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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal January 2014

Last Post 1447 days 10 hours ago


30 January 2014 22:33:10

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Some days are  good and some days are blessed and today was the latter! Scrubber woke up and his cold was nearly gone and the day was dry! He was soon out in the garden and yesterday he  and  Anna had paid a visit to Pat Comerford’s  Flower Power garden centre in kilkenny to collect twenty Cornus siberica (red willows) and while doing so three heathers and lots of primroses and two herbs mysteriously  smuggled themselves aboard. The cornus were a present so I had  money for the heathers! Pat says I’m to call it Flower Power  as he uses that name for business and modestly thinks people wont know him otherwise! I think his stock is excellent, varied and reasonable! No I don’t get commission and my heart is still in Glanbia!

Well today my first job was down to see if Noah’s fludd had receded enough to put in my Cornus. I put in the three heathers on the heather bank-(I now have a ‘heather bank!’) and had a great time putting the cornus alongside a good length of the squelchy path –in the boggy bit. They were about two/three feet high and had a terrific root system. I had to cut some away!-and these beauties were only one euro each! Had they been potted up they’d have been about six or seven. So that made a lovely curving line of plum red stalks.

Up and put in Anna’s primroses in two big containers and they look very cheerful indeed. And they also were a euro each. (Just in case you are near Kilkenny!). I cleaned that area and also the top of a bed that had been strangled with leaves.

Then I went to dump the leaves and  got a nudge from cherub. ‘Hmmm, if I just cut away a bit more of the bank at the carraig more Id 1) expose more stone 2) have a more circular ‘rock pool’ and 3) could build up a bit of a bank near the steps where I needed clay. So  got a good bit of that done. Then up and raked marian’s bed. I had done a lot of rock shifting there last year and today I could see the results and was pleased. I transplanted a few small snowdrops clumps-that way I get to see them this year! (I found the French for them was ‘perce neige’ ‘Pierce the snow’ or ‘pierce snow’ Rachel or Claire can correct me. Lovely name though.And raked a few more heaps off the paths-stillmountains of them to be shifted!

I don’t think I was ever so impatient waiting for the snowdrops! Had to take myself in hand today and say ‘Scrubber its JANUARY .have patience.’ There are lots out but so much more to come.

Oh and I had my first daffodil out last Tuesday so that must be a sign! Weather for next few days aint great but am so thankful  got a lot done today.

Noah's Fludd!

27 January 2014 16:43:13

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Well we were fortunate wind-wise this time but the rain- 'it raineth every day' and to be honest I just hope no one starts singing 'raindrops keepfalling on my head' or Scrubber might put a foot through the radio.

howsanever every cloud has a silver lining and as it was so wet I collected my shelving and got the garage tidied and am pleased with that. Then the old bike which was unused for twenty or so years was hauled out and sent into kilkenny to be rejuvenated. (Pity it couldnt be done with scrubber!) It being again very wet I drove in today and collected it and just called into a lovely garden centre on the outskirts of Kilkenny where i got lovely stuff last year. The same nice helpful man was there (rumanian? I think). Prices are good and stock is very good.

Scrubber was being careful and only bought one sarcococca (7Euro) and six 'cowslips'-well they were so labelled but i think they are Primula Goldsturm-that lovely deep red one with the edges in gold. They were 1 Euro each.

Came home and put them in and that helped! The Scrub bottom is filled with water-not the highest its ever been but close. Ill put up some pictures. meantime all together now 'Rain Rain go away and dont come back til another day!' Well it worked when we were small!

a little whimsical

22 January 2014 18:44:18
The Scrub and Mr.Scrubber!

The Scrub and Mr.Scrubber!

Rocks, it may surprise you to hear, are not considered good communicators. There is the phrase ‘stone deaf’ or its lookalike ‘tone deaf’ of course, but on the whole we do not hear of stones talking very much. That is not to say that stones do not talk at all. They do but usually only use what we learned long ago as the ‘Vocative case’ You know, when a poet goes all wobbley- kneed and starts addresing a perfectly ordinary day  as ‘Oh Rosy Morn! or some such nonsense.

Rocks are inclined to declaim  a bit. They don’t chat among themselves unless they are pebble size and male and female rocks don’t have long lingering conversations. Male? Female? Well it’s easy enough. The Males just lie there in the ground, are large , angular, difficult to manouever. Sometimes too they jut out of the ground in a very threatening manner. Female rocks on the other hand are rounded, roll quite easily and are adaptable to most situations. They always manage to get a very attractive fringing of moss within a few months of being under trees and apart from a little sensitivity about their age, 200, 000 ?  400, 000? years old, they generally accommodate the gardener whereas the male rocks fight against design and aesthetics and anything savouring of prettifying! –persh the thought!

Scrubber can hear them talking, it’s a special gift, but even he has to listen extremely carefully. Yesterday when working on Eamon’s kerb, for example, one rather large Lady rock with a very clear sense of her own importance shrilled

‘ME? He is going to try to shift ME! And I have been here for the last thirty years or more. I just wont have it! If he comes near me with that horrible Crowbar thing I shall..ooOOPS! HELP! ITS Under me . OOOUCH, How undignified, I’M Going UP and Over, EEEEK! HOW DARE he! ‘ THIS is not how I should LOOK at all!!!!’ Totally out of rock -breath she was quite stunned to find herself pressed very closely against a large angular male rock. His only comment was ‘Cool it babe , the dude knows what he is doin’’

At this stage Micilin Dee was pepperin’ to get involved-‘yesh  Madam, Mr Scrubber, (this was a gentle nudge to the male rock re ‘dude’), Mr Scrubber , only wanted to show you to besht advantage and to acshenshuate the  elegance of the Kerb!’ Not being used to being addressed, the lady rock was quite nonplussed but nevertheless a little flattered to be chosen to ‘acshenshuate’ and subsided.

Next came a very rough voice indeed. You see some rocks have lain under the soil in the same place for millennia and naturally when they are suddenly wrenched up into the sunlight for the first time their response leaves a little to be desired. ‘What the thunderin’ turd did dat fellah come at me with th’iron bar for?’ ‘dat fellah’ was not meant to particularly insult Mr. Scrubber but our new friend had been there long long long before Mr. Scrubber was only a twinkle in Grandad Scrubber’s eye. Once again Micicilin felt the call. ‘Ah Mr. Scrubber inshisted that you would be the ideal rock to finish the line of fine rocshs he calls Eamon’s kerb. He wash inteshly excited to dishcover you ,you know’. The new rock seemed pacified by this and took in the fact that he was, in fact in line with some very fine lady and gentlemen rocks  and overlooking an absolutely massive rock called carraig mor. This huge rock hadn’t  uttered a word until now and when he spoke the rumble could be heard deep in the depths of the whole garden.

“Mr Scrubber, himself, has not of course had the good fortune to be a rock. He is a human and like all humans quite mobile and transient. He will not have the good fortune to stay as we do in this lovely place for millions of summers and winters, springs and falls. But  he is a human who dearly loves our like and respects and cherishes every rock he finds. He is ever intent on placing us to best advantage and even though it may be a bit discomfiting, as you Madame found out or  more than a trifle unnerving, as was the experience of our newest arrival, he means very well and does well by all of us. I think we are quite lucky to live out our long lives here in this lovely peaceful place and we should be grateful that Mr. Scrubber enables us to do so.’ The great booming voice became a little softer. ‘After all we all know what happened our fellow rocks in the era of the---- Developers…’ This was greted by a general soft moan.

‘So, continued the booming yet soft voice of Carraig Mor ,in consideration of all these things and in honour of its owner,I propose, ‘The Scrub and Mr. Scrubber!’. ‘Indeed, indeed an’ exshactly ’ burst in Micilin Dee who was almost  (But never quite) speechless ‘wish the emoshion of the moment’.And rocks large and small, mellow and angular, moss- clad and smooth answered the toast, softly echoed by yet another slightly quacky voice , ‘-he  -rub an’ ‘ister, ‘ubber!!, ‘-he  -rub an’ ‘ister, ‘ubber!!



Scrubber hab a berry ruddy nobe at prezzen'

20 January 2014 20:33:48

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'Running like a tap' as cherub cymbals succinctly if inelegantly described it. Its been so for the last week and sales of Tissues have rocketed. He also managed to twist his wrist somehow. 

But this morning fired by cabin fever and a desire to see the new excavated tock in the path overlooking the carraig mor, he made his way down holding on to the crowbar-for support. After a bit of  encouragement the rock came up and miraculously transported itself onto the slope where it sat preening itself in the sun. So encouraged and sniffing mightily Scrubber then upended the rock beside it and edged it into line. The usual miracle occurred and there was a biggie behind that that was brought out and spun around and reinserted so that the original kerb named after my friend Eamonn, is now quite a strong feature and the buried rock is now proud of the slope and really looks well in the sunlight.

Perhaps the photos will help people imagine what Scrubber is raving about. Tonight the nobe ib still dribbing and the wrist aint all that flexible but down in the scrub there a a lovely stron rejuvenated granite rock kerb that makes it all well worthwhile!

As you all know....

17 January 2014 21:08:03

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Second attempt! First disappeared into the ether. As you all know the irresistible combination of six purple and one white heather coupled with a sambucus aurea and a fatsia make for a very satisfying composition! You didn’t? Well they were all that were left on the bargain bench in Glanbia and encouraged by his granddaughter, Scrubber took the lot! Well at 2-50 eachit would be a sin not to!

Spent a good afternoon putting the heathers in a bank overlooking the carraig Mor where I hope they will get enough sun. Then I had two puts ,one with a Fatsia (Bruno’s gift two years ago) and the other with a hartstongue fern. One pot stood for Bruno, the other for Chris. Well Chris you now sport a fatsia as well! And the harts tongue divided into three is back in the bank. The Sambucus is now one of four that should give me a lovely golden patch in Summertime.

And then just as evening came in  -clink! There was a fine boulder in the path itself! I had just got it up when Dark fell so I will place it into the bank and will have a seat for Zen- like contemplation of the Carraig Mor! All little things but so satisfying and it’s to rain tomorrow so good to have that done. And the tiny snowdrop clumps I transplanted on Wed are shooting up-bless their little glaucous tips!

But I'm working as well!

15 January 2014 21:49:35

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Still enjoying the buzz from Johnstown but as you see above! Having five thumbs on each hand (Unlike fran, Hazel, Corktony, Elizabeth etc! all of whom could make the titanic out of a biscuit tin and four chair legs!) I have been unable to realise my dream of shelving in the garage. But today i have ordered two units that look sturdy and will take all the clutter out of my gardening life! Thus the dream!!

I went out on a prtty wet Monday but managed to divide up The Luzula given to me by Fran into 12 pieces! I use a small lopping saw rather than back to back forks. Then I worked a bit more on the little wall near the birches, taking a stone from the terraces. Then I had to replace that with sods from the edge of another bed that i had intended enlarging. I cleaned the area and put in the lazula clumps beside carraig mor and they looked very well.

Was away tuesday but today stared wet and windy and then was quite nice. I divided two more Skimmias into six! (lopping saw!) and put them on slope near birches as well. Then I grubbed up some snowdrops and divided them and put them at the foot of the birches. I put Jurga's irises, divided into four at each side of the stile and Jemo's mallow in Statue scrubber's bed  and sally sarah's cowslip on a sunny bank up over that. Jemo I think I got three hostas from you  but if one of them is an agapanthus I shall rescue it! They went down near the birches in the shade.

I really love that area now and the fact that it is populated by my friends' plants makes it better. I putthe spirea down there as well. Its funny how you concentrate on one area and it takes up all your attention until you get it out of your system.

Oh I discovered a good way to see the daffs coming up. Shine a torch on the area at night and they are picked up so clearly. A few snowdrops out but I dont mind the wait. I dont want it to be over too quickly! But isn't it great to be looking forward to Spring and its surprises.

Thank you to those kind people who pressed plants on me and thanks to all who so enjoyed laetitia's letter. I have a feeling she might write another in the distant future!!!!


Johnstown 2014 a jaundiced view!!! Not Scrubber's!

13 January 2014 20:08:31

Counting down the hours!

10 January 2014 20:22:48

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As i expect many of us are! Managed to get out on Wednesday for a little while and got that new rock into position quite easily. I had bought three Skimmia in the Arboretum and was able to subdivide them as they were generous into seven good plants and put those around and near the rock so am 'raht pleased'. Again I sheared a bit off the side of the path and it has improved it very much-I'm looking for just a few more rocks to finish it off!!!

Then went into Glanbia and cleared the bargain bench. I got four golden deciduous spirea and one Sambucus aurea, one pernyttea, two prostrate ceanothus and two Russian sage. That should remove some of the temptation on Sunday!

I hope to get them all into the ground tomorrow sat. That will help to pass the time before Sunday. I see its not to be the most pleasant of weather but we shall no doubt overcome that! See you all there!

A message from Cherub! Yes Cherub!

06 January 2014 22:07:39
' I'm keeping an eye on you!'

' I'm keeping an eye on you!'

Dear Garden.iers,

I realise this is a highly irregular course of action and indeed a number of my colleagues in the Cherub Carers Association will also be very surprised at my temerity in  addressing all of Mr. Scrubber's friends. I have to inform you that Mr. Scrubber has had a shock, not I hasten to add, a physical one, but a shock to his nervous system which renders him incapable of completing the journal today. I am convinced that with rest and hot drinks and perhaps a little manouevering of rocks, by wednesday he will be fit enough to resume.

Many of you, Mrs Myrtle and Mrs Rachel and Mrs Mary and Mrs Anne and Mrs Noelle and Mrs Elizabeth and Mr Fran and even Mr. Paddy himself have used the word 'magical' in referring to the Scrub. Now Mr. Scrubber has even said so himself on a number of occasions that the Scrub is 'otherworldly'. But it was only today he realised that he spoke the literal truth!

He took a photograph of one of the birch trees to reveal the lovely pattern of the bark and you can imagine his surprise, terror even, when he found the birch looking straight back at him with a very mysterious glint in its eye. You see ,the dear man always considered trees to be, well, trees and the shock of realising that they could see right through him was very discomfiting indeed. He was in fact totally dicumfabulated!

So tonight he is sitting quietly inside ,nursing a hot punch and leafing gently through old copies of  the garden magazine, a practice he has always found useful in restoring equilibrium. You are not to worry. He will recover before Sunday and I do hope you will excuse me for using your web site to keep you informed.

I have been advised not to publish the photgraph but in the interest of transparency and explanation I intend to do so. I know you will all understand!

I remain,

Yors sincerely,

Cherub f.c.c.a

P.S. The birch is extremely sorry to have caused this reaction and will in future turn the other eye when Mr. Scrubber takes a photgraph.


A nice present from all in the scrub!

04 January 2014 18:09:58
Evening falls

Evening falls

I knew something was up as I heard whispering and '-ock' '-ock' '-ock' from Esmeralda but i was still pleasantly surprised. Dooley has taken to wandering at night and at day so he has to be tied up and so I bring him on long walks instead. So today I had only time to set in my three small skimmias below the Birches. When putting in the third...yes Klink or rather Klunk. A quick feverish excavation showed me a large rock that eased up easily with a nudge from the crowbar-Cherub overseeing it all. 

It can go back into its place but aligned so that the face of the rock is prominent  and the top makes a little ledge. It was too dark to photograph it. But wasn't it nice of them to start the year with such a lovely and unexpected present. That area is becoming better and better every day but not in a startling way. Fings are just beginning to fit together!

A small but fitting start to the new year! Hurrah!

'Its a New Year, It's a new day.....

03 January 2014 20:08:27

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Thanks to a kind and efficient Eircom man we have phones and internet again! Since about three o clock today. Bless all those workers who spent so much time and effort getting systems back on their feet-if systems have feet!

Well that was some start to the new year. I hate wind and have had  enough of gale after gale showering me with leaf debris -although I lost but one ivy covered branch.And I do realize that all of you in the north and west of the country are getting the most appalling blasts.

Obviously Scrubber hasn’t been out since his last journal but he did purchase three Skimmias for down near the birches, where I think they will be nicely placed and I may get a few more. Haven’t been to Glanbia for ages and the Arboretum  people are making HUGE changes and eventually will have a mighty covered area for the plants. You wouldn’t believe that they could empty all the plant section-they are still open though and busy- and id say by feb will be up and running again. Rachel Doyle is a wonderwoman! And she has great family and staff back-up.

The river is in great flood and it has come into the bottoms of my garden but there’s no fear it can threaten the Scrub as there’s a huge river valley to fill first. When it goes out the place is very mucky for a while but then it all grows over. I am sopleased with my ‘birch bend ‘ as it ties in so many things together.I have also got over the shock of my gilded Buddha and may even give him another coat!

Daffs are coming up strongly and there even are a few heads forming! But its more a time of waiting and that’s not a bad thing either. Theres a nice article by Shirly lanigan (As well as a very learned and stunning contribution from our own Rachel on Streptocarpi no less!) about a roadside garden in ballymurphy. I rang the lady who created it tonight to tell her she was in the magazine. I have always admired her gardening skills as everything she puts into the ground seems to grow and she told me she is not at all interested in the naming of them but that every plant has a memory of the person who gave it to her which is so wonderful. If you do pass through ballymurphy in the height of the Summer watch out for it at the top of the village on the road to kiltealy. And it is that exactly, a roadside garden, as it runs along the ditches on both sides of the road..

I may have done so before but once again a happy new year to all of you. I expect to get to Johnstown barring floods high winds or snow!!!See you there!


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