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Garden Diary

My garden diary 2001.

January 6th 2001

The start of another year in the garden. Due to snow and frost but primarily mud I have not been in the garden much over the past few weeks. However a stroll today was most cheering. It was good to see so many buds; clematis and acers in particular. Suprisingly there were not many daffodil bulbs above ground which is unusual at this time of year. The big thrill is to see Camellias with lovely healthy buds. I got a standard camellia this year and the buds are so large they promise wonderful blooms. In flower is Clematis cirrhosa Freckles and it has been all through the hard weather, what I call a brave plant. Pulsatilla Budapest with which readers of my diary will be familiar has survived and if I get a flower this spring you will hear the pop of a champagne cork! I have yearned to see this flower for years and 2001 may be the time. I have decided to grow seed of some exotic plants like Canna and Banana, while a Mango seed ( a huge contraption) is hopefully germinating on my windowsill. Needless to say I have, yet again, resolved not to buy any more plants as the NO Vacancy sign is up in the garden , but , well we shall see:)

January22nd 2001

Not a lot to report. We have had pretty rotten weather so work in the garden is curtailed. Banana and Canna seeds are sown and now it is a case of wait and see. No sign of life from the Mango seeds , perhaps they were not ripe enough. It was not long before I broke my resolution re resisting the urge to buy plants! I have ordered a couple of Dierama and a small variety of Echium. Well we need to keep the spirits up at this time of year. I decided to get rid of a hedge in the front garden and a good friend ripped it out for me. I must now decide what will take its place. I am thinking of Camellias. If there is a delay before my next update it is because I am getting a new computer and will have to move all my files...not a job I will relish.

February 10th

Well here I am back on the air using my new computer. Quite a job moving my site but hope it all works out.
There has been quite a lot of activity in the garden especially the front area. The hedge went , followed by a raised round bed that was situated just off centre in the front garden. I now have quite a big border ready to plant ; this is on the road side of the garden. Under the windows there are large flat granite stones (taken from the raised bed) with spaces in between for planting. I have to thank my friend for all his hard work in achieving this. I merely stood and watched! It will be great fun planting this "new garden" and I hope to have pictures of progress later in the year.
Out in the back the ground is still too wet for me to go ahead with making the new path. I did manage to cut the grass since I last wrote. I can see a lot of growth taking place and a few Irises are in flower. All my Canna seeds have germinated but I still await the other seeds to make an appearance.
February 27th

Snow for twentyfour hours but today the thaw has set in and earth re-appears. The bright sight at present is Camellia Dr.Burnside which has burst into bloom. What a wonderful crimson colour: I hope you have seen it on my Homepage. The little Tete a tete daffodils are flowering. When I looked at them yesterday with their small heads either covered or weighed down with snow I feared for their lives. But no such fate, they have shaken off the white coat and stand proudly. Death in the pond, and a rather gruesome one at that. My last goldfish, looking fat and healthy had made a couple of appearances. A few days ago I went to get some oxygenating plant for a friend, well actually her pond, and found the fish stuck in a flower pot which had blown into the pond. However it happened it was stuck. I liberated the fish and it sort of sat in the pond and then slowly swam away. Sadly this morning there was an all but dead fish floating on the pond. It seemed so near death I decided not to interfere. However my cat Poppy had other ideas and a little while later I spotted her, head down and intent on dismembering the fish. How she reached it is a mystery. So now for the good news! My Canna seedlings are growing by the day and looking well.
March 12th

It is all happening these days now that we have had , for the time being, some warmer weather.Buds are getting fatter by the minute and the Camellias are starting to bloom. I have said it before and say it again that there is no better value plant. Even if you have not got lime free soil they can be grown quite happily in pots. Pulmonaria are in bloom the blue/pink one and the pink variety. Daffodils, small and large are flowering and in the front garden they look lovely amongst the winter heathers. There is a pic of this in the My garden section. All those hardy geraniums that die back for the winter are emerging. Oh , and the Canna lillies are going strong.
April 3rd

Oh dear time has flown and I should have checked in here a couple of days ago. The weather has been good for the past few days so much gardening was done. This was mostly of the construction variety! And I did visit a garden centre today and bought a fern and four plants for my pond. Progess in the plant area is excellent. Camellias are still blooming though not as good as recent year probaby due to the hard frosts.Daffodils are coming to an end so deadheading is ongoing. It is great that the tulips arrive to compensate . I grow these in tubs and pots as there is not room in the borders. Also I can then move them around to wherever takes my fancy. A friend kindly responded to my plea for snowdrops in the green ( with their leaves still on is the best way to propagate) and brought me a big clump. The early clematis have lots of big buds and should open in a week or so. Seeds are coming along well and yes the Cannas are getting bigger and better.
April 14th

Just in from the garden as an April shower made an appearance. I said it before and no doubt will say it again, how is there so much to do in a small garden. I have vowed there will be no more construction after this year.......! The garden is looking well these days, so fresh and new. Quite a lot of plants are flowering including the Camellias, the first Clematis, alpina Frances Rivis , Pulmonaria continues to bloom thought the Daffodils are now on the wane. Those Hardy geraniums that die back are zooming into growth, and Forget me nots are providing a lovlely splash of blue here and there. Anemone blanda is another great value plant and a Ranunculus Brazen hussy is living up to her name and looking yellow and brash.
May 3rd

So much is happening gardenwise. Plants have taken off at an amazing rate. Acers have put on leaves as has the contorted willow; such lovely fresh colour. Hostas are growing fast and ferns unfurling their fronds. I just love to watch those fronds uncurl. I have made a little fernery under the lilac tree so now I have yet another interest when in garden centres as I survey the ferns on sale. Talking of garden centres I went to one today to * just have a look around*, yes I came away with 7 plants. Well I really did need those two new roses, Constance Spry and Dublin Bay. And I had been hunting for that lovely Pittosporum tobira for ages so there was no question of leaving it behind. I have several clumps of Bluebells in the garden which I love but they seed so much I keep digging them up. Seems they are going to win. Those lovely little Rhodohypoxis are in bloom; I kept them indoors until they flowered and am now getting them used to the great outdoors. Rhododendrons, Curlew, Princess Ann, Wee Bee, Egret and Oban are flowering . I have put up a new page on the site to show pictures of these.
May 14th

We have had a lovely spell of good weather and the plants as well as humans love it. The Rhodos are almost finished and from looking at my last entry it seems that they have quite a short flowering time. Lilac is in bloom. I have this Lilac tree that many think should be removed but I refuse point blank to do so. It has had rather a lot of pruning though. The alpina clematis are nearly over but montana has taken their place and Nelly Moser has many nice fat buds. I have now put all my tender plants outside and keep my fingers crossed that we get no more frost. I must remember to dead head the Bluebells before they set seed as I have quite enough in my small garden as it stands. Several hardy geraniums have started to flower these include Mayflower(well named) and Claridge Druce. I got seeds of two grasses recently , Nasella,and these have been sown and put in their freeze bag glasshouses.
May 21st

Bluebells are almost ready for dead heading. The first Dutch iris is in flower,a glorious yellow and white.
May 29th. Just found that the rest of the previous entry seems to have vanished. So I shall forge ahead with an update. Weather has been warm and humid so lots of growth all over. This is very noticable in the conservatory where the Passion flowers are growing very quickly. Outside the Lilac has been magic and the scent pervades the whole garden. Hostas are lovely and I am doing my best to keep the slugs at bay. On the bottom north facing wall are Nelly Moser, and roses Zepherine drouhin and Golden showers. The scent from ZD is lovely. Campion is about to finish but it is great to have such a showy plant so early in the year. Many hardy geraniums are in bloom so my cup of happiness runneth over! The Irises mentioned above have been a joy and I must try and get more for next year.Aquiligias pink, purple, white and yellow as well as some mixtures add colour to the garden. Blooming too is the Dianthus 'Dover dove' with its wonderful scent. Hollyhocks and Foxgloves are reaching for the sky but it will be a while before they produce flowers. Verbascum has seeded in several spots so I also have that to look forward to. As ever various grasses are making a valuable contribution to the garden scene and I managed to get three new Miscanthus at the weekend.

Well there is so much happening that I will just have to pick out the events that most readily come to mind. The scent of Gardenia jasminoides in the conservatory is magic. This plant just about survived the winter under glass; there were a few dicey moments. Next in mind is that I must plan better for next year and have plants ready to replace the Oriental poppies and Campion when they are cut back around this time. Outside the scent of rose Etoile de Hollande is gorgeous I would put this as a musthave rose. I pruned back the corkscrew willow before it got out of reach, this really grows fast. I bought a small banana plant well it is an Ensete with red leaves; hope I can keep it going. There are signs of life on the yellow bamboo which I feared had been frost damaged.Lots of geraniums out now and this may be a good time to make a list. G.maculata album, Johnsons blue, magnificum, ballerina, striata, nimbus, pink spice, sea spray, aspheloides, thurstonianum, brutium, reiter, striatum, ankums pride, belles of Hereton, endressi, oxonianum, palmatum, versicolour, ann folkard, ann thompson, amy doncaster, claridge druce, kashmir purple, pstilemon,mavis simpson. Those that have finished are Mayflower, plenum, ingerwsens. Those yet to flower, Knight reiter, roxanne, buxtons blue,shepherds warning, galactic, blue orchid, madernse, splish splash. I know I have omitted a lot but this gives me some idea as to when is the peak time of flowering.

Back from a weeks holidays and it is amazing the degree of growth that has occured. Most pleasing is the Dicentra scandens which I thought had perished in the frost but now is scrambling up every available support it can find. This year it strikes me that Clematis is not doing so well. I have had two instances of wilt in species not usually prone to this disease. I have also noted that the variety of clematis on sale in garden centres this year is extremely restricted. I wonder if the growers experiences problems . I bought a very nice set of table and two garden chairs made of metal, they look good. Geranium Blue orchid had turned out to be very attractive and deserves a more prominent position for next year. The Hollyhocks are getting very tall and I look forward to them flowering. Stipa gigantea has done me proud and produced 10 beautiful plumes; however Dierama is a bit worrying and does not seem set to flower as profusely as last year.
July 13th

Well, quite a lot to report. Last Sunday 8th together with 3 neighbours we held a Garden visit day in aid of the Hospice. Luckily the day was ideal, warm but not too hot and sunny; that type of light seems to suit the colours in our Irish gardens and set them off better than strong sunlight. This day was for friends/neigbours and members of the local garden club. We made £455 for the Hospice and were very pleased indeed. Equally important was that the visitors enjoyed the visits and once we had got over the queasy stomach stage so did we!

Many of the hardy geraniums were in flower and so I am going to take this opportunity of listing them so I will have some clue for future years. G.himalynse plenum caerulum, Mavis Simpson, Claridge Druce, Rozanne, Ankums Pride, Pstilemon, Shepherd's warning, Pink spice, Sea spray, Wisley strain were all looking very well. The following had flowers but had passed their best. G. Belles of Hereton, Farrers form, pratense, oxonianum, striata, Victor reiter, Welsh guinness, susuki, versicolor, giuseppi, nimbus. Those finished flowering are G. Johnsons blue, Blue orchid, brutium, magnificum, Ballerina. Just flowering or about to are G.Shikokianum, and Buxtons blue. Mayflower is producing a second flush having been cut back as is Monocense variegata. I was going to write that Lily Casa Blanca was very late this year but I see from last years diary that , as now, it was in bud on July 20th. Clematis Mme Julie de Correvan is flowering and very pretty. Alba luxurians is just starting, same time as last year. Hagley hybrid and Comtesse de Bouchaud are also blooming.
July 29th

Lots still happening. To start the geraniums; G.procurrens is just starting, Richardsonii is also in bloom. On the whole I have had geraniums in flower since May and it seems as if they will go on for at least 3 months, seems like pretty good value. This year G. Joy , Sea spray and Little Gem were not good. I found a lot of woody growth and have learned that they should have been divided before now. I have done this and hope to have got enough viable division to produce new plants for next year. I would hate to lose any of them. Clematis Alba luxurians is doing well and this is the first year to have Polish spirit a pretty violet colour. The big excitement was the first flower of Passiflora herbertiana, and what a wonderful flower it is. I will put up pics as soon as another few open. Lily Casa blanca is about to open and I look forward both to the beauty of the flower and the wonderful scent. I get the impression that I need to plant new bulbs each year as last year's are not as strong as the new bulbs. I will have to get rid of some plants to put in new ones this means that any duplicates will be dug up. There are too many pots around and I would prefer to get plants into the soil.
August 15th

This is the time for the Casa blanca lilies to burst forth and what a sight and scent. When there is a slight sense of Autumn in the air it is so nice to have such a wonderful scene. White Phlox is also in bloom and in the evening light all the white blooms look great. The Dicentra scandens is wonderful too and has climbed half way around an arch. Crocosmia is another plant to welcome at this time of year and while orange tones are not my favourite I make an exception for these!!Sweet peas are winding down but I can still gather enough blooms to enjoy the scent. Geraniums Rozanne, procurrens, and several others are flowering. I have a lovely arrangement of Aeonium, Ensente, and Japanese blood grass and the dark purples look terrific together. In a trough Gentian saxosa is one of my favourite alpines and this year I added a Platycodon and is is fun to watch this baloon flower open.
September 3rd

Incredible growth in the garden. Clematis Violet Dawn which had ground to a halt has now put on nearly 18" new growth, buds, flowers. Same with climbing roses and several shrubs. The Casablanca lilies are over but they were so lovely.Platycodon is a find, a very pretty flower. I will collect seed and have more next year. White Phlox is doing well and the Anemones are adding a lot of colour. Dicentra scandens contiues to bloom and has made amazing growth. I was delighted to find two seedlings and have potted them on. Two Canna lilies are flowering, both pink . They should have been potted on before now to give bigger and better flowers but that is on the list for next year too.
October 30th

I can't believe that I have not written for so long. Granted, I was away on holidays during most of September but time has certainly flown. The weather during October has been very mild, a record I think. This means that the garden is still looking green and many flowers are still blooming. As usual the Kaffir lilies put on a good display and the reliable Nerines look pretty as usual. The hardy geranium Rozanne has lived up to expectations and continues to flower; other hardy geraniums are also in flower but not as profusely. I wonder if the lack of cold weather means the acers may not colour so well this year. I will miss that but then you cant win 'em all!! The plants in Madeira were wonderful and I do hope I am lucky enough to visit there again. I brought home some Hedychium and Watsonia and look forward to seeing them sprout. I took most of my tender plants inside a few weeks ago as I feared frost , they are still doing well. That is except for the Cannas which I should have potted up. I will allow them to dry out, just a little moisture, and pot them up next year.
November 15th

It is amazing to see so much colour in the garden at this time of year. There are clematis ,a few hardy geraniums,especially the wonderful Rozanne,Fuchsia, Kaffir lilies and Nerines. Add to this the magical Autumn colours of the acers and the garden continues to give so much pleasure. Only snag is that the ground is very wet so the grass has not been cut for some time and is heading towards being a little meadow. I dug up a lot of random geranium seedlings from all over the garden; while I know the origin of some, others are a mystery until the foliage and flowers develop. I have cut back some of the herbaceous plants such as Phlox but left others , primarily the Penstemons as they could fare better when pruned in the Spring.
December 10th

Well there is little to report at this time. A few cold nights have done their damage and there is not much in flower at this time. Kaffir lilies still bloom as do some Fuchsia but most of the leaves have fallen and at last Winter has arrived. The garden is at rest until the first leaves of daffodils appear above the surface. In the conservatory there is still plenty of colour. The first flower of Passionflower mollissima appeared and you can see it as picture of the month on my home page. Yellow Abutilon is in bloom and Tibouchina still produces flowers. It has been a good and happy year in the garden for both me and I hope my plants.