An Irish country garden An Irish country garden

An Irish Country Garden

Welcome to my new site where I will tell you all about the move I made to Cobh, Co. Cork and the challenge to make a new garden.

On July 12th 2004 I moved from Dublin to Cobh. Here I am living in a 200 year old cottage with about half an acre of land. You will note I say 'land' because with the exception of a small front garden the rest consists of two large grass areas divided by a dry stone wall. The name of my new home is Ash Cottage and yes indeed there are many ash trees on the property. One was really close to the house and needed to be removed while all the others required extensive pruning to allow more light on the situation. Tree cutting day was most exciting but tinged with some sadness as I hate to see any healthy tree cut down but safety is a priority;here is a photograph looking at some of the grass area yet untouched.

Here we see the stone wall and three ash trees before they get their hair cut.

This picture is taken after the hair cut and from the far side of the wall. They look rather bare but it had to be done, honestly.

The remains of the dangerous tree with the JCB about to move in and remove it completely. This is where I will be having a sunroom built.Finally just a general view of tree cutting day.

So the trees were down and it was time to put some garden design plans into action. I had spent hours before the move sketching plans of where borders etc would go but it is true that the best laid plans do often go astray!! When I first put a fork in the grass area behind the house I knew I had trouble, this came in the form of stones BIG ones and thick roots. Apparently this area had been the farmyard and stones from this plus those from outbuildings which had been demolished lurked beneath some topsoil and grass.

Here you may get some idea of the stones and these are present to quite a depth.
So back to the drawing board and I decided to investigate the large grassed area on the far side of the stone wall. I had much better luck here and was able to dig up the sod and make a couple of beds in which I could temporarily plant out some plants brought with me from Dublin.Not very inspiring I agree but better than keeping the plants in pots. Note the large pile of wood chippings in the background from the felled trees and branches. These were to prove most useful
Meanwhile back in the rocky area I started to dig planting holes using a pick axe and removing loads of stones. Here I put down some shrubs and also made some raised beds which I surrounded with the stones. I needed to have some bit of colour to look at. I hope to make quite a big wildlife pond in this area as flower beds other than raised ones are not feasible. However the dry stone wall provides an ideal location for planting sedums, aubretia and other rock garden type plants. I have also planted many daffodil bulbs and there are lots of primroses growing wild on the ditches which is wonderful. The front garden is rather nice. A Fuchsia hedge screens it from the road...a rather quiet country road.... When I came the area was very overgrown. Well the gas tank has been screened and a good job it is too. HB whose name I shall now reveal to be Ted , did well!! Pity he remains reluctant to do garden type things like digging holes though in fairness gravel laying, hedge cutting and other jobs that don't entail contact with earth are acceptable. I am lucky to have his input here or the garden would be a lot longer, if ever, being developed. ( Hope those words ensure assistance with the pond liner) There are lots of wild primrose here and one bank is particularily lovely at this time of year.

Here you get some idea of it.

I hope the pond will be lined this week and then I get on with other tasks in the surrounding area.

Well the pond is now lined and some planting has taken place. The lining operation went quite smoothly although I was dreading it. HB and HSIL helped and between the three of us mission was complete in about half an hour. Then came a nail biting time as we started to fill the pond; as I have a shallow well I had thoughts of running it dry and loads of grit getting in the filter. More progress to report; note the patio area , the work of HB who is now dropping hints that he should be elevated to VHB.

Next came the circular stone bed which can be glimpsed to the right of the next picture. I ran out of suitable stones before it was completed and while waiting to find some more became quite attached to the structure as it was. It is now called my falling down Martello tower ( there are many of these towers in the area though on a rather larger scale!!) and I have planted grasses and some wild flowers in it. You can also see the new step coming from the patio area. I don't think I mentioned the planting scheme I have for the area on one side of the pond, ie that nearest in the pictures. I have put in about six different ornamental grasses and with them several varieties of Crocosmia. I think these will look lovely in late Summer but we shall wait and see. Meanwhile a large delivery of stones has arrived and I am making another , smaller, round bed in the gravel area in front of the house. Be it right or wrong I feel the garden should be brought closer to the house as the gravel area there is about the same size as the 'garden' area.

The next big job will be to make a stream running from the bank at the left of the little pump house down into the pond. Choosing a suitable pump and getting the 'electrics' organised will be a bit of a bother but hopefully it will be done.

It is now July and tomorrow I will be one year at Ash Cottage and a very happy time it has been. So this seems the right time to show a very up to date picture of the garden as it is now.

So today is August the 1st and it is difficult to accept we are heading towards Autumn. I have dug out the stream course and am in the process of getting a pump suitable for the project. Not an easy task to establish exactly what type of pump is required but hopefully I will get it sorted out soon. It has been a joy to see the plants grow and flower in their new garden . Another thrill is to go and pick some fresh peas and beans or pull a lettuce, though I have much to learn about growing veggies. The following picture sums up what I feel about my new home.

Ash Cottage is indeed the pot of gold to me at the end of the Rainbow.

One day a few weeks ago as the sun was setting it lit up a Fuchsia bush on a bank in the garden and a lovely sight it was as you will see in the next picture.

I am now going to indulge myself with some thoughts on progress in the garden;this is a record I had in mind originally, how some ideas had to be adapted, and how plans are working out sofar.

As I have said earlier any plans I had of making borders had to be forgotten to a large degree due to the abundance of stones and roots in the ground. Therefore it was necessary to make raised beds whenever possible by adding soil and manure.This fact pointed me towards building the stone walls which was not on the original agenda. However I loved and love doing it so that was no problem. What was most important was not to block the view of the sea ( looks more like a river as it is the back of the Island) particularily from the sun room. This meant I had to check the height of shrubs etc planted in the line of view. It also presented the problem of being unable to plant a wind screen in areas that could benefit from one as the winds here can be rather strong.But there is no way I am losing that view even if I am blown away. I was also bearing in mind that as years go by I want to ensure that I have easy access to various areas of the garden . This garden will always need a lot of work to keep the briars and weeds at bay. I think if you left it for a week in Summer nature would take over in a big way. Talking of which I have tried to keep the planting in sympathy with the sorrounding countryside, nothing too formal.

So now it is the end of August and I have some more pictures and news of progress to report.

Here is a view of what I call the 'lower field'. The trees and bushes I planted here have made good growth. I have also been the proud owner of some rather good Scarlet runner beans

This is a view of the pond and again the plants have made good progress.

My plan of growing Crocosmia and grasses looks promising. I did forget that the former depending on species are not going to flower at the same time so there will be some moving to do in a month or so.

Shown here , with the red dahlia is a bed that needs work. The soil is dreadful so I will have to add a lot more compost.

Now for the big news! Since last Friday the stream has been flowing.

Cosmos is a great 'filler'at this time of year and so easy to grow from seed.

The bed behind the patio where Verbena bonariensis is flourishing.

Weird, a picture of the path on either side of which are Lavender , and there I am reflected in the window of the sunroom much to my surprise.The ,primarily, geranium bed is also thriving.

In an attempt to bring the garden closer to the house in the gravel area I built another bed, not sure about it yet. I put some Pelargoniums in it for this year but feel it is not really in keeping with the planting in the rest of the garden.

>September 15th 2005

Some more pictures of the garden.

,This interesting succulent is almost black during the warm days but in Winter, when I put it in shelter it reverts to green.

Cosmos is a great annual to grow as a 'filler' for late in the season.

Dicentra spectabilis, usually grown as a climber but I decided to allow it clamber over the logs bordering this bed. It is not a plant one sees very often which is a pity as I think it is well worth having.

One of my favourite plants Verbena bonariensis , gives height and colour and yet one can see through it to other plants in the garden, or indeed the distant view.

Another close up picture of the Cosmos.

A different view of the bed built in the gravel area.

Here is the Geranium bed , I have just planted some species Tulips and small daffodils for a Spring show.

This shows the Lavender path .

I have been asked to show a picture of my garden helpers so on the right is Taj or Mighty Moggie and on the left is Moto or Mini Moggie.

This Poppy looks pretty growing on the patio.

Autumn comes to Ash Cottage with some lovely autumn colours.

Time for another muse as it is a rainy November day. There is still a lot of colour in the garden . I am particularily pleased with the grass area. As I knew would happen I needed to move some of the grasses and indeed the Crocosmia so they will be seen to better advantage. Kaffir lilies which flower late in the year have been a great addition to the area. So the Crocosmia are followed by the Kaffir giving a continuity that seems to work very well, the grasses providing a lovely foil for both. At the back of the grass area I recently planted a cluster of Cornus alba 'Siberica' with their wonderful red stems. These provide good Winter interest and also blend well into the countryside behind. Of course the mistakes are coming to light as growth progresses. I have planted some shrubs too close to one another and will have to do a bit of replanting. I shall own up to some other errors next time!! JANUARY 2006 Well big event to report. I may have mentioned how much I yearn for a bog oak sculpture in the garden. Via the internetI tracked down a craftsman in Galway ; having viewed his work I fell in love with one called Oakbird. In Novemeber it arrived and was installed and I just love it. It is a humbling feeling to stroke the wood and realise it is more than 4000 years old.Below please meet Oakbird.

There has been little activity of late; at present I am wheelbarrowing loads of compost and manure to the beds as they need to be raised.This is not my favourite job!! It is good to see all the Primroses on the banks and there are more than last year. One of the best parts of the year for me is to see them in bloom, wonderful sight.

Spring comes to Ash Cottage;

The following pictures are very special to me for these reasons; About 6 years ago I started on the hunt for a Pulsatilla, also know as the Pasque flower, called Buda Pest. Eventually a kind gardener, one of the few who grew it, sent me some seeds. These I grew and got several seedlings. Then at an Alpine show I met another gardener who had a lovely example on show. He very kindly brought me a seedling the following year. One of the forme seedlings survived and both plants seemed to flourish. I could determine a slight difference in the foliage and was dying to compare flowers. Sadly not to be as one plant died.Now comes where I hang my head in shame; I found the labels had suffered from rain etc and were indecipherable so I had no idea which plant remained. Fast forward to the move here clutching the precious plant.Last Spring it just sat there but THIS SPRING it has produced 6 buds. Due to the horrid weather it does not look its best but to me it is a wonder!!

While the battle to get this variety of Pulsatilla was in progress over the years other varieties were readily available. In the picture below is an example of three which I bought recently in B&Q !

Oh dear I must admit I am having second thoughts about the Buda Pest!! It is not as blue as I would expect the genuine article to be. I have sent pictures to an expert and await comment.

Meanwhile a few more pictures;

For Spring viewing I planted Wallflowers with the Astilia and they look rather well.

Next is a Pleione, a member of the orchid family. I keep it under cover during the Winter and then put it out at this time of year. Though the bulbs tend to be expensive they seem to increase and multiply quickly.
As I have mentioned,at the bottom of the garden is a stile which connects to the surrounding field;in the distance is the water.To sort of link with the water I want to try and have a blue theme in the stile area. Forgetmenots do this very well in the Spring.

I have planted Nigella ie Love in the mist , to see how it works for Summertime.
Recently I have further developed the 'Fernery ' ( sounds very grand!) near the stream. Planted ,yes ferns, and Primula denticulata, plus some grey leaved plants like Brunnera 'Jack Frost' and a Lamnium. I feel this spot could turn out to be my favourite place in the garden.

May 19th,and despite the very windy wet weather there is a lot of colour in the garden. The following grouping of Geranium palmatum, Aquilegia and Geranium lividum majus looks very pretty and is a quite accidental occurence.

Next we see Iris Holden Clough ; this plant is special to me because of its donor so I am glad it is doing well.

Finally, for now , the tiny Lilac with a lovely scent. I got this Lilac over 10 years ago. There is a lesson to be learned in that if I wanted to see if it could grow larger it would mean breaking the pot; try to look ahead before choosing a pot!!

Now June 22nd and time for a report and more pictures.
The Foxgloves are nearly over but they put on a great show and were scattered throughout the garden.

This is the first Dierama to flower.

It was followed by this lovely pale pink one.

A Geranium palmatum decided to seed in the border behind the pond and made a good display.

At present Antirrhinums are making a great display, these ones over wintered so flowered early.

I think Alliums are amazing and these are presently in flower. Only problem is the stalks are rather bare and need some plant growing at the base.

Rose 'Rambling Rector' though only planted last Summer has made huge progress.

Oh dear how could I forget to mention that HB has been at it again.In truth he has been enjoying a long absence from garden duties and needed to have his joints oiled. So, enter a new paved area and very well it looks.And furthermore once he starts there is no stopping him as today he fixed up the new pump. Now originally there had been a pump over the well but it was removed at some time. I saw the one below in a catalogue and as it is very like the original decided to invest.

finally one of my favourite plants, here a dish of Rhodohypoxis.

The end of July and the Crocosmias are starting to bloom. 'Lucifer' in the foreground is the first to make an appearance.

August 11th; 'Lucifer' has finished but all the other Crocosmias are flowering. They look good with the Grasses but some more moving around needs to be done next month. The next picture shows the bed minus 'Lucifer'.

The next project I want to do is rather scary. I have mentioned that a huge field surrounds my house on three sides. A small section of it belongs to my property. Because I had so much to do it was easiest to allow the Farmer continue to use it. This year there is Barley growing and it was very pretty. However we need to mark out the boundary of my piece and this is due to happen within the next couple of weeks. The area which I own is approx. 30 feet square but as I live on a hill this land is , at it's highest point , about 6ft above the level of my present garden. Basically , I intend to terrace it and conect it to my front garden. If this sounds complicated , it is!! The following pictures may help to explain the project.

The first one is a view up the side of the cottage. Obviously I have not done any work here! The field referred to is on the left and note elevation.This one is looking up the field.

I have an idea what I want to do but it is one of these situations that all could change as the JCB takes the first bites out of the ground. All will be revealed at a later date.

Time has passed and much has been done....much remains to be done!! The JCB arrived and the excavation commenced ; before long it became apparent that my original plan had to be abandoned. Why I hear you ask? Well just not enough space to dump all the soil. As it was a huge bank of earth was being piled up at one side while my excellent JCB driver also made a separate pile of top soil for future use. Four hours later it began to take shape and finally on a repeat visit the boundary bank was formed. Then came the rains and more rains. Outcome was lots of mini lakes and the disintegration of the newly formed banks. But nothing daunted and thanks to above mentioned JCB driver a few large shovels of stone arrived and thus began the building of retaining walls.
Below three pictures of the excavation in it's present state. It has added a lot of space and light to the side of the house. The gravel is a good bright limestone. You can also see the large pile of stone from which I am building the retaining walls.Also note the huge earth pile; I have planted various bits and pieces here but feel that eventually I will have to conceal it by planting small trees.Here is a repeat of a picture shown before to show the improvement in the area


To finish for the time being a couple of photos of the Autumn garden.

It is November 5th and there have been a couple of very cold nights but Geranium Rozanne seems to thrive at this time of year.

FEBRUARY 5th 2007.
I can hardly believe that so much time has passed by since the last update. The reason for this is that very little work has been done. This lack of activity is due to a lot of very wet and windy weather and as I think I have mentioned the winds here are rather fierce. Also I have to confess that I will need to get help with moving the very heavy stones and gravel in the area I am developing at the side of the house; despite this I have done some planting out there. My idea is to mass plant the different areas with plants such as Bergenia, Euphorbia and grasses. Some of this work has been done. I have also divided a big clump of Pulmonaria and put about 12 divisions in part of the bank. Meanwhile back in the more established area the Camellias are starting to bloom; I say again, I love these plants. Daffodils are also starting to flower and I can hardly wait for the Primroses to appear.

February 24th;

Good progress with the new area. I got help with moving the gravel to the areas where the membrane was in place. I was then able to start building more stone walls. I still have to decide on some of the planting but should get going on that when the ground gets drier and winds lessen.

March 16th; Well at last some fine days and even a little sun. This was enough to have me starting the Spring attack on the garden.All the Daffodils are blooming and the Primrose bank should be at it's best in a week or so. I went to view my vegetable plot to find large clumps of grass and every variety of weed had taken up residence. So a few hours was spent making inroads on that scene. Then planting a few large shrubs in the hope they will provide some sort of wind break.

Off to the local garden shop to buy grass feed as I am still, and will always , be trying to tame that area of grass in the garden proper. Discoverd Celandine has invaded the grass so another few hours spot treating this with weed killer. This is a lovely plant like a very large Buttercup but SO invasive. Time will tell if I have had any luck.

March 26th

There have been a few lovely days so much work was done and pictures taken. Another taken from ground level.

Now a few pictures of plants in flower , Tulips ,Forsythia and the wonderful Primrose bank.

April 14th.
We have had some wonderful weather recently, really warm days. I have been doing a lot of work in the new garden now known by the rather grand title as the Mediterranean garden.
A good deal of this toil involved mixing concrete( HB does get it for me and provides a delivery service) and doing my best to secure the big stones and prevent any landslides. There was also some mountain climbing up the rather steep and insecure bank while yielding a weedkiller spray. I don't like using this but it is essential to curtail the perennial weeds . I will have to think of some better way for control as at my tender years it is daft to be clambering along that bank. I have brought out some of my Aeoniums from their Winter shelter and the whole area is looking rather good now. It is a real sun trap and I forsee many hours sitting there.
Work has also been continuing on the rest of the garden. I sprayed around the root area of all the young trees and shrubs as they were in fierce combat for nutrients with the surrounding grass. Peas and Beans were planted and of course Sweet pea. Pond was cleaned of the worst debris. Much weeding continues so there is never a dull moment. Naturally a few more plants have been purchased including a Trachycarpus fortuneii . I fear I will have to keep this in a pot as the Winter winds may be too much .

April 18th.

The fabulous weather continues. So hot has it been that HB went on Safari in the garden. Now I am really not one for having loads of ornaments in the garden,or so I thought, but here are some examples of what was found. I think the garden should be fun for children and my small visitors love to see how many animals they can find. I hope they are all placed in unobtrusive situations and sort of blend in!!

Finally the Cherub who guards the Pump house.

May 8th 2007.

The fine weather continued up to the last few days. Today we have a little rain nothing much so far just the misty variety. There has been a burst of growth both from the invited and uninvited plants ; I have never seen so many weeds, all varieties and finally the Bindweed has found me. The new garden , now casually called the Med garden ( what grandeur] is coming on well and has become the favourite sitting spot. More wall have been built and plants like potted Lilies and Canna have emerged from the shelter and taken their place in the scheme. This year will be trial and error to find best spots for various plants. I have to mention that HB has been officially elevated to VHB following his latest contribution. I refer to the original cottage gate. The posts of this had rotted and collapsed; I did think of just filling the gap with stone as the gate is never used but this idea was short lived as the gate is an integral part of the Cottage amd should be retained. Enter HB who voluntered to get the wood , remove and replace the old hinges etc and put all to rights. Because I have rather small paws I did help with a little drilling out of rotten wood and removal of same. Anyway the gate was completed yesterday and all I have to do is get paint for the new posts. Having read this I am sure he who is now VHB will be forced to undertake the painting!!

June 9th. The gate is finished and painted!! There are many plants flowering at present and it is amazing the growth that has taken place. The new garden has come on very well. This year is trial and error with the Lilies , Dahlias etc. They are still in pots until I decide where to plant them. The big bank still presents a problem as it is the weed hot spot especially the dreaded Convolvulus which even Roundup fails to kill. Where I have Osteospermums planted is working reasonably well so I will probably put in more cuttings later in the year. The orange Wallflower in the bed behind the patio is a scource of amusement to me; I smile when I see it. In a way it looks very out of place with the other plants and yet it stands out with a sort of boldness as if daring anybody to criticise it. I can understand some folk thinking ' why did she put that there?' In answer I say ' just because it is different'. Dicentra scandens has been trained up the arch and is about to flower. Perennial Sweet pea has indeed returned and is sprawling on the ground as well as climbing; I like it this way. This too is about to bloom. My Sweet pea have not done well this year and there are not many of them. On the other hand I have enough Runner beans to feed the nation if they all produce . Also I have been harvesting Strawberries for two weeks; I get enough most days for a bowl full and they do taste very good. Raspberries are nearly ready and there are many more than the 5 I got last year. My bird proofing is not great, just a net thrown over them so no doubt I will be sharing whatever ripens.
I nearly forgot to mention the Stipa gigantea both of which are doing well and look beautiful in the sun. Also Stipa tenuissima in the geranium bed is wonderful.

June 24th; Back from a week away and due to lots of rain and warmth the weeds have to be seen to be believed. I was pleased to see the pale pink Dierama in bloom; it is such a pale shade that it appears as white in any photos taken. The picture below shows what I mean. In the foreground are the leaves of a Crocosmia while in the background Geranium palmatum is in full flower.A glimpse of Oakbird is also visible.

July 7th

It seems we had Summer back in April. The weather is now pretty rotten and last night there was a gale that did a lot of damage to the garden. Ash boughs came tumbling down, Hollyhocks were uprooted, the arch with Dicentra scandens is broken in several places and lies on the ground and of course every pot is overturned. I was rather fed up and decided to nothing. Yes tis true I watched Wimbledon and allowed the garden fend for itself. I did feed the fish and birds. I may get enthusiastic tomorrow and start clearing the debris. I did notice that Crocosmia ' Lucifer ' is flowering and looks really well with Stipa gigantea behind it. Some of the other Crocosmias are in bud , seems they are early this year. The Diermia behind the pond is also blooming, quite large flowers compared to the others and a good shade of purple.

July 12th.
Three years here today and what a good time it has been.
Despite the passage of years I continue to learn lots and make mistakes. My latest faux pas took place a couple of days ago. I decided to spray THE bank in the new garden as weeds had really taken off. So off I went to climb the bank, not easy, very unstable and slippy...the bank not me. I dug foot holds and started spraying; one hour later I ran out of spray and went to refill the bottle. IT was then I realised I had been using Rose clear instead of weed killer. You can see the area of the bank in the picture below.

I also show a picture of Crocosmia 'Lucifer' taken through the stems of the Restio , Chondropetalum ,with Stipa gigantea behind it, such a pretty combination.

Below is Taj enjoying a little sun

July 24th
A few more pictures.
Below is Francoa; this plant given to me as a small division has gone mad this year. I think it must have a virus. Many stems were so wide they just bent over and broke. The rest have grown in a very unorganised way; nonetheless it makes a good show.

Behind are some Hollyhocks.
Libertia peregrinans is one of my favourite plants. The copper colour with the sun shining through is wonderful. Marigolds or any orange hued flowers look really well when combined with it. Libertia spreads very quickly which is another good reason to grow it.

August 8th

Still waiting for Summer; we have had a couple of good sunny days but far too few. A lot of growth as ususal both weeds, grass and cultivated plants. The grasses/ Crocosmia area is looking very good and is actually working out as I had envisaged. On the other hand the border beds are far from good. One problem is that they are not getting much sun, what with one facing north and then the shelter from the trees. A re-think on the planting there is called for. The new garden is coming on well and producing quite a lot of colour. The big bank continues to be a problem ; I am trying to cover small areas by cementing slate on to the soil. It will take ages but may work. Also I have been thinking of the other small boundary banks where it is not possible to control grass and weeds. I will plant a lot of Daffodils and also some of the wild Monbretia to have some interest in Spring and Autumn; not sure what I could use for Summer interest.


Some pictures taken today. First in row is a view across the pond towards the house.

Next is a view taken from the 'Fernery' down the garden with the sea in the distance.

Now we see the actual Fernery and proof that there are quite a few of them! Between the Bamboo in the background and the foreground is the little stream that runs into the pond.

Leaving them we see Hydrangeas, white Phlox, and Hollyhock.

And now my favourite one, the Grasses and various Crocosmia.

Two more to go; this is taken from front of house and shows the big round Geranium bed. Pride of place taken by Stipa arundinacea, the Pheasant's tail grass. To understand the geography a little; the grass /crocosmia area is over to the far left. Patio and pond straight ahead and Fernery/stream would be to the right.

The last picture is of the new garden where there is quite a lot of colour ; I am very pleased with it seeing as its so new.

August 30th

Some more pictures of the garden.

First shows the steps leading up to the first level of the new garden.

Below is the first level; here I have various grasses with Pelargoniums along the front. Nasturtiums give more colour to the area.

Next Aeonium Schwarzkopf always puts on a great show.

Sedum spectablis is about to turn its lovely Autumn colour.

September 11th

A few more pictures. Below is a record of the Stipa arundinacea planted along the top level on the left. These were grown from seed so it will be interesting to watch their progress.

Next a glimpse of the Straw mountain in the field next door.

The same from a different angle.

Finally a wonderful September sunset taken from my front garden.

September 26th

Lovely day here, so VHB set forth with his camera, a new one, I should add.

Above is the side ( new) garden looking colourful which is great at this time of year.

Next is my first attempt at making a Grot, that is a spirit that cares for the garden, and who would argue with this lad.

Now comes Erigeron karveniensis that lovely one that loves growing in niches in walls and produces a mass of pink and white little daisy like flowers.

So now to the big happening in the garden today. The far corner of what I call the 'lower field', where I am growing trees and shrubs, has been an eye sore; a big tree trunk was dumped there and sticks up out of a bed of nettles. Well the JCB made its way in today and did a great job burying the trunk and clearing the whole area. I will wait until I have more pictures of the area as it develops and then show the sequence so watch this space.

Finally a couple of pictures of Fascicularia bicolour , the entire plant and then the amazing flower. Full marks to the photographer for this one!!

October 15th

A lot of work has and is being done. As gardeners know it is the season of moving plants, dividing, propagating, mulching etc. The next phase of the 'tree trunk' area project has taken place but you will have to wait to see the sequence of pictures until it has a more finished appearance!!

January 6th 2008 ---------------- It appears I vanished rather suddenly! Anyhow this is the first post of 2008. We have had rather cold weather also extremely windy. My Grevellia has turned brown and appears dead; having sought advice about this happening it seems the cause could be fungal other than cold. However today I found that the cover I had put over Isoplexis canariensis had blown off and the leaves are now a dark brown ; I fear that this too is gone. I am very sad about both but particularily the latter as it is a rather unusual plant and very attractive. I knew I was taking a risk planting it out in the ground as it is not very hardy but having survived for 2 years (in a pot) it was getting so large that some action had to be taken. It is still too cold to spend long periods outside but I did plant Lilies and some Dahlias in pots today and put them under cover. I see the Daffodils making an appearance above ground and from now on I will look forward to my much loved Primroses. As ever the clematis 'Freckles' is flowering away happily as is the miracle shrub Polygala myrtifolia which boasts a good showing of purple flowers.

February 13th
A lovely day today, with the sun shining quite warmly. No excuse not to take on some of those garden jobs waiting to be done. So on with the wellies and out I go. I have decided to make the Escallonia hedged area originally meant as a secret garden ( but now not necessary due to my new garden at the side of the house)into a mini Orchard. I will plant Apple, Pear, Plum and maybe another Crab apple there. So of course this means the digging of yet more holes. Taking the faithful pickaxe I headed forth. Three holes were dug and a Pear tree planted, I still have to buy the other fruit trees. Next job involved moving a Melianthus from the side garden where it would grow too large for the area, to the bottom of the garden where the platform is. This done I planted three Hellebores in the small Woodland type garden. Still having some energy , with difficulty I dug yet another hole in a very root laden location and having filled it with ericaceous compost planted a Camellia. Then all the newly planted plants were watered, and I rested! Many Daffodils are blooming, all of the Tete a tete while the tall old fashioned ones are starting to flower. Some Tulips are also in bloom so after the long Winter the garden is starting to wake up .

February 21st

Back to the old chilly weather again. So it seems a good time to show a couple of pictures to keep ones spirits up. These were taken yesterday by VHB. The first one is a Heron received as a Christmas present from VHB and SIL; it looks very good and will be even better when the yellow hued grass behind it grows and makes it more obvious.

Next is the first glimpse of a new path I am making through my new woodland area. It is a cheat really as the sections of stones were bought at a local store and just need pointing.I have planted three Hellebores and several Azaleas so in time it should look quite good.

Finally a different angle of Oakbird

March 19th

We have had a couple of lovely sunny days so a lot of garden work was done. It was so good to be weeding and pruning and planting again. Spring is certainly here and the Daffodils have been great. Primroses should reach their best in another week. Early Tulips and Forget-me-nots will be next to bring colour to the garden. At this time of year the old stone walls look very pretty as I have planted them with Miniature daffodils, tulips, and some early flowering alpine plants . The picture below gives the general effect; proof of the sunny days is seen by the shadow of an Ash tree in the background.

March 28th.

I have done quite a lot of work since last I wrote. Weeding , of course, seed sowing, painting, cleaning ,planting etc. Things are looking well all fresh and rearing to go. Forget-me-nots are about to flower and there are so many self sown around the place that there should be a great burst of blue.Progress is going ahead with the project I mentioned earlier and pictures will soon appear!! But the big news is that someone came to live with me today. Her name is Kathleen , a very beautiful lady. Unusually she arrived in the back of VHB's car;no, not a kidnap case. This is a gorgeous Birthday present from himself and SIL for a VERY big Birthday coming along soon. So here is a photograph to share.

Now is she not a stunner? Naturally she is standing in the Mediterranean type garden as I suspect she is of Grecian origin. I will probably plant some Ferns around the base but will take some time on this decision.

April 14th

I ran into major computer problems thus the delay in updating.
Spring has come and with it the Forget-me nots are in full and glorious bloom. Next to the Primrose bank they look really well as can be seen in the following picture.

Wallflowers have been blooming for quite some time and the scent is lovely. This group look good with an Eleagnus in the background.

Tulips planted in pots blend well with ornamental grass and yet more self sown Forget-me-nots.

Weeding is high on the agenda and I could do nothing but weed all and every day and still not keep up. What I refer to as the lower field where there were to be some vegetables but mostly trees and bushes chosen for berries has undergone a change. My vow not to allow the flower garden to creep down here has been broken. The veg beds are now flower beds taking divisions and self seeded plants and the veg have been moved to a new spot. For vegetables read only peas and beans. I was delighted to find frog spawn in the tiny pond and now have many tadpoles to which visiting children are drawn like a magnet. So work, and pleasure, continue at Ash Cottage.

April 23rd.

The time has come to unveil what is happening in that corner I mentioned previously. Actually I let the cat out of the bag earlier by mentioning the word 'platform'. Anyhow that nettle ridden corner has indeed sprung a sort of viewing platform that gives a lovely view of the water and countryside. It continues to be under construction but it is time to show a few pictures of progress.

On top is the corner , a photo taken shortly after I moved here; the pile of wood chipping resulting from the thinning out and removal of trees is evident in the corner. Next to be seen is the platform having been constructed;some of the ground has been covered by membrane in an attempt to control the rampant nettles. Finally the last picture shows that I have painted the top portion in a blue to blend in with the water and sky. The bottom area will be painted green. I have done quite a lot of planting some of which can be seen in the picture.

May 6th

Another couple of pictures of the platform; painting has started and it does help the structure to blend into the background.

The picture below is a close up of my much loved Primroses. They are nearly finished now but they were so lovely. Forgot-me-nots have also been wonderful this year.

May 21st

I want to make a record of plants in flower/ leaf at this time. Flag Iris just started. Other Irises, Holden clough and those near stile are about to flower. Geraniums Palmatum, magnificum, sylvaticum,

cantabrigiense, sylvaticum album,clardige druce, mavis simpson and several sanguinem have started to bloom. White clematis, and that on tank are opening. Rambling rector , and other roses opening too. Candleabra primulas, aqueligia, thalictrum, bella, cirsum , erinus alpinus, and some plants on the wall.

June 1st No pictures this time; my camera is broken and VHB has been busy. I will ask him to take some this week. This last weekend was lovely weather, lot of sun and very warm. But though I did take time out to sit and enjoy my garden I also did quite a lot of

jobs. Naturally there was weeding!! Begonias in side garden are slow to surface. Next time I should start them indoors.Dahlias growing well, some in pots and others planted. The new Poppy is blooming, not very tall but perhaps with time it will get taller. Roses are very good both in front and rear of the house . Clematis 'Ernest Markham' is excellent ; it has take a couple of years to reach this stage. Have a new one 'Pink Fantasy' growing up the shed to hide the bare stem of 'Armandii'. The latter is doing a great job of covering the roof of the shed, terrific growth this year. The Stipa gigantea are wonderful, I think I could live with an entire garden of just this plant! So on the whole all is looking good and all is well with the world.

June 7th.

Some recent pictures;

This is rose Dublin Bay.In the top right hand corner there is a glimpse of the Platform

Here a general view of a garden area.

Alliums are starting to bloom now.

Water lilies are also reacting to the warmer weather.

July 2nd.

Still waiting for Summer. Nonetheless growth of the goodies and baddies is rampant. I have not been able to do much over the past few weeks due to holidays and visitors. Despite this the garden is looking well lots of colour and very definite luxuriant growth! At present the stars are the Dierama and Lilies which have turned out to be a lovely shade of red. Nasturtiums are starting to bloom and Begonias are making progress. The Med garden will look really good when these are in flower. There has been quite a good yield of Strawberries and Raspberries while Peas are now ready to enjoy. I never cook the peas but just eat them from the pod, lovely. Scarlet runners are starting to run. Recently I got a present of two china Swans, they are lovely but it will take time to find the best place for them.

July 5th

And here is a picture of my two new residents.

July 7th

It shows the coral bark acer with a dark purple Clematis growing through it. To the right is the 'Smoke bush' again with dark purple foliage. Dotted amongst it is Knautia macedonia also purple. The red plant is a Penstemon called , I think, King George.

July 19th

All goes well, that is except the weather. Growth progresses and yes the weeds are unbelievable I know I prattle on about them but they tend to be all consuming! Crocosmia Lucifer is flowering, the first crocosmia to do so and it is very dramatic. In the Med garden Begonias are also starting to bloom. Nasturtiums on the bank seem slower this year. Overall this garden is an August one. Saw two large Dragon flies over the pond yesterday these are the first I h ave spotted.Hope the Blue bodied ones may come. I potted up about 12 each of Rudbeckia and Echinaceae they should be good for next year. There are lots more and I may just risk planting these direct into the beds to take their luck over the Winter. Echiums grown from seed also potted on but I will keep them in some shelter during Winter.

July 29th

Weather improved that is compared to recently. Hollyhocks are in flower and look well peeping over the hedge in the front garden.

I have been surveying the various beds and seeing where I can put in more shrubs. They should reduce the weeding in years to come. I must remind myself that the Peas I sowed this year were not the best; yes I got some yield but while the stalks and leaves grew very strongly there were not many pods and the peas tended to be small. To my delight there is a Shasta daisy appeared in one of the beds so hopefully they are on their way back to me!

August 15th

What dreadful weather rain and more of it. These heavy showers have battered the garden. I have done very little work over the past couple of weeks, it is just too wet. So, I am still here but there is little to report at present.

August 24th

A few pictures of the lower garden;this is the area where I was not going to grow any flowers. But,as you will see, I did. It started as an overflow for seedlings but now has some shrubs as well. The Cosmos are great a wonderful flower for this time of year and by deheading they will last for a very long time

September 5th

Sorry, yet again I arrive moaning about the weather. But it really has continued to be very wet and work in the garden is limited. There is still quite a lot of colour and the Cosmos have continued to bloom. Now I have been deadheading and it is proving worthwhile. Scarlet runners are doing well and very tasty indeed. Ornamental grasses are flowering and it is good that I will be able to enjoy them into the Winter months. >

Well I promise not to mention the weather...However despite it VHB headed forth recently to take some Autumn pictures. Some may be repeats of those already shown but they do show the amazing growth that has taken place.

above the front garden.

The pond, including the Swans.

This shows the big blue pot in the Med. garden.

Ornamental grass reach their best in Autumn.

I like this one looking across the pond towards

the house.

September 23d

This is what happens when Nasturtium seeds find a home on a compost heap.....they go MAD!!

In contrast a wellbehaved Dahlia. These have made a big comeback over the past few years.

October 29th 2008

I have done it again and let time slip by. I suppose this is not unusual at this time of year when nature slows down. But all the same there has been work going on. This is the time of plant division and the weeding still goes on. Also there is quite a lot of colour still to enjoy , as ever the Acers are putting on a great show, Kaffir lilies and Nerines continue to bloom. I am glad I decided to plant Dahlias as they too continue to flower.

This combination of the Grass , Stipa arundinacea and a Sedum look very well.

Another good combination is the Coral bark Acer and the purple leaved 'Smoke bush'.

Here the Ornamental grasses are in flower. In the background an Acer is starting to change colour.

Cyclamen waiting to be planted .

A photo of the Mediterranean garden in Autumn.

December 1st 2008

Just a quick update as there is little going on in the garden at present;it has been very very cold. Yesterday I had a great gift of Watsonias, Pink and White, from Mary Walsh. I planted them to-day and hope despite the weather they will do well. I am afraid that my Echiums grown from seed may have been badly hit by the recent hard frosts. I did have straw around the base of a few. I removed the Lily Casablanca from their pots. They had not been flowering well for the past few years. I retrieved about 10 bulbs which is great. I will store them and prepare a bed in which to plant them . It seems these Lilies are hard to locate in Ireland a pity as it is by far my favourite Lily.


Well another year dawns. Still very cold here with nights as low as -7c , so it will be interesting and probably a bit sad to see what damage has been done come Spring. Meanwhile despite the chill there are signs of bulbs pushing up to have a sniff at the world outside. The light during the day has been wonderful and I took the following picture of the Dogwood ,Cornus alba 'siberica' just as the sun was setting.

February 5th 2009

Just a visit to say the weather has been so bad that no gardening has taken place. I don't recall such a cold winter. Hopefully it will improve and I can get out and about again.

March 14th 2009

Weather has improved and today is a pleasant sunny one with reasonable temperature. Daffodils are blooming and the blaze of yellow does make such a difference. Primroses are starting to flower mostly in the sheltered areas. Buds are everywhere and many perennials showing above ground. See, I sound much more cheerful!! The Cosmos seeds have germinated and are growing fast. A great and easy flower to grow and a wonderful space filler. The Peas have also germinated and taken off at a great rate. I will transfer them outdoors in a week or so. I am late planting Runner beans but have now done so. I have one major sadness and that is regarding my much loved large bush/small tree Polygala myrtifolia grandiflora also known as the Sweet pea bush. It seems the frost and wind have killed it. I will not remove it for several months just in case any new growth shows. But it is looking very ill indeed. This bush flowers for most of the year.

The following picture is a group of Polyanthus. I was in the local town the day ,last year, when they were removing these from the Park area. As they were being given away I took a bag or two.They make a lovely splash of colour.

The next picture includes a very pretty Camellia and some daffodils.

Finally Clematis armandii doing what I wanted and growing over the shed.

April 2nd 2009

We have had some really pleasant Spring days so I was able to do a lot of work. Most of this is the endless weeding and cutting back of brambles. It is just as well I enjoy weeding. It is wonderful to see the garden coming to life with so many signs of pleasure to come, Clematis in bud, bulbs showing above ground, the glorious Primrose bank, and much more. I seem to have lost all my fish, I wonder if eventually the Heron came to call; I need to think about getting some more fish or leaving the big pond fish free. I had to drag out a huge clump of Water Hyacinth as it had got too big. A friend wanted some so I was able to oblige, in fact I could have provided it for the entire country. I am going to show a picture of the Primrose bank 2009 because as I keep enlarging it I want to show progress. There is also a picture of the Swans beside the pond and finally a general view of the garden with the water in the background, taken from an unusual angle. VHB is responsible for these.

April 11th 2009

We have another couple of good days intermingled with the usual rainy ones. There has been much seedling activity . I pricked out all the Cosmos seedlings and lots of red Antherinhums . I have said before that the Cosmos is great value for filling those empty spaces when Daffodils and Aquilegias are gone. I have also planted out the Peas and Runner beans. Weeds keep coming and reluctantly I am using Round up, I had hoped to avoid this but it is impossible. I have not mentioned that I now have a Dog called Meg. She is a lovely Border collie. I do not , now , have any cats and wish to skip over the reasons why. Meg is showing her presence in the garden and we have well defined dog tracks but a small price to pay for such a great companion.

Introducing Meg.

If she sees me digging holes she starts another next to mine, this could be quite helpful!

May 4th 2009

A lot of growth over the past week . Combination of some warm days and of course rain. The Primroses are finishing but replaced by Bluebells, while Aquilegias are appearing all over the place. As there are a few colours they look really good.
One of the most amazing shrubs is Amomyrtus luma this Myrtle has the most incredible scent which I am enjoying now. I have two plants so the scent is even better. All the Perennials are above ground and making great progress. Geraniums also are growing fast and as ever the Phaeums are first in bloom. I have planted out the Cosmos seedlings in many places and they too are doing well. I have had to use the slug pellets around them until they get stronger. I don't like using them but after nursing them this far don't intend to lose them. On the whole the garden if filling out very well with fewer bare spots as the years go by.

May 12th

A couple of lovely days good and warm, great growth everywhere. Before I remove the Forget-me-nots here is a picture of them. They are seeded all over the garden but these are in the gravelled area right in front of the house. I should explain the use of 'front'! There is a REAL front garden a small but pretty area which I have shown in previous pictures. As I enter the house by the backdoor and most of the garden is in fact at the back of the house I refer to it as the 'front' garden. So now having utterly confused you , here is the picture.

May 26th 2009

Great growth throughout the garden. Usually May is a month when the garden can look a little bare having lost the season of daffodils,primroses and tulips. However having done a good tour around today to see what is in bloom I am going to short list some of the plants as reference . Aquilegia are still going strong and the variety of colours plus their ability to spread everywhere contributes greatly to the general colour. Geranium palmatum is flowering for the past few days; again a prolific seeder so there are many offspring scattered around. This plant grows to quite a large size so a degree of ruthlesness is required. Other hard Geraniums are now in flower , amonst these; Mayflower, some sanguinias ( the small rock garden type one with flowers of varying shades of pink), Celmesia has produced about 25 flowers this year. Yellow flag Iris is blooming Dianthus (Pinks) are startin g, wild Foxgloves about to open, Cersium in full bloom. These plus some others are providing much of the colour today. I will take photos tomorrow.

Well it is a couple of days later and the photos are taken by VHB.

Here are the Yellow flag Iris followed by a general view of a border. This shows various Aquilegias, some hardy Geraniums ,yellow Welsh Poppy and the mauve Everlasting Wallflower.

This is a Celmesia with many daisy type flowers.

June 13th 2009

Such a lot of growth, the garden is rather Jungle like. A good time of year with a lot of colour. Of great pleasure is the first flowering of the Crambe which shows a cloud of small white flowers. A picture soon. Many hardy geraniums in bloom.

Rose 'Dublin bay' looks pretty, not a great scent though.

Cersium, a thistle like perennial .

Several different hardy geraniums.

Picture of Crambe as promised.

June 29th 2009

The good weather continues thankfully. A change to come in from working in the garden to cool off!! A few more pictures of current events gardenwise.

Here is an Orange flowered Abutilon. It is variegated and was a bit slow to take off but looking good now.

This pink flowered Cornus is one of my favourite plants. It has made terrific growth since planted. I can't think of the name right now but when the penny drops will add it. Penny dropped, Cornus kousa 'Satomi'.

No , you did not press the wrong button. I thought I would share with you the first time my Border collie 'Meg' learned to swim. In the background is beautiful Cork harbour. I have no idea why that date has appeared on the picture.

I hoped this would be a better picture. You can just see the flowers of Stipa gigantea against the greenery in the background. I think I have mentioned how much I love this Ornamental grass; when the sun catches the flower plumes it is magic.

July 11th 2009

A few more pictures from VHB.

The front garden showing that I need to tie back the Abutilon!

Here Stipa arundinaceae is looking good. This grass is also known as Pheasant grass.

Another Ornamental grass whose name I am in the process of verifying.

July 13th 2009

It has been very wet and windy over the past couple of days . Many plants have been blown over but when VHB visited to day he took the following pictures. The first shows a wonderful red Lily whose name I do not know but the colour is beautiful. The second is of Lychnis coronaria also known as Rose Campion which provides a great splash of colour in various parts of the garden.

August 5th 2009

OK I will draw a line over the weather, enough has been said!! I have managed to do lots of weeding , there being lots of weeds. There is quite a lot of colour still, the Crocosmia are coming, some Lilies are also looking and smelling very good. Abutilons are also good. A few days later VHB comes to call and takes the following photos.

The first is taken looking down the garden from the house.

>Another part of the Med garden where the grass Stipa arundinaceae makes a great show of it's seed heads.

September 7th 2009

Once again time seems to have flown. Apart from that my camera seems to have packed up and when VHB visited it was on those frequent wet days when photography was not an option. However I will give a quick description of how my garden grows. It is one of the busiest times of year with divisions to be made and the constant weed battle continuing. But there is still a lot of colour. Crocosmias are still blooming as is the Knautia and the last of the Lilies. Anemones are flowering and for the first time a Ginger is is bloom. The Cannas still refuse to flower so they will be put in the ground soon as it could be they are pot bound. Best of all just now are the tuberous Begonias which are putting on a great show; they are so colourful although very late flowering this year. Dahlias continue to bloom and will be good for another few weeks if I remember to dead head them. Pride of the garden this year is the Victoria plum tree which gave a very big yield even though I had removed lots of young fruit in June. I will need to give it a good feed as it is still a very young tree and has worked overtime. I bought a Magnolia 'Susan' recently , to date I have had bad results with Magnolia so hopefully this one will like it here and prosper.(a few weeks later there is mould on the leaves , not another failure hopefully.) A final word of praise for the wonderful Hardy geraniums some of which continue to flower.

Next day I managed to get a few pictures. The first is of the berries on a plant called Dianella; they are probably gone past their best by now.

The next one is rather exciting for me as it shows my Ginger plant flowering for the first time.

Finally a Dahlia whose picture I am not pleased with as the flower does not appear as red as it really is.

September 11th.2009

We are enjoying some lovely late Autumn days, sunny and quite warm. This is evidenced by the picture below where the challenge is to count the Butterflies feeding on Sedum 'Autumn joy'.

September 20th 2009

The flowering of my Ginger lily for the first time, deserves to be recorded!

A close-up of the flower.

It seems I was so excited the picture was posted twice, but the close-up is new.

September 23rd 2009

This entry has nothing to do with my garden but I want to record a walk I took with Meg this morning. It is a beautiful Autumn day, warmer than many so called Summer days. With Meg I headed over the stile at the bottom of the garden and entered a huge field from which potatoes had been harvested. We wandered along by the hedgerow, well I wandered Meg galloped around; the hum of bees and other insects was noticable while Butterflies hovered over the various wild flowers. Blackberries were at their best and I feasted on them as we went. At one point three teenage Pheasants , not pleased to see us, broke from the hedgerow and took off to safer territory. There were a number of Wrens fluttering in the branches and not showing the timidity for which they are known. A couple of times a small creature was seen to scurry for shelter. I like to think these were sweet little furry creatures but my head tells me otherwise ! It is the territory of the animals and they have to tolerate us . Seeing all the Elderberries I wished I knew how to make the wine.There was something magical about this walk and I felt so privileged to experience nature in all it's reality and glory.

Many of these pictures , (he would claim the best ones) were taken by VHB aka Ted Law.

September 24th 2009

A few more photos.

Part of the lower garden .

The field at the bottom of the garden, potatoes having been harvested and ground tilled for next crop. It is around this field that I took my lovely walk referred to above.

October 12th 2009

Garden life is slowing down. Autumn colours are appearing and in a week or so I will show some pictures of the best bits. I have covered the root area of some tender plants with straw. Others have been put undercover. I have resorted to Rat poison following the devastation of last Winter when most of my bulbs were eaten. The pots have also been either with cloches or plastic pots. There is still loads to do in the garden, mostly cutting back and weeding. Today I planted Anemone blanda at the bottom near the stile. I also got an order of Iris hollandica which , when the Sedum has died back in the round bed, I will plant .

December 12th 2009

Yes it is me calling by to show just one picture. As you can imagine there has been little if no activity since my last entry. I was walking down my muddy garden when I spotted that the Strawberry tree,Arbutus unedo, had produced fruit. Some say this does not taste very nice but having sampled one I found it pleasant.


A new year heralded by weeks of the coldest weather seen here for more than 50 years! The garden has visibly suffered; Echiums that I had covered in fleece bags and all my succulent plants are reduced to a soggy mush. Sadly those Aeoniums I had rescued last year are beyond redemption. Any bulbs, corms tubers that were left in the ground must also be ruined as the frost seemed to penetrate to quite a depth. So that is the sad news. On the other hand I feel there will be the occasional plant that appears to have died but which will surprise me and recover come Spring to Summer. Despite the rock hard ground Daffodils are pushing through and seem determined to ignore the weather. The thaw has now set in and the ground has turned from rock hard to very soft. Availing of this I ventured forth today and planted 50 Iris hollindica , it felt so good to be doing something constructive in the garden.

January 24th 2010

Hear ye, hear ye today I did an hours weeding in the garden. Granted there is about another week worth to do but a start was made. It was good to be out again.

March 3rd 2010

Yes I am still here but there was very little to write about. The weather was just too chilly to get any pleasure from gardening. The last few days though cold provided sunny afternoons so I sallied forth to pull yet more weeds. I have bought a number of Lilies for this year which I will plant in pots which can be used in those inevitable empty patches that appear during the Summer.I have sown exotic type seeds a few of which have germinated. Peas also were sown yesterday but in modules and under plastic. Daffodils and Primroses are in bud but I think they are scared to risk flowering. Hope there will be more interesting news to report soon.

March 17th 2010

Better news another good day. Main job today was to plant some seeds. Now talking of seeds I must mention a source I found recently. They are to be found at and based in Westport , Co.Mayo. I received my seeds the day after ordering online, talk about good service. The ones I ordered included Cosmos mixed and one I was not familiar with which gives a range of Orange coloured flowers. In each packet there were 30 seeds so much better in my opinion than paying more for a packet the contents of which I may never use. The presentation of the packet and accompanying sowing and care instructions was excellent.

April 27th 2010

The weather has been lovely for the past week. At last the grass is growing and will need to be cut. Many of the perennials are above ground. The big daffodils are still blooming but the small ones are dying back. The Primrose bank is flowering but maybe not as good as previous years. The hardy Geraniums are very slow and I fear I may have lost some due to the Winter. Cosmos seeds are not as good as hoped but some have been potted on. Today I attacked the front garden and tried to prise out the ferns from the wall. They had been taking over much of the border which , without them, could look much better. The Peas and Beans were planted outside today. They went into the same area as the previous few years, which is not a good idea; however I just have not the time to till another area. There are in my garden several places that I have never got right. One is a border at the bottom of the garden, the other is the gravel area in front ( well actually the back) of the house. Recently I thought of a scree bed and am working on this idea though not sure how to design it.

May 11th 2010

# Growth is going well despite the not Summer like weather; it has been dry but chilly. The grass got a first cut about 2 weeks ago which was very late this year. Acacia pravissima is showing many flowers and the Lilac sapling taken from my Dublin garden is blooming and looking great. Pride of place goes to the Myrtle now in flower and with a wonderful scent. The perennial Stock is also wonderful what a scent. Lilies have grown well in pots and most of them are now outside ready to be placed in their chosen spots. At last it seems my garden has sprung to life and is looking well with better things ahead.

May 22nd 2010

Some pleasant warm days so worthy of a few pictures. The first is the Laburnum which is flowering for the first time. This is always an exciting event and needs to be recorded! So also does the Lilac in the next picture which was a sapling from a special tree in my last garden,

. A happy accident is when the yellow Welsh poppies decide to seed amongst purple, mauve and white Aquilegia; the second is of a Fern unfurling.

May 31st 2010

I have noticed that this Spring either plants have died due to the bad Winter or they have taken off and put on a lot of growth. This applies particularily to the Acers. Two plants that survived ,surprisingly, are Pipanthus nepalensis aka the Evergreen Laburnum and Matthiola arborescens aka the Tree Stock. Pictures are shown below.

. Celmisia shackletonii is flowering. I am so pleased that the divisions I took are doing well.Below a photo of this Celmisia.

June5th 2010

So is this what a Cottage should look like? Guess the Roses should meet over the door so more Rose feed!

And from the other side.

The Red Rose has a lovely scent but I don't know it's name. The other , combining red, pink and yellow petals is called 'Masquerade'. I also show a close up of the red Rose

June 21st 2010

Holidays have intervened since my last contribution and very nice they were too blessed with dry and sunny weather. Back home and the thrill of seeing what had happened in the garden during my absence. It has been dry and warm so the growth is amazing. My Peony has flowered for the first time, picture will follow soon. The various Dianthus (Pinks) are flowering and the scent is wonderful. I am glad to have them in so many areas of the garden.Crambe in it's second year flowering is bigger and better, a wonderful plant , meanwhile my much loved Stipa gigantea are looking terrific. While I was away the Birds ate all my Strawberries so either I stop growing them or put on good netting. Raspberries are coming along and I will try to keep my bird friends away from them. Carrots are not looking so good but then I have no idea how they should be looking at this stage so will just wait and see.I planted lots of Lilies this year and a few are flowering; I learned yet another lesson viz that they should be planted deeper in the pots . I will show a picture of the Crambe as it is better than that of last year; in the picture Rodgersia is also seen, another great plant.

July 21st 2010

I can't believe it is a month since I last wrote. Some lovely weather and some pretty dismal days since then. Fantastic growth of everything good and bad. Some pictures to show what the place is looking like these days.

Taken from the platform showing the end of the lower garden looking up towards the upper garden.

A group of Nigella self seeded in the gravel.

Looking down the upper garden at the Stipa gigantea blowing in the wind.

From the platform showing the lower garden with stone wall dividing it from the upper area.

August 14th 2010

Another lapse but with a good reason. Construction going on in the house very disrupting and not conducive to Web site upkeep!! Not finished yet but a photo to show some pink plants in the garden.

You can see Cosmos, Lilies and Hydrangea. The Lilies have been and are wonderful such a great scent around the garden. Decisions will need to be made about either leaving them in pots or putting them in the ground; they tend to be top heavy.

October 7th 2010

Quite a time since I last wrote but the Window experience was pretty grim. Anyhow all is finished and what a difference it makes. It is great to sit down in the kitchen and have a cuppa with friends. Up to now it was so dark there was no incentive to linger there. Despite the upheaval I have been gardening the main project is to widen the borders at the bottom of the garden. I feel that despite the large area there is not a really good , well planned border. I have also added other plants to what was primarily the hardy Geranium bed. Of course there are more Daffodil bulbs going in this is an Autumn ritual. I will show a picture of the famous window.

And one looking out from the kitchen.

Next is one of the pond area looking Autumnal.

Also in keeping with the Season are Sedum and Michelmas daisies.

October 26th 2010

Two pictures of the Autumn garden. The second one is a bit weird; there was a very bright full moon in the background but it failed to appear on any of the pictures taken. However the picture ,minus moon, gives an interesting out of focus aspect of the Autumn colours.

October 29th 2010

Today VHB took another photo of the Acer Osakasuki which I photographed three days ago,see above. Note how

the colour has got redder during the three days and this is nothing to do with different cameras or cameraperson, it just gets more spectacular each day.

December 6th 2010

Just popping in to say the weather for the past two months has been cold with snow and hard frost for the past two weeks. The picture below is of the cottage taken from a field across the road where I take Meg for walks during the cold weather.

February 6th 2011

Well here I am again after a two month period. So the weather has just improved over the past few days and it allows some work to be done. Mostly it is clearing up as the leaves seem to have increased and multiplied during the Winter. Then there is all the dead foliage to deal with. So piles of debris piling up and me trying to get over my aversion of removing these piles. I have been quite good about this, she says with pride. I have also been continuing with the work of widening the border at the bottom of the garden and adding lots of compost to bring up the level of soil. I am determined to have a good border one day.Luckily I went to BQ and found lots of Begonia, Dahlia and Lilies in stock. I bought lots of these for the Med garden and have planted some in pots. It was good to imagine the colour they will produce later in the year. In the meantime if there is another gap in my report just imagine me with a grumpy face wheeling endless wheelbarrows of debris to the compost heap. Oh the really cheering fact is that the Daffodils are showing above the ground.

February 24th 2011

Nearing the end of February and there are signs of Spring . The small Daffodils are flowering while the old fashioned ones are in bud. Buds on Camellias are showing hints of pink and should open in a couple of weeks. Every day some plant is visible making its way through the soil. I have continued to work hard getting borders tidied , digging out yet more stones, removing ivy, etc. My friend Bruno came one day to help cart up compost , dig up grasses for division and dig two holes for a pair of trees one another Prunus serrula the other a Sorbus 'Joseph Rock'. The previous serrula was a planting mistake and is now being shielded by a rapid growing bamboo. I know where it is and go to admire the bark for which it is well known but it is a tree which should be on view. I bought and planted three Lupins, three Hollyhocks and a few other plants. Filling the new borders will take a lot of planting. I will wait to see how it goes this year and probably do some moving around. Liz gave me a big chunk of Kniphofa red hot poker which is planted in the bottom bed. I have been thinking of some way to hide the effluent pipes and planted some grass divisions but don't think that will do the job. The other problem spot is a corner at the back of the house which gets very little sun; there is a Cotoneaster growing there but it needs some brightening. So I envisage the next weeks doing general tidying up , cutting back and seed sowing.

March 21st 2011 Here we are again and I can look out the window and see lots of yellow daffodils small and large making a really good show. The pause in my report was primarily due to computer problems now hopefully solved. I have been doing lots and lots in the garden , work of all types ; there were many mortaring jobs waiting and that took some time. Naturally with the welcome sight of perennials appearing above ground and buds opening also come the dreaded weeds. Camellias are starting to flower and seem very good this year with lots of blooms.

April 8th 2011 Busy, busy it is all go here. So much to do and luckily plenty of time to do it. The Camellias were great this year as were Daffodils and at present Primroses. Most of the perennials are above ground and in particular the Lilies appear to be making great progress. The recently extended border is looking well though no doubt there will be a lot of moving plants around come Autumn or next Spring.My method of the moment is to plant all those plants that I like and then rearrange when I get an idea of the colours and possible size. It is not easy for me to visualise what the initial planting will look like. There is no doubt that extending by length and width the longest border has and will work well. I have decided to allow several Clematis that have vigorous growth to grow without much staking and just meander through the borders. Whether they will suffer from slug attack remains to be seen. I bought another Magnolia stellata to see if another try may have a happier outcome than previous efforts. I will put it in the side garden where I can see it from the kitchen window should it thrive. I will also put a Camellia in that area but will have to prepare the bad soil very well. There have been some good plant bargains in Aldi and Lidl including 3 Hostas I got recently; I want to use more of these plants in different parts of the garden. I also got some plants from Crug farm, not the greatest success as if I was going to do this I should have taken more time with my choice of plants the expense of plants and postage being rather high. Gravel is down on the path between main garden and side garden and it looks well.

April 20th 2011 So many times I seem to be moaning about the weather so it is with pleasure I report we have been enjoying some lovely warm days with promise of more to come. This has hastened the growth of many perennials and the beds are filling out with new foliage. Primroses continue to bloom all over the garden and the Bluebells are starting. This year the purple Lilac is very good , difficult to believe this was the small 'sucker' I brought with me from Dublin. Forget me nots make a blue haze over some of the beds ,very pretty and should last for another week or so. A few pictures from the Spring garden.

An old favourite Kerria japonica makes a splash with Cornus behind it.

I love these pink Tulips which are near the path to the Med garden.

April 29th

Another lovely day as were the previous days. Lots of work going on but first here are two pictures. The first is a portion of my extended border while the second is a close up of Geranium 'Mayflower' which flowered just a few days earlier than the name implies.

Now to work in progress. Inside my gate there is a dry stone wall which was covered in Ivy thus hiding this lovely wall which could be a couple of hundred years old. So the task is to remove the ivy and dig up the roots as much as possible. This is tough going so needs to be done over a few days. The next photo shows the part I have cleared though there was a bad shadow when I took the picture. The selfsown young trees behind will have to go as I think this will open up the view of the entire garden.

Returning to nicer views the next picture shows that Nature is still the best designer as I did not plant those poppies.

A lovely Rhododendron about 4 years old which I am sure was pink when it first flowered.

May 4th 2011

It has been raining a lot since the end of April not a complaint but the growth has now taken off like a jet. Places that I had weeded are now covered again and perennials are shooting up.Following are a few pictures taken today during a rainless hour.

The first shows some Candleabra primulas the second is Pipianthus nepelensis.

May 14th 2011

Sorry no pictures this time as my battery charger refuses to work. Daily progress these days, quite amazing. The extended and replanted bottom border is really filling up. Aconitum is about to flower while other plants are heading that way.Many Geraniums in flower . I removed most of the Forget me nots from the round raised bed and other places. This was quite a task there were so many of them , they had to go because the other plants were being smothered . There are now some gaps in this bed so I planted some annuals including Cosmos. Work is continuing in Long kesh as I strive to cover the chicken wire with climbers. Have planted Solanum glasnevin , Clematis, Sweet pea, runner beans, nasturtiums, Ipomea, and put a small Paulownia in a corner. Liz gave me a grape vine seedling so it will be interesting to see how that grows. I would love to get most of the wire covered....sort of a challenge. The car park area still looks bad and it is hard to decide what to do with it. Being near the gate it should look good but 'how' I ask myself. Begonias in pots have eventually shown but the Dahlias are coming on well; no sign of Cannas.

May 20th 2011

Lovely day today. I am trying to extend the scree area by planting alpines, I hope this works out well. Also big change in that the garden paths are now covered in gravel. It has worked well and looks good. I hope to use this new gravel on the entire front area. I will show a photo of part of this scree area.

A few other pictures. The first shows the divisions I made from the Celmisia.

Next comes Philadelphus and Centaura and finally perhaps a better picture of Cornus kousa 'Satomi' than featured earlier.

May 28th 2011

Back to rather cool windy weather, in fact we have had some very strong winds over the past week. Luckily not too much damage in the garden other than a couple of big Ash branches. Some pictures of what is flowering at present. First is a rather nice yellow lupin with a very erect habit.

Next is Sea thrift, Armeria. This is a particularily good one being a strong pink and very long lasting . Wish I had kept the name label.

Now Deutzia which flowered very well this year .

Iris 'Actress' is a lovely shade of blue.

June 1st 2011

Another entry and so soon! Well this is in part due to having changed the type of battery I use in my camera so now it is actually able to take more than a few pics at a time.

 First is Anigozanthos or Kangaroo paw plant; love this plant but it will need to stay in a pot I doubt it will survive a bad Winter.

Then there is the Rambling Rector who is really wandering around with abandon.

And what about these Poppies, bought in a certain Supermarket they sure make a statement.

July 6th 2011

Well you may have , or not, noticed the long pause since my last entry. This is due to major computer problems which hopefully are now sorted. Now time for an update with

the following pictures of the bottom border.

Here is a rather unusual plant Patrinia gibbosa

July 15th 2011

A few lovely warm days so growth of both plants and weeds has been wonderful! A friend came to visit a few days ago and took some really good pictures of the garden so I am going to post some of these now and others in a day or so.

This shows the Penstemon 'Apple Blossom' with grass Stipa tenuissima behind it. This is a lovely plant and I hope it increases and multiplies; some cuttings will also be taken.

Ok just a chair but quite pretty with the Valarian and Lychnis behind it.

This is Clematis 'Warsaw nike' , I think.

A Mallard duck near the pond, well looks like one!

Geranium and Brunnera in the bottom border.

Another one of the bottom border with Choisya ternata 'Sundance' in the foreground.

Cotinus 'Grace' next to the red barked Acer. This particular Cotinus has a lovely red hue and is more popular than the purple one. That is all for now more soon.

So here are a few more of Anne's photographs.

This I think is Innula.

A view of the Med garden.

Melianthus major with Bamboo and Geranium Rozanne.

Nigella also known as Love in the Mist and white Hydrangea .

Patio next to the pond.

So more to follow.

As promised here are some more.

View from the platform looking out at the estuary.

View of the pond.

As I have mentioned before the pump though decorative is in fact over the well which supplies the house.

Hordeum jubatum or Squirrel grass.

The stream.

Different view stream.

Here end the photographs taken by Anne.

July 23d 2011

I have to add this as Maisie decided to pose as the most lovely specimen in the garden.

July 29th 2011

Well after all those pictures a general report is called for. On the whole the garden has been looking well with much colour. I am anxious to finish a few outstanding jobs. Once these are done ,although there will always be improvements and upkeep to do ,the basic structure will be completed. I want to finish the area around the parking spot , decide what to do about the raspberry/strawberry beds, and make a border at the bottom of the lower field in front of the Primrose bank which I have given a good weeding. The work involved in digging this is too heavy so will have to get someone to do it for me. Finally I will need to get some more branches cut down as there has been a lot of growth and light is being excluded. I have sown quite a few seeds , germination good with some and very bad with others. Am trying different germination methods for the Candlabra primula as I got the yellow one from Jurgita Hoey. Put some Barley straw in the pond a couple of days ago so will watch with interest to see if the weed is affected.

August 15th 2011

There has been changes at Ash. The wood choppers came again and cut down all the Hawthorn trees, ivy and scrub. There is so much more light. The first picture shows before and the second is after the hair cut.

Here again the first is before the second after.

The new border is dug and covered with membrane, it looks ever so big. Not sure if I will start planting it through the membrane. Also cleared the back of the car park and planted 9 Nitidia to form a hedge, should be ok.

Have mass planted a divided Pulmonaria behind it.

August 23d 2011

This is just a record of what it involves digging a hole for planting!

The hole, not that big, and the stones removed, a lot.

August 27th 2011

Good day for gardening and having spent last days dragging Ivy from the ground did more normal jobs today. Moved the Cannas down to the Platform bed where I hope they will be happy. Divided Luzula nivea , well not able to actually divide it but managed to remove roots from around the side and potted up in 4 pots. Got Autumn feed for grass today and will spread it tomorrow. Below two pictures, the first showing Crocosmias the next Sempervivum planted in a Tomato pot.

September 20th 2011

Well the signs of Autumn are here with many leaves starting to change colour. As ever the Acer is working up to make a great show. There is loads of cutting back to do which generates yet more compost/rubbish. I have now started to use the compost bin. Most consists of Iris and Crocosmia leaves. I have decided to get a wall built in the parking area; it is very scruffy looking and needs attention. I have made a decision to turn the Martello bed into an all pastel shade one. I will put up pictures of how it looks now, also one of the parking area for the record.

I bought bulbs of course and am deciding where to plant 15 Alliums. Crocus I have planted under some trees. Cercis Forrest Pansy has been bought, I had wanted one for ages, now have to decide where it will go.

October 9th 2011

Back to the weather again, we had 9 days of mist and fog really horrible but it is reasonable these days so much work is being done. The main job is cutting back all I can. There is so much Crocosmia and if I leave it untill the Spring it has become a slimey mass so hope to get it all done. Then all the tall Daisies and Anemone and Lyschmachia must come down; the worst was the Flag iris, took ages as there is a lot of it and I also needed to drag out loads of rhizomes as it was taking over . Then there is the new Hawthorn bed in which I am planting bits and pieces of divisions. This is a photo of how it looks at present. Also a picture of the bank behind the pump house where today I planted divisions of Geranium cantabrigiense hoping it wil form ground cover.

I still have to clear a nasty area behind the gas tank , a ratty place! Also today I rescued an old chair with history. Although it is metal and had a plastic seat and back the plastic parts have disintegrated but I still think I can make something interesting from the skeleton so here is a picture as it is now.

and I hope I will be able to show an improvement in the future.

October 31st 2011

Well there has been a change of plan since I last wrote. While working on the Hawthorn bed I realised how great the soil is, I cannot believe the number of worms in residence and that is always a good sign. I also got to think that the position of the bed is lovely with good views down to the water. So it has been decided that the red/hot bed is going there and not into the bed currently under preparation. The latter will now turn into a Blue bed! Funny really because I had always said I did not feel hot bright colours would look well next to open fields but had opted to ignore this feeling until for other reasons I changed my mind. I have started planting in the new Red bed and added, Rodgersia, Pseudowinterii, Poppy, Actea purpurea, Lychnis, and some others. I will put red and orange dahlias in there too. I am collecting plants for the Blue bed and fortunately some plant I ordered recently have blue flowers and will fit in well. So now it is a case of collecting suitable plants and hoping my plan for planting works out reasonably well. If not I can adjust them in the Autumn. I made a new trough and have ordered some Alpines for it. There won't be much writing from now on as gardening eases off but at the first sign of a Daffodil above ground I will be back.

December 17th 2011

Just a look in to say that the ratty area was cleared , not by me! There are still many roots of ivy to dig out but progress is made. Also I have got a bit of trellis to block the gas tank but need to put a post in concrete before attaching it.

December 27th 2011 Another drop in to show a picture of the flowering Cherry tree, it is a lovely feature at this time of year.


January 18th 2012

Happy new year! Today I was unable to resist starting to plant in the new Blue bed. So decided to cut the membrane and put in some plants. In went, 3 Hosta 'Wogan', 2 Polemium, Blue phlox, Geranium Rozanne from platform bed and the Chatham island forget me not. There is still a lot of filling up to do in that bed. I think tomorrow I will transplant a Lavender from the Pastel bed. Here is a picture of the Pastel bed taken today.

Picture of the hot bed taken today.

Euphorbia mellifera is flowering and there is a lovely smell of honey.

February 10th 2012

Scrubber brought me a huge box of Snowdrops which I have planted all around. They are in flower and look great. The wall is finished and looks good not dry yet so painting will have to wait a bit.

February 13th 2012

Today Kenneth Curran came to view my dry stone wall. End result is that I hope he and a colleague will do the job for me.

February 20th

Well the wall is being done this coming Thursday and Friday. I also want to make note of having moved Tulip bulbs from the top of the wall and planted them in the big raised bed in front of the big stone. I also moved the tall iris like bulbs from the top of the wall and put them in the Pastel bed near the Nerines. I started Dahlias Arabian nights. Bishop of Llandaff and three red patio lilies. Also the Orange dahlia. The Candleabra primulas that seemed to have vanished from the seed tray due to lack of watering seem to have reappeared. I was emptying the seed trays and found these minute green tips from which came two very long fine white roots. All of them were the same so I potted them up again and it will be interesting to see if they grow. Oh I also moved about 7 Foxgloves from top of dry stone bank and planted them behind new wall together with the two Hypericum I got in Johnstown.

Quick memo to myself. Planted Spartaxis to the left of the new wall and Oxalis at the other end.

March 1st 2012

Gorgeous day to day sunny and warm. Did a lot of work ,Eddie cut the grass and did strimming so place looks quite good. Most of my work involved weeding and cutting back in the Med garden. There was a lot to do and needed three barrows to empty rubbish. Took a few pictures which will follow. First is Camellia Adolphe Audusson with the lovely golden style.

Next is Camellia Brushfield yellow

Now the patch of Heather and Ivy that covers my well area.

Finally Clematis Armandii on the shed.

March 15th 2012

I decided to put a plastic edging along the edge of the new blue bed. This was not an enjoyable job due to all the stones and roots but it did get done.

Some pictures of plants in flower in the garden at this time. Reliable Kerria makes a cheerful show. Then there is my much loved Myrtle leichleriana which at present is producing its fabulous scent. Next is a group of Polyanthus followed by a lovely coloured Primrose. The Rhodos. are very good this year and the Swans are waiting for the grasses to grow around them.Finally a very pretty Tulip.

March 17th 2012

Pleasant St Patrick's day so did ga rdening. Dug holes for the grasses I am going to put in front of the gas tank. Not happy working in rat territory. Eddie divided the grasses and the big tall yellow daisy for me yesterday. Dug up the Nepeta from the red bed and planted it in the Blue bed. The Blue bed is filling up nicely, I also planted Crambe in the far right corner at the back. Put more Ferns behind the wall . Got another 3 ton gravel yesterday but it seems larger than the previous one.

March 28th 2012

Weather has been lovely for the past few days really great gardening days. I did much planting , cutting and weeding and the place is looking very well now in early Spring. So many plants are appearing early this year following the mild Winter. Some that normally vanish over Winter have stayed alive and well this year. The Blue and Red beds are coming along well and filling up. I won't know just how they look until all plants make their appearance but I have high hopes. The Saxifrages are all blooming now and very pretty indeed. I will show a picture of a few. Also my Pleione had babies and is looking very well as are the children. The gravel has been spread not as good as the smaller one. Eddie made a path into the lower garden and it has worked very well. I put vine eyes and wire on the side of the Mahal and planted Clematis Princess Diana there. Should look good. In the Cave the Hop has started to grow. I am looking forward to seeing how much of the wire all the climbers will cover this year.

April 7th 2012

Fine Sunny and quite warm today. Planted the Ligularia next to the pond where the restio used to be. It should like that damp area. I now have lots of climbers in the cave but they are all still small. I am surprised that the white Solanum is growing so slowly as is the Honeysuckle. Maybe they will take off one of these days. Have put lots of Canary bird at base of wire; the seedlings are growing so fast they need to be planted out. Bruno gave me another Tropaelum speciosa and I hope to have better luck with this one. He also gave me a Passiflora which has vanished!!!! I planted Bruno's Lobelia Fan salmon at the back of the big raised bed near the big box. Bluebells are growing at the bottom of the Primrose bank and look great . I also plante some from Tony in the new bed behind wall and some under the Sorbus where the Lyschmachia grows. I must find a suitable spot for the Stinking Hellebore . Took some pics today. The first one is a red Saxifrage on top of the restored wall.

Another shows the Tulips behind the yellow wall.

Finally , looking down at Primrose bank from far side wall.

April 26th 2012

Wet and miserable today as it has been for the past few days. But a good day for potting on and sowing seeds. Great progress in the garden with so many perennials showing and the shrubs and tress leaving. As ever the Ash is the last to unfurl it's leaves. I am glad to say the Eupatorium in the hot bed is actually showing but sadly once again the Monarda seems to have vanished. I got two new double primroses via Fota, Siobhan and Strong beer so my collection is slowly building. I took some more photos to show the blue and red beds are progressing.

Tulip Angelique and Alliums.

Blue bed progress.

Red bed progress.

Euphorbia Red wings.

Miniature Lilac.

My new Hens.


I never put up photos showing repair of the dry stone bank so here is a series from start to finish.

May 23d 2012 As you can imagine there has been amazing growth in the garden both good and bad. Weeds are as ever a nightmare but compensates somewhat by the plant making excellent progress. Both t

he Blue and Red beds are looking quite full though it will take time for them to become mature. The new walls are both looking good and the dry stone wall one has now got some planting installed. I have become interested in Ferns and got some new ones. It is hard to get to terms with them so many are alike but then there are also big differences between others. Iris 'Holden Clough' is in flower but my other Iris are just not doing well, maybe not enough sun. Many of the plants from seed are now planted out though I may have only got a few seedlings from each to grow. One Poppy called 'Danish flag' I am looking forward to seeing it flower, only got the one to germinate but hopefully will get more seeds from this one. Californian poppy in Med garden looks great when the sun chooses to appear. I have seedlings in other places so fingers crossed they will bloom soon. I will show pictures of some Ferns and Holden Clough.

June 4th 2012

The garden has really taken off and so have I with view to my Open day on July 8th. The red bed which is not red but a mixture of clashing colours , has really taken off. There will be lots of moving plants in the Autumn. The brown Rodgersia appeared at the end of May when I had given up. All the plants seem to be doing well considering it is their first year. Very necessary to keep up with the weeds. The blue bed is not as full probably having to cut through the membrane has restrained me a bit. Still it looks good again for the first year. The older borders are filled out and you can see the difference between the older and newer beds. The Corydalis MP is lovely see in the picture. Antirrhinums are very colourful and I will show a picture of these.

July 12th 2012

Well my Open day was last Sunday and thankfully it went very well. Luckily the rain stopped and though no sun it was warm enough to sit out. Several people took photos and the ones I am going to show are those taken by my friend Margaret. Sorry those photos will not transfer. Anyway it continues to be a ve ry very wet July with vigorous growth of the good and the bad. Even I am 'going off' weeding.

July 14th 2012

Today I went to Blarney in Bloom. I bought a Dahlia Pablo , a fern Wavy cloak fern and a second Athryium 'Victoria'.

July 18th 2012

Today there was time between showers to do a little garden work. I took the following pictures of Kniphofia Tawny King , a lovely long lasting Orange poppy and Water lilis. Also cleared out the patio bed and must get rid of some Aqueligias.

August 12th 2012

The Kniphofia has finished but bet it will be even bigger and better next year. I have removed a lot of Aquilegias from the Patio bed they were taking over and though lovely in the Spring they left little room for anything else. Today I planted 3 Penstemon leyelli grown from seed in that bed. I will have to think up some scheme for the clematis in the bed, it is very big and not showing to advantage. I may risk moving it. I got some more plants since I last wrote including one I had been hunting for Dahlia David Howard. Also two Clematis Raymond Eviston, Rebecca a red one and Rosmoor a deep Violet. I have extended the red/hot bed and intend to continue with the same colour scheme. I think I have enough plants to give it a good start. I still think Achillea is a super plant I will show some photos.

The Red/hot bed is doing very well but some plants will need to be moved as it is too crowded, a great complaint for the first year!!

The Melianthus has got huge.

September 6th 2012

Well the past few days have brought Summer at long last and we are so grateful for the few days. I came home from a few days in Clare yesterday and had to water the pots. First time this year. There has been so much growth this year with all the rain. Still quite good colour in the garden with Dahlias in bloom must get some more. The Daisies and Lychnis in the hot bed have formed huge clumps and must be either removed or divided . I have planted some plants in the new extension which I think will look good.

I have been very happy with the Brodia as seen in photo, the Fairies came to live in the garden, and a photo of the hot bed .

I have started cutting back and tidying up the garden as there is so much to do.

October 3rd 2012It has been all go cutting back , moving plants putting stuff in the new compost bin. The garden looks a bit scruffy now but there are a few plants still giving good colour. Amongst these are Hedychium and a lovely blue Aster.

October 19th 2012

There is still a lot of colour in the garden mostly of course reds, yellow and the general Autumn colours. I got a lot of bulbs especially Tulips and am planting most of them in pots. I will put some of them in the Med garden so I can see them from the Kitchen window. I got a new camera a few days ago and these are the first pictures I have taken. They show Nerine, Bidens and Anemone. There is a much higher zoom on this camera so close ups will be easier.

The compost bin is getting a lot of use and filling up already. I am shredding almost everything that is going in there.


Welcome to 2013 , I will soon be starting to put up pictures. The garden is not looking it's best though Snowdrops,Cyclamen and the first Daffodils are flowering. The start of a new year is very exciting and over the next weeks the perennials will make their appearance . Flowers are appearing on Clematis armandii and it is now almost covering the shed. Hopefully the next bay for the compost will be going up soon. I must be getting more stepping stones to make my journey down to the bird feeder a bit drier!
Growth is starting and visible with this Tetrapanax.

Some Tete a tete Daffodils are also flowering as is the blue Pulmonaria 'Benediction'.

March 24th 2013

It is now heading towards the end of March and bitterly cold. All the same there is good colour in the garden with Primulas making a good show. I will put up photographs of these . I am having an open day for the Hospice on July 8th so there will be non stop gardening over the coming months. I bought two raised beds to replace the mess where my Strawberries are ,the latter are moved to behind the cat enclosure. There are several other big jobs to do. One of these is to remove the extension I made to the bed behind the yellow wall as it just does not look right. I have decided to make a path through the lower garden by cutting the grass shorter and hope this looks well. Having fed the 'good' grass there are many black patches which may need reseeding, I thought I was careful when feeding but seems I was not! Have planted some of my spare plants in the extended hot bed, ones chosen as they are suitable colours for that area. Hope to get an Arch to put at then entry to this area.

April 2nd 2013

So the coldest March since records began has ended. Today was very cold but sunny so swathed in many layers I headed forth. Got a good lot of work done. Main task was to do something about the area facing you as you approach the hot garden via the stream path. There are Sedums in front and behind these I had planted 6 hydrangeas , baby ones. So today I dug up Stipa from around the patio and planted a line of them at the back of this area. Between the hydrangeas I will plant some Pulmonaria from behind the yellow hedge. I hope this will sort out the above area and make it look respecable. Gave them a good watering. The grass damage is looking better and will put down some seed when it gets warmer. I cleared up the area where the Melianthus is having cut down the huge brances. Planted Valerie C Watsonia here also have some in buckets. The big yellow daisy should show this year in the same area and I put some Lyschmachia there too. So the area needing the most work is the far ditch and hopefully when the compost bins are finished I can get going on this. I am going to cut down the Willow behind the pond as they are not serving any real purpose. The long bed in the lower field was weeded not sure what to do with it. Feel like grassing it in but maybe too much to take on this year so just do the edges and have it neat looking.

April 16th 2013

The first really good day for gardening this year. Sunny and quite warm. With the Open day coming in July there is a lot of work to be done. Tony finished the compost bins last Saturday and I cleared all the weeds , brambles etc along the ditch right down to the platform area. Think I may have to put down membrane to keep it clear over the next months as I don't want to face that job again! The double primula bed is looking quite good though the Lamium did not grow as quickly as I hoped. I will show pictures of the Primulas and also of the Wall which is looking well. Today I also did a lot of weeding in the grass bed, a task I don't do that often. Still searching for round paving slabs wish I could track down some. I have lots of seedlings in the Taj some potted up but should be ok for the Summer.

May 5th 2013

Growth has finally started and it is good to see. I have been very very busy in the garden with the open day in mind. Areas that previously I had given little attention are now being cleaned. Plants are being collected and either potted up or planted and some thought given to locating them as best I can. Grass in lower field is very slow to grow but the upper area is looking well and been cut several times. Damage to trees and some plants seems to have been due to some really bad windy days but I hope they will recover in time. I continue to be pleased with teh Double~ Primrose bed and today planted about 30 Anthirrhinums in it hoping they will take over when the primroses are finished. Talking primroses they have taken over the garden and reluctantly I will have to throw some out , I hate doing this but they are impeding the growth of plants trying to struggle to the surface. I think my favourite double primrose is Corporal Baxter a real crimson colour and vigorouse. It is presently in the hot bed but will join it's friends in the primrose bed. Dahlias have eventually started to sprout , very slow thiyear. Many are in pots and will probably stay there. Thankfully the two David Howard are alive and well one in a pot and the other in the ground in the Red bed. I will show a picture of Corporal Baxter.

Forget me nots on upper path.

May 14th 2013

Back to Winter here in the middle of May. Had to put on 3 sweaters to go

out in the garden ! But the show must go on there is so much work to do before the Open day. Eddie levelled the area behind the pump house and I put down double thick membrane over which I will place gravel. I got two Obelisks in Aldi and thankfully they fit over the pots in which the Evison clematis are planted. I am planting those plants I had been keeping in pots many of which are going in the extended red bed. The Candleabra primulas are showing flower buds and should look great when they bloom. I have to tackle the painting of garden furniture. Eddie got me a big panel to screen off the work area. I am trying to keep the ditch area clear so the Round up is travelling everywhere with me.!! I planted Lobelia in front of one of the slabs in the Med garden and cemented stones in front of the other slab. Darmera is flowering see photo. Armeria is also looking good.

May 18th2013

Showing a few pictures of Aquilegias which are flowering now.most of them have reverted to variations of purple and white with a few nice blue ones.

This is a photo of a corner of the pond that I thought was looking pretty.

May 20th 2013

Yes had to get down on the knees today armed with a bucket of Parazone/water to scrub the algae off the platform prior to painting. So then took a stroll around. I never had Silene aka Campion in the garden before but once again congratulated Nature on where she chose to place my first Campion!! Then noticed that the wonderful 'Conrad orange poppy' had started to bloom. This is a fab poppy and so pleased I grew some more from seed for this year. Nearby the first flowering of the meconopsis from June Blake. Second year this is in the garden but last year it was settling in and gee is it worth waiting for it is so lovely and many buds to open.

June 20th 2013

There has been a lapse! This is due to intense work in the garden getting ready for the Open day. Though so much work is being done there are still endless weeds each day. With Eddie we have done most of the big jobs which is great. My fear is that some of the plants presently flowering will have gone over by the big day. Hopefully there will be others flowering to take their place. I have been collecting bright coloured plants for the Med garden and will place them later. I hope the Lilies will be in flower and maybe a few Dahlias, that would be good. A few photos to follow. Roscoe, Foxgloves and the round bed.

June 24th

Well now I can say the open day is next week. Eddie was here today and the garden is looking well. Crambe cordifolia is wonderful a mass of flowers but sadly will not last until the day. I need to get about 6 plants to fill in where the Opium poppies were. Might get Lilies. Showing photo of the Crambe.

July 14th

Well the big day is over and it went very very well indeed. We are in the middle of a heat wave , wonderful , no rain for over two weeks at least. Because of this I am dong little work other than watering. Luckily the weeds are not growing as fast as usual nor indeed is the grass. So some dead heading and a few cuttings is the total of my work this week. The hot bed is looking well a riot of colour. The Kniphofia Tawny king is in flower now and blends in so well.


Weather not so hot today . Still doing little work going for scan of knee today. Took a few pictures recently . The Dierama is doing well the most vigorous of my three. the hot bed continues to look good and have almost made up my mind to extend it again....I am mad!! height

August 2nd

The rains came with a vengeance but that was ok. Outcome was that the garden is looking very like Autumn. But there are still good things to come. The Crocosmia are about to flower and some Lilies are looking very good. I cut back a lot of the Geraniums and the big bed looks better. I have started removing the membrane from the Med garden bed .

August 8th

Spent a lot of time over the past few days removing the membrane from the Med. bed. Means removing the gravel and cutting membrane bit by bit. The roots under the membrane are amazing like thousands of cables running in lines ! I have removed quite a lot but plenty more work to do. The gravel will serve to provide drainage and i will also add manure before planting. Took a break from the root job and took photos of two Agastaches, ~Sangria and Apricot sprite.

September 10th 2013

September 10th 2013. I was having a muse about the past year in my garden. The wonderful Summer is high on the list , we were so lucky this year. I started work very early in the year with the Open day on the agenda and I suppose worked as hard as I ever will for the occasion. It was all worth it:. I have come to love my newish hot bed, well warm bed, and the extension and hopefully will feel the same about the large new area that will have the same colour scheme. This is my project at present. A round bed where I have put all my double Primroses worked well with Lamium planted amongst them, but the Lamium lost it's impact quite quickly and Anthirhinums were added; hope these may last for next year. The Blue bed was quite good for a youngster but almost all the colour was gone by August so that needs more thought. The Gazanias got in Aldi/Lidl as babies have done very well and are still in flower. Will dig up and pot for the Winter. Begonias tuberous and bedding were terrific and lasted for ages, some still going strong. Verbena bonariensis which we know seeds all over , not only seeded but grew to flowering stage in the Summer. Loads of seedlings to dig up from the gravel and plant elsewhere. Lupins , some were disappointing and I was struck by how good the White one was throwing up spikes long after the others had stopped. Wonder if that is a characteristic of the White ones or just a good breed that I got. Early in the year Scrubber brought me a load of Snowdrops and I have these to look forward to next year. I also got 6 of the metallic blue Hellebores which may just give me a flower or two next year. Sadly one of my well established and beloved Myrtus lechleriena died , it looked as if it had been sprayed with weed killer it happened so fast and furious. An Acer and Cotinus on either side were not affected. Knautia is still one of my favourite perennials, so airy, love the colour and is still flowering. Agastache sangria is marvellous , so tall and still flowering away as is Apricot sprite , gorgeous but not at all as vigorous. Penstemons are also good value , a good cut back when dead heading and they keep going. Tetrapanax did great and had many babies several of which I have rooted and must remove a few more tomorrow. Monarda , what a delight to have the red variety kindly donated by Bruno, Linda and Hosta all flowering this year , love it. I got a load of seedlings of an orange primula from Anne and having grown them on have now planted them in their new positions and look forward to seeing them maybe next year, thanks a lot Anne. Dahlias were a bit disappointing though I had David Howard for the first time and was delighted. Also Arabian night is so dainty and a lovely colour. Some did not flower at all including a second David Howard which I had kept in a pot, it is now in the ground ! Crambe was a winner , really lovely. I divided it last year and the division though producing a lot of leaves did not flower this year, hopefully next year. Ligularia was devoured by slugs and must be moved from a wet area next to the pond. Cuphea from Bill, as ever a pleasure and have taken cuttings as would hate to be without it. Californian fuchsia wonderful, took cuttings but they are not doing well which is a great pity as it would be good to have spares, such a lovely plant. Red leaved Plantain, like it a lot but need to keep a close eye as it is determined to self seed around the border. There are so many plants in the garden that the so kind iers have given me. I started to write a list but it was too long! September 25th 2013

I was having a little muse as I walked around in the mist this morning. What had done well during this fabulous Summer and what needed to be moved or get more TLC. I have to say that Begonias of all varieties performed wonderfully. The bedding ones survived in really dry areas and are still flowering. Agastache had given so much pleasure and I look forward to having more of them. Eupatorium and Monarda took off like rockets. On the down side , Phlox was disappointing but could be due to drought. Crocosmia too were not floriferous this year. Vitacelli clematis too for some reason was very poor . All others behaved very well. I have mentioned my stupidity about forgetting the overhanging Ash tree branches and indeed roots would make several borders very dry indeed. Lesson learned. The hot border I just love and think the second extension will be great. There is a lot of gravel in this new area and I am hoping it will aid the more tender plants by absorbing any bit of sun during the Winter and keeping the little dears warm. Time will tell. Blue bed is best early in the year but has little to show from August onwards. Funny how so many of the plants that do best at this time of year are of the yellow, red and orange variety. End of muse if you have lasted this long!!

October 11th 2013

The past two days have been lovely, not hot but sun all day and great gardening weather. I am trying to get the low small part of the Med area in good condition so am digging out plants and improving soil. The new bed is making progress and is well dug. Many plants and bulbs gone in. Dahlias are doing well. A few pictures of what is flowering at present.

Persicaria Amplexicaulis

Persicaria and Kaffir lilies

Phytolacca , a new purchase.

A very nice shaggy white Dahlia.

November 9th 2013

Here we are heading towards mid November and still able to work in the garden. I decided to attack an area that you see as you come in my gate. I planted about 8 Cornus there and while the red stems were lovely in Winter I had not pruned them back enough over the years and stems had got very thick. There was also a Kerria and . Behind these was a Rambling rector scrambling up an Ash tree but totally out of control. So I cut down the rose and maybe it will grow again and I will train it. The Cornus sadly went on the dump and the shrubs were moved elsewhere. So this area was blocking a view down the garden and also there was not really any colour there during the Summer. So it is cleared and now I am planning what to do next.

December 2nd 2013

Still mild enough to do some gardening . Eddie has started the steps in the Med area so here are three photos as a record.

December 4th 2013

More work on the steps . ~Three photos of the area taken to show my neighbour who owns the adjoining field; I need to trespass two and half feet into his property to fit a bench at the top of the steps.

January 2014

Happy New Year to everyone. Well not a lot happening yet as it has been very wet and the ground is soaked. It is nice this year not to feel under pressure so I can look at the weeds and not bother too much. I have planted a lot of bulbs so can look for these to appear. I got some new plants from Johnstown and also some swaps so look forward to planting these. I have plans for the bank in the Med garden and am going to build up part of it and plant more hot colours there. We have already put in steps so I can have a seat at the top and enjoy the view of the water.

March 11th 2014

Well where did february go I hear you ask. Well it passed in a blur of storms and rain, quite horrific. The ground was sodden and a big Ash Tree was knocked over in one of the gales. So it is only in the last few days that i have been doing any work in the garden. Today and yesterday were lovely and sunny and it was a pleasure to start weeding and dumping again. I have been busy planting the new extension to the hot border. I have quite a number of plants in already. Once again I wonder what possessed me to make so many borders.

The photo was taken yesterday when the sky and water were blue.

March 30th

The hour changed this morning so more time for gardening. The weather is ok a bit cold but able to get a few hours done most days. Ran into problems deciding about edging the path in the Med garden. But I have done a lot of weeding and plenty more to do. Planting up the new bed and it is filling quite well. Great to see so many perennials emerging and will probably put wood chip on the beds when they have all come up. Hopefully that will keep the weeds at bay. I have about 7 plants coming to Fota in two weeks and look forward to that. I will put up some recently taken photos.

April 2nd 2014

A few photos of the garden today. The Caltha in the pond is looking very well, then the Anemones on the wall are doing well also. Muscari is standing out in the Geranium bed.

April 12th 2014

Lovely day today except for a short shower. Did work on the long path trying to even the sides, a good bit more to do. Made sure I had holes dug for the plants I am getting at Fota tomorrow. Think I know where their new homes will be. The dry wall is looking well at present with lots of Anemones, Thrift , Saxifrage etc there is a lot of colour especially one clump of blue ones. I got two new Anemone pavonina which I planted in the rock garden out front. I got great pleasure from the one already there. Dug out as much of a water lily as possible it was a very hard muddy and smelly job. The new red bed is coming along but I have to think about putting a wind break behind it , may move the Lonicera from the other beds and put it there. A few photos taken today.

April 19th 2014

There have been some very good sunny days recently which is great for gardening. The weeding goes on but there is planting to do as well and as ever planning ahead. Eddie and I got slabs for the Med garden yesterday , they are terracotta coloured and will look good I hope. Also got Terracotta Cuprinol to paint the bench and wood on the steps. Noticed today how the Euyonomous atropurpurpea flowers have a real chocolate scent. The flowers are very small and such a dark maroon that the are almost brown. Myrtle is starting to flower and I will enjoy the wonderful scent of that . The 5 Trilliums I planted two years ago are disappointing. Only two have appeared and they don't look great. Will be moved when flowering is over. I got more plants at Fota fair and have recorded in my list where they are sited. A Picture of the Euyonomous follows.

May 1st 2014

Good day today lucky as it seems to have been wet over the rest of the country. Painted the new steps and seat yesterday , not sure about the colour. A lot of weeding as usual thought the Round up was in action again. The red Heuchera continues to look super when the sun shines I must try to track down another couple of these. I need to move the Trilliums as they are not doing well in the Cave.

May 31st 2014

A week of lovely weather and the garden is looking good. The Geraniums have started to bloom as have Iris . Cornus Satomi looking great and very early flowering this year the other Cornus is flowering for the first time pretty very pale yellow flowers, I think it may be called China Girl. Geum are also in bloom, as are the Oriental poppies . Thalictrum is starting as the Aquilegias are going over. The blue border is very full and Deliphiniums are flowering early this year. Iris Silver edge has 5 flowers coming this year and about to open such a pretty plant. Californian poppy looking good such a big blast of colour. Lupin

Terracotta has one lovely flower for such a young plant. White lupin is going to be great again this year. Two clematis flowering both near the gas tank. Great flowers this year compared to the sparsity last year. I found a lot of seedlings from the candleabra primulas though the original plants seems very slow in growing. Will pot on a good lot of them. Deutzia has started to flower so on the whole the garden is very colourful.

Great plant this Melanoselenium. I have some babies waiting to take over.

Love this Calycanthus.

August 15th 2014

Oh dear what can I say it is so long since I made an entry I promise to reform as I miss having a record of all that goes on in the garden. I will put up some photos taken over the past few months.This is cornus Satomi looking great and having put on a lot of growth. Photo taken in June

Taken in June.

Rodgersia also looking good and lasts a long time

The red bed or hot border continues to fill out and is looking really good.

Iris 'Silver edge' flowering in June.

August 16th 2014

So an up to date account of my work in the garden. When you come to my house there is a very narrow entrance then it opens out into a large gravel area. This area looks very big and I have tried to bring the garden more into it. Trouble is that you really need most of the space for car turning/parking if there is more than one car. There is one quite big area covered with ivy and Erigeron with a pump in the centre. My Well is actually under this. Another area I tried to make a scree type bed and it is sort of ok and there sits the fab 'Oakbird' a definite feature. BUT there is not enough colour. So last year I made a round bed with stone surround and put pelargoniums and a few small shrubs in it. Better but not good enough. So today I decided to extend this bed quite a lot and make a border backing on to the stone wall. This meant taking most of the original bed to pieces again. I have taken a chunk out of it , dug the area of the new bed and marked out shape it will take. There it is has to rest until I manage to rustle up soil from somewhere, eye on field next door!! Then the rest of the original bed is taken down and the stones sorted by size ready to build the new bed. I will build it into the backfill when I get hold of some earth. Hopefully I can make this colourful and have even thought of getting a few Roses.....oh heavens ......did I mention the Rose word, vowed not ever to get shrub roses. So now I am back indoors about to make a cuppa and perhaps join Maisie cat on my bed for an hour. The photos just show the general idea.

September 1st 2014

Well into September and the weather is still good. This week I was so excited to get a huge load of wonderful manure that looks and feels like compost it is so well rotted down. I am making a new rather big bed in the gravel area to try and bring the garden closer to the house if you follow me! Eddie brought down more than 8 barrows of this magic stuff to this bed today and it should give any plants a great start. I will need to plan the border well so as to have lots of colour when you come in the gate. I bought three shrub Roses for it, went a bit mad as I vowed never to have them in the garden as they take too much work. One of my mistakes has been not to put enough shrubs in the borders. The hot beds are still looking good and I am very pleased with them. I love to sit there and then when I come down to the next tier of the garden it looks a bit dull!! Here are some photos of the hot borders.

September 9th 2014

Still enjoying lovely weather and nothing is nicer than sitting in the Hot border area and watching the Bees and Butterflies . There is still lots of colour here as shown in the previous photos.

September 29th 2014

I have the new front bed completed and with a lot of plants and bulbs already in situ. It does look good and was the right decision to make. I was at MT Congreve gardens recently and bought an Oramge dahlia which now has changed colour and added more interest to the plant. This Week I h ope Eddie will start on the last bit of the hot border and make the final bed there. I should be able to get some plants in if the present very good weather lasts. The garden in general is still looking pretty good with lots of colour in the hot beds . The grass in the middle garden has not been cut for about 3 months!! The lower part had its first cut in months last week. Today we had two heavy showers and I was glad to see the rain not something I often say. I got a Caryopteris Blue Balloon some weeks ago and have it in the new front bed , see in Photo.

December 2nd 2014

Oh dear I have done it again , time has flown and there have been no entries for a while. I have received a reprimand about this lapse!!! Anyhow, the Autumn was really lovely and there was lots of colour in the garden up to quite recently. The last extension to the hot borders has been dug and manured and ready for planting. It is much different soil to the other areas for some reason so I am reluctant to plant it until it dries a bit. In flower at the moment are Mahonia, Bergenia , Coronilla and occasional flowers on other plants. It has been frosty the past few nights so I put fleece on the Cannas and Banana , they will also need a manure mulch which hopefully will go on this week. I see Daffodils peeping above ground already and there are Snowdrops and Hellebores to look forward to in the new year. Eddie has covered in the roof of the cat run and moved two rows of Raspberries there and I will also put some Strawberries in the same area. Tough on the birds but last year they ate everything before I had a chance! I have been developing the woodland area behind the yellow wall and now there is quite a variety of plants there including new Epimediums i got recently. I also moved Cyclamen hederifolium from the front so they should make a good show next Autumn. So there you are. It will be 2015 when I next make an entry and by that time I am sure there will be more to report.

February 8th 2015

================= ================== Welcome to 2015 where we have started the year with quite chilly days, even a little snow but a lot of frost. The stars at this time of year are of course the Hellebores and Snowdrops though it is great to see so many other plants peeping above ground or forming buds. First Daffodils also showed today. Lots more to come but below I will show a few of the Hellebores that are presently in flower.

February 23d 2015

Brrrrr a miserable day today , cold and windy. first Daffodils in flower and lots in bud. Snowdrops are looking really well they have increased a lot which is great. Perennials showing above ground so all is looking hopeful. Took photo of Ext 5 to show a 'before' picture. Also a photo of Phormium Guardsman which is a very erect one and live up to it's name.

March 14th 2015

Very chilly up to the last few days. Snowdrops are almost finished but the Hellebores continue to give much pleasure with so many different colours and shapes. Camellia 'Anticipation, always the first, is covered in blooms and provides a great splash of colour. Daffodils are almost all flowering . Giving a great patch of blue or the Pulmonarias Benediction and Blue Ensign. The other pulmonarias are flowering too but not as much impact as the blue ones. The Daffodils I planted in pots are not doing well and only one or two bulbs from each pot has shown. The Tulips in pots seem to be doing better. The primroses are starting and not a single one is visible on the bank.....that is amazing I wish I knew what happened to them. Now there are plenty around the garden so there will be no shortage!! The doubles are starting to flower too with Burgundy Ice being the first , then Pink Ice and the new Blue Ice which is such a pretty colour. I got three new ones from Caroline Stone , Our Pat, Raspberry ripple , a Barnhaven, and Miss Doris another Barnhaven. Ii love these and hope to get good pictures this year and sort out exactly what ones I have.

A couple of photos of Anemone Bordeaux so lovely.

Message for Karen from Ireland. Unable to reply to your kind message as no email address. You ask if I am having an open day this year. Probably not but you are welcome to visit if you are in this area. Pleas email me.

April 9th 2015

What a wonderful week of weather we have had. The Jet stream is being kind to us and keeping the temperaturs high for this time of year. The garden is loving it and you can almost see the growth occuring. Daffodils are finishing but the Tulips are taking over. I am glad I got some more for this year . The new front bed is looking very good with a lot of colour , very pleased with it. As you can imagine there is non stop weeding....and this will continue for the season. I continue to be delighted with my Double primroses which are all in flower now...just love them. Also top of the pops is Anemone Bordeaux , just magic and I have lots of them around the garden.

Here is a photo of the Turtle!!

May 20th 2015

Opening this entry the weather report differs greatly from the previous one as it is like Winter. I had thought that May would bring a lull in the garden once the Spring flowers had finished but this is not so. Great activity takes place with Embothrium the Flame tree bursting into bloom and lighting up the garden, a great plant. Alliums are flowering and taking over from the Anemones. Perennials are making good growth and the borders are filling up . Candleabra primulas lend a great splash of colour here and there and I look forward to them increasing in number as time goes by. Rhodohypoxis are in bloom seems they are early this year. Iris are flowering and I must get more for next year . I am very pleased with my new bed in the front , it is filling up already and the first Rose is in bloom.

June 8th 2015

Still waiting for real Summer but there are occasional warm days. The garden is flourishing lots of growth everywhere with the borders coming into full growth. Dutch Iris are looking great , Roses are starting to bloom and the lupins are very good this year. It is the first time I have had Echiums flowering and they certainly make a statement towering above all the other plants. These set seed readily so I will have lots of babies next year.So a few photos of these plants.

June 15th

Lovely day to day and think I will allow the photos speak for themselves this time.

Well I will tell you about the arch. This tested my patience! I did not want to put a metal arch in this area and a wooden one was very expensive. So I planted Willow on either side of the path and waited a few years until they were strong enough to cut back to about 7 feet. Then each was bent and joined with electrical ties, I find these very useful. Maybe not an arch of outstanding beauty but it serves to mark the start of my hot garden !! I will train the new growth to make it look better.

July 9th 2015

Still waiting for a Summer like the past two years!! Now it is not too bad and perhaps we were spoiled in recent years. There has been a lot of heavy showers which do a lot of damage to various flowers; I find that Dianthus are very badly affected by the rains which is sad as the scent is so wonderful. Because I have a sore hip and shoulder my gardening has been restricted which is rather frustrating. I still manage dead heading and some weeding and take the odd cutting. I was in West Cork recently for a few days and visited a couple of lovely gardens , there are so many to see in Ireland many of them private. At present Penestemons are looking very good and should remain flowering for some time. Watsonia is coming into bloom and always puts on a good show as does Crocosmia Lucifer. I look forward to the Cannas later in the year they are putting on good growth. Some pictures of Penstemons to follow.

July 30th 2015

Hard to accept that August is almost here. No hot sunny days so far plenty of rain though to keep the weeds flourishing. My hot borders are coming into their own now and looking very good , I love to go to that area and sit and enjoy the colour. I have plans to make changes around the pond area as it is getting hidden by Crocosmias. I have a number of different Crocosmia but one is taking over and will be dug out in the Autumn...what a job removing all the corms. These are all around the Pond so their removal should allow a better view. I may gravel or pave the area when the removal job is done. There is always some new project on the list which is what gardening is all about. I will put up some photos of Day Lilies aka Hemerocallis and a few views of the hot area.

August 11th 2015

Still waiting for Summer to come!! I think we were spoiled over the past two years and had forgotten what an Irish summer usually is. There is still lots of colour in the garden and the hot areas come into their own at this time of year. Cannas will flower soon and give such an impact especially the dark leaved ones. Sadl y Monarda is going over it is such a great plant and the Red one an addition to any hot areas. But coming into flower are the Lobelia Queen Victoria a vibrant crimson, I will add photos of these next time. Dahlias are wonderful now and David Howard is still my favourite though there are so many with amazing colours it is difficult to choose. So here are some photos including a new Wine coloured Hydrangea bought recently.

September 2015

The garden is slowly going to sleep but there is still a lot of colour and more to come. Making some changes to the area around the pond as it was getting difficult to see from some angles. So many Crocosmias to dig out and you know that all the corms will not be gathered and appear next year. Ornamental grasses are starting to look their best and there is good colour in the hot beds. Cortaderia is about to open its flowers as seen in the photograph while a small hardy Geranium , late to flower, is putting on a good show.

October 5th 2015

This will probably be my last entry until next year as the garden is closing down slowly. There is still lots of colour but day by day the leaves are falling while the Acers get ready to show their glorious colours. Such a lot of changes in the garden this year but that will always be the case here. Some great results and other projects that I could have done better. I imagine that comment will be made by many a gardener.The Hedychium aka Ginger are disappointing with no flowers so far, perhaps I should have given them a lot more fertiliser and will do next year. So now it is time to await the Snowdrops and Hellebores in early Spring. I will see you then.

March 2016

So now 2016 has arrived. We had a very very wet Winter and I fear I may have lost some plants to rot. But on to the good stuff!! It is Hellebore and Daffodil time so colour is appearing in the garden. Also the Camellias are flowering and all around the Perennials are poking above ground . The hot beds are looking very bare and as usual I have forgotten where some are planted , at this stage I should have sorted out this problem. Trouble is it is so easy to dig up a plant while planting a new one so have decided not to plant anything until all the Perennials are showing. My lovely Choisya Sundance had got some bad disease and is looking very sick and withered; I fear it will have to go. But here are some Photos taken in 2016 to give some idea how the garden is looking.

April 1st 2016

There are many Daffodils in bloom at present. Though I think it is hard to beat ye olde one that looks so wonderful when planted in large swathes there are many more varieties available that add interest to the Spring garden. Here I show three of the more unusual ones.

May 4th 2016

It has been a long and wet Winter and we have just had a couple of warm days which was good for the plants and the humans. It is good to see perennials starting to grow and try and remember what was planted where! The Double primroses are doing well this year but I have showed photos of these earlier . The native Primroses have gone mad this year and are doing their best to take over the garden and probably in time the house. They are gorgeous but I fear a cull will have to take place. Homes will be found for as many as possible. I had removed a large area of Crocosmia and grassed the area where they grew; this has worked out very well now the grass is growing and enhance the view of the pond previously hidden. I planted a large clump of the Kennedy primrose 'Dark Rosaleen' and they are looking good. See photo. Large clumps make such a greater impact. The Woodland/ Spring area is filling out with a variety of plants. I have a lot of stuff still under cover afraid of frosty nights, mostly Canna and Dahlias hopefully they will see the light of day soon. The first photo is of melanoselinum decipiens

May 26th 2016

A few lovely days and have managed to put out the more tender plants. The garden is sort of exploding these days both plants and the dreaded weeds. Here are a couple of photos of an Iris which is looking very well planted next to Ligularia. The reverse side of the latter's leaves are almost the same colour as the Iris.

July 4th 2016

Gosh another month has passed and defintely time for a catch up. Probably the main change here is the arrival of two planters. I can't have plants growing directly on the walls as they are lime washed. So I found someone who would make me planters with trellis attached and they are working very well I think. I will put up photos of them for you to see. Also some general pictures of the garden at this time of year.The weather has been quite good some warm days with lots of sun and of course the reliable rain. These are ideal conditions for the weeds to flourish and they are taking every advantage of it! I have been to visit several gardens recently and I don't know what magic they use to keep the weeds at bay but it works. Wish I had the recipe.

July 28th 2016

To start a weather report. July has been quite a good month plenty of sun and even a few really hot days. Then of course some rain but not too bad so on the whole pretty good for the garden. Star of the plants is Monarda which has been flowering for about 3 weeks. It is spreading so well that I will have to remove some in the Autumn as it is crowding out other plants. A good complaint and there will be plenty of friends who will welcome getting a clump of this great plant. The planters are certainly earning their keep and I am very pleased to have got them. Think I will order another one! Cannas and Dahlias are starting to flower so more to look forward to. Meanwhile a few photos taken today.

September 14th 2016

There has been a gap since my last report and photographs. This is due to two problems.The first relates to my camera whose lens refuses to open and the second to my Laptop which is going into 'freeze' mode all the time. BUT we shall return to share the ups and downs of caring for an Irish Country Garden.


Well we are back again with chat and photographs . The Winter was very mild but wet so any damage to plants will be due to rotting. All I have been doing in the garden over the past months is cutting back and dumping loads of debris in the compost. Incredibel the amount of 'stuff' there is to dump. The garden is coming to life now with Snowdrops and Hellebores and I will show some pictures. Daffodils are starting to bloom as are the very early Primroses. My favourite Camellia is also showing its first blooms.

March 13th 2017

A lovely day today warm and sunny you could almost hear the plants growing!! The hedge in the next field had grown quite tall and was excluding the view of the water. So today the hedge cutter came and did a great job cutting it back amd my view is restored. The Primroses are in bloom , hard to beat that pretty flower. A small Rhododendron , a white one, has flowered for the first time this year and it is lovely. The perennial plants are showing above ground with great promise of things to come.

March 21st 2017

Lots of work going on at present as we had a few sunny days. The clearing out of leaf debris and cutting back perennials still goes on and many barrows are heading to the compost heap. I have found a new interest in some succulent plants mostly Sempervivums and Echeverias. I got 13 new Sempervivums a few days ago and they are all potted on. I am also making a new trough to house some of the new plants as they grow. I have already made several hypertufa troughs so decided to try something new. I am collecting very thin stones on the beach and sticking them on to the polystyrene then grouting with horticultural grit. Have just started this project as seen in the photo and need to head to the beach for lots more stones. It can take some time to pick out the suitable ones. I may just cover the other 'long' side with slate. So some pics of succulents and the trough will follow.

April 2th 2017

Spring is here and the garden is coming to life. Lovely to see all the Primroses around the place no nicer flower. Here are some photos to show the colour.

Many photographs on this site were taken by VHB. He considers them to be the best!!

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