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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal August 2013

Last Post 1599 days 10 hours ago

Well i HAD a list, but

31 August 2013 20:35:26

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We were expecting visitors at one so I got out from about  eleven to twelve thirty. But first I had to wash a window-well I offered to as I had 'hosed' it by mistake and it was  abit grubby. Then window sparkling I turned to cleaning up the side of the house-old flower pots, leaves, general debris etc. Got that done then down to Scrub and set small boulder in deeper-couldnt go very deep as root in way but its ok.

Then gently ,oh so gently pulled out two stones from small retaining wall and turned them on their side and lo! there appeared a perfect step (size and heightwise!). It took me some time to bed it in and put in some supporting rocks but am quite pleased with result.

So not a lot done but clean side area and window and one satisfying step are not to be sneezed at especially as Scrubber didnt do any damage to hisself in doing these tasks. Mundane but necessary.

Oh Scrubber's feeling very ruminative tonight!

30 August 2013 20:02:45

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Thats because he has had time to think about his garden. Thats because we were away for a day or two and also because Scrubber while helping someone to do mysterious oil-related things to a motor-bike managed to pull a muscle and for last few days found gardening a bit of a strain, having a strain, as one might say. You try straddling a motor bike at a certain age and assuring the other person that you are quite comfortable doing so! Silly Scrubber.

Hopefully a course of Aunty Inflammatorys will do the job but meantime one can water the garden and think deep thoughts! Today on a market stall I got five ajuga reptans Catlin's Giant which goes a lovely very deep purple and also three Ajuga Burundy glow. I had to smuggle the latter three in as they are the ones Esmeralda has been cultivating in her basket! I am thinking a dark purple patch deep in the Scrub just catching the light and another of the burgundy family not too far away and using them as groundcover.

I did manage to get in ten Astilbe, job lot, into the squelchy path area, so hoping to have a nice patch or two there next year. Ground elsewhere is as dry as Sr. Eucharia's jokes. (Dont request a sample!) so have to water to ensure China Girl doesnt go off in a dead faint. But while watering one has the chance to review things and my list for work tomorrow shows some results. 1) Get out the turkscap lily bulbs as their stalks are crowding the rhododendrom Luteum and spoiling the line of three. I'll put them in somewhere else.2)Sink a small boulder just a bit more. Honestly its only about 15 centimetres long and twelve wide and when sunk a fraction more will match another beside it. 3) There's a bottom step needing to be made and it only involves digging out some clay and the stones are there but just to be laid on their side and that will make a satsfactory step. As it is its a big leap down especially when one has a slight strained muscle!!  4) Start the long delayed weeding of the long border and put in four rock roses that have been patiently waiting for yonks. 5) Put in the above mentioned Ajuga plants. Oh and there's a matter of shifting some big sedgy plants in the bog so that the Squelchy path meanders around rather than under the willow trunks!!! but I may leave that until Aunty Inflammatory has done her work.

The rose photo is a poor one because old port nearly got lost under weeds and had to be found and i havent trimmed back the deadwood yet.It now looks a lot better than in the photo. Sorry!

Gardener's world shortly tonight and then that very good nature programme on the Burrowers.

Rip Van Winkle!

24 August 2013 22:43:30

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I did feel today, down in the Scrub that I could well emerge again and find people living on the moon and Ireland out of recession! Time just seems to stand still when Im down there. And today I took up a new trade-that of Forester! There were a few large branches that need tidying up and it went on from there to shaping branches and removing ivy and opening up places and collecting branches  from the ground. Hours went by very happily and the Scrub seemed to enlarge about a third more. I did think at one stage 'If Jacinta,Anne, Rachel, Elizabeth etc. were to see me now Id be in trouble, but I was only about ten feet up and  I had a very good grip on the other branches and underneath was soft bog!,

I also managed to get all the steps in the Squelchy path cleared and the ones that had slid sideways, back on terra firma.  This tied in nicely with the newly trimmed trees.

Then back up to find the moon was still uninhabited and ireland still in recession! But the Scrub seems about a third bigger so I will have to find a lot of new plants to fill in the spaces. Now where i wonder shall I go to get them??????????

I can't manage pictures on the laptop so ill have to go to the computer to fill some in but Ill put up this journal first! Sorry for delay.


Like Dick, I too salute Periwinkle!

23 August 2013 20:03:26
You see if i had lots an lots of flowers.....

You see if i had lots an lots of flowers.....

What an honour i.e. for garden magazine-to be allowed feature Dorothy's garden. And thats the way id like the sunnier parts of the Scrub to be, chock full of wonderful plants. Its such an interesting article and i must really incorporate the thick cardboard boxes into my compost programme. Might cut down a year or two! Well done indeed Dorothy. It looks absolutely wonderful and we are all tremendously proud of you and what you have achieved.Hip hip Hurrah!

Micilin D is 'inveshtigating the poshibilities of comishhioning a medal' in your honour but in these ''resheshinnery times' he 'fearsh that it might be a long time in coming' Still the thought was there!

Me an' the Bots, Trinity and T.C.D!- our project.

22 August 2013 20:51:26
an old pic. The lantern is now on right and tree is also moved!

an old pic. The lantern is now on right and tree is also moved!

OF COURSE SCRUBBER IS NOT ONE TO BOAST! the above mentioned project has been going on for about fifteen years and is of course imensely valuable to horticulture worlwide! Today Scrubber can announce that this project has yielded up very satisfactory results. Er, the Bots, Trinity and T.C.D. dont as yet know I'm including them in the project!

The mission statement was to see if fairly indiscriminate dumping of leaves, branches and garden debris, left then entirely to themselves-no additives, no turning, no mixing over fifteen or twenty years would result in that lovely crumbly compost that Monty Don and his like takes up in his hands and takes deep sniffs! Well I took it up in my hands and sniffed deeply and got that lovely woodsey smell of crumbly compost! Now the fact that it was riddled with ivy roots- very fibrous netting sort -didnt really matter as they can be raked out easily enough.

Now after 15 years of dumping I think I can begin to reap the rewards and I am sure the three above mentioned bodies will be on to Scrubber in no time! No planks, no walls, no separate bins. Just dump dump and dump!

I only dug against the back wall but it will be interesting to dig into the floor of the heap and mightened even have the ivy roots there.

Spent more time strimming in bog. Unfortunately strimmed two willows even though I was trying to be careful! Alot of what was once was impenetrable bog is now walkable which gives scrubber a lot more space to fill!

The jobs for today include emptying the pea bed. Are the wizened dried up peas any goof for sowing next year? Then into Scrub to clear around bog plants that had become overgrown, It was while I was clearing stuff off the wall that i discovered my compost was useable!!!

Also got in one good long swim so a really good day!





Glory! Glory! Glory!

21 August 2013 21:21:48

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Thats what my garden was singing today and what a wonderful day. It didnt matter that I was on tidy up duty-mowing and strimming, not a touch of a rock all day. It was so glorious. The rockery was covered with bees and butterflies. I never in my long life saw such a display and it went on all day. The lavender bushes were covered with up to twenty at a time-Admiral, tortoise shell, whites, other stranger ones. Unbelievably beautiful.

As I say mowing and strimming and the place looks the better for it-especially down in the bog where the squelchy path is once again clear and navigable. I took the last of the ivy off the Birches and was amazed at how i had just taken them for granted . Nowthey stand out beautifully and the untidy heap of withered pampas is gone from behind them and the slope sets them off.

So I'm just thankful for being able to experience all this loveliness. Despite my report card from Sr Josephine I must have done something to deserve this! Oh and I had two swims today as well! Water was fresh= little bit cold but enjoyable. 

Funny old day but not ha! ha!

20 August 2013 20:43:32

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Had a list as long as your arm today. Out early and strimmed the boggy bit and set one or two steps on the squelchy path back to rights. Then turned my guns on an old rotted pampas Grass. With a compination of Spade and axe I got it out relatively easily without losing a toe and hauled it down to the dum/ compost heap!

Then I stripped the ivy from the birch trees that were a little more obvious now that the pampas had gone. Then I put in two ligularia dentata that I got in June Blakes and they are a strong yellowy orange but lovely. Went back to rake the slope where pampas was and founfd a rock but this was unmoveable so I just uncovered a bit and incorporated it into the existing steps down to carraig mor. It was luckily in the right position.

And then before I knew it ,it was evening and I rushed to put in Astilboides Tabularis-thats what was on the label which will look lovely with the ligularia near them. 

And that was that and my list shortened just a fraction! The pics arent wonderful because i took them latein evening. In morning sunshine they'd be better.

The story of an unloved rock!

19 August 2013 19:17:03

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Long ago ,about 30 BC (before crowbar) when Scrubber was a younger, stronger , but less experienced lad, he turned up a great big stone in his garden , and because it was just that , all he could do was to manoeuver it over to the base of a big ash. There it stayed for many years and the leaves fell and the ivy grew and the stone slipped from sight, and indeed mind,  until it became quite taken for granted to the point of abandonment.

Other stones during the years were unearthed and reset and shown to better advantage, but for some reason this one was never one of the chosen. One day recently ,Cherub Cymbals, who at the back of it has a kind natured heart (A little softer I think than Cherub Lute) mentioned to Cherub that ‘wasn’t it a pity that the old stone under the ash was just lying there. Cherub listened and nodded sagely. Later that day Scrubber decided to take some clay from another rock nearby and as he did so, Cherub nudged him ever so slightly in the direction of the Ash rock.

‘I wonder’ thought Scrubber ‘if the crowbar would allow me to shift it so that it would look more obvious?’ He tentatively eased the crowbar in and lifted the rock which he discovered had a rounded base, a flat top and a wonderful sharpish edge. Then Cherub gave an even bigger nudge and looking over about twelve feet away Scrubber realized that if he could get this admittedly large rock over there, it would serve as a very suitable and impressive end to the tubby telly path. (By the way, to avoid pitying looks in future I will just refer to it as T.T. mound!-you of course will know its real name).

It was a very fine rock but moving it involved a new technique. It’s called side-inching! You lean the crowbar in under at the side and move it about two or three centimeters, then the same the other side. It’s a very slow process but Scrubber managed to move it twelve feet across and uphill all the way and finally into the hole dug to receive it.

At which point my son arrived-luckily not before ,  as Scrubber would have been taken to task for attempting  the move, rather than asking son for help! He took in what had been done ‘Typical gardener’s tools’ he said looking around ‘Crowbar, axe, shovel , and of course, camera, to record all for garden.ie’.  Bless him, he would have done it all for me in a flash.

But to return to the story, the Ash rock now renamed the t.t. rock, is now sitting beautifully, ending the t.t. path and jutting out proudly as a little cliff edge- (you need a strong imagination to ‘get’ some of the plantings in Scrubber’s garden). You can see it from many angles and it fits in beautifully with its surroundings. Cherub Cymbals of course, is absolutely thrilled because ‘Although it was your nudge, Cherub, it was my idea!’

I was so lucky today

18 August 2013 20:15:22

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We had a special family lunch in Rathsallagh House Hotel whichis always a delight and then my daughter kindly offered to drive me over to June Blake's garden. The others stayed to watch Clare defeat a gallant Limerick team. We had very little time but I got to meet June and was able to quickly tour her remarkable garden. The colour was absolutely astounding and the planting breathtaking. The red border was so vivid and alive that I found my self saying 'wow' after 'wow' after 'wow'. It's an enchanting place and there are stunning plants everywhere including a monster  paulonia?. The Sedums were also spectacular and the dahlias and turkscap lilies lit up the place. There were  a number of 'seat sculptures ' which were intriguing and there's a great 'staiway of beams' heading up into the lawn above-oh  and did I mention the rectangular pool? The lady herself, June, had time to listen and advise and made one feel very much at ease. What is it about these top gardeners that they are all so unassuming, modest and helpful?

My big omission was to leave my camera back in the other car but the pictures are all there in my mind and if you are ever passing near blessington dont forget to call there!

Now Ill have to find a picture from the scrub to put up! I got two lovely Ligularia Dentata, one Astilboides and three Ice Plants (Sedum) 'Emperor's Wave' which sounds frahtfully posh! So along with a haul of Astilbes that I recently acquired in Glanbia, my job for tomorrow is to re invigorate the bottom of the scrub!-and also to take out a dead pampas grass and free up some more space. There's also a tale of an unloved rock but that will have to wait another day.


15 August 2013 11:01:17

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Well there was Scrubber down as one might expect, in the Scrub and, what one might not expect, 'titivatin' the area. You see he was expecting visitors that evening and one of them was a keen gardener and the two others would have enjoyed the walkabout. So Scrubber raked debris and cut away old fern fronds and tidied a bit here and pulled out some elder there, and cleared paths-all the while respecting the views of Elizabeth, that the Scrub be not prettified!

Then he went down to sweep the leaves off the Carraig Mor that Anne likes so much. (The rock not the leaves of course) and it struck him that he could take away a teenshy weenshy bit of the clay around the bottom edge and the rock would have a better line and definition. An hour later, lathered in sweat and I am sure half a stone lighter, the deed was done and about a sixth more rock exposed. The best bit was that this part had a few nice shapings in the rock and made it more interesting.

So it wasnt all titivation! The sad bit was our guests came , dined and by then it was too dark to go down to view! The good bit is that its lovely down there!

Bit stiff and a bit sore but very happy!

13 August 2013 22:03:14

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Went out early and finished the rose- border tidy up and edging.Then edged another bit down in scrub which looks very nice with sedge frosted curls setting it off. Then mowed all the lawns down below in Scrub and one near the Cherubs and around the veg. Dug some potatoes for the dinner and cabbage is coming on ok. Peas a disaster as were the beans and beetroot. We had carrots yesterday!

Then mower wouldnt start so took out strimmer and did a lot of strimming on banks, terraces and  slopes. Looked at stone down in Scrub that wasn't as Sr Josephine would say 'fulfilling its potential'. As happened me when I only brought in ninepence for the missions whereas the others all had rich uncles and aunts. Shifted the stone to new steps where it fitted in as well as fran at the christmas get together. Then got the mower going again by using some words that even Sr Josephine would blush at and did all of the front.

Then found two discarded stones and put them into the top of a path near my tubby telly mound-I had one LONG beore Diarmad Gavin! And the result was 'amazin'. It helped define the mound and finished the path beautifully and  really did far more than was asked of it so that was very pleasing.

Them I brought out the anaconda- to Shoosh's astonishment. 50 metres of bright yellow hose. This was only my second time usuing it this summer and we have our own pump and supply so didnt feel too bad. It stretched everywhere I wanted it to go so have probably saved some plants that were teetering!

It was about twenty to seven so I decided to come in but thought i would go down and sweep the Carraig Mor- ten minutes. In fact i was down working hard for an hour! There were a lot of leaves and mud and debris to be shifted and I had excavated a bit more. BUT! when I was sweeping the last bit near the bottom I found A GIANT'S FOOTPRINT! Believe you me a big footprint in the rock- so the next time littlies arrive to my garden they will be told to search the rock for the GIANTS FOOTPRINT! And of course anyone who finds it and puts their own foot in the magic footprint will never ever get lost again! Just like Shoosh who took off for another Skite for a few days but landed back this morning. She must have put her tiny paw into the footprint some day in the past!

Will try to get photosof telly tubby mound and path and also of course the Giants footprint tomorrow.

Today was Esmeralda's turn!

12 August 2013 21:54:33

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Even Cherub Cymbals-who sometimes lapses into good behaviour- said 'Mr. Scrubber, sir, you should see what Esmeralda has done-all by herself!' So down I went into the Scrub and it was clear that Esmeralda was on the point of bursting (with legitimate pride)'-Juga -eptans, -juga , eptans' she kept repeating. 'Achshually I gave her the term' said a beaming Micilin. 'Ajuga Reptans Multicolour in fact' And there beside her was her basket overflowing with the same. The last time i looked there were three tiny plants in it but now she had obviously worked very hard and it was overflowing! 'Well done indeed Esmeralda' said Scrubber and the whole place erupted with three cheers!

On an entirely different note, Scrubber called into the local garage this morning where he had seen some small old concrete slabs on a pallet. The owner very kindly said he could have them and so two trips got four slabs home. They fitted in nicely as steps at the bottom of a slope and while putting them in Scrubber discovered two nice rocks (One on the right in cetre picture, other one behind big one on left)) so much of the day was spent at that. (Which is why you all have colour in your garden now and Scrubber hasn't!). Then he trimmed the bottom of the 'Cantankerous ' hazel-lots of suckrs-and trimmed circles around trees atc in lower lawn and weeded rose border and watered a good bit so some gardening was done.

All of it to the repeated strains of '-Juga 'eptans, juga 'eptans. Well she had her basket and Scrubber his steps, so a good day's work.





'Its a type of compulsion' explained Cherub gently

09 August 2013 23:21:04

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to a bemused Esmeralda. There was a burst of merry laughter from on high as cherub Cymbals chortled 'But Cherub, you very often give Mr. Scrubber the nudge'. 'Shometimes, a nudge is eggshactly what one needs' proclaimed Micilin Dee. 'And Mr Shcrubber is alwaysh quite pleashed with the reshults!'. Micilin is very prone to defend people for whom he has great 'reshpeckt' and Cherub is one of his favourites.

'Thank you Micilin' said Cherub. 'All I do is to create opportunities and then Mr. Scrubber can develop them' '-evlop 'em, -evelop 'em' parotted Esmeralda who was doing her best to understand. She herself, of course. knew the value of upending stones and finding nice juicy slugs underneath but Mr. Scrubber didnt seem to  do anything about the ones he found. 

The reason for all this was that Mr. Scrubber, who by now should have exhausted all the stones in the scrub , went to pull up a fern or two--ironically to reveal more of one of the bigger rocks. There was a clink and after a great deal of probing and levering as mentioned in tha last journal the new big boulder came out. It only remained, to turn it on its back and dig a shallow hole and then re set it into the bank and where there was once a mere slope there was now a jutting crag!

And it is from this sort of activitiy that Mr. Scrubber gets his simple kicks! The next thing is to decide with what choice plants will he surround the new rock??? Its semi shade so maybe hostas, crocosmias? Angelica (Moya?) or what about japanese anenomes? Snowdrops of course and hellebores? Daffs? The choice is endless. So its not just stone but surround that challenges Scrubber! Yes a type of Compulsion indeed!

What a difference a day makes!

05 August 2013 22:38:26

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Take Sunday for example. Scrubber woke still nursing a sore back and decided to fill in his box (buxus) rectangles with Violas and tiny Mums. Went out  and started and immediately the Back told him ‘Hey! Take it easy!’ Then the rain lashed down, visitors arrived. End of gardening.

Woke today. Back still sore but arm even  sorer so that took his mind off the back! Decided to go out anyway. Started  very gingerly on the Box beds. IHe took out the old Fuschias  and replanted any that survived in the border. Then in each long rectangular tub he put two small mums and six violas. Was extremely careful when lifting them. Inside the box rectangle are two upturned flower pots and a plank on them. He put the filled tubs on the plank and they come out over the top. Then he put six violas in the urn in the walnut circle and the tiny flowers looked very dainty against the box there.

Next he planted out two remaining Dahlias in Eileens bed and realized to his joy that the Leucothoe, all of which had burned to nothingness, had in fact green shoots below, so hopes are high. He trimmed them back and also trimmed anything long  ,leggy and gone over-come to think of it he could fit in there as well!!!

Next he divided my Cowslip plants and got sixteen and put them into ‘Hannah’s garden’ where he puts stuff that can grow through grass-snow drops, daffs, later tulips, Anne’s tall yellow plants etc. Just then visitors arrived and he went in. Afterwards  went and strimmed the Banks and the steps into the scrub and some of the slope. He rearranged two mossy stones in the Scrub-they weren’t bad but now they are exactly right! Then his son arrived. Tea and scones. Out again and strimmed all the Alchemellia Mollis around the circle as it had just gone over and if its done now there will be a frothy leaf circle in a few weeks. Also strimmed some lawn bits.

Then went down into Scrub and determined to take out a few ferns as there were so many. Yes you’ve guessed it. Scrubber hit a rock. It needed the crowbar. (Actually he thinks the whole thing was one of Cherub’s plans!) It was a very large, very stubborn rock and after a lot of coaxing, pulling, twistin , urging (remember this is the man with the bad back-he was VERY careful) it finally gave that last move and you know its coming. I bet it’s the same sensation a dentist has when the molar budges! The new one is almost in place. Scrubber shall dig a bittomorrow  and settle it in but it was a perfect end to a very different day.

Well at last it can definitely be confirmed!

03 August 2013 21:31:17
We think it was about here!

We think it was about here!

A Fairy HAS been SEEN in the Scrub-by a three year old whose eyes are much sharper than Scrubber’s. ‘It was a puwple one’ my little visitor told me! This, despite the fact that my visitor had rung the warning bell so vigorously that it nearly came out of its socket! One would think all the fairies would have heard it but maybe the ‘puwple  one’ has hearing difficulties.

Then later on the whole of the week was taken up with really important things like making Dracula masks and cutting out castles and peopling them with Knights, and laughing at the babies on You tube ‘Charlie bit my finger’ (Go see it!) And successfully flying a kite  and swimming together in a slightly colder river and going for ice cream ….. ‘Gardening? …        I was coming to that! Well we brought the big hose down the scrub and the top came off and grandad said the bad word! But apart from watering we were just too busy to garden.

Today however Grandad went to the Arboretum and heard a good talk on bulbs from Dermot O Neill-lovely man- and chatted Carmel Duignan-lovely lady and went walkabout with Dermot and Rachel Doyle and twenty or so others in Rachel’s lovely show garden in the Arboretum amid thunderous showers and had a lovely time indeed and Grandad never said the bad word once! And he has got more violas and is going to put them into the long green plastic troughs and put those on planks supported by upside down flower pots and these fit into the box beds at the front of the house. Oh and Dermot said we should sterilize shears and secateurs as some kind people trimmed his hedge having trimmed their own and gave it box blight!-It has recovered but one cant apparently be too careful!

So a strangely unhorticultural week but a hugely enjoyable one and long may one visitor remember her ‘puwple’ fairy and the other visitors the swimming and  the kite flying! I know Scrubber will!


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