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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal May 2012

Last Post 2061 days 14 hours ago

Yet another garden but only a glimpse.

25 May 2012 22:14:02
Sometime the wild  is more wonderful!

Sometime the wild is more wonderful!

We were in Dublin today for a memorial celebration of patrick Jolley the filmaker and it was held in IMMA Five minutes from Heuston station. The Garden at Imma is extremely formal, Pleached Hornbeams (I think) and beautiful topiary. Not a lot of colour but it doesnt need it. There were two gigantic Cherubs that had obviously once graced the roof of some enormous building that caused me to commit the sin of envy much as i love my lads. these were gigantic and yet properly chubby cherubs. 

We hadnt time to explore the garden but some day soon we are going to wander around it. Its so handy to heuston and i might take a stroll up to the Imperial war memorial gardens which are just up the road . This enforced idleness is paying dividends but i wasnt expecting todays bonus.

Does anyone know where I can get Rose madame hardy and rose de la Malmaison? I have a birthday coming up!!! 

By the way it is Corona North not Corina, Marianne Heron led me astray. Dont always believe what you see in Books!


Anuther garden!

24 May 2012 22:24:28
Have you these this year Ladygardener?

Have you these this year Ladygardener?

Was in Carlow today and called into the Delta Sensory garden. i thought because its an in between time in the garden that there would not be a hugely impresive show. I was so wrong as usual. There wasnt a great deal of colour but that made one appreciate all the more the wonderful willow garden and the magnificent new? Waterfall creation. The wild garden has been made a little less so by the removal to another palce of the double gorse and its the better for it. The 'Lady' is still there but a little hard to make out but once I saw her ahem! upper leg I could make out the rest! The good eye is obviously working! 

I saw my Foxgloves in flower and am so thrilled because they are massive! And lovely cream colours mixed with the purple. cant wait for mine to flower. They are three to four feet already!

Theres a beautiful new classical  health garden with lovely bridges and formal pools and a very clever use of mirrors at the end.

I discovered how the 'sundial' works but wont spoil it for you!

Pierce and the other gentleman in the garden centre waere so helpful as usual as was the lady working in the garden, and i got a lovely david Austin rose for a friend Wnchester Cathedral-white and a lovely Erysium everlasting wallflower, not the usual purple but a lovely faded yellowy pinky-a bit like an old plastered wall that bits had come off! I know thats a mad description! The Garden centre hadnt as many rarities as usual but apparently the demand has slackened but it had lots and lots of wonderfully fresh bedding-most of which i think is done by themselves.

It all helps to support the delta centre so thats an added reason to visit. but go. You wont be disappointed. I got a lovely welcome too from the staff and some of the people in the delta centre , all strong fans of Pat Byrne!

Ill soon run out of gardens! But until then Ill keep going. Which one next i wonder? 


Damn! Damn! Damn!

23 May 2012 22:14:02
Corona North sold me this over thirty years ago!

Corona North sold me this over thirty years ago!

Did a journal on going to visit the Durrow cross with Anna today and its vanished. So briefly. Outside tullamore about four miles on the left hand side  set of large black ornamental gates. Drive through and up a few hundred yards to a lovely old restored church. the High Cross is in there and it is a real wonder. Its well documented and there are other beautiful worked pieces of stone. The church itself has the quaintest pews, almost shakerlike in their simplicity. Then a lovely walk down the grassy path to the well of st Columba. I intended to drink from it but it is not atits best si i desisted!



excuse the capitals they just slipped in! 

I can see clearly now the rain has gone!

21 May 2012 13:05:31
lovely big bush of A. Luteum, wonderful scent

lovely big bush of A. Luteum, wonderful scent

A rather clear sighted Scrubber reporting. Well one side of him sees brilliantly and the other remains to be considered! What I am seeing though is loads and loads of weeds beginning to mount. I am not allowed to garden for another two weeks and four days(counting!) so by then ill have pristine jungle. Apart from the fact that my fingernails will be gnawed to stumps from boredom!

Anna and I went to a wonderful ARTs and Crafts garden ie. (1920s) in Monksgrange Rathnure and were lucky enough to be taken around by the owner Jeremy Hill. He is a wonderful guide, knowledgeable and enthusiastic and very very hands on as he and his wife Rosie maintain it all themselves.

It is my ideal garden wandering paths, great trees, lovely Rhodos, surprising corners. A fox ran right across in front of us. 'Well fed' according to Jeremy on their hens! The paths are made of flagged granite slabs that are schist like and there are lots of wonderful eyecathers Crinodendron meters high, A beautiful deutzia, Chilean flame flower and another white blossom bearing tree that began life as a plant in a pot at a red cross sale and is now the biggest of its kind in ireland drimys winteri. There were expanses of lawn and vast circles of bluebells around the bases of huge trees, wonderfully happily matched acers and rhosodentdrons. A stream with a variety of unfurling ferns and a statue of Jeremy's great aunt, original garden maker, done by Gwen Wilkinson in wire, that was perfectly placed amoung the lush foliage. Heaven!

The Norman gallery is also there where Jeremy and Rosie host lots of exhibitions. At present there is  showing the work of Julie Moorhouse and had I money I would definitely bring a few home with me! There is a masterpiece of St Sebastian that Rodin could have done. But he didnt Julie did and we were so lucky to meet her there. I think it runs until June and the garden fee entitles you to see the exhibition. We were just blown away. I think we shall be back many times to a magical garden. 

Oh I forgot the folly. A scale model, but think very large! of the castles built at Henry 6ths behest all over ireland. I think one got 10 pounds for building one of the original towers which were defensive outposts all those years ago. Beautiful cut stone arched windows, lovely stone walls and jeremy is to make a medieval garden beside it!!!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

18 May 2012 17:13:15
Just a simple path

Just a simple path

And the weeds grow longer! No Scrubber is not moving out but has been banned from gardening for two to three weeks! Nothing to worry about. On the contrary am thrilled with new improved vision. Just have to take precautions and not go gardening ,swimming  or lifting heavy things! No doubt ill get loads of ideas just walking around the garden and will have more time to enjoy garden.ie. And I can read as well so fings is fine.

But just in case theres a falling off in journals over the next few weeks it will be because of that. If we get heat its going to be an explosion of growth. Terry was saying in her journal that the foliage never took so long to die down but at last the daffs have begun to go on.

Oh I only recently discovered that if one is viewing a whole  series of photos one need only click anywhere on the photo and the next comes up! I thought you had to click on the arrow! Whats that? you all knew that already??? Sorrry! 

Am just in sheltering from a shower

15 May 2012 17:49:35
Frühlingsrose Its a bush rose and this year bloomed well

Frühlingsrose Its a bush rose and this year bloomed well

but managed to get the first half of what I grandly term the long border weeded! (Note Rachel weeded). Its a messy time consuming job and the weeds had returned in their multitudes. It has taken three days to do 30 metres even though the bed is only a metre wide. But its done and some new plants in. there's a new small shop in Borris that sells bedding plants!

As soon as the shower is over Im out again. Its amazing what one learns when interested. Did you know you can buy bags of cement/sand for about 6.50 Euro. True they are very dear if you think of a load of sand and a bag of cememnt but if you only want to mix a bit in the wheelbarrow to fix a bit on a wall its exactly right. So excuse me , the rain has stopped and i can see clearly now so Im out to fix a bit more of the wall! 

Later: Got out and mixed the cement but one only gets half a bucket! Anyway it was just enough to temporarily  hold things together. It shouldnt fall down and  next time I shall know how much i need. My Alliums are only beginning to shw now but they went in very late indeed.

Re that Frühlingsgold Rose. I used to dutifully prune it every year until Moya gave me a rose book and it said to leave it alone and i did and for the frst time it has bloomed well!

Dear Friends I know Scrubber is a bit dim

13 May 2012 13:01:32
The final  (perfect) rock in the wall!

The final (perfect) rock in the wall!

but the new photo set up has him baffled. I see how handy it is to have the new forward button and the underlying text is all the clearer. Id like the pictures a little bigger just to be awkward.

But my main problem is one has to enter each photo singly whereas before you could do five at a go. Also the captions go in afterwards but my last three captions didnt turn up on the screen. Am I doing something foolish and if so can you face Scrubberin the right direction and give him a shove please?

I shall mail this to Craig as well .

A new love affair????

11 May 2012 23:52:10
My first Meconopsis

My first Meconopsis

When we got back today our dear friend who built us the patio had also repaired a piece of a step that had come loose. He knew i needed some cement so he kindly rang and said he had left some in the wheelbarrow by the garage. Well I had to go away later that evening so only had an hour BUT

I cemented in a most  fitting rock at the end of the low wall below the patio. Quite a big one. And repaired same wall in places and put some more cement between to rounded tops of the stones  to have a sort of smooth undulating (yes up and down if you want to be plain) movement. Then got into the back of the rosebed where the wall had collapsed and was able to repair mostof it. hadnt enough cement but had enough to hold the rocks in place until I get more!.

I so enjoyed the feeling of sloshing on stuff that would later harden and keep big stones together that I just might lose the run of meself. I have to mix some more to finish the wall and after that who knows????

I got a Box (Buxus) cone in Superquinn for 15 Euro and it now matches the other one in patio corner and Im still getting a kick out of the new mini-garden and the neat pile of tubs. Of course i put away the pot the box cone came in, very tidily!

And last Oh Joy my meconopsis has flowered in Marian's bed. I hope she sees it. 





Scrubber's guilty secret!

08 May 2012 22:35:29
I chickened-they are in the may album. Love this tulip

I chickened-they are in the may album. Love this tulip

'Should i tell them?' 'No they might lose all respect for you Scrubber' 'I know but its weighing on me' ' How will it weigh  when your friends discover you have not been fully honest?' 'I think Ill chance it!' 'Its your funeral'

Folks i have to tell you now that there is a little part  of my garden that has been secret until now! That is because it was covered with old plastic pots, labels, weeds, that black grass which thrived there, bits of wood, buckets without handles. It was a small space but held a lot of rubbish. Scrubber often thought passing it that if his .iers friends saw a photo of that they would be so disillusioned. Even more so than Sr Josephine when she discovered that it was her pet Martina Geraghty who drew the bold picture in the back of the cathechism.

Then Rachel was looking for pots so he picked out the good ones and that started it so thank you Rachel. Today Scrubber attacked, devoting the whole afternooon to pulling out all the pots trays weeds, gunk (he discovered a broken pipe that used flood the path periodically and fixed it). Then he marshalled them all in order wondering greatly at the debts he incurred and the deaths he inflicted. He seemed to have spent a small fortune on things that have since upped and died!!!

 Then he attacked the berberis bush and the violet roots and the black grass and revealed the stones he had placed there about twenty years ago-now you see why the confession was so difficult! But tonight the pots are all in order and the new bed is awaiting developments and Scrubber felt that by showing you all that he had done you might forgive the fact that he kept the 'bad place' secret from you all! He even has put up before and after pictures but  again in a spirit of confession the 'before' one was taken AFTER lots of debris had been shifted!!!

The caption on the photo above means I chickened out on putting in the picture of the 'bad place'-Its going up on the may album. I took this pic of the tulips today when i noticed the lovely picotee? edge of the petals and the flush of pink inside. Sometimes we need to stop and stare! 





'A smug child makes the angels weep'

06 May 2012 21:28:17
Mini- rockery right side

Mini- rockery right side

Sometimes it would be ‘smug’ but it could be ‘bold’ or ‘greedy’ or ‘selfish’ or ‘proud’ depending on what Tom Doorley had been up to in Junior Infants that morning. Tonight I’m afraid its ‘smug’ because Scrubber has a grin on his face that can only mean he found a use for all those rocks he dismantled yesterday. Oh such a good day and he hopes  the Lord forgives him for ‘labouring on the Sabbath’. Sr Josephine would have added that to her list of ‘guaranteed to make the angels…’ had she thought we were capable of it.

There are three steps overlooking the Patio and having reset the bottom one, he hauled up two rocks to make a little restraining wall and then hauled up three to make a corresponding small wall on the other side. Then he set in two big rocks into the grass bank and having used two others yesterday to make a base so he could have a matching pot, Scrubber has now a lovely little rockery there that will look as though it was always there in a very short time. He put up three or four pictures at the end of his May album in case some people out there are not yet bored to death with Scrubber and his bl—dy Rocks. (I don’t blame those who are!)

But anyway he is like the cat with the cream and is already planning with what to fill the rockery-hardly really a rockery its so small. Oh and after I had turned the house upside down twice or three times,Anna suggested I look in the shoes I brought to Kenmare to see if the camera charger was there. How do women think of such things or perhaps better why don’t men? She was right of course!

Toughing it out!

05 May 2012 22:02:26
This is just one view of it

This is just one view of it

Remember the Wicklow garden. well my friends were very pleased with alltheir colour this Spring. daffs and Tulips and Rhodos and a malus and forget me nots  etc but when i went up on mon last I saw what damage the rabbits had done and my heart bled for them.(Friends not rabbits) The bunnies had run riot and what they liked they chewed to the ground. My friends had spent 40 Euro on Grazer but to no avail. I really was sorry for them. In future we will sow only the things rabbits dont eat like irises apparently and I thnk Hostas?

Went out today and had the choice between rocks and veg. Simple. I did the veg, i.e. four rows of runner beans and four of dwarf beans and after that gave in! I laid some left over slabs from patio on steps leading up into corner. Now they are so unprofessional I should take them up again but may do so anyway as the Patio is so nice. Then i dismantled a place where in the old days we used to burn. It was beside the Patio and still looked like an old fire pit. There were lovely big rocks surrounding it so now I have about eight and dont know what to do with them. I spent the evening bringing two up to the corner to match another big one and now Ill have two cones (Box) there instead of the one. I also shifted the large pots on the steps-very gingerley! Im going to fill in the fire -pit that was ans grass over it.

Then I went and took pictures for a new album but on looking atthem they seem to be just the same as all the other ones-massed bluebells and alliums so Ill spare you all that. But will put up a few to show patio. It was heavy work today but hope ill see the benefit of it tomorrow.

Wednesday and Friday an' football between

04 May 2012 22:48:19
These bulbs planted by mistake but lovely. The new tulip fashion?

These bulbs planted by mistake but lovely. The new tulip fashion?

Im writing this on Wednesday night but wont put it up until Friday so as not to clog up the board! Really good day today as it was the first bit of good weather for an age. Went out and hammered in two stakes and screwed cross bar on and then muffled the trunk of my Neofagus Antartica with two pieces of an old kneeler and fixed it to the crossbar. While nowhere near Fran’s standard I was happy enough with it.

Then I scuffled all the ground around the circular beech hedge. There is one plant that has leaved but all the others are coming so Im pleased with that.

Went down to wall rockery and put in stuff from Bill-you should see his compost with little bits of Mica sparkling through it. I also put in anaphalis pearl and a small euphorbium and some of Sallysarahs drumstick primulas.

Next I put in some veg! Two rows of peas and two of mangetout. I also sowed leaf beet and Pak choi and some  Cabbage Seeds (greyhound I think. Anyway I wrote them all down on the sheet so Ill remember. Veg aint my forte.

I planted a large Iris Martyn Rix beside the Pwincesses chair and calendula seeds between the chives and flat parsley.

I cleaned out a corner overlooking the new Patio and put in two diascia and anaphalis. That was a dirty job and the ground was full of spiky berberis leaves.Oh my Grandson (6) got very excited at seeing the ‘baby hedgehogs’ the Spanish Chestnut seedcases which are indeed like baby hedgehogs but I hadn’t noticed the similarity until then. ‘Out of the mouths of babes and infants’

Finally I got out the mower and did the side bed and as much as I could of the lower lawn. The snowdrops have gone-too late now to separate some but the daff foliage is still cluttering up the space so I had to weave this way and that.

Then I sat and had a well deserved (or so I thought) beer and Shoosh came over to play. It was really good to have had a full day at it even if the joints are creaking somewhat tonight!

Fri Night: Have been putting in a rudimentary herb garden at my grandchildren’s house yesterday and also playing football but we were home today at 3.30 to find the patio finished at last. And beautifully done. We are so pleased with it and of course now I have to improve the beds near it!!! I have a plan for a few rocks!

I strimmed the ‘Terraces today for the first time and it was a real lifter to see them emerging as I had imagined them. Theres still a lot of daff foliage that I cant strim but they are looking great. Down in the scrub it’s joyous with the bluebells and alliums almost shouting and accented by purple and pink Rhododendrons. Theres also a few orange azaleas and a little euphorbia fireglow. Once I strimmed the pathways the rest were even more obvious in the contrast between trimmed and abundant. It was lovely to see the scrub coming into its own and I see where I can put in lots of shrubs without losing the wilderness. Scrubber was a happy camper indeed.

Chapter Three: Terry and Martin's garden !

02 May 2012 20:33:38
The Wicklow garden-after the rabbits!

The Wicklow garden-after the rabbits!

Sunday dawned ,cold wet squally. I was heading for Hacketstown and rang Terry and Martin to confirm that they were indeed open and that their tulips had not all been decapitated. Off via Rathwood and then promptly got lost but a kind man on a bicycle gave me brilliant instructions and I got there without further delay.

I was warmly welcomed by Terry and Martin and gardener that I am I immediately headed for the tea room. Who was there before me only Rachel half hidden behind a gigantic slice of coconut cake! The table inside was laden with a confectioners dream. Goodies of all tastes and description. Orange drizzle cake, chocolate and coffee cakes, rockyroad slices, frangipani tart, swiss rolls all done by Terry’s gifted sister. I had a coffee and a large slice of frangipani plum tart and joined Rachel who was rapidly becoming more visible! We had a great chat while the canvas wall of the tea tent flapped furiously in the wind. Rachel had been and seen and wondered and had been thrilled to find a new garden so near so wiping the crumbs from our respective faces (We each wiped our own of course) we said goodbye. Martin thought I was leaving. That would have looked as though I had only come for the cakes!!! And I would have!

But there was so much to be seen. Terry and Martin open for Charity and their next day is June the 10th and yes there will be cakes! It’s very clearly laid out and there are about twenty two gardens or features to take in. There is a lovely small cottage garden near the house with lots of tulips and geraniums and cottagey foliage. The reflections garden has a no. of mirrors with which the children can have fun and then there is the complete contrast the Manhatten roof garden. This is modern and has seating  and decking and rows of red and white containers each filled with tulips, very simple and highly effective. There’s a ‘moroccan corner ’with a tiled cornerpiece and mirror and two small ceramic elephants-theres lots of quirky elements throughout. Theres a bog garden and a Japanese garden with little tea house and granite pagoda. A very simple Zen garden (Zen gardens are supposed to be!) And then a great mound of a rockery with seven teak dwarves sited all round it Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy etc. Theres a garden full of Hoblins- a cross between Hobbits and Goblins, An Autumn Border, A hot border, a cool border and a tropical which I suppose is a very hot border indeed! Theres a Roman corner and a mammy’s garden. Then down at the very end there is the cathedral of trees which is a lovely whimsical idea and a newly made Lake-I kid you not-lake rather than pond with its own island and a bridge going across.

Now you may get the impression that the garden as described is a collection of separate entities but it all flows together and while the children are delighted with all the novelties,(Chandeliers from the Rose Arches!!!) the gardener is amazed at the abundance and variety of the planting. Scrubber is definitely coming back in June when the herbaceous plants and the roses are taking over.

Terry and Martin are such warm and welcoming hosts and one can buy plants. Scrubber felt positively ashamed of his greed when Terry charged a nominal sum for lovely hellebores and Anaphalis pearl and euphorbium…..I intended to go back in and eat more cake to make up but knew I wouldn’t get out through the gate if I did! Despite very squally weather it was a real treat and as has been said one I am going to repeat in June!

Many many thanks Terry and Martin for sharing your fascinating garden with all of us. Now you must get some pictures up on the site so that people can see what scrubber is talking about. See you in June! By the way I hadnt the camera with me so dont be confused. Thats my friends garden in Wicklow not my friends garden in Hacketstown! More on the Wicklow one in my next journal,

Chapter two; Ladygardener's garden

01 May 2012 16:20:53
Note new rock left of P.chair!-with white rhodo on top!

Note new rock left of P.chair!-with white rhodo on top!

And so we bad a tearful farewell to those of our gallant band who were leaving-(Martin) and some going to ‘York’ (Mary and Paddy) as it has been delightfully renamed. Then Anne and Scrubber followed in convoy by Bill and Rachel (‘Are they still behind us’), set out for the wild and woolly west .

We swept around the impressive drive and were greeted by barks and woofs and yaps of friendly dogginess. Having been greeted and sniffed and yapped at, we went into the house and a certain gardener from near Carnew and one from near Borris ran to the windows. ‘It stretches for MILES out here’ ‘It stretches for MILES out here too!’ The lovely house is set in two acres and totally surrounded by garden and what garden!

Ladygardener has a vision. Of that there can be no doubt. And that vision will be realized. No doubt there either. We three were agog as Anne lead the way out the side door filling in any details like flights of Limestone steps that will come in time. First through the ladys’ garden and it was explained to us that grass paths should be wide enough for two ladies  to walk arm in arm. These were so spacious that it meant that ladies in crinolines would have had plenty of room!

These broad paths, almost minilawns , curve gracefully around gigantic beds. This was no squiggly hosepipe job. This was a strong bold sweeping design and these great beds divide up the beautifully mown acres. The tulips had gone over a bit (but not soo much thatthey could not be appreciated) and in many places the planting had not time yet to bulk up but when it happens…

To give an idea of the scale ,Gunnera looked quite at home and did not dominate! There was one bed planted with a golden grass that I would love to see later in the year. Anne has lots of nooks and copses with quite mature trees and the woodland bits will contrast beautifully with the sweeps of lawn. Yes and there are rocks-carefully placed to ground features. The funny thing is Scrubber cant remember the features exactly but could describe the rocks in detail!!!

Vegetables and Rhubarb (more of that anon) were at the bottom of the garden and there is a borrowed view over the adjoining lake and reeds and islets. Anne explained how the beds evolved and in one or two places you can see the original and then the new defining bit. These are massive beds and will take an amount of filling but I have no fear it will be done.

The amount of work involved is staggering and to think of how much ladygardener has achieved without cracking those elegant fingernails is genuinely astounding. I loved the breadth of vision and the boldness of the design. This will be a remarkable garden as it progresses. Anne is also not afraid to drastically change. Scrubber pleaded with her to leave a leaning larch but he has fears for it as there is a planned allee there and the larch leans too much!

It’s a big garden and will be a great garden and I was really really impressed, both by what is done and what is intended.I think Ambrose  C would have agreed. This is grand scale but then it is LADYgardener’s dream.

After the tour we retired indoor (up the flight of limestone steps) and we had welcome hot coffee. Then a great bowl of steaming chowder (each!). Now you may not know it but Scrubber is one of Ireland’s leading connossieurs of Chowder and this was way up there with the very best of them. Absolutely gorgeous. Followed by a sumptuous Rhubarb crumble (not from the garden stock Anne confessed but delicious. And there was buttered brack from one of the Artisan  bakers at the UNDERTHEBRIDGEBAKERY!

Rachel then realized the hour was late and so was she with a son to pick up after school so getting directions she vanished in a cloud of dust. Then Bill unloaded his boot and booty. And Scrubber got a load of orange willow and a beautiful Euphorbia Melianthus and lots of other sundries for the rockery and Anne received a load of lovely goodies as well.Anne disappeared and returned having dug up three willows for Scrubber. She had decided a particular bed was to go and these were in it! Then Bill left and Anne very kindly drove a happy well fed presents- laden Scrubber back to his Grandchildren. And when asked by Anna ‘had he a good day’ He replied honestly ‘One of the bestests!!!’

Many many thanks Anne for putting so much into it. We all had such a great time and I cant wait to see the garden in the full bloom of summer.Scrubber's camera is on the blink so could not take photos. I include one of the new rock instead.


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