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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal August 2014

Last Post 1242 days 10 hours ago

Four out of eight!

29 August 2014 21:46:11

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 Today Friday began well as I visited Glanbia for the first time in weeks, even months and three Nepeta’s (Catmint) fell into my boot and a purple Phygellis? I was thrilled to get the Nepeta as it was a well recommended one-the label is outside tonight so cant get it- and the price was extremely reasonable .Home and it was drizzling but once I changed and went out it was dry enough to get all my grass cut. I had a list of eight things to do and got four done and an extra so I was very pleased. Got all the grass cut. Finished doing the circles around all the trees. Then I saw two Colchicums on the way up so planted some packets I had got in the arboretum some time ago, One bulb had the flowers already formed on a stalk!!! It looked weird. Almost like an x-ray. Then I cut some beech branches and that opened up a nice space near the wooden steps and gave more light to an evergreen under it. That was the four I got done.

The extra. Well there a few big stones beside the path going down to the Scrub and no I didn’t move any! I dug around them and cleared them up and put a few small-You could lift with one hand!- ones in under the big rock and dug out the deep litter of leaves so that it looks a bit like a well beside the path. Ill get a photo tomorrow as im not explaining it very well. That took me  about an hour and I was amazed to find it was half six, Time for tea!

Hopefully ill get the next four done tomorrow. i.e. weed two meters of long border Dig bit of veg plaot Plant out parsley and put in the catnip. That should be doable unless I decide to turn to something else as so often happens.But I do think this is the first time ive had the place so tidy-if you ignore the sidegarden and the rockery!

Hope you like my photo of the upturned mushroom. It was a strange shape and once I had seen the photograph all I could think of was the ballet!


Strimming, weeding, pruning.......

27 August 2014 20:43:04

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Didn’t get out to garden until afternoon on Monday and spent lots of time weeding in under the juniper in the long border. Its quite big for its setting and difficult to get in under-spiky little leaves- but I also trimmed a bit more off it which will let a little more light in and enable me to keep it a bit cleaner underneath. Got about three or four metres more of long border cleared and swept  drive as leaves from Elm are falling-dutch elm there I’m afraid. Also swept all the steps down to scrub. Tidied around tree trunks and its amazing how a nice circle cut out of the grass sets them off –in a formal setting. Scrubber has decided that the upper garden is more or less formal and then as it goes down towards the scrub it gets less so-and how!

We were in Dublin yesterday but today I went out and got a good bit of strimming done. Under all the hedges and terraces and banks and down in the Botto---bog garden! Paddy’s astilbes have settled in nicely. In one area I decided to strim into the wild iris leaves and Himalayan balsam. They are very luxuriant so I thought it might be nice to join up two grassy areas in the boggarden. There wasn’t a lot of strimming to be done but guess what. Just as I went in and began to cut I found a strong stem of a willow that had been stuck there long ago and obviously rooted. I think it will give me a strong young tree exactly where I wanted it at the join of the two areas. I was quite chuffed with myself for finding this and NOT strimming through it! The leaves are a bit thin but now that it has light it should bush out. As I say I was chuffed for thinking of extending the grass area but as I came up I think I noticed a slight smile of Cherub lutes face so itmay not have been my idea after all!

I got stuck into the long border again and a lovely rose that I had accidentally strimmed in early summer ‘Old plum’ has very kindly revived and has four smashing buds to show me there were no hard feelings.

One small step for scrubber...

24 August 2014 15:18:54

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 Scrubber has been very busy lately in the garden and for once he has been concentrating on the upper part. That is not to say that the old rockery and side garden-at present very colourful do not need to be weeded, they do but as you come in the front gate to the left Eileen’d Bed is finally cleared of weeds, the two hydrangeas are glorious, the newly ‘ urned’ sleeper steps are looking well, the lawn is mown, the circle of Walnuts is trimmed, the box balls and the box beds (looking unnervingly like green coffins!) are smartly pruned and the long border has been weeded up to the little lantern of illumination and the big juniper.

So in the light of all that virtuousness Scrubber was due a little playfulness. You may remember our local garageman had very kindly said Scrubber could have two slabs of granite---no no no dear friends, before you exasperatedly shout ‘back, careful, don’t do it, strain, age etc!’ I assure you that these are not monsters! Scrubber was able to lift them bodily into the boot of his car. And , mindful of your advice he took them one at a time.

The wheelbarrow had been pumped and it was a very easy job to transport them down to the scrub. Then came the question ‘What to do with them?’ The first was a bit too small to make a full step but Cherub had the brilliant idea of laying it down and backfilling with small stones. The first time it was done it was , well, ok.

Then Cherub-how he thinks them up I don’t know, intimated that there was a space where the urn and plinth had been before being transferred to Step Duty.

Oddly enough the remaining stone was pillar like and quirkily had a piece of strong wire wound about it through a small hole. When it was placed in the empty space it was as to the manor born. Mind you Scrubber did try a little bird bath on top (guiltily because he had taken it from ‘Lady gardener’s niche’ but it went straight back and ‘Pat’s Pillar’ stands in all its unvarnished innocence at the top of the slope near the birches. ( I put the bird bath back ,Anne!). I think Cherub is pleased as he thought the bird bath in that context was a bit ‘babby house’ whereas where it was and now is  again is perfect for it.

So then, a step and a pillar and Scrubber is delighted. Now there are negotiable steps all the way down into the scrub. 15 Sleeper steps and four stone ones. The new stone step makes the descent easier as the original one there was over a foot high! Now six inches.

Scrubber thinks that the joy one gets from placing a step (Oh , did he say, he went back and reset the new step a matter of an inch or two out and raised one side about two inches and now its not just ok but perfect!. Even Cherub agreed as he was away when I chanced that little bit!) or a stone is that one knows it will be there for ever after. You are not going to lose it like a plant or flower and its there in every season giving you satisfaction  (and easier access!). Stone mad perhaps but possibly understandable to his friends?

'Fair sucks to Sr Josephine!'

19 August 2014 20:13:55

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‘Mr Scrubber is looking very smu—pleased with himself today’ said Cherub Lute , correcting the word just in  .time. ‘And why wouldn’t he?’ asked Micilin Dee ‘Isnt he just after doing a gaisce!’ The Scrub denizens aren’t too well up in irish so Micilin proceeded as he is wont to do to explain. ‘A gaisce is a deed that one would not be exshpected to accomplish- beyond the capabiliteesh of most…’ ‘And’ asked Cherub Cymbals breaking in merrily ‘Has this anything to do with the huffing and puffing that went on this afternoon?’ ‘Indubishally! Remember yesterday when Mr. Scrubber got that huge rock up as far as the steps? Well today, and advished by Cherub, after finishing the weeding of Eileen’s bed and putting in a few plants that fell into his boot (car) in Kilkenny this morning-sale four for 10 euro!) he deshided to tackle the rock again. Cherub showed him an ingenious way of getting the rock up a shtep at a time and balancing it until it could be levered up to the next. Indeed without Cherub it could just not be done! Even Mr. Scrubber was amazed at doing so and he had one- heart stopping moment when Mrs. Scrubber came out to view the work. If she had seen him at the rock he would have been in trouble!’. MR SCRUBBER IN TROUBLE? The very idea shocked his listeners. ‘Well you remember when he pulled his back very badly the last time, he did promise to be more careful!’

‘Anyway he did get the rock into its place and when he placed the urn on top it was a Huge success-Indubishally, and that’s why Mr. Scrubber is like the cat with the cream this evening. Especially as he wasn’t expecting miracles after yesterday. ‘Yes and remember when the rock slipped when he was beginning today, as well! I bet he wasn’t expecting that either! ‘laughed Cherub Cymbals.

‘Besht not mentioned’ said Micilin Dee. ‘In the words of the  greysh playwrish himshelf ‘all’s well that ends well’. ‘And fair sucks to Sr. Josephine’ shouted Esmeralda which was so out of character that everyone was flabbergasted.


Ouch! Ooch! Aargh ! No its not that bad

18 August 2014 19:34:17

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and Scrubber’s not looking for sympathy for his back!

Out early today and continuing to weed Eileen’s Bed. As some of you know Scrubber had recently done the sleepers steps e.g. fitted in the last four steps. Now that the area nearby has been graced by the two hydrangeas, the steps are even more important. At one side there is a fairly large square rock holding an old stone urn (concrete). Scrubber thought it would be nice to have a matching stone…

Now down in the Scrub there is a big  square stone surmounted by an urn (concrete) and-youll laugh at this for two reasons. One the stone was brought down from the top lawn in a wheelbarrow  about seven years ago! And two, Scrubber considered bringing it back up again and never realized that if he did he could also bring up the urn and he’d have a match. Scrubber can be so dim he was already wondering where he’d get another concrete urn !!! Bless his fading wits.

Now its one thing to bring a huge square stone down the Scrub and entirely different bringing it up.

He brought in his wheelbarrow tyre and got it pumped by his very kind tyre-  salesman. While he was in there he noticed a fine piece of granite that was crying out to be a step. He suggested if the kind gentleman was ever dumping it….and he very kindly said Scrubber could have it and another piece besides! Aren’t people very nice! Or’ tres gentil’ as Scrubber has recently learned. He has discovered that Youtube does French Lessons on the I Phone-wot larks!) Back with his barrow, levered out the big stone but that was it. NO WAY! Far too heavy. Funny how he could do it years ago!

Gave up but was soon back down thinking if he just rolled it over on a stone he could pull it up straight and roll it over again. About four hours later he was at the bottom of the wooden steps. It had been an arduous four hours but had even got it up the two big stone steps (That took three quarters of an hour in itself). Alas half way up the wooden steps he was flummoxed and couldn’t balance it  to get up further. So frustrating as he was only two metres away from the place it was going. But he  needs must wait until he gets more help for the last few steps. Even Cherub , who was beside him all the way admitted that help was required. But in time Scrubber shall have his other plinth and stone (cement!) urn matching the first. And one is entitled to spend at least one day in foolish endeavour especially as he thought he’d be boasting about it to all of you tonight! Ah Sr. Josephine was not wrong ‘Pride precedes a fall Scrubber, Pride precedes a fall!’ I always thought it meant one fell down but it can also apparently mean an abandoned rock on some wooden steps!

Blue China and Cream Hydrangeas

17 August 2014 14:06:07

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Scrubber has always enjoyed Oscar wildes tongue in cheek remark "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china". Its one of the quotes engraved on the plinths beside his statue in Merrion Square. But over the last few days I’m beginning to understand exactly how he felt………. Two new arrivals into the garden have put me on my toes to try to keep the place up to their elevated standards!

It all began, with no warning, last Friday the 15th of August, which as well as being the feast of the Assumption is also the annual Fair Day in Borris. I have been attending the fair day for the past forty years and hugely enjoy  the parade of young people in all their finery, the little children dressed up to the nines, the clattering by of horses big and small, fine and winded and the three card trick merchants why still deprive gullible clients of fifty euro notes like confetti! Anyway this year the plantsman was back and Scrubber spotted two magnificent hydrangeas on his still. A paniculata Limelight and a paniculata -lacecap White lady. On asking the price he realized that a battle needed to be fought but luckily a friend, well able to bargain , took up the cudgels on Scrubber’s behalf and bargained him down to 15 euro each.

Scrubber had only been in the fair ten minutes and already he was ringing home for assistance! Then a quick tour of the wonders of the fair. I feel each year it is diminishing in size and attendance. Out to the Garden and Scrubber was given such a hefty nudge by Cherub that he nearly fell over! He had intended putting the hydrangeas down in the scrub but found himself digging two holes in the main Lawn opposite Eileen’s (newly weeded )bed and placing them where Cherub had suggested. The result was breathtaking. They filled their spaces majestically and gave the whole area a certain elegance hitherto lacking. That’s why IScrubber began with the quote. He’s going to find it hard to live up to his cream Hydrangeas!!!!

He had spotted another-a bit broken  on the stand but on going back inin hope of a bargain he found it had been snapped up. Not to worry, Scrubber has got such a kick out of the two new arrivals and the whole of that area is being reviewed-There’s a possibility of bringing a huge square rock up from the Scrub to answer another at the sleeper steps . And maybe finding an urn to match the one already there and  and and….Life is good.

‘Oh Cherub, Cherub whereever were you?...

12 August 2014 19:01:51

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 Were you down with Missus Elizabeth or up with Missus Hazel. You missed it. It was great fun!’ This from Cherub Cymbals who was bursting to tell Cherub what he had missed.

‘Mr Scrubber went out this morning and he cut all the grass before it rained. And when he was down on the Tellytubby mound he stopped for five minutes to look at the path around it’ Statue Scrubber broke in ‘and Cherub Lute said ‘He’s thinking of a kerb!’ ‘And he was right because we heard him say ‘I must get some stones’. ‘But then he got into tidying the  circle at the front and that took him ages even though Mrs Scrubber kindly helped by sweeping up all the strimmings’. He was very pleased with it and was strimming a bit of the slope when what do you think he saw?’ ‘A kerbstone’ suggested Cherub, smiling. ‘Yes indeed, How did you know? Well a big stone anyway. And then he found he was standing on another so he got that out.’ ‘But that washnt the besht of it’ said Micilin Dee ‘Esht uv it, eshst uv it ‘echoed Esmeralda. ‘He had only four stones’ broke in Cherub Cymbals, determined to tell the story and he got one from the Banks but when he went to dig a hole for the first one, Clink! He found another!!’ ‘You should have seen his face! He was so surprised! And then when he was digging for another to put it into line with the ones already in he found another!. Oh you should have seen his face. He was so surprised! It was just as if you had been there and were playing a little joke on him! ‘Oh no said Cherub Lute hurriedly,’They were only small stones, nothing like the ones Cherub moves’.

‘Indeed’ said Cherub and he smiled. ‘But you were away so it was so funny!’ ‘Im sure it was’ said Cherub ‘and is Mr Scrubber pleased with his kerb?’ ‘Well ish will take time to settle in appropriashly’, said Mcilin’ bush I think he is very satishfied’.’He was smiling as he cleaned up around the circle this evening’.’that’s always a good sign’ agreed Cherub. ‘Gud shine,  gud shine,’ echoed Esmeralda. ‘Quite’ said Cherub and Esmeralda thought he said ‘Quiet!’ so her beak snapped shut. (Later Micilin explained at length the difference between agreement and command.)

It was also much later in the evening as Cherub passed Cherub Lute that he quietly said ‘Well done , young Lute! A very promising start!’ Cherub Cymbals was looking across but he only heard Cherub Lute say ‘Thank you’. For a minute he thought Cherub Lute was actually blushing but it was probably just the setting sun which just caught his face in its rays as it sank below the horizon.

Take your courage in both hands...

11 August 2014 18:36:23

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Sometimes you have to take your courage in both hands-along with the loppers and make major decisions! Take our Juniper. It was a present many years ago and it was a little thing and I put it in the bed opposite the kitchen window. Well it growed and growed like Topsey and every winter Anna hangs multiple bird feeders from its lovely branches and we have a spectacular show for the price of peanuts.

But it had far outgrown its planting place and had begun to drench us as we passed and was leaning into the neighbouring fence and while still very beautiful it was just too big and fings had to be done.

Scrubber was really nervous as he felt he could botch its beautiful branches but bravely he cut out a main branch and stood back. O.K. Then another and another, all the time going back to view the result. Two days later he is very relieved. He has taken out an immense amount of wood and yet the tree looks almost the same. The branches filled a lot of gaps on the riverside of the Scrub.

I wonder will the birds find their new ‘feeder tree’ that bit more airy and spacious? Anyway Scrubber’s happy. He also put in the Sambucus Nigra in the front lawn and the whipchord hebe-not on the rockery but in the newly and nearly full weeded border. But of that more anon. Today was Juniper day and I enclose some photos to give an idea of what was done.

Very briefly

11 August 2014 12:37:12

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Am just going to try to put up the three photographs relevant to last journal. maybe the 'ban' is lifted by now? By the way if anyone sees that first pot would you let me know as i still need one! Its quite small-about a foot high and 7 inches in Diameter at the top. Its not plastic but a sort of composit. Id be delighted to get the sixth! The place is left for it on the wall. I thought the new one might do butit was too large and anyway its fine in its new position.

Sat navs and sambucii,

10 August 2014 13:08:55

The wicked witch is dead!

06 August 2014 21:28:48

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‘The wicked witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead’ Remember the Munschkins singing this in the Wizard of Oz? Well I feel like singing ‘Half the borders wed, half the borders wed’ except that Rachel tells me correctly ‘its weeded’. Well it’s done and scrubber is delighted. Half way there. A glorious day of sunshine here. And I got to trim the ivy that threatened to take over the house. Add to that an enthusiastic and most appreciative visitor…Life is good!

I got out early and got going on the long border and got a really satisfying days work done. OK theres not much left in the border but there’s space and cleanish clay and room to plant! I know there are other beds to be done but there’s a start mad and a good start is half the battle-and the thumb is much better!

Weeding weeding weeding

05 August 2014 22:53:33

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‘Mr Scrubber looked a little tired today doncha think?’ this from Cherub Cymbals who was giggling as a red admiral butterfly tickled his left leg.’Youd be tired too’ retorted Cherub Lute, ‘If you had that long border to weed. It must be over a hundred feet long at least’. ‘But he did that only a month ago’. Yes but he has been very busy with lots of other things so only got around to it over the last few days’.

‘And of course the accident with his thumb doesn’t help!’ Added Gnome. He spoke so seldom, perhaps once or twice a year that there was a galvanized reaction from the Scrub. Esmeralda got a coughing fit and continued ‘ciden, cident, cident cident  for a half a minute and Micilin Dee was ‘certain she would go into convulshions!’. What happened Mr. Scrubber?’ asked Statue Scrubber. Gnome just grunted ‘ ’e put ‘is  ‘and into the dishwasher didn’t  ‘e an’ stabbed  ‘is thumb on an upended fork’. Cherub intervened then to calm the hub bub ‘Mr Scrubber’s thumb was a ittle sore but its better now and as you see he was able to weed these last two days’ ‘He doesn’t really like weeding though ‘ said Cherub Lute thoughtfully. ‘I bet that’s why he went into the bog garden and strimmed and then later why he cut down the lower branches on the big Japanese Cedar,’ ‘Yesh’ said Micilin Dee ‘Like my own good self he sometimes requires to do shometing artistic to revive his gardening  shpirits’.’And the tree looks really well shaped now, a lovely arsch indeed’ ‘Yes he did seem to be in better form tonight ‘ said Cherub Cymbals .’When he went out and looked at the big amount of weeding that he had managed to do!’

‘But there’s so much else, I mean the bog garden had nearly grown back on itself. The new Liquidamber needs watering, the heathers are looking tired,…’’Nevertheless Mr Scrubber will get it all done eventually’ said Cherub with certainty. ‘And there’s lots of rain to come over the next few days’ said Cherub lute ‘so he can rest his thumb and the trees will be watered’.Yes giggled Cherub Cymbals  and then he can give the garden the Thumbs up! It wasn’t a great joke but everyone pretended it was and even Cherub smiled.


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