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TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

TheH (Hazel)'s Journal

Last Post 23 hours ago

And this is why they are called .....

20 January 2018 22:53:18

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And today I was passing Johnstown and popped in to see if they had "root trainers" for my Sweet Peas which I have seen on some gardening programmes - Alas they don't have them, but what they DID have was the very best value in Bird Seed that I ahve seen ANYWHERE!!!

Over 14kg for €14.95 !!!!

If you have hungry birds in your garden its well worth getting! I usually pay about €12 or €13 for the 5 kg tubs so I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it!

So if anyone knows where these "root-trainiing" pots are available I'd be really grateful for the information!

Zen Garden in Winter

19 January 2018 00:17:08

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I have the impression that we have had a bit of extra winter weather so far - a few flurries of snow and lots of storms is how I percieve it so far. I haven't been able to get any time outside since Johnstown but today I did about an hour or so of shredding but gave up as the material for shredding was too wet so kept clogging the shredder. On the bright side, I did manage to capture the Zen Garden when the last bit o snow was still on the ground!

My lovely daughter and her husband gave me a great Japanese Lantern to provide the finishing touch to the Zen garden. In the third photo you can see the stems of the birch tree planted some years ago to commemorate Colin who died of Cancer so I am now dedicating the Zen Garden to Josh and this part of my garden will soon have a small plaque remembering two young men who left us long before their time.

After the party ....

16 January 2018 18:52:50

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Now that we have all got safely home from Johnstown its back to “normal” gardening journals!

This year I seemed to get a great burst of energy once the Turkey was finished. We had a good bit of bright but cold weather most days so I took full advantage – doubled up on everything – two pairs of socks, gloves and trousers – even two jackets and a thermal insulated hat – and gardened away to my hearts content for 5 or even 6 hours each day! The Main Herbaceous Border that has had some random bulbs added and the few remaining sedums cut back, the other border alongside the new patio has had a major make-over which will give a new emphasis to that area of the garden. The Potentillas have had their annual haircut, the Small Pond area has been weeded and mulched, another border with lots of bulbs, narcissus and tulips and even snowdrops, has been weeded and mulched too and the bulbs seem to be growing while I look at them! The Rhus border took a lot of work as one of the Rhus had died but left dozens of “babies” behind!

I am getting real enjoyment walking in this part of the garden, with the new Zen Garden providing a lovely focus. The finishing touch to this garden has been the arrival of a lovely Japanese Lantern as a Christmas present and the patterning of the gravel with my new special rake made for me by my son-in-law! (Photos later!)

However I have to confess that the “goodies” from Johnstown are still un-planted and will remain tucked up in the greenhouse until the snow is gone!

Get-together 2018 - Plant Swap arrangements

11 January 2018 19:08:15
Get-together 2018 - Plant Swap arrangements

Get-together 2018 - Plant Swap arrangements

Hi Everyone! I hope you are all getting ready for the great Plant Swap on Saturday! 

For those who may not have participated before here are a few pointers:

1. Having a list of "what you promised to who", and "what you asked for from who" is very useful to have with you! 

2. Labels on plants are very helpful - even if you don't have the full title of a plant!

3. To make life easier for yourself put the name of the person you promised the plant to on the label - maybe on the back.

4. Its really nice if people put their OWN name on the label too! I have arrived home from previous gatherings with lovely plants and no idea who they came from!

And since the weather for Saturday is not brilliant try and keep to the timetable! We should all be indoors by 12 o'clock so leave bringing in your Kris Kringle until after that! There is a carefully worked out system that avoids people getting their own gift back, and it takes a little time, so please be patient!


Johnstown - Helpers on the day Please!

10 January 2018 22:52:25
Johnstown - Helpers on the day Please!

Johnstown - Helpers on the day Please!

As usual I'm looking for helpers to look after stuff on Saturday! It is the same story as for the last few years - about 3 people to look after the Kris Kringles and two people to look after the raffle - and if someone would look after badges too please?

 Jackie - Thanks for the offer of help with the nametags!

Mary and Linda for the Raffle

Moya and JoanG for the Kris Kringle

If a third person was willing to help Moy and Joan it would make the job much easier!

My plants for Johnstown

10 January 2018 20:42:10

Get-together 2018 - Details of the day

09 January 2018 13:05:28
Get-together 2018 - Details of the day

Get-together 2018 - Details of the day

 I need numbers please (including companions and “maybes”)

Venue: Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas Road

Date: 13 January 2018 approx 11 am to 3.30 pm

This event is for all Garden.ie Members and their guests to meet and do what gardeners love to do – chat about plants, exchange ideas and advice and of course swap their surplus plants!

Johnstown have promised to give us the discount which applied during their annual sale – so no doubt there will be some retail therapy going on too!

Timetable for the day:

11 – 12 noon : Arriving at Johnstown – parking in the left side of the car-park this is your opportunity to swap plants with other members and friends.

12 – 1 pm : Moving inside to the Restaurant area  (we will have a section cordoned off) where the Kris Kringle gifts can be handed in – wrapped gifts usually vaguely garden related value not more than €10 please!

1 pm – Lunch. Usually Johnstown catering staff give us table service so there is no need to go to the counter. So settle down and enjoy the day!

2 pm (ish) – Kris Kringle and small raffle ( a subscription to the Irish Garden and some Johnstown vouchers)

3 pm – farewells – and time for retail therapy! The early finish is to allow those travelling to leave for home at a reasonable time!

Most of us met online initially but over the years we have become friends – and we are all aware of the recent difficulties with the website that was what brought us together in the first place, but lets make this the best get-together ever!

Get-together 2018 - Happy New Year!

02 January 2018 23:23:11
Get-together 2018 - Happy New Year!

Get-together 2018 - Happy New Year!

Get-together 13 January 2018 Johnstown Garden Centre

Happy New Year to all! Well, the turkey is probably well gone by now, and even if there are still a few days before the decorations come down and the children go back to school, the recent bright but cold days recently may have tempted us to think gardens again .....

And it is time to start planning for the Get-together!

I’ll put up a timetable and details of the day over the next week or so – and I’ll be hoping for volunteers to help on the day! I’ll also need to know if you intend to come, as Johnstown will need to have a rough idea of numbers before the event! I know a number of people have already indicated that they plan to attend but I’ll need people to put comments on the Get-together Journals to make sure they get counted!

Rachel has asked me to let you all know that she will be coming to Johnstown so if you have ordered her book “Journal of an Irish Garden” from her, or would like to order it (for the great price of €10) please contact her directly and she will be happy to bring the books to Johnstown for you!

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

24 December 2017 15:07:31
Nollaig Shona Daoibh

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

Happy Christmas to all!

Many a slip ...

19 December 2017 15:17:56

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.... well, not really between cup and lip in this case!

My decking had proved to cause "many a slip ..." which is why it had to go! But its an ill wind (apologies to all Ophelia victims) because after finally getting the resullting mounds of timber sorted last week I reckon have enough timber for at least a year!

Ophelia at Heywood

19 December 2017 14:42:54

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Heywood Gardens and woodland walk has to be one of my most often visited garden. The OPW are doing a great job in restoring and maintaining it. The formal Luytens Garden has been replanted and is a delight! There is a small area that seems to have been a sort of labyrinth and every time I go there they seem to have uncovered another little path! With my fondness for paths I'm totally intrigued!

Having strolled aroung the formal area with my HelpX volunteers we were a bit short of time so we just took one short woodland path - but what a shock! Ophelia very obvioulsly paid a serious visit to the woodland! This woodland has an amazing display of native Bluebells in Spring and I am sure they will be there this Spring too. 

I was really saddened to see such devastation among these venerable woodlands. The photos are just a small sample of the damage. I just hope that the OPW will be able to sort this out without affecting the lovely bluebells!

Outings with HelpX

19 December 2017 14:09:03

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I have had two lovely HelpX volunteers working with me in the garden for the past 5 weeks and as is my usual habit I took them on a couple of excursions locally in their free time.

We visited the Rock of Dunamase on a cold but dry day after the snow had gone and we also visited Heywood Gardens but I'll put up another journal about that!

Finally we went to the Delta Centre in Carlow where the whole place is lit with fairy lights and open till 7pm this week to allow visitors to experience it! Santa is also on site and their new restaurant is serving tasty food and there is a lovely gift shop too!


Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

14 December 2017 00:05:29
Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

Get-together 2018 - last pre-christmas update

So the clear favourite for our January Get-together is Saturday 13th January in Johnstown Garden centre.

I am assuming that the format will be unchanged - so for new members or those who haven't come along before ...

1. This event is open to all garden.ie members and their chosen companions.

2. Someone mentioned they felt they couldn't attend last year because they hadn't been putting up journals - Putting up journals is not in any way a requirement - it is a meeting of friends old and new!

3. We do a Kris Kringle event each year - if you want to participate bring along a vaguely garden-related preferrably wrapped gift of maximum cost €10 

4. Anyone coming along is welcome to bring along their surplus plants to swap with other members - you can sort all this out on the site before the event!

5. We abandoned the idea of a big raffle as it ended up delaying people wanting to get on the road home before dark.

I'll be putting up more details after the New Year but for now I'm off to tuck in to some mince pies and won't be putting up anything more about this event until then.

Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

13 December 2017 00:42:11
Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

Get-together 2018 - Update on Venue

I heard from O'Meara's today. They usually close their Cafe in January but could open it for us if we wanted it but they could only offer soup and sandwiches or paninis and with people travelling it probably isn't a runner. However it might be somewhere to consider for during the year. I liked their sugestion that a visit to Belvedere House could be combined with a visit to their garden centre. The guy who spoke to me today said that although they do not offer a discount to groups he maintains that his plants are more keenly priced than Johnstown! 

So lookinig at the feedback so far it appears that  Johnstown even though it is a Satruday is favoured by most people. Indeed some people are saying that Saturday suits them better!

I'm hoping that we will have a big turnout this year as I feel that we could very easily lose the bond we have developed through the disappointing technical problems on the garden.ie website, which after all is what brought us together in the first place!

And thanks to all of you who have said such nice things to me! I really quite enjoy organising this event - it is a lot easier than having an Open Day, I can tell you!!!! And what makes it all worthwhile is meeting up with all my lovely garden.ie friends old and new for a natter - and seeing everyong having a good time!


Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

11 December 2017 18:22:47
Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

Get-together 2018 - alternative venue

I have been looking at an alternative venue that might actually be able to accommodate us on a Sunday - I'm waiting to hear from them if they can.

It is 

O'Meara's Garden Pavilion near Mullingar

Just click the link below to see what its all about.

So the main points - it is near the M6 and M4 motorways - find it on Google Maps to see what your journey would be like.

They seem to be able to accommodate us on a Sunday in January but this hasn't been confirmed yet.

They only have a cafe rather than a restaurant and for a group such as ours could probably only offer soup and sandwiches.

Two options for this time of year:



Johnstown Garden Centre


O'Meara's Garden Pavilion
Saturdays only May be able to do Sunday
Full restaurant Coffee Shop - probably only soup and sandwiches
Sale discount available to us on the day Haven't discussed discount yet.

Please state your preferences on this journal. I'll post more details if they become available.



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