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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 135 days 17 hours ago

what variation!

03 March 2018 13:10:14

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So Fleruette showed us a landscape with hardly any snow, Dick reported that the snow in Carlow is nearly gone, and here I am less than 40 miles away in Laois and I was snowed in! My water pump packed in so my good samaritan neighbours came and "rescued" me on their tractor! My first experience of travlling by tractor! I stayed away overnight and really enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower this morning!

Most of our roads are impassible - even the main roads just have a single lane cleared by snow-plough!

I am with Scrubber and Jacinta - this snow stuff has definitely out-stayed its welcome. We are forecast to have more snow tonight! 

Preparations for Emma and the Beast from the East

01 March 2018 18:37:41

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I take Met Eireann's warning pretty seriously and I'm not at all happy with this snow on the anniversary of the 1947 blizzards. The bright but cold days last week were really good for gardening but once the temerature plummeted I had to make arrangements for Puss to survive this. He has always been an outdoor cat and even when we let him in he gets very edgy and can't wait to get out again.

I am so glad that I did the sheltered Pergola outside the door so his house is already under some shelter. As luck would have it I was doing a clear-out recently and had a heavy winter-weight double duvet surplus to requirements so I have now wrapped his house in this! Insulated Kennel! What next!

Photos taken yesterday after I had swept a path to the bird-feeders - beautiful fluffy snow! I found a tool I bought for cleaning windows years ago that was useless for windows but proved brilliant for clearing the snow!

I made a path around the car too but then decided not to go driving. 

Of course by this morning all those lovely paths were covered in again!

Being confined indoors like this gives me cabin-fever very quickly so I'm really hoping that things will get back to something approaching normality very soon!


26 February 2018 22:53:52

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My local Gardening club had a demonstration of pruning fruit trees in the garden of our resident horticulturalist. I was waiting for this event so I could apply the instructions to my own trees which haven't really been pruned in any scientific manner in the past.

My main concern is that the trees should be kept in check so I can actually reach the fruit instead of just getting windfalls! It was great to see trees that had been severely cut back in his garden and he demonstrated how to keep them that way! He tackled a Pear tree that needed to be reduced in height, an Apple that is very old but has been kept at a manageable height. Then he moved on to Raspberries, Summer and Autumn where I picked up some great hints about managing mine. He also dealt with gooseberries and currants so a really comprehensive demonstration. And for good measure he showed coppicing of Cornus and Willow just because we were passing these shrubs!

We finished up with some delicious homemade soup with scones and bread also homemade!

That was Saturday morning - so saturday afternoon I attacked my fruit trees while the techniques were fresh in my mind! I'm not sure I did it perfectly, but if there are actually any fruit this year they will be within reach!!!!

Photos of hacked fruit trees are not inspiring so here is the photo of some really pretty crocus that I spotted on my way - they are actually even more blue than the photo!


Another real Spring day!

22 February 2018 00:42:20

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Have you all been feeling the urgency to get stuff done while we have this lovely Spring weather? I certainly have! I recently got my pressure-washer fixed so I was testing out ways to resolve the issue of flooding at my front door that I had this winter. I haven't cleaned the tarmac for at lest 5 years so it was pretty grotty and probably contributed to the flooding by not draining away water. Very soul-destroying work but necessary.

I did the first section on Monday took a break on Tuesday and got back at it today.

So yesterday on my Day Off I took some photos and did a bit of "real" gardening - cleared another border and even caught up on the shredding! 

First Anemone

18 February 2018 23:22:15

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Another delight at this time of year is the pretty Anemone Blanda.  I  have managed to get them to naturalise in my Hazel Grove but its a bit early for them yet. However, arriving home today I glimpsed the blue as I drove in the driveway. And there it was - the first Anemone among the snowdrops!

That's when I remembered that way back in 2009 when I planted that area initially I had a vision of the blue and white contrast of the Anemone and the Snowdrops - unfortunately the rabbits put paid to my ambition! However one brave little  anemone managed to come back each year but this is the first time I've noticed it shining up among the snowdrops! So now I know where I want to transplant snowdrops to in the next ew weeks - to where the anemones are already successful!

Whenever it stops raining I'll check for others elsewhere!

My favourite Helebore - Today!

18 February 2018 00:06:31
Helleborus Hybrid 'Harvington Shades of the night' seedling

Helleborus Hybrid 'Harvington Shades of the night' seedling

My favourite helebore changes every day - this one is the seedling of an expensive one I bought in Altanont a few years ago. It produced a good number of seedlings and they all retained the lovely deep colour of the parent! Unfortunately neither my phone nor my camera can capture the really rich deep burgundy of the flower.

I tackled what is probably my least favourite job at this time of year - trying to clear around the baby Laurel hedging. Last year I entrusted this task to an inexperienced helper and I really regret it! They didn't get the whole "make sure you take out the roots" bit - so I was digging out those wild carrots all day! As well as that, I discovered there were an incredible number of very large stones in that border that had escaped my notice when I was planting the laurel cuttings in the first place! The mound of stones will provide a nice edging for my next path!!!

Tropical border transitions

15 February 2018 01:34:16

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Having recently completed the tidy-up of my Tropical Garden I thought I would look back at that area at other times of the year.

First is the tidied area. Everything cut back as hard as possible and really it looks like a pretty tame border.

The second one is the same border in May of last year.

The third is taken in July when the tropical plants are really strutting their stuff!

What next?

12 February 2018 19:46:58

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So I got myself organised this year and planted my sweetpeas in January as recommended by Monty Don! I also put my few little spuds to "chit". And guess what? They have all taken off at a terrible rate! 

Normally I would have had them in the greenhouse with the frost-heater in action but due to Ophelia's destruction my greenhouse is not bubble-wrapped so there is no point in putting in the frost-heater as it would just keep going day and night its so cold out there!

So what do I do? The sweetpeas are getting too leggy and the sprouts on the spuds are saying they want to be planted!

I have one of the raised beds covered with matting to try and keep the soil from freezing but its still way too early to plant the spuds.

Any suggestions please?

Thanks to Fleurette

11 February 2018 00:53:40

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I know the Kris Kringle is suppose to be a secret but a little bird told me I had Fleurette to thank for the extraordinary trowel and weeder that came my way at Johnstown! The weeder is impressive getting much closer to the end of the roots of long-established dandelions and thistles.

Today i had great use for the really looooong trowel! I had a visit from a friend who is always happy to get "bits" from the garden. As we strolled around we encountered a few ground-cover plants that would suit her garden, so I went and got the new tools. Some well-rooted plants of an Arrowpoint Ivy, some Ajuga Repans as well as that pretty Lamium Beacon Silver as well as the less civilised  Lamium Galeobdolon were all easily uprooted for her. It was really childs play with the new trowel!

So a HUGE thank you to Fleurette for the best tools I've had in years!

And thank you to Olive, my lovely visitor who did a great job cutting back the Tropical Border for me!!!!

Bit chilly today

07 February 2018 00:22:00

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Today was not a day for brass monkeys or even pretty determined gardeners in sunny Laois! 

I ventured outside for a few minutes but didn't get inspired! Went shoppping instead but sadly not Garden shopping - and when I got home I was surprised to see that the little smattering of snow still hadn't melted!

and tomorrow doesn't get much better - "feels like" isn't getting above 2 degrees and actual not above 4 or 5 - and just to add to the misery rain/sleet too!

So where is our lovely Bridget hiding our Spring? Even my Daffodils are very reluctant to open!

February at last!

03 February 2018 00:09:27
February at last!

February at last!

Like Dick I always think of Feile Bride as the beginning of Spring so despite flurries of snow and really cold days there has been a bit of bright weather here in Laois the past couple of days.

I'm definitely in line for "Fashionista of the Garden" this year - my usual gardening jacket has a busted zip so I rooted out an old jacket of Brendans and I don't know myself! Since he was nearly 6 ft and I am 5ft 2in it is good and long - it also has a quilted lining and a hood but I must look like Little Orphan Annie in the huge jacket - but boy oh boy I am cosy!

I headed out yesterday to plant a pretty little Campanula in full flower that found its way into my groceries recently. I decided the deeo blue would contrast nicely with the little daffodils in the Rock Garden - but you know how it is, sometimes we can get distracted!

So first of all Chamaecyparis nookatensis 'Pendula' which lives in a half-barrel along with some bulbs needed weeding ... and the crocosmia in pots around it needed a home. So the Chamaecyparis is looking much better and the bulbs seem to have multiplied so they will look great in a few weeks. The Crocosmias are now edging the Shelter Belt so should bring a bit of colour to that area.

And needless to say, when I eventually got to plant the Campanula I had to carry on and weed and tidy the Rock Garden. It was almost dark when I finished so I had to wait till this morning to get the photo. 

So I hope we are all welcoming Feile Bride and getting out and enjoying our gardens again!

Parcels are always exciting!

01 February 2018 00:30:43

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The postman brought me a parcle today - really the perfect day to get a parcel as it was sleeting and snowing all day!

I asked about root-training pots a couple of weeks ago and got good advice so they got ordered online and were delivered today!

Now I have to go get my Sweetpea seeds! 

The weather was so horrible today that I couldn't even go out and fill the pots with compost - but hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better!

Time and Motion study

28 January 2018 23:50:53

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I'm experimenting with the most efficient ways to get through the garden work. The tasks can be broken down into a few general headings -  Cuting back, Weeking, Shredding , Mulching.

So what is the best approach? - Shred as you go? - Get all the cutting back done? - Spend days shredding? - let the mulch accumulate until borders are weeded?

I have been trying to figure out the most efficient use of time in the garden but so far i haven't found a perfect formula. I would be interested to hear how others deal with these various tasks!

For a couple of weeks I was religiously shredding as I went - clearing one area and dealing with the debris produced as i went along - and this was ok but a bit slow - so i wasn't getting much encouragement from areas "finished" for the moment. 

Yesterday I started a differeent tack - I cut back loads of stuff - hacking , lopping and cutting like a woman posessed - net result - most of the borders in the back garden are looking better if you don;t look too closely and th epile of "shredding in waiting" is about 3 or 4 feet high!

Today I turned a determined back on the shredding and embarked on the cutting back of the front areas. No weeding, just gathering debris of dead leaves and cutting back like nobody's business!  Result: Pile awaiting shredding is about 6 feet high but the borders flanking the drive no longer rebuke me every time I pass through!

so what methods do others follow?

Two small jobs

25 January 2018 19:31:00

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This morning when I opened the greenhouse at the start of my gardening I decided that I couldn't ignore the pot outside the door - I pass it every time I go gardening and each time I just look away because it is such a mess!

Half an hour later it was looking much better - the cordaline is starting to have a stem and those Helebore seedlings are showing great promise! I couldn't believe how little time it took to sort it out!

My next small job was a little bigger - I had a terrible job a week or so ago removing the tangled mess of sprouted seeds and plants under my bird feeders so I was determined to find a solution. I used up the left-overs from the new patio to make a crazy-paving platform under them. I know it won't completely solve the problem but it should make the clean-up much easier in future! So good to be able to use up left-overs too!


A change is as good as a rest!

25 January 2018 00:41:44

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After some pretty relentless weeding/cutting back/shredding I decided to give myself a treat when the weather was so beautiful the other day - so I spent the day planting up the re-vamped border in front of the new patio and I'm really excited with it. Some of the dark coloured helebores will be the backbone of the Spring planting in this area and a lot of the bulbs that were in that border were distrubed with the changes so I had to keep a close eye out for the delicate tips of them but there were quite a few spaces let so I transplanted several of the bulbs in pots that I've had for the past few years. 

Oh - and I added the Heuchera from Jackie and the Bergenia from Joan - thanks to both of you!

I was able to find a few helebores in other places where they were hiding under stuff so I think that the next few weeks will see big changes here. Then when the Spring show is over I reckon this will be a really good place to highlight my Salvias which will hopefully have survived the winter in the Greenhouse. Its all a new departure for me - much less hap-hazard than my usual approach!

And Katherine Hodgkins is in full flower in a pot but so overcrowded that re-potting is on the cards when the flowers are finished!

I checked the website suggestd by Mary (thank you!) for the Root Training pots so should get them shortly.

i have another question - I have some pretty interesting "wormery" liquid fertilizer and I'm wondering should I use it on the newly planted things in the border so early in the year?


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