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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal April 2014

Last Post 1364 days 12 hours ago

'When you're feeling blue!'

30 April 2014 23:01:05
this was a 2013 august photo there's a touch of blue!

this was a 2013 august photo there's a touch of blue!

Thank goodness for Camassia! Scrubber had just hit a wall and wondered how on earth he was going to get around to everything with grass growing , weeds thriving, daffodils gone over, heathers l,ost in the long growth, primroses gone over and needing to be transplanted.

Then he noticed that this year the camassias had come out and they cheered scrubber up no end. He cleared around the heathers-only two of which had died. He put all the primula down in the shady part of the Scrub, replacing them with violas.

Then two pittosporum, a camellia and two ‘ebonised spheres’-the phrase is Micilin Dee’s ! set off the new steps to perfection. They are beside Eileen’s bed which was very overgrown.Then among all the mayhem the beautiful camassias! Scrubber began to clear around them and bit by bit the bed began to emerge. One particular difficulty was overcome. The clumps of daffodils were riddled with grass and celandine and jack the lad (a garlic smelling weed with a white flower. It was much handier to dig up each clump ,divide it and replant in smaller bunches.

So things are looking up. Sorry for the lack of pictures as this was done on the laptop and there are very few on this machine.

Cherub and Scrubber looked at each other

26 April 2014 16:40:43

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 across the surface of the boulder and each knew what the other was thinking. (Of course one doesn’t exactly look into Cherub’s eyes as he is, in the words of Sr. Josephine, ‘a disembodied spirit’). This isn’t the time or place to give Tom Doorley’s rude explanation of ‘disembodied’. But one realizes that one is being looked at just as one ‘hears’ the very wise suggestions made by Cherub even though there is no sound.

Well what prompted this was the fact that there has been for many years a set of railway sleeper steps leading up from one corner of the Scrub to the top lawn. When Scrubber first made them there was a big rock at the very top so he used use this as a step and this worked for many years. It was pre- crowbar days then or B.C.

Last week Scrubber sourced sleepers at a very reasonable 20 E each and he only needed one, divided into three pieces to complete the flight of steps. Being now a graduate M.C.-Mastery in Crowbar- he thought it would be a very easy matter to dislodge the rock. But as he dug and delved and cleared and scraped, it became apparent that the rock, like Mrs Thatcher, was not for moving. We huffed and we puffed and Cherub brought all his experience to bear but we ended up as above facing one another and defeat across the massive boulder.

My good friend Jim came and drilled holes in the rock to no avail and promised to return with a kanga hammer. My friend Donal came with a very powerful saw and sliced through portions of the rock and belted off bits with a sledge hammer. Apparently this was the hardest form of granite to be had!. Unfortunately when we were within inches of success, the fuel ran out but Donal kindly left the sledge with Scrubber to finish the job the next day. We were not trying to remove the boulder, just attempting to gouge out a niche into which we could fit the next step.

Next morning Scrubber and Cherub were out early and Scrubber soon realized that those poor prisoners breaking rocks in the years gone by really toiled. At one stage the inexperience told and the handle of the sledge cracked and had to be temporarily strengthed with a wire ‘splint’.He had to rest after about every four blows but finally managed to chip out a groove and lo! It fitted the step. After that it was relatively easy to settle in the others and Cherub had some very good tips re lining the sides with pieces of the old rock and one or two biggies that were around.

So now Scrubber need not fear being stranded down in the scrub in his old age as there is a smoothly ascending series of fifteen steps bringing him safely up to the top lawn. Why if her Majesty ever comes back to Ireland she will be able to view the Scrub quite effortlessly-although if the president accompanies her we may well have to send Micilin Dee away for a short holiday!

The nicest thing about the steps is that they look as if they have been there always.Scrubber was very flattered to ‘hear’ Cherub say in his quiet grave voice, ‘I do think Mr. Scrubber, that you have made a remarkably lovely set of steps there.’ And  Scrubber’s reply? ‘Agreed  Cherub! just as long as you say ‘we’ rather than ‘you’. And Cherub nodded his head gently and smiled.

Paula's lesson for Scrubber

10 April 2014 19:56:42

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Scrubber had a lot on hand today and had made a LIST. There were two parts of the rockery to be weeded, wooden steps to be cleared, yesterday’s roses to be watered in well, possibly some strimming and of course more weeding of the long border. He had done a good bit on the rockery and had watered the roses when he remembered the white pulmonarias which would also probably need watering. As he went down the Scrub he heard voices and little Paula and her mum were on the river bank.They were visiting their friends in Ireland and we had met them a few evenings before so Scrubber invited Paula and Mum in to see ‘Peter’s Garten’. (Paula is Austrian, as is her Mummy and Daddy).

We had a lovely time. We told Dooley to behave and not be over- friendly as paula is a little nervous of dogs. And he did. Shoosh came when called and showed off to perfection allowing Paula to stroke her fur and purring all the while. We rang the bell to warn the fairies which amused Paula no end and introduced her to Esmeralda whom we elevated to the rank of ‘Goose -Princess’ for the day.

Paula had a small plastic box and her mummy explained it was for ‘collecting things’ as on their last walk she had not such a useful article. Paula plucked a small white flower from the path and Scrubber enthused so much that Paula thought she had done something wrong and was a tiny bit taken aback. Well of course to show that everything was fine Scrubber began collecting every flower possible for her, all of which she gravely accepted with a very polite ‘Thank you’ which was excellent for a little four-year- old.

She took a petal from every flower and shredded it into little pieces and made a marvelous mixture of colours in her little box. Scrubber had never realized how intensely red the tulip petal was until it was put beside the forget-me-not blue, He hadn’t noticed that on the back of the white petal of the magnolia the faint purple streak ran down into the base. Nobody had told him how sumptuous the rich brown and plum of the Pansy looked , when detached from the stem, reminding him of the plush of velvet. There was the delicate ribbon of pink from a magnolia stellata and a deep deep azure of a yellow centered primula. It was as if Scrubber had seen them before but never really noticed them! It was a quite remarkable sight , all the vibrant contrasting colours in Paula’s mixture. I don’t think Scrubber will ever look at tulips and pansies and magnolias and many other plants in the same light again. That little plastic box told me more about colours than any colour- wheel could! ‘Vielen Dank, meine kleine Freundin Paula! ’. (Many thanks my little friend Paula!)

‘Do YOU think Mr. Scrubber has got a little wobbly

09 April 2014 22:43:33

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lately?' asked Cherub Cymbals, somewhat anxiously. ‘Do you mean wobblier?’ asked Cherub Lute with just a hint of disdain in his voice. Statue Scrubber didn’t answer at all but from below in the scrub came the high pitched voice of Micilin Dee. ‘If by wobbly you mean a little bit heshitent, a touch indecishive, well then I do believe that hash been his wont of late’-It was surprising that Micilin Dee was talking again as he himself had been a trifle peeved at not receiving an ‘Invitashun to the recepshun’ across the water but then the ‘Posht is quite erratic so it must have gone ashtray’

‘I have indeed perceived that Mr. Scrubber has been questioning himshelf over the pasht week-‘ he continued.‘Yes interrupted Cherub Cymbals excitedly. ‘Ever since he put dem eight roses around the stone circle thing, he’s been looking at them and then looking at the Chives ‘rill’an back at them an back at the rill’. ‘Yesh. Er, THOSE eight demi shtandard roses Cherub Cymbals, not ‘dem’ eight… We musht maintain our shtandards’.’Absolutely no pun intended’ drawled Cherub Lute with a smirk on his face.

Mr. Scrubber had indeed been in a quandary. He had to find a place for his bargain buy of eight roses and around the circular quern or grinding stone seemed an appropriate place, and yet, and yet and yet… So Today he went out and uprooted all eight and replaced the sods around the quern and dug holes in the rill and planted the roses in a line down along the grass path. It was only then that Cherub Cymbal noted he had a satisfied smile on his face. The Quern looked better on its own and the line of roses gave the rill height and definition. ---Its not a rill at all of course but a long ribbon bed planted with chives and now that he thinks of it the flowers on the chives will look very well with the roses. At times indecision pays off. And as Cherub Cymbal observed ‘He just Knew dem roses were in the wrong place’ ‘THOSE roses!!!’ ‘Yes those roses, dem demi standards! ‘An’ Mr Scrubber hasn’t been wobbly since!’

Indeed Scrubber cut grass or as much as he could without hitting the daffs and snowdrop leaves and then cleared a lot of rotten wood down in the scrub bottoms and collected all the branches he cut a few days ago-his walnuts have coral spot which is far from satisfactory but we will see. And divided some snowdrops. But it was solving the puzzle of where to put dem roses, sorry, those roses, that was the highlight of his day.

The magnolia is gorgeous, heres hoping the frost forecast wont wreck it and the pink magnolia stellata on the lawn has changed from a bitty twiggy branch to a thing of rare beauty.And there’s more rhodos to come! Life is good.

PS Sorry re picyures. A kind friend fixed my computer but now I cant recognise the pictures so have to take a chance on a number!

Trudi's Rock!

02 April 2014 20:26:34

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Trudi’s Rock

I was on my way to Dublin recently and a dear friend who was going up with me brought me two big plastic bags to put in the boot of my car. They were Lysmachia purpurea and Lobelia and I was assured they would suit my soggy bottoms-not not my saggy bottom-do you ever listen?. Needless to say I was out that evening in the said soggy bottoms putting the divided clumps into position. And there in the bog no less, a decided clink!. I dug around it and the edge was too soggy and boggy to lever it up but perhaps in summertime??? –a lovely big granite rock. Even as it is, it’s lovely so I dug around it to clear the shape and it is now and forever ‘Trudi’s rock’. And its nice to think the Trudi’s flowers will be there near her rock in the future.

Otherwise the Magnolia is a glory of pure white buds and I’m hoping the frost will stay away. The buds are coming out on lots of the shrubs and there are two lovely clumps of white flowers that I got from H.D. herself and whose names are in my diary somewhere. The leaves are heartshaped and spotted white and there is a myosotis growing through them not your normal forget me not-I just cant remember its name now. Daffs of course are in the full force of their power and some beginning to go over yet lots more to come. The Ice Follies were wonderfully  full this year-huge clumps of them.

I have put in seven fairly strong fuschia plants in the long border and as soon as the buds come strongly I’ll cut back the old stems and also got in three campanula which should flower well. Other than that its weeding weeding weeding! Not a lot done but what’s done is relatively clean.

The Arboretum is having a night with Diarmaid Gavin tomorrow evening and I may get to it. I must confess I am looking forward more to the talk from Eamonn and Ger who both work there as I know and trust them!!! Diarmais is a bit too off the wall or out of the border for me. I’m also informed that there are discounts to be had!!!!


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