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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal August 2011

Last Post 2338 days 5 hours ago

A day of three halves!

27 August 2011 16:45:21
And then, just a pushover!

And then, just a pushover!

It was a very full day. I went out in the morning and gathered all the leaves and debris that were under the old Juniper and that was about four tarpaulins full! Dragged them down to the bottom of the scrub. Then went at a bit of Fern Corner to clarify steped slope there.Also planted some shrubs I got in Cois na hAbhann camolin for 3 euro each-two penstemon, a potentilla and a phlox.

After dinner I went down to where the wall had tumbled the day before. You are not going to believe the next bit.  There was a large foundation rock but it was sloped so not the best. Got crowbar and attacked! But it was immovable. There was a smaller one embedded above. I remembered my last cherub encounter and thought I could do with some help. While angling for the smaller one I suddenly felt the monster move! By using it as fulcrum the huge one came out quite simply and I was able to have a steadier foundation. I told you you wouldn't believe it! Cherub power! Then back up to the grassy steps and redefined two paths that go around the slope there. It looks very raw but will grass over.

Then promptly at six David arrived as did the man with the trailer and for the next two hours Scrubber worked as hard as he has done for a long time. Our job was the lift up all the branches to the man in the trailer. Very dirty dusty work and occasionally Scrubbers gloves caught in the branches and he found himself being hauled up against the side of the lorry! Then David got into the trailer-think very very big trailer-and started chopping up the branches and Scrubber had to maintain the loading on his own for a bit. Luckily David was keeping an eye on him and was cautioning him against overdoing things!But finally all was cleared and raked and swept and the lawn is back to normal!

Scrubber hopes to be, quite soon!

Once more into the beech dear friends ,once more..

24 August 2011 21:45:40
Taking the tip of the last spar!

Taking the tip of the last spar!

David was back this morning and I had asked him to lop a branch about 30 feet up that was overhanging  the liquidamber. Easy!(according to david!) He first threw up a type of drop line ie a rubber ball with line attached over a y shaped fork above the branchand the this in turn drew up a rope. This hung down on both sides so using one to haul himself up and the other to wrap around his foot and give purchase he was soon up on the branch. To this he tied another rope and dropped the end to me.

He then cut the branch and directed me exactly where to pull on the rope and the huge branch dropped down exactly between the Liquidamber and the cotinus without touching a leaf of either! Brilliance.

He then took out the forest pansy and the old cloud pruned pittosporum and then the large Juniper beside the house. That was a huge collection of dried branches and two feet high heap of Beech leaves. We left the stump as a seat.All the debris is to be cleared by saturday so heres hoping.

Yesterday on the other hand Scrubber started to remove an old Johns wort that had loads of twisted branches. He was doing reasonably well until he fell into the badger  holt-he knew it was there under it but had forgotten- and ended up on his back, upside down, looking at the blue sky and thanking the lord he hadnt broken his leg! Then as he dragged the mass of bushes down to the scrub a restraining wall gave way under him and he was nearly off again! he was waiting all day for the third event but luckily it didnt arrive.

The Scrub is looking so well now that its spruced up and cleared and theres a bit more light. Im very pleased with it and sometimes just stop and stare and enjoy it.


The Deed is Done, the tree is gone!

23 August 2011 23:58:38
It was hard to pick a favourite!

It was hard to pick a favourite!

I would never have believed I was about to witness such an amazing example of sheer acrobatic mastery coupled with the most amazing dexterity and mindblowing ability when the quiet spoken David arrived on time this morning. Within minutes he had his ropes and gear  sorted and  was half way up the huge eucalyptus, balancing precariously on branch and trunk and wielding the chain saw with consummate skill.

I kept running out to photograph him as he climbed higher and higher and lopped branches skillfully and seeingly effortlessly, missing all my other shrubs and trees. First he would take off side branches and then go right to the top and bit by bit he would cut off sections. In all of this he was ably assisted by his son Kaspar who stacked and piled and blew the sawdust into piles all the time so that there was never any mess despite the tremendous work going on.

It was better than any circus trapeze act and once I got over my initial grief (Yes I did hug the old tree before David began) I was captivated by such mastery and craft. David had arranged that all the wood would be collected as i cant burn it  and this man proved to be a real tree lover as well and told me lots I didnt know  including that I had black walnut trees!

I have some lovely pieces of bark for you Fran and I have three pieces that a turner will make bowls from and also three trunk bits for seats for the littlies!

But I am still not over the wonder of seeing someone so skilled doing so much in a short time. I have some terrific photos but cant put them up tonight as its very late. David is coming back tomorrow to take out a few invalid trees but nothing like the big giant. Oddly enough the fern leafed beech which was behind it seems to have grown about four feet today-almost as though its taking up the torch from the eucalyptus!

There is a big gap and not alone in the lawn. The trunk is sawn brilliantly smooth at grass level so it will be interesting to see will it stool. I see it surrounded by crocii and cyclamen. Boys! oh boys!oh boys! That was a sight to see!

Oh If anyone wants  to get in contact with David I can give you his  mobile no. I can wholehertedly recommend him and no, I dont get any commission!

Back to normal or what passes for it!

22 August 2011 20:24:53
I unearthed these old steps today

I unearthed these old steps today

One of those days when earlier work stands you in good stead. By earlier I mean about twenty years ago! Went out and cut the grass all around which takes me about three hours. All looks better for it. Then down to Scrub and took out old withered St Johns Wort. Over to old steps and trimmed back Snowberry viciously! I like its foliage in spring with daffodils but it had gone wild and encroached on a lovely rhododendron. Then had to uproot some of that sedgey thing with catkins. Jacinta knows its proper name but here it is an overbearing weed. Guess what I used to get it out-yes good old crowbar. Made light work of it and also of an old but tough sumach root.

Then I unearthed the old steps because they were covered by years of decaying leaves and carted all into the swamp. I am so lucky to have a dumping place. Theres so much to dump. Then I rediscovered the old edging I had done on the path and reset some new stones. Theres now so much lightness down there. Theres a green cotinus and the Rhodo and the cornus and two good big acers and a liquidamber and space between them.Ive put up some photos of the new old steps.

Eucalyptus going tomorrow and I am surprised at how sad I am about that! Its been there thirty years and was tiny to begin with. Ill try for the bark fran. Am getting RHS gardening in the Shade Jane Taylor on Amazon for 0.1 cent! Postage brings it to almost a fiver but great value! Also got Gardener's Question Time Plant Chooser BBC  in shop for half- price recently.

Funny thing is I cant for the life of me remember where! Oh managed to cut down two big branches that involved more acrobatics . Why I don't wait until tomorrow when the pprofessionals arrive Ill never know. Pleasantly tired. Ill sleep tonight!

Oh and one very odd thing. My magnolia has at least eight blossoms on it! Ill try for a photo.

Easy does it!

21 August 2011 21:44:23
Cornus Kousa fruits

Cornus Kousa fruits

Was a bit tired after driving from kerry yesterday so just went out looking-always dangerous. have a number of jobs lined up already-grass cutting, removal of two dead Johns wort (Big ones). Tree surgeon may call to do the eucalyptus.

But theres always nice bits. I see the cornus kuosa has lots of little red fruits on it and promises more. Ill try to put up a photo. And became aware of a strong stinkhorn scent! Turned around and there it was Impudens indeed. I must say i have a soft spot for these stinkies but ill put it in my album rather than journal pic. I think!

Scrub looks well if a little bare but i am getting lots of ideas as i go around for new projects, nothing too spectacular!

Hi Y'all!

20 August 2011 18:31:55
Agapanthus and Anemone together at last!

Agapanthus and Anemone together at last!

Hi everybody, am just in the door and looking forward to catching up on all your entries. Was far away from gardens but managed to read most of Lloyd's, the Adventurous Gardener which was most informative and startlingly so in places. I.E. Did you know that Gertrude Jeykll 'enjoyed a delayed climax'! In Autumn that is! Its all there in the book!

I have a few plants ordered e.g. got a bargain lot of foxgloves in the delya Centre and there are one or two other things i have to pick up so ill soon be back at it. Have just gone around the garden and scrub and there are no huge surprises but I was gone only a few days. The campanula Octopus should be out soon so Ill take a photo of that.

By the way Elizabeth, Shoosh is still around and has become an avid gardener!


And Life goes on..

11 August 2011 20:20:56
This doesnt quite give the reality

This doesnt quite give the reality

After the excitement of the royal visit, closely followed by the two B.F. visitors and yet another visit from a most charming young australian lady- no she didnt come all that way specially to see Scrubber's garden- and the very moving visit of the cherub, life has begun to drift back into mediocrity.

Yesterday I went down a few times to view the new rock (Cherub rock) and to plant some red hot pokers in the vicinity and some small yucca plants-they do grow in the bog quite well I was back to mowing the grass and got all that done and back to edging-I think Im going a bit over the top there, cf photos. And i did a bit of rearranging ferns in fern corner and put in a tiny rock or two. Then today I needed a new watch srtrap and Anna needed some things in Carlow and I found myself in the delta sensory garden nursery quite by chance!

They had an offer, six perennials for 30 Euro and they were nice plants. Pierce and Mary who run it for the delta centre always seem to have nice unusual stuff. I got my choice and managed to get two more at the bargain price of 5E each. Home and down to the scrub and Cherub Rock.Divided up two Astilbe chinensis 'Diamonds and pearls' into four. Its a big strong white one. The little pink astilbe simplicifolia 'Sprite' into two and a big Hosta Francee Williams into three! Put those in cherub rock bed (new one!) and a great big Lobelia Queen Victoria on the bend in the rill. have just gone out with slug pellets to make sure it lives. Dont like using them but i covered them up.

Then back up to long border and put in Campanula Pink Octopus. I cant wait for that to flower. Just been interrupted by a camper who wanted to camp securely so she is ensconced in the scrub! The dry area Fran! Also  Anemone Prinz Heinrich and Echinacea Pink double delight. So you see it was a great visit to Carlow!And the delta Centre benefits which is great.

The Story of the virtuous Scrubber.

09 August 2011 22:05:55


The sun was shining in the window as Scrubber awoke and he thought he would go and garden. Then he thought it might be a better and a finer thing to tidy the garage which has of late become a dangerous place for people even to enter, being full of plastic bags and paint tins and coal bags and plastic bins and flowerpots and.... So he went out and worked hard all day long. (He did have one little lapse when he darted down the Scrub and divided some Hostas and set them around the big rock. )

But mostly it was messy, dragging and pulling and mopping up spills and choking on dust and as the evening came there was a space and lightness where there had been chaos and constriction.

The Lord looked down on his servant and was pleased. ‘What shall we do to reward this virtuous man?' One little cherub piped up ‘He loves rocks'. At this the whole of heaven rocked, but with laughter-all except St. Peter who has his own opinion about rocks-. But the good Lord said. 'Well observed little cherub, Go and give him his reward'. The cherub flew down ,nearly choking on the cloud of coal and cement dust that Scrubber was rising with his brush. He whispered in Scrubber's ear and Scrubber found himself going down into the Scrub, crowbar in hand, to shift as he thought , a little rock in front of the big one. But as he started the cherub whispered.'Try the big one!' and using the smaller rock Scrubber pulled on the crowbar.


But mindful of duty he returned to finish off the garage which eventually happened about eight o clock.

Then his task completed, Scrubber tipped down in the twilight with crowbar and spade and miraculously managed to align the rock exactly as he wanted. He did feel as if the crowbar was also being pulled by a force and it was a very puffed red-faced little cherub who landed back at the pearly gates about quarter to ten to report a job well done.

The moral of the story is' every unpleasant garden task has a nicer one hiding behind it!' Or ‘look after the little rocks and the big ‘uns will take care of themselves!'

I'm totally whacked!

08 August 2011 16:53:42
These galloped by just as visitors left!

These galloped by just as visitors left!

I'm sitting here and the sun is trying to peep through and the garden is beckoning but I just cant move!I kid you not, Scrubber is whacked!

I had three lovely appreciative visitors to my garden. Headgardener arrived first and tried to put me at my ease and named a number of mysterious plants-ie. ones I hadnt a clue of! It was great because one could ask him anything one wanted (to do with gardening of course) and he had all the answers. I kept thinking 'Lord is it going to measure up to expectation? 'which was foolish because he was so appreciative and informative and easy with it. I got lots of great advice so many thanks indeed Bill.

Then as Bill drove out Rachel drove in! Sam accompanied her  which was very wise of Rachel. (Protection lest Scrubber take a turn!). Again they were kindness incarnate and enjoyed my garden which helped me to enjoy it as well. They got the sunshine in spots as a bonus and we really squelched the squelchy path. Like Bill Rachel has a huge store of knowledge and shares it so easily and unaffectedly. Sam and I have a thing for trolls especially ones who wink.

So thank you all for your kindness and encouragement and appreciation. It means a huge amount to me.I know i should be out digging and delving but  its as if I had been working flat out. Ridiculous at my age but there you have it!

Scrubber Garden Merit Awards

07 August 2011 21:30:12
An apple in Eden   / Rachel's Garden

An apple in Eden / Rachel's Garden

We all had such a lovely day at Rachel and Norman's and ate and drank and chatted and viewed and oohed and aaahed and learned so much! Thank you over and again for opening your splendid garden to us and for making us all feel so much at home. I have lots of photos which i will put up a.s.a.p.

I decided, as I drove home, that the old Gold, Silver Bronze, silver gilt etc awards that are still being given out in Chelsea were a bit old hat and have decided to introduce some new ones. There are eight garden categories.

!)  REASSURING: This is one with a fallen down shed  and pieces of rusty bicycle pushing up through the nettles. (It is the lowest grade)

2)  CONSOLING: This has a bit of wispy lawn and an odd golden privet pl;aced around the edge. Some baffled daffs may emerge in Spring but soon concede defeat and keel over.

3)  ADMIRABLE: An effort has been made. There may be a flower bed or two and the lawn is mown and there are two or three  mis-matched pots and a gnome. The term admirable applies to the effort made and not directly to the garden content.

4)   IMPRESSIVE: This one shows a knowledge of plants and has reasonably good colour succession. The beds are filled. The hedges are trimmed. There are some excellent roses, the woodwok is maintained and there is even an arbour painted green.

5)   ENVIABLE: This one is floriferous, colourful, consistently good,. It has the most exquisite grasses, the most cushiony saxifrages, the most scented lilies, the most covetable day lillies. It has herbs for ailments , herbs for culinary activity, herbs for scent. It has meandering grassy paths and Fortnum and Ball painted gates in a delicate eggshell blue.

6)   UNSETTLING: This one has all of the above with a gravel section, a bog garden, an alpine meadow area, a tropical patch and espaliered fruit trees lining the brick bordered gravel paths. (On viewing this one becomes aware of a faint resentment that one's own garden does not quite eh, measure up!)

7)   DEPRESSING: Having viewed the laburnum dripping pergola, the huge stands of allium and irises, the arches cut in the ten foot high Yew hedges, The Lion head wall fountain spouting into the waterlily- laden circular ponds , the ali baba pots on the terraces-nothing as common as a patio- the Alles of pleached Lime....(Depression is beginning to set in big time!)

8)  BLUE FUNK: This is both the highest award and describes the effect this final type of garden has on the viewer. Not alone is there an abundance of floriferous technicolour, barks of amazing texture, surprises around every corner, rarities springing up around your feet. BUT The owner of the said garden can reel off every name in Latin or Greek if necessary, with origins, habitations, preferences, propagation methods and complete summaries of progress for each and every one. Oddly enough these paragons of perfection (the B.F.garden owners) turn out to be the nicest of people and the kindest of informants and most reassuring of encouragers! (Its not their fault that their gardens reduce the likes of Scrubber to a Blue Funk! And that he wonders how they in so short a time have achieved so much and how he in a much longer time has achieved-well ...   IZZa Mystery!

Scrubber is not so conceited as to think his Merit Awards will be universally adopted but you might like to see where yours fits in on the scale of things. I have in truth only visited two garden.iers gardens so far. Oh yes Both undoubtedly Blue Funk! I knew you'd ask!

Ill just weed the rosebed and trim the bay dear...

05 August 2011 21:00:58
'I wonder would Scrubber do?'

'I wonder would Scrubber do?'

So-That should have taken about an hour for each or so I sillily thought. The rose bed took two hours and how dem weeds growed over the past few weeks! But got it done and was very pleased as got the adjoining bed done as well. Watched very carefully by a cat who is thinking of adopting us and follows me around everywhere despite my violent SHOOOSHINGs last week.

Then the Bay. My Friend Jim was in to keep my very high hedge in order and i thought id be well able to help him sweep up after but the bay took about three hours! I tried to cut out the dead bits and avoid the new shoots but eventually had to cutthe whole thing to the base and hope that it will rejuvenate. Otherwise its going!

Im getting my trees cut down on Monday and Tuesday so that will alter things! The Eucalyptus is a very big tree. My pound shop late sown gladioli are shooting up. I hope they flower!

Very much looking forward to Rachels tomorrow and to meeting up. Unfortunately I may have to go earlier than Idlike to. No Rachel is not going to throw me out. Have an appointment.

Quite weary tonight. Is that a good sign?

04 August 2011 20:18:12
Mary Wellesly, isnt she lovely?

Mary Wellesly, isnt she lovely?

Dont know if it was from the work today or from a dodgy ice cream! But Im really whacked. We had visitors so i did not get out until late afternoon. I tackled the quince and got it back into something resembling a shape! It was tough going as its very prickly and when I loaded the  remains into the tarpaulin (Three trips) the branches and thorns stuck into every conceivable part of my anatomy! But it is done.

Yesterday I was in Waterford and got two wonderful filled pots for a fiver each! I also fell for a dahlia Mary Wellesley. Hope I got that right. Ill put it up in the photos. Long border is finished . Hurrah! Now to tackle side border. And then I have my garden finished-ha ha! As if that ever would happen. nor would i want it to! But I do seem to have made some progress over the past few months and have reclaimed a lot.

Little to report Sir!

03 August 2011 00:20:20
No, not encountered  in Scrub, in Arboretum!

No, not encountered in Scrub, in Arboretum!

Uneventful day. Imagine i didnt fall into the swamp or swing from a branch or unearth a big boulder... I cut grass! All over the place. And then I trimmed around two trees-ie. made circles.Filled in a hole with the sods. Then I changed the  half crescents around the roses into half rectangles and they look more defined.

Managed to do about a third of the very brambly Quince bush. More or less finished the long border. Wish I had colour like all the stuff i see in your photos.

Then sowed wall flowers and Lupins and sweet william. Its probably far to late. And radishes and spinach and peas and a sort of red beet and even some beans--I know its atrociously late but I was not going to have half filled  packets of seed left over.

Anna says i need  to incorporate a lot more manure into the beds and suggested I return my little beds into lawn! This was when I was fishing for compliments by saying the veg were poor-hoping that my beans, peas, and new potatoes might be mentioned! Serves me right! But next year I shall have done all the restoration so ill have time for veg!

Swam yesterday but the river was quite cool. There was another man swimming there but he had a wet suit on! AND FLIPPERS!He said he saw very few fish. I wasnt surprised with the noise the flippers made!

Scrubber triplicated the Ligularia!

01 August 2011 10:57:17
The first fourteen steps! and 3 new rocks

The first fourteen steps! and 3 new rocks

Sun is out so I aint going to sit here. have three jobs. Long border portion, Veg garden attack and reset as many steps as possible in theSquelchy path where I uncovered the top of a major rock yesterday but this one is beyond even crowbar-I think. 

Raining so am back in. But seriously folks I had such FUN down there this morning. Now i had my plan set out , an hour for each. I had ten minutes free so just went down to scrub to brush off the slabs i had reset (in mud) yesterday.

Brushed off the new stone and found it was way too big to shift, so cleared around it. Then found another at other side of squelchy path. I was hooked! Set in the rest of the slabs, a bit closer than they were before and managed to have enough except for one near the stone 'bridge' over the rill. But I sourced a triangular rock that fitted in beautifully. Then shifted major rock that was also there over to side of squelchy path. Only for crowbar I was lost because moving rocks in swampy ground is messy and cumbersome as theres nothing to kick against you. But managed. So now have an impressive line of steps for squelchy path and three new rocks bordering it. Came up and said to Anna 'I had a hugely satisfying morning. She said 'And your face is filthy!'. But I had and it was! Took two hours!

Border and veg? Well when the rain stops Ill go to those as well. But Wot Larks!

Oh the Ligularia (Othello) I put it in a few days ago and decided to take it up again and got three good divisions!


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