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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal March 2013

Last Post 1791 days 10 hours ago

Not strictly gardening but great fun!

31 March 2013 18:32:53

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Just before the grandchildren arrived Scrubber got to print out the advice note and clues for the egg hunt and then a mad scramble down to put all the eggs in place! After dinner they were issued with the sheets and then all of us went down to ‘hunt’. It was great fun and of course Scrubber thought his clues were so obvious that it would all be over in a flash. But there was lots of seeking and spotting and ringing of the new TK Maxx bell! Maybe nothing got planted but perhaps there will be happy memories in years to come!

I have put up the pictures of the eggs in the photos!

Happy Easter Everybody!

29 March 2013 19:48:27
Happy Easter to Everyone!

Happy Easter to Everyone!

Couldnt work outside today so made my 'easter tree' which I hope will please the grandchildren. There are some edibles-chocolate carrots and lindt bunnies-so they should go down well.

Went into Kilkenny instead. TKMax has some good stuff in garden tools and small forks etc. Lovely brightly coloured watering cans and iron rods topped with fancy bits that tempted me. I finally settled  though on a small iron staff curved at the top with ivy leaves (iron) winding around it and a lovely little iron bell at the top of the hoop surmounted by an iron dragonfly! All for a tenner! Now it may not be practical but it fitted into the Scrub perfectly and every time i pass I will ring it! There are worse ways of going ga ga!

Will put up a picture after easter. Meantime all the blessings of the season to you all. April is almost on us!

In cleaning the garage...

29 March 2013 12:52:02

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Scrubber had finally to confront his fate or rather the fate of the 18 pots of Dahlias that he had stowed away last october and had been afraid to check on, expecting a mushy mess as often happened before. But Lo and behold the 18 were dry as a bone and in good nick and ready for the next step! Do I wait for April warmth and then water them to start them off in the pots or should I put them straight into the ground? After holding on to them through the winter i dont want to lose them now.

And Scrubber got a surprise present recently from his daughter-a very posh bird bath-It has an anemone design and the centre is a raised boss of yellow and is roughened so that little claws can have a good hold while their owners are splashing about. I uded an old eucalyptus stump as a base and I put it on the rockery. It does look a bit new and bright at present but I know it will settle in. Its frost proof-would need to be these days. 

Scrubber shall never run a marathon or iron man

28 March 2013 18:17:12

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or many other things that he might once have imagined he'd attempt before decrepitude stepped in. Nor will he ever have the dream fulfilled of having such a tidy garage that he can fit in a lovely potting bench with a big plastic shelving sort of thing in which he could mix compost and fill little tubs and prick out seedlings. No no and again no! Today was the day that that dream faded for good.

Scrubber had pulled a  chest muscle (NOT BY SHIFTING ROCKS!) Simply reached back in the car and OUCH! So couldnt really work well outside. So -its all very logical- he decided to tidy the garage. Did so and took two short breaks One to transplant a few cowslips from a 'pretty' to a 'natural' situation and two, to cut down a large bough of an elder that was spoiling the symmetry of Elizabeth's corner-(actually cut the very large bough with a small husquavarna handsaw-it just sliced through it).

Anyway by six in the sfternoon the garage was tidy but as I looked at it i realised all I had done was to havemoved the junk around and my dream of a potting/pottering place would never be realised. Sometimes with realisation comes resignation---take heed of those wise words you younger crowd and you may be spared much!

Anyway today I have a sore chest but a clean garage and Elizabeths corner is  better looking as well. The same gracious lady recently hoped that I was not 'prettyfying' the scrub too much, my word not hers but if she were to see her corner now covered in Forget-me-not plants and dotted with kenneddy primroses and the odd cowslip, Elizabeth would realise that there are lots of places in the scrub still wild and untamed!!! among them her corner even if its looking better minus the bough!

There's one lovely photo of a robin on top of Cherub Cymbals, at dusk from below in the scrub, that I must put up. The other is one of two arrangements I made for people who had been kind to me recently and the third has to be Elizabeth's corner.If you look up in the top right you can just about see the slash of white trunk where the bough was sheared off!

And lastly a verse from Hopkins thats so apt, Scrubber thinks at present

'See how Spring opens with disabling cold

And hunting winds and the long-lying snow.

Is it a wonder if the buds are slow?

Or where is strength to make the leaf unfold?'       Indeed!

Why Cherub Lute was giggling

20 March 2013 20:23:23

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Cherub Lute was giggling to himself in that sort of way that the others knew they were to ask him what he was giggling at! He had to stay giggling a long time until finally Cherub Cymbals said ‘Well then? Whats the big Joke?’. I’ve heard Mr. Scrubber use the bad word!’ he spluttered!

Now the bad word was what Sr. Josephine coyly referred to as the ‘soldiers’ word’-the whole world knew that soldiers were prone to profanity. I in my innocence asked Tom Doorley what it was and he said ‘It rhymes with duck’. After a few attempts I got it but aloud and in class! As a result I now use it very rarely, not wanting to have my ears clipped again.

But that rose Abraham Derby would try the patience of Pope Francis. Four times today it drew blood as I tried to weed around it so finally in exasperation Mr Scrubber shouted loudly ‘BLESS you for a rose-except that instead of bless he used the ‘rhymes with duck’ word. Thus Cherub Lute’ s glee.Not a thought , of course, for the fact that my thumb and fore finger were bleeding quite noticeably.

Anyway I have managed to weed around Abraham but shall be more careful in future. I began the day with the best of intentions intending to swallow my frogs and start on the dirty –dry- as- dust -tangled bit of the border under the Cypresses. But was distracted by the sight of the  unfinished veg beds. Went to them and dug and cleared . Alas as I dug the last narrow bed, I ‘klinked’. A real monster of a rock about a foot down and when I tried it it shifted slightly. Dug around it and there was another biggie beside it. To make a long story short I did manage to get them both out without pulling my back or wrenching my arm. ‘Little by Little’ or  ‘Inch by inch’.

Now where to put them? Much cogitating but finally as I wandered around I knew they would do well at the bottom of a small set of steps beside Marian’s bed. I manhandled them in-wheelbarrow job,and am very pleased. All they need now is moss. Then as I filled in the holes I found another  not so big so that went down as well and I had a spare rock!-only Scrubber would have same,- that fitted in with the other.

That being done I went back to swallowing frogs e.g. the work I should have started with and got a good bit of that done before giving up. So all- in –all, a good day. At first I thought Id have to enlist Jim’s help to shift the biggies but by taking great care and doing it little by little it was manageable.

And tonight-not a twinge! Cherub must have been busy!

Oh I finally managed to get the photos up-mostly rocks Im afraid!


20 March 2013 16:58:04

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Made a foxes paws of the photo album and only four are up but will try later again to put up some more. Be warned  as I dug the onion bed today I unearthed two sleeping monsters.They have now been removed and tamed into path borders but it was a close thing! Will upload photos this evening hopefully. 

Scrubber's in trouble!

18 March 2013 20:04:03

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'Well achshually I was very shurprised at Mr Scrubber' '-ubber, -ubber', This from Micilin dee  echoed of course by Esmeralda. He was addressing two yawning cherubs who didnt seem engrossed in what he was  saying. 'But I tell you it ish not a pleasant experience at all at all' continued micilin-as long as he had an audience it didnt bother him that they were not in fact listening. 'And I had been quite pleased with the way mr Scrubber had improved my vista-(Other people have 'views') When today, I received at least three BUCKETFULLS of damp clay straight into the Arush!' His voice quivered with indignation. 'I do realishe that Mr. Scrubber has a fascination with rocks but when it comes to burying me alive i rahilly musht protesht!'

In my defence I hadnt realised that I was covering his 'Arush' with clay. I was revealing the side of a lovely big rock and developing the area around Marian's bed into a sort of third Rockery. Old rockery, Scrub Rockery and now Marian's bed rockery and was quite shocked to look down and see his Presidentialship covered in clay! To make matters worse it was a wet day and my gloves were mucky and when i lifted him out I smeared him with mud! I think I had best avoid the area for a little while.

However I did get my fourteen new Ferns in, most there and some in fern corner. I removed some of the natural wild ones and put them around the carraig mor. And also put in a Dierama and a nice Aquilegia in the wooded bit. So despite being in his presidentialship's bad books I was happy enough with the days work. Isnt spring having a hard time coming in this year-so cold and unforgiving weather and growth quite slow?. The Kennedy primroses are coming out stronger. I am still not an enthusiast but am open to a revised opinion in a weeks time.

'THREE BUCKETFULLS NO LESS...' Oh do give it a rest Micilin!


Oh Happy Day!

17 March 2013 13:22:54

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Thursday it was actually. I was back in my usual haunt Glanbia hoping that the fern bargain I was unable to reach on last week was still there. And it was and i got it! 5Dryopteris A. Crispa congesta, 4 Dropteris Pinderi and 5 Dryopteris A Christata. Of course at this time of yearthey are very bedraggled and wouldnt sell except to bargain hunters who were on the look out for some ferns! Then what did I see but the wisley handbook on ferns for a generous 4 euro. Normal price is £7.99!

When I went to pay I discovered I had left the wallet in my respectable trousers as i had been pruning the appletrees in My Daughter's garden. So I went up and when I came back I was showing my granddaughter the book bargain when we spotted the FULL SET (12) of the handbooks for 11.50! Hostas, Euphorbias, Cottage garden plants lillies etc. They very nicely refunded me the 4Euro and I got the lot for 11.50.

When I got home I looked at the Pinderi and thought Oh dear they are just the same as the ordinary but lovely ones that grow wild in the scrub but went down today to compare and they are smaller and lighter colour and narrower. The other ten are quite distinct. So I am a happy camper. And I shall replace some of the 'ordinary' ferns with these but have a place selected for the ordinary ones as well-around Carraig mor with the hostas.

Have a bl---y sore upper arm and shoulder for the past four months or so. I can still work very well but it can be a bit painful at night or if i reach suddenly  sideways for something. Any tips?

Is it now time to be bringing out my dahlias-they are in a dark place in the garage. And do I pot up the little hellebore seedlings or can I leave them in situ?

Sorry for all the questions .I dont expect one person to answer them all! Hope to get ferns in tomorrow and hope you all enjoy the bank holiday. Oh are many people experiencing blind daffs this year? I seem to have a good few from King Alfred strain.

No! I didnt cook the pheasant!

12 March 2013 19:43:34

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Out in the full sunshine today that helped combat the real cold-only for about an hour and a half as I needed a haircut and after getting it ,no way was I going out again!

I didnt TOUCH a rock, I didnt edge a path, I didnt split a snowdrop bunch-No today I dug and dug and dug. My vegetable patch. Im hoping by next month to have-wait for it-friable clay! And then my carrots wont fork and my broad beans will jump out of the soil and my runner beans will take on marathons. So that was todays work. One large veg plot and one lesser one. Just dug and cleared.

Anna spotted two pheasants having a go at each other and it was unbelievable-they kept it up for ages -a sort of dance and then a little flurry and peck and then dance-now they were both cocks so I wondered whether they were disputing territory. I was so sorry i couldnt get a good shot of the pair going at it hammer and tongs.

Seeing as all I did was dig I hadn't nice photographs so I have to put up the desert I made for Mother's Day under Anna's tutelage!

Talking plants today

09 March 2013 22:25:01

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Thought Id give my friends a break so will only say quickly that the last klink mentioned turned out to be a roller rock. My new names are big rock, roller rock and 'normous rock. Sometimes roller rocks can be rolled into wheelbarrow and thus transported.

Well the latest was a 'roller' and Ive named it Snowdrop rock and I wheelbarrowed it up to the site and  put it in beside the others and they all fit in very well together. Ill put up photos in the March Album. 

Now thats rocks out of the way. Last year I bought six cryptomeria very cheaply- japonica 'Vilmoriniana'. The vendor said to me they were dead and I said that cryptomeria always go a burned looking reddish colour. So got them for a song. Today I noticed they are green again and have all survived! They are suitable for rockeries as they are slow growing and can be trimmed so was pleased. Also had eight sedges (Silver curl) and was intending to put them in the long border but got a whisper in my ear that they might just be nicer on the rock-ledge overlooking hannah's garden so that when they grow and I look down over the wall they will be standing out clearly over the edge there. So I put out the pots and even though they are cut back I think it will look lovely.

Put in two Lavateras in the side bed and also an Agapanthus which was very root bound. Then went out to front lawn and dug up and divided lots of snow drops so that hopefully next year , the display will be even better.  The back is telling me that I did enough! I always think what an act of faith we make in doing so that we will be there to see them! I remember giving my Dad a sackof daffs and planting them and being socharmed at his excitement at anticipating the spring-at that stage he was 83! And he saw them for five more years.

Dear Christina slipped away very peacefully last Monday at the great age of ninety two, and her family and friends are happy that she had no pain or anxiety in her going after a long and fulfilled life. And her Pieris will be a reminder as often as I pass them.It was a privilege to have known and loved her.

Oh and a  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you MOTHERS!

Oh what an unbelievably enjoyable day!

06 March 2013 15:04:10

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Rejoice with Scrubber dear friends because even though he let a mouthful of frogs escape yesterday it was so worth it. As some of you know I had niggling doubts about the edging of the path and as I went out today I said ‘Damn it!’ not loudly enough to be overheard by Esmeralda!, and decided to take them all out, to narrow the path by about 15 centimetres and re do them. And this time I chopped and changed stones and made more of a curve and stood back at the end and.... Was happy. It was improved.

Then as I raked the path I heard a lovely klink and with the help of the crowbar up came a big rock, nicely shaped. 'Big' means I can just about carry it in both hands. The beside it another klink. And this time ,up out of the path-after about an hour’s tussle came a very big rock indeed. I was able to manhandle this into the bank behind and the clay I dug out refilled the hole! Then I put the big rock beside it and they joined up nicely to the rock beside the Arus- (Where Micilin Dee lives) which is a ‘normous’ rock.’ Normous’ rocks are one that are too big to shift.

There were a few daffodils uprooted when I was getting the rocks in place so I took some bunches and went back over the path to put them in. I put in the first. Then the second clump. And as I did so-yes youv’e guessed- ‘klink! Big? Very big? ‘normous? ???? Well ‘Daffodil rock’ turned out to be ‘very big’. Got it up out of the hole and onto the path- some of this is on photos in March album!- and then contemplated shifting it 25 metres along the path to join the other two. Now I was a little tempted to leave it on the ground where it would look well but Cherub whispered ‘Go for it!’. I found it had nice edges so it could ‘roll’ after a fashion and finally  got it up to the other two and inserted into the bank.

Again I used the clay that was dislodged to fill the other hole and the new rocks set off the path to perfection . I replaced Micilin Dee who thinks the new space in front of the Arus is just perfecssshion-one could hosht  any sort of a receppshun there!’ and was so pleased. It was now afternoon so coffee and cake. Then out and divided snowdrops. You’ll never believe it but as I was putting in the last clump-‘Klink!’ But as it was late I left that one there for another day!-Probably tomorrow if the weather holds and I have the exact place for it as well!

I put up a lot of photos but unless you are big into rocks and even then itself, you might be very bored. Probably only suitable for ‘rockaholics’ who are also divided into ‘Big’ ‘Very Big’ and ‘’Normous’! Which refers of course to the addiction and not the waistline. Come to think of it Rockaholics usually have small waistlines due to the straining and tugging and swearing!’

And I thought i would be thrilled!

04 March 2013 21:41:06

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Simply because almost all of last week went cleaning and weeding the long border and it was boring drudgery. I was terribly tempted on Sat to start working with the load of stones that a farmer friend had given me. I wanted to edge a path. But said firmly a la Sr Josephine ‘No Scrubber, swallow your frogs!’ A wonderful lecturer had given us the phrase about two years ago i.e. do the hard things first and then the things you like doing. So I swallowed the frogs and did the weeding and was all set and virtuous this morning having earned the right to go out and edge my path. I trundled the eighteen or so rocks down to the Scrub and began placing them in line evenly along the edge. Then I stood back expecting to be thrilled and all I saw was a line of raw stones and the path didn’t seem any the better for it and I questioned my judgement and was sorely wrought! Cherub slipped in beside me and suggested I go away and come back and I did but it didn’t seem any better.

Then he suggested that after a while they will moss up and be like the other edging further along the path and that was valid so I left it there and will see. Later on looking down from a height it seemed better and maybe it just looks very raw but at present it does not seem a great improvement on what was there.

Then I put in the pungent Hellebore Foetidus I got from Anne-I left them in the boot and they really scented the car! (I rather like their pong though). Then I put in three big plants of Granny’s Bonnets cant remember proper name in the wooded area and they should-Aquelegia!-be nice in may june.

A dear friend of mine is slipping away from this earth having had a huge stroke. She is ninety two and  very lovable. Her favourite flower was Lily of the valley. I hadn’t any but on Paddy’s slope I put in three lovely pieris- also Glanbia- and their flower has a touch of the lily of the valley look and her son can see them as he passes on the river bank and will know his mother is remembered in the garden. She led a very long and eventful life, living through the second world war in Austria and she has a special rock as well for her strength and spirit! More on that one some other time.

Well the siting of those pieris put Scrubber back into good humour and the path didn’t look quite so bad as he came in. He thought about narrowing it but is going to wait and see how it settles first. There has been a lot put into the Scrub so far this year and a good bit last year so welcome spring. I think the other name for amelanchier is lovely ‘Snowy mespil ‘and I do so wish to see those small white blossoms come out. ‘All in good time Scrubber, ’’Yes Sister!’

p.s. the photo of the edged path was taken in cloudy weather which makes it look grimmer! And the unedged path looks so much warmer in the sunshine.

Bit of a mix up Gracedieu Photo Album

01 March 2013 21:17:45

AAaaargh! Gwandad Monster!-or Scrubber re-defined

01 March 2013 20:17:49

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It was last Wednesday and I was weeding the long border and a heavy thankless job it was and I wasn’t sure what I was digging up and disentangling from scutch grass and slashing through lily bulbs and wishing I could have been working on rocks like Wednesday-more of that in another journal- when my left eyebrow began to be a mite itchy. I rubbed it a bit and forgot about it.

Later when washing myself I saw that a red  bruise was covering  the right side of my eye and spreading outwards! I had had a collision with a midge and she/he bit me under my
eyebrow and my face and eye swelled and swelled and I looked like Charles
Lawton as Quasimodo, (except you are all too young to remember that film ). Later that night it ballooned nicely into something  one would see on the roofs of an old cathedral-a gargoyle? And the eye sank way in and became a very frightening looking slit!

Next morning I was told to go to the doc and he had had two patients that week with similar stories and presumably faces to match.I wore my sunshades in and looked ,though I say it meself a little like Jack Nicholson.

Today with the help of Aunty Biotics and Aunty Hystamine I am gradually recovering my
former beauty! And can garden tomorrow-having made a haul in Glanbia again this morning
and been given some lovely path-edging rocks by a farmer friend.

But I thought Id put up some pictures as a warning to others NOT to bang into midges. One’s grandchild may think its cool to have a ‘Mownster’ as Grandad but its one heck of an itch and NOT TO BE RECOMMENDED! Youse have been warned!


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