight!

Then Scrubber filled the two pots and used his own compost mixed with clay. The colours go very well together if you can imagine maroon and copper¬! He made a new bed just below statue scrubber and put in four huge crinum bulbs. He split up his buxus trays, each little section gives three plants and they grow just as well, He put them around the stone quern and they should be lovely in a year or two.

Some people just might remember a circular beech hedge I put in about five years ago. It got its first real trim today and I cleaned out under it to help the growth,

The mower is very cantankerous these days-the machine not the owner, but at least Scrubber got the main and lower lawns done before it conked. I left it outside under a bush to save the manhandling into the garage and if it doesnt start its off to carlow to the lawnmower hospital-cant have place falling apart at this stage! G, Nome would be apalled!

Have been told my camera is probably dead! Very helpful man in Waterford camera shop is going to look at it but wasnt too hopeful-not hopeful at all in fact! So I cant show all the new stuff! Sorry about that.



Birthday benefits.

07 June 2017 23:32:48
Taken just as light faded

Taken just as light faded

As Anna had bought me the arch for my birthday I wasnt expecting more. I had asked my son and daughter to buy me a pot each-it was a cunning plan to get matching pots and to cut down on their too generous birthday gifts. But Son went his own way and gave me lotso'cash and Daughter's is yet to materialise as she was foiled by a non english speaking restauranteur when she attempted to pay in advance for my Birthday meal!

Well I was in Glanbia and I spotted two pots, sort of deep maroon, but a dull deep maroon with a hint of decoration. Then Kieran showed me new roses that had just come in-lovely healthy ones with a coppery orange tint and I knew they would be perfect in the pots! And I got two trays of Buxus!

Then yesterday I went over to Ian and collected the square iron post topped with a lovely small ball. He gave it to me for free-no I didnt tell him about my birthday fran! 

Today was a miserable wet day all day so when we came back from waterford I changed and brought the post-rusted and a bit paint spattered, into the garage and wire brushed it and then cleaned it and painted it the same green as the arch and obelisks and painted the ball on top dull gold. Theres a slight kink in it but it is tall enough so that I can bury it deep enough and the post will be dead straight.

I also ran out between showers and planted three box in each corner of the square little bed in the circle at the front of the house. I always divide up those buxus as you get three together in each section and they come on singly just as well.

If I can get some sun tomorrow Ill get in the rest of the box- about 50 lovely gladioli and my four crinums. There were nice cheap paeonies in Aldi today or was it Lidle-Lidle for about 7 Euro each. I was tempted but resisted.

Here's hoping for better weather! I also want to visit the Zoo and the Lutyens memorial garden in Islandbridge so hope there will be a few sunny days ahead.

Havent a camera at present so cant put up new pics.




Am getting old--er.

05 June 2017 20:11:47
This is always the last to come out,

This is always the last to come out,

Well we were away for a week and came back to different weather. However it stayed fine for Bloom and even though i was tired I decided to go. It was enjoyable but by two o clock I was satisfied to come home. The gardens were fine, I loved the planting in the Pieta House garden and the MounVenus  effort was hugely impressive. I didnt see the change in tide that they had. I liked the Agri Aware farmyard garden. But my favourite was Hugh Ryan's Stem Cell. Quite minimalist but lovely use of hellebore leaves over stones and young Hydrangea foliage along with big rectangular black wooden slabs that fitted in well despite their size and gave a protective feeling to the garden. Some of the others I felt were overplanted and Cuprinols I felt was very fussy and perhaps overdone. But there was much to admire and lots to learn. I enjoyed it very much and met Gerry and Helen Dillon and Carmel Duignan who had all the time in the world to talk to a vagrant from carlow! I did keep glancing around to see if there were others waiting!

I was very pleased that my obelisks more than measured up to those on sale. The man whose arch I bought had another on sale up there and it was strange to see it in its rust form,now that I had painted my own deep green. I offered to testify to its strength if needed but people saw for themselves that it was  a good arch. I saw some people carrying huge plants, dicksonia, whole rosebushes, and big plants in ceramic pots! I confined myself to gladioli bulbs and four crinums which were all a little reduced for the final day. Four crinums for a Tenner,

I was disappointed that I met no garden.ie people but you cant have everything! One thing that struck me was that a show garden is an ephemeral thing and really quite seasonal whereas our own gardens are there all the time and continually changing so that was very consoling.

Oh a dear Friend informed me that somebody in Chelsea was saying that 'a line of Obelisks added definition to a garden' and she very kindly was enraged that they had nabbed Scrubber's original idea!!!

I didnt bring my camera to Bloom as its gone very wonky lately. I think Ill have to invest in a new one. So if I put up one of my garden dont think please that I have lost the run of meself!


Glorious weather

26 May 2017 22:30:52

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What beautiful weather and to be able to be out in it an added and much appreciated bonus. Now the grass is knee high and very snarly in places and it takes about three goes with the strimmer before the mower can be used. But that’s a small price to pay. Again the forget me nots worked their wonder. A lovely haze of blue for three or four weeks but now it’s time to take them out and they come up so easily and leave the ground free and crumbly.

Roses are beginning to bloom and irises are out in glorious blue and I see the achillea heads are coming into brilliant yellow which will be a lovely contrast. In the bog theres a lot of growth lobelias are stretching and I see colour beginning to come in the bog irises-a generous donation from Gracedieu!

The newest Item in the garden is the gong! As I said earlier in a journal I needed something to call me up from the depths of the Scrub and I didn’t like the idea of a whistle which an old friend used to use! So bells being most expensive I had a think and suggested to Ian who made my obelisks that he put two iron ‘straps’ across the top of a cylindrical tube and a ring on top of that. Well ian made it and also a lovely hook. I painted it bronze and bought a length of chain (2 Euro!) and rigged it up. Ian also made me a lovely striker with a hole in the handle for a leather thong. And it has a lovely tone and can be heard across the river! Im going to have a great time on New years eve as up to this I have just bashed a big saucepan. However that’s a long way off.

One bonus of clearing a small border of forget me nots and weeds was it revealed a very healthy little box hedge! I had bought a tray and divided each into three plants. Well each little plant has thrived and it looks great in front of a granite stone wall.

So lots done and lots more to do but bit by bit something will emerge at the end!



Early one morning just as the sun.....

19 May 2017 21:44:15
Hawthorn in bloom as beautiful as anything

Hawthorn in bloom as beautiful as anything

was shining as the song has it, The father of a dear young friend died and his funeral was at eleven today. I went out for an hour or so and planted about thirty drumstick primula down in the boggy area so next year there will be a lovely memory of the good man whose funeral was today. I never met him but he seems to have been a wonderful father and family man and he was also a gardener!

Ive noticed that that bottom path has really come together . Ive been doing a lot of little things, clearing rocks, enhancing edges, removing reeds, adding Tetrapanex, and quite suddenly there is a beautiful new area replacing what was just a track across the bottoms. Ill try for a picture tomorrow.

I also noticw that forget me nots are great ground cover. Now they are gone over and can be taken out they leave nice clear areas where they have been. And yet there will be lots of little plants coming on later on. Great little flowers! I notice a lovely Iris coming in some numbers this year. Again a pic tomorrow

and a coat of paint.......

18 May 2017 18:32:11

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And of course Monday was wet and windy so I couldn’t paint the arch.However I was in Bagenalstown so I called into Ian and told him I had bought the arch. He was very encouraging and said he was pleased I had got what I was looking for which was very nice of him. Then I asked him to make me a gong!!! Anna sometimes can’t contact me if I’m strimming in the Scrub. An old friend’s wife used use a whistle but I refuse to be whistled at! Bells are very dear so I had an idea. A piece of pipe with two bars of metal bent over the top and a small circle on top, hanging by a chain from a tree. We tried a few different pipes and settled on one resonant one. I wonder what Ian will turn out!

On Tuesday afternoon I got out and painted the Arch. I ran out of paint but Anna kindly went into Borris and got me a small tin. I was quite pleased with the look but wondered could I possibly fit in the arch where I wanted it. There was an old arch of two cotoneasters and there were large stones at the base and a small stone built pillar.

This morning ,Wednesday, Austin my son helped me lift the arch into position. It was unbelievable, I did have to take out a large rock but was able to replace it once the arch was in place. Both cotoneasters fitted exactly onto the arch and I tied the branches in with soft plastic tape and trimmed just a little. There will be room at the base for sweet pea and a clematis or rambling rose. I was so pleased that the arch fitted  so well .

I had hoped to get in some of the Mount Congreve plants after that but had to turn to something completely different instead as we had a touch of the drains!!!Kept me going but the fact that the Arch was such a success helped immensely!

Now the obelisks are in place and the arch has arrived I can get back to weeding and planting the plants which at least are being well watered!!

Such a day! Mount congreve last Sunday

17 May 2017 20:09:19
Not of course in position! and unpainted as yet

Not of course in position! and unpainted as yet

O my goodness. Tonight Scrubber is in an absolute dither! A very pleasant dither I must confess! As you could see from my last journal I had resolved to be restrained and temporate on my visit to the rare plant sale in Mount Congreve.’Well maybe a tenner’s worth if I saw something I really liked. We drove in and at first glance I thought that there was not a huge amount of stands there. But then I realised my mistake. There were lots and they were all filled with the most tempting of delights! I went into the Future Forests and the very helpful young man there advised me on trimming my viburnums, the wayfarers tree. Mine were a little leggy but I can cut them back very low after flowering. So I bought an indian rain tree-very small but it will grow. Next stall had a beautiful species Iris in Blue and gold. So I took that and was satisfied.

Anna and I went for Lunch and there was a glorious Portuguese tent with great simmering dishes. I had sea food and some grain stuff and also some lamb and choriza? The mixture sounds mad but I ate them separately. Anna had a beefburger. Linda and Diego were at the next table and we chatted and met one another countless times. I also met Rachel Norman and Sam and was delighted to see them. Came out and there infront of me were lovely Obelisks and two fine arches. Now my own obelisks were a match for them but the arch was  very strong and nicely proportioned. I had told Ian I would be looking for an arch from him and I was in two minds so I walked away. At the Mount venus stall I got a lovely new fern and then there was another beside it that I went back for! Of course Caherhurly were there and they had Ligularia and my bog needed some ligularia so I got two! Then I met my first cousin and her husband who had a stall of cacti and succulents and sarcenias (The ones that eat flies-also a bog plant).So that was my total.

We went to my daughter’s house and made tea then headed for home. The baleful thought struck me ‘had I turned off the kettle?’ Luckily we were only ten minutes away. Back and checked and all ok. Then Anna said’ Would you like to buy the arch and offered to pay half and make it my birthday present! I wasn’t sure as I felt a tiny bit disloyal to ian (even though I hadn’t actually ordered it yet) back and haggled with the man Liam  from Abbeyleix and finally arrived at a price, the arch to be delivered that very evening! On the way out I got two more Ligularias and went home rather shaken at all thissudden expenditure. Liam arrived in my gate two hours later!

So It was a wonderful day and I am only now beginning to relax after it. A lot of painting and planting ahead of me!

And the rain it raineth every day-well today anywa

12 May 2017 23:04:49

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What a day of continual soft yet determined rain! I must say Scrubber was very pleased to see it even if it stopped his projected garden work. But just before it got too heavy Scrubber went down into the scrub and managed to rake some bald bits on the lowest path and scattered lots of grass seed. Actually one of the places that was renewed was the area around the rock that moved in the night (last journal). Apparently the ground was quite disturbed by the moving rock so yesterday Scrubber spread a bit of compost there and hopefully the rain will have settled the seed in.

He then started to put in some drumstick primulas that he had got in Glanbia but the rain came down and put an end to that.

The garage was in such a mess so seeing he was in his working gear Scrubber got stuck in and by seven o clock there was an improvement. Some of the time was taken up with sorting through piles of labels and seed packets-all out of date! How many plants Scrubber has killed down through the years!!!But it is satisfying to see the successful ones and the amount of pleasure a few euros expenditure can bring.

So many things promising to break into flower soon. There’s still one shy rhododendron waiting to come out. It looks a bit like ponticum but hasn.t its bad habit of spreading madly.

Im really looking forward to Plant Fair on Sunday as Mount Congreve always is a delight. I shall only look as Scrubber sort of lost the run of himself last week in Glanbia. He had got a beautiful Clematis and then spotted some small clematis which were very reasonable so he got three of them. Then the following day Scrubber in a moment of weakness went back in and got some more!! Greed or seizing the moment???? So if you see him coming out from the rare plant fair with a very tiny bag that’s the reason. ‘When Temptation comes near me make me strong against it’ as dear Sister Josephine drilled into us long ago!

So much going on....

10 May 2017 21:14:52

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Well Scrubber has been quite busy lately. He got his last two obelisks and also the iron bowl he spotted in the iron works attached to a slab of metal. Ian the owner said he could have it so he asked Ian to remove the slab bit and mount the bowl on a stand. Ian did this and the result is very beautiful. Scrubber thought about leaving it in its rusted state but eventually ended up painting it a dull gold and he thinks it works beautifully. So then the Obelisks are in order and he got some sweet pea plants lately and he had some clematis so it looks like they will be clothed soon enough. It gave him HUGE pleasure to see an obelisk in a very prestigious store in wexford selling a wispy coat hanger strength obelisk-rusted- for 38.50! Now the ones Scrubber has cost about a third more but they will see scrubber out! He is going to allow the bowl to fill with rainwater rather than plant it. And as it is it has a lovely resonant gong sound if struck gently-which has given Scrubber and idea for a gong-watch this space.

As if that wasn’t enough last evening as scrubber stood contemplating a large -very- boulder and wondering if it would look better eight feet away, he saw a large cat come slowly up the path towards him. Then he realised ‘That’s no cat’. It was a large and fearless mink with a whitish head and beautiful full brown black coat. It had no fear and after staring at Scrubber for a few seconds it came on and went past him about twelve feet away and disappeared into the hedge-all done quite measuredly without any fear. It was such a thrill to see a wild creature so at home in my garden!

But back to the boulder. Scrubber had two free hours yesterday and the boulder had exercised his thoughts quite a bit over the past few weeks as it was in the middle of Lady gardeners path and sort of spoiled the sweep of grass there. Now if it were eight feet further up would it enhance the sweep of grass or did it serve a better purpose marking the end of the slab path????? Luckily there was a big wind last night and do you know what! It blew the stone al lthe way up to the new position and once there Scrubber realised it was perfectly placed!!! I might add that the winds in the Scrub can be very strong at times! That’s my story and Im sticking to it!

Theres a plant sale on the 14th in Mount Congreve!

06 May 2017 20:39:22

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I hope to get down as the entrance price includes the gardens which is decent-very. My news is that today I finally collected my iron bowl. Ian who makes all my iron work for me had thought I wanted it at the same height as my obelisks but he kindly cut it down to size. I am really pleased with it and cant make up my mind whether to leave it rust or to paint it very dull gold, I might put in a big cobble stone as Ian suggested so that were little birds to drink from it they would be ok.

In the photo the stand is only just stuck in a few inches. I intend setting it a bit deeper. I am very pleased as it forms a nice sculptural touch and yet it fits in with the natural shrub background. Its definitely not 'pretty' but Scrubber does think its rather fine!

I was so pleased that it fitted in exactly as I had hoped. I have my last two obelisks which I shall paint on Monday and then as fraoch advised, Ill chance the sweet pea seeds even though its late.

The nice thing about the Obelisks is although they are large and very sturdy they are not at all obtrusive and you have to look to notice them. Being painted green probably helps.

Im looking forward to Monday when that aspect of the Garden will be complete. The forget me nots are just gone over so I will pull them all out and shake them out down in the bog. I think it was Mary who suggested forget- me- nots might be nice contrasting with the strong yellow Skunk cabbage.

The border at the lawns edge can then be prepared for summer. Sure even if theres only one well kept area it will help a lot!

Hope you like the Iron pot!


03 May 2017 18:48:39

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The garden’s got the bit between the teeth and is careering into summer. Grass has sprung up and veg beds still undug! But Scrubber is just going to enjoy whats there rather than bemoaning what’s not!

The Azaeleas are out in glorious purple, the candelabra primula in the bog have all come out-lovely purples against the rush of new green, theres a lovely Blue Peter Rhododendron still going strong, ferns are unfurling everywhere and Hostas are unsheathing themselves. The green of the Beech is one of the most beautiful spring unfoldings.

So what if things are a bit ragged around the edges Scrubber has decided to enjoy it! And maybe ,just maybe he might gradually get around to things in time!


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