Spring is here

Spring is very special for me because I have my birthday in this great season. Today is my birthday and I am celebrating the plants that are giving me particular joy today. First on the list are the pretty little daffodils in my rock garden, along with my favourite helebores that have been flowering for weeks and weeks now!

Next are the three kinds of Pulmonaria I have. They are such generous plants and spread freely in the woodland area but also are starting to migrate to other areas too!

First of the Pulmonarias is Pulmonaria Blue Ensign. It is looking it best this year because I got around to removing the leaves that normally prevent it from strutting its stuff! There are a few little seedlings in the nearest border and they will be encouraged to shine there too.

The most prolific self-seeder is Pulmonaria Officinalis which has managed to appear in lots of places including the small pond area of the garden. I love the speckled leaves that make it easy to identify when the seedlings appear, but it is the variation in the colour of the flowers that is its chief charm for me!

This white pulmonaria is Pulmonaria Sissinghurst White and as you can see it is an enthusiastic self-seeder! There are several tell-tale spotted leaves in the picture just waiting to be ancouraged to flower!

This is my woodland glade where the hazels are. This is where I am encouraging the helebores to run amoc but it also has lots of Winter Aconites spreading about. I had a few snowdrops here but they seem to have vanished so that is an opprotunity to spread some of the clumps from other areas and reintroduce them here. Each Spring I remind myself that the big clump of daffodils needs dividing but it never seems to happen! Maybe this will the the year! I can visualise them scattered among the helebores in future springtimes!

Now I want to focus on the border I redesigned this year. It is the border nearest the house and I had planted it with the ground-cover Hypericum Calcyninum thinking it would be a magnificent display in summer, and as it was evergreen it would still look good in winter. It didn’t live up to my expectations – with a few flowers for a few weeks in summer it looked pretty awful the rest of the year – and due to its vigorous attempts to conquer the world, it was inhibiting anything else in the border! I embarked on an extermination mission and dug out as much as I could of the roots – about a week of “on the knees with trowel” work and I think I have got most of it out.

It took three days for the hands to recover from the repetitive strain but all is well now. No doubt there will be bits appearing for the next while, but they will be easy to weed out as they will not have the tangled mass of roots the parents had.

The new name for this area is the Helebore Border and the existing helebores will be divided and encouraged to fill the space over the next while. The Helebores in the centre of the border were moved to that location while in full flower but they didn’t seem to mind a bit! There were some crocus, snowdrops, primula and scillas hiding under the Hypericum so I added a few more spring bits and pieces. There are lots of Muscari in that border and no doubt they will take full advantage of the exposed soil in the border just now.

The existing helebores are mainly Heleborus Orientalis which are happily cross polinating and self-seeding already in the border. It will only take a year or so to have them featuring in the whole border. In the corner of the picture is the new path. It will need lots of treading down but it will provide a new view of the border.

When the Spring display fades there are already some ground-cover Geranium Cantabrigiense Biokovo waiting in the wings along with Campanula Poscharskyana, another prolific spreader, both of which will perform well into Autumn. I am convinced this border will be bright and colourful for most of the year because it already has a Mahonia ‘Charity’, a Viburnum Tinus and Daphne Bholua “Jacqueline Postill” to give winter colour!

My final picture is of Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis Rosea – the Autumn Prunus that sometimes starts to flower as early as November but definitely has flowers by Christmas. This beauty will stay in flower until the end of March and then when the leaves arrive they are a lovely wine colour. This is Brendan’s tree planted in his memory in 2014.

Now I am off to go with my daughter to Arboretum for some Birthday retail therapy, a stroll in their gardens and some lunch!!!!


Plans for 2023

This is not a blog about pretty flowers, instead I want to set down the plans I have made today for modifications to the gardens during the coming year. A kind of “New Year Resoluton” and hopefully a reminder of what I can see needs doing as I stroll around the gardens in the much milder weather today!

Task 1 – begun yesterday – composting

First resolution is to keep on top of the Composting. I have already spent a day tidying up this area and it says it all when my son-in-law remarked that he didn’t know there was paving in that area! It may not be pretty, but it works well. The section to the right is now cooking under its duvet, containing all that was collected last year. The centre section is ready to use – so the plan is to actually spread it in the Spring instead of leaving it indefinitely! The final section is the current heap. It is almost one third full already as I had accumulated several bags of shredded material while waiting to have the bay cleared! I am shredding the majority of the material for the compost so it only takes about a year to be ready to use as mulch. I haven’t bought any compost for the past three years and use my own stuff for everything!

Yes, it is a bit shabby, but maybe I might get new “doors” for the bays!

Task 2 – renovationg of a complete border

The border near the car park now has a new name – it is now the “Helebore Border” becaue it already has the best display of helebores in any place in the garden. That border has a large patch of Hypericum calcyninum that is not bringing me joy – it flowers very briefly and not very well and just looks a mess the rest of the year, not to mention that it is very invasive!

I have started the task of removing it so that some little spring bulbs had a chance to appear, and I also plan to introduce some cyclamens – for now they are in pots so that I can get rid of stray pieces of the hypericum without destroying the cyclamen! I realise this will be a longer-term task than some, becaue I will definitely not be able to get all the roots out in the first attempt!

I will probably encourage the pretty geranium already in that border to spread to give interest through the summer. I haven’t been happy calling this border “the car-park bed” so renaming it is an important part of the plan!

Task 3 – caring for paths

There are a few places where I would like to create little short-cut paths through the planting. I am currently using the garden as my “walking track” so the more paths there are the better!

This is the border along the side of the driveway on the Oak Border side

I already have a little path at one end of the border along the side of the Oak Garden. The new path will be near the gate and will allow access to tthe gravel area from either end. There is a stump from one of the conifers that were removed here and it will help to define where the path should go! There are some snowdrops in that area that can be lifted and divided in a few weeks time and that will be th e ideal time to make that new path.

This is at the Small Pond.

The next little path may well just be just a couple of stepping stones – there is a short path up to the small pond that goes nowhere so I want to bring people throgh the border into the Potentilla garden. It will just improve the flow of the garden if there are no dead-ends paths!

general work on the paths is needed

All the smaller paths are badly in need of work. I plan to clear the paths first, and then add fresh gravel to all of them. This is a big job, so I may have to leave that part of it until I can get some volunteer help with the task.

Task 4 – the beech hedging

I began a major restorative job on the beech hedging at the front of the garden last year. The advice was to do the job in phases. Cut one side of the hedge back to the main stems and also to trim the top to the desired height the first year. and then complete the taks in Year Two. This hedge had gradually got bigger and bigger, way beyond where I wanted it, so I carried out Step One last year and I am very happy with the result! There are daffodils under that hedge that had become completel hidden, so when I narrowed the hedge I had the joy of seeing the daffodils every time I came home all through the Spring! Now it is time for the inside of the hedge to get its haircut! The hedge already had better foliage after stage one so I have great hopes for how it will respond to stage two! This task has to go to the top of the list if I am to protect nesting birds!

Task 5 – feeding plants

There are some areas under the trees where the underplanting is struggling so I plant to actually USE some of that compost in these areas to promote better growth. There is always a challenge with plants under trees but the Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ is there for over ten years and still only produces a miserable few branches for my winter colour in that part of the garden!

Pathetic Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’

Task 6 – the Hazel Grove

There is a very large clump of daffodils in the area in front of the Hazel Grove that really needs dividing. There are other spring flowers here but they really don’t show up very well. I make need a drastic plan here because I need to keep the ground under the Hazel bushes clear so I can harvest the nuts. Some sort of mulch, maybe gravel or something, is probably the answer but the jury is still out. In the meantime I try to keep the weeds in check but it is very labour-intensive.

Daffodils to be divided is just the beginning for this area


So I will be kept busy this year if I get to even some of these tasks! I am hoping I may be able to have an Open Day for the Laois Hospice this year but I doubt I will have all these projects completed for that event! It will mean prioritising them – but at least with this bit of advance planning I have a more focussed plan for the year! It will be interesting to look back at the end of the year and see if any of these tasks actually happen!

Frosty morning – but plenty to see

I took a stroll this morning in a very frosty garden – only the gravel paths were safe, everything else was a skating rink! Of course this is the season for helebores so they were my main target! Some of them had their heads drooped in the frosty air, some of the buds are not quite ready to open, but for me every day is a new excitement when I find another brave little flower opening.

The ones that had their leaves cut back a week ago are really coming into thier own now.

But the most exciting thing I spotted this morming was at the small pond – I really was behind the door when they gave out patience! I have been watching carefully every day for any sign of the snowdrops I got from my local gardening club and had myself convinced that they had been eaten by something nasty – but this morning – here is what I saw!

Small pond in the frost
Snowdrop number one
And a second one!

So at least two of the littlel clumps have put their heads above the parapet!

Never put off till tomorrow ….

How ofter I heard my mother quote that piece of wisdom to me but I still end up failing to sieze the day! Yesterday was a grand dry day here in Laois and I had a task planned to take advantage of the day, but unfortunately I was unable to make time for the garden. The plan had a bit of a time pressure on it – I wanted to sort through the battered remnants of my plants-in-waiting to see if I had anthing to swap at Johnstown next Saturday. There was a related task that I had planned to do early in December that also hadn’t been touched! At our Garden Club I was given the excellent tip that if I put weedblock under the plants-in-waiting they wouldn’t try and root through the bottom of the pots – and as a bonus, the raised bed where I keep them would stay pretty weed-free! I even had the end of a roll of good strong Mypex in the shed so all I had to do was do the task! But you know how it is – you go out intending to tackle a particular job but you are distracted by some wayward plant crying out for attention! So December passed, and here we are well into January! And I need a list of plants to swap …..

This morning dawned wet and miserable so what cold I do? Then I remembered the Wet-gear. – a very large and totally waterproof jacket of Brendan’s that is still around, and my waterproof over-trousers that I have since my hill-walking days over 20 years ago! I did wait until the rain had eased before I ventured out, down to the raised beds where I used to grow veggies and the devestation I was met with wasn’t encouraging! However, I tackled in systematically, lifting each pot and giving a “root prune” to any that were escaping thier pots and placing them neatil in a row on the ground beside me. I filled several large buckets with the opportunist weeds that had almost smothered some of the plants. Then I leveled the poil and laid the Myplex on top. As I replace the pots I gave the worst of them a haircut so in the end I was able to identify the majority of them!

By now the drizzle had turned to steady rain so it was time to call it a day! I had started out with great notions of listing the plants as I progressed, but that didn’t happen! Instead I took some photos and I will try and identify the plants from the photos! There were more survivors than I expected after the very severe frost we had lately! When it stops raining again I’ll go down to admire my handywork – it looks like it will be a success! anyway it was a good opportunity to see what I had in this nursery bed!

  • Geranium Maderense Palmatum
  • Lychnis Coronaria Atrosanguinea (pink/red)
  • Tall Campanula
  • Low-growing campanula
  • Sedum ‘Green Mantle’
  • Rudbeckia Goldstrum
  • Lychnis Coronaria Alba
  • Omphalodes Cappadocica
  • Vinca minor “Atropurpurea”
  • More Geranium Maderense Palmatum
  • Dwarf Michaelmas Daisy (now symphyotrichum) 10 – 12 inches lilac blue
  • Leycesteria (Pheasant Berry)
  • Mystery plant!

  • Alchemilla Mollis
  • Foxglove seedling
  • Geranium Magnificum
  • Geranium Wargraves Pink
  • Geranium cantabrigiense Biokovo
  • Helleborus Argutifolius Corsicus
  • Geranium Macrorrhizum ‘Album’

This last photo is of the pots I didn’t get to tidy up before I fled from the heavy rain! I can’t identify quite a few of them, but the next dry spell they are top of the list!

I am so disgusted that I didn’t tackle that task sooner – it took much less time than I imagined it would! Now fingers crossed that the weedblock will be effective!

So Christmas is done for 2022

The time-honoured Christmas days of lazing about and eating too much alwyas seem to energise me to get moving on the garden! Once the last of the turkey had been despatched I donned the gardening gear and headed out to the garden. Much of the time was spent dodging in and out of the shed between the showers! I was feeling somewat disheartened because due to some health issues I hadn’t got to my usual Autumn clean-up. I am afraid I prefer to feed my wild birds instead of leaving lots of herbaceous seed heads to feed them!

It was such a relief to get outside that I beavered away at the main herbaceous border until it was almost dark! I know we are at the right side of the Solstice but the increase in the length of the days is not yet really noticeable! So of course there was no opportunity to do the “before and after” photos that record the progress of my days in the garden!

However, today was a more promising afternoon so this time I remembered to take the “before” photo!

This photo of very squigee debris is the winter appearance of a large clump of Persicaria Amplexicaulis after several weeks of really heavy frost followed by several more weeks of torrential rain!

This is my “Four Seasons” border where I have tried to include a selection of planting that guarantees colour right through the year. To add to the mess in the border there is a thick layer of leaves that gathered from nearby trees. This meant that it was quite a messy job just excvating the debris but I persevered resultng in a trailer load of leaves, well damped. to add to the leaf-mould cages.

It was a big cutting back exercise with a considerable addition tot he pile of stuff to shred but it is too wet to shred just yet!

Once the whole border was cleared of debris I trimmed the native Birch to raise the canopy. It was amazing how the border looked when it was cleared out.

Of course, it hasn’t been possible to do a really good clear-up of the leaves because everything is sodden. However, I was totally delighted to see that the clean-up has given space and light for my beautiful Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Yamina’, a gift from my cousin when I started the garden. This is the plant that is the star of the Winter display.

And when I cleared away the debris I spotted a pot full of lovely pink gladioli looking for a home, so that will add to the late summer colour in that border.

My next task will involve cleaning up the debris from today’s task! It feels really good to be back able to garden after quite a long time! I think there are a few Spring bulbs in the shed that might still be good enought for planting – but I also have some daffodils and tulips in pots that would go very well there.

The other plants in that border are Exchorda Macarantha “The Bride”, some Solomons Seal, and Japanese Anemones as well at that vigorous Fuschia “flashlight”. I have a cutting of a Chaenomeles with pretty bright red flowers that just produced its first flower last year. There is a good healthy Helebore as well as a few other herbaceous plants but I thinkg I need to look at ways of increasing the ground-cover so that at this time of year it won’t be too bare.

First real frost

I often miss the opportunity to capture my garden when there is a hard frost – this morning I headed out before breakfast tempted out by the wonderland outside! It is such a transitory effect so it really is “Carpe Diem” !

But there were other things to see on my early morning stroll round the garden! The Tetrapanax has suddenly produced flower buds, the Yucca that I got from Dick in 2010 is finally flowering properly. Clematis Wisley Cream is just coming into flower and Clematis Luxurians is still hanging in there! My pollarded willows Salix Alba Chermesina are colouring up well. Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is still only flowering gently but I think I need to raise the canopy of the Prunus beside it to give it more light! My favourite Helebore Niger is also just opening so it is time for me to denude all the helebores of their leaves so that I can better enjoy the flowers!

And already the frost has melted and its time to wrap up warm and go tity those Helebores!

Sometimes change is good!

There was a really good Viburnum Davidii that was a feature of the Fairy Garden here at Gortnalee. It was planted about 10 years ago and really thrived. Well that was the case until this year. This is how it looked in July 2020

Viburnum in 2020

Mind you, when I look closely I can see a few leaves looking a bit damaged. However I was not prepared for what happened this year. I had been working in other areas of the garden and only came to tackle the Fairy Garden in June. I was shocked to see that half the lovely healthy shrub was dead. I cut off the dead branches hoping the rest of it would recover. Unfortunately it did not.

June 2020 – half the shrub has mysteriously died!

I kept removing the dead branches but eventually had to admit defeat. There was nothing for it but to remove the whole thing. Of course this meant a complete revamp of the Fairy Garden and the pressure was on as my granddaughter will be visiting in a few weeks! I had already made a change in removing the willow fence round the area and now I decided to remove a path along where the willow used to be – a redundant path! The willow fence had been replaced by a non-living fence made from off-cuts of the hazels in the woodland garden. I had tried sweetpeas in planters along the fence but they didn’t do well so the decision was to remove the path and extend the planting area. In this photo the dying viburnum is clearly evident.

Redundant path now needs removing – and the sweetpeas are pretty pathetic!

So there was a bit of construction to be done including removing the dead viburnum. There was weedblock under the gravel on the path so it was easy enough to remove the gravel and redistribute on the remaining paths. I added some of my compost to the area and planted it up with Cosmos that will give colour for this year while I decide on parmanent planting for this newly extended border.

But that area was really in need of a complete rethink. The sweetpeas were removed, the viburnum was no more, and a rather bedraggled buddliea has been cut to the ground in an attempt to get it to do better! There was a path that went behind the Viburnum but ti was completely overgrown and some wild mallows and a Pheasant Berry had also invaded the border. The Cotinus was all in a heap and the whole thing had nothing to recommend it.

A bit of ruthless weeding out, cutting back and tying up recovered the path. My granddaughter will be so pleased because she and her Daddy made this path when she was only about 3 years old!

The space where the viburnum was had become a real planting opportunity. Doing my best to conserve as much of the lychnis flowers as I could, I added a couple of Achillea, a Geranium Magnificum, some Chinese Lanterns. a tiny Oxalis Triangularis, and a Saxifraga Stolonifera to the area. Since all the Lychnis in that area were white I added a pink one just for fun! I have no doubt these plants will quickly fill the area and add lots of seasonal interest. Since the soil where the plant had failed wasn’t very good I also put some Soil Renew round and about to help the soil to recover. I will mulch it well this winter and hopefully next year will see a really colourful display!

The newly planted area

So now the revamp of the Fiary Garden is complete – all it needs is for one of my little visitors to decide where the Fairies should hang out!

It is amazing how this kind of change alters the whole atmosphere of an area. From being very overgrown and boring it now invites exploration so I am hopeful that my visitors will also enjoy it!

July Roses at Gortnalee

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a blog since May! Gortnalee is at its peek just now and I am enjoying spending time just keeping on top of the tidying up without being over particular.

July is of course when the roses are really at their peak although we sometimes forget just how long they delight us with their abundant flowers.

Ghislaine de Feligonde – wonderful prolific rambling rose

I have been trying to find the stories about how roses got their names but it is not easy to find anything for many of them! This one was named in 1916 after the 2-year-old daughter of Count Feligonde but had another legend attached relating to a nurse in World War One.

Albertine is the earliest rose to flower in my garden

This rambling rose I grew from a slip – the story was that I bought it and planted it but needed to move it the next year and when I was digging it up I managed to break it off from its rootstock! I was furious with myself so I just took the four stems of the rose and rammed them into the border where I was going to plant them! Three of them grew – my neighbour has one and the other two cover one entire side of my Rose Trellis! Only flowering once, I cut it back quite hard when it finishes to let the other roses there have some space!

Mme Isaac Periere – an old rose from David Austin

Madame Periere has to take her opportunity to thrive once Albertine is cut back! She has a delicious perfume and lots of generous flowers!

Compassion is a strong climber with a wonderful perfume too.

Next along the Rose Trellis is Compassion. I saw this rose in full glory at Altamont and had to have it! Albertine is inclined to over-run it in the early part of the summer but once Albertine is finished Compassion take centre stage!

Lady Marmalade – Rose of the Year 2014

Next on that Trellis border is Lady Marmalade. A wonderful rose that flowers well into autumn with wave after wave of flowers. It is described as a “repeat-flowering floribunda” and certainly lives up to her name! I would love to know who was “Lady Marmalade”?

Diamond Jubilee – a survivor!

I used to have a Rose Garden but changed my mind and moved all the roses to the main garden in two locations – the Rose Trellis and the Clematis Arch. Some of the roses didn’t survive and I thought I had lost this one, but a small stem kept appearing but not flowering and I just left it, and it got fed and mulched with all the other roses and after several years it delighted me by producing a beautiful blossom that allowed me to identify it as Diamond Jubilee.

Alec’s Red quite tall – a Hybrid Tea from David Austin

I realised that the roses were all very far from the house so I planted Alec’s Red in the main herbaceous border where I can see it as I stand at the cooker and where I get its lovely perfume when I go down into the garden.

Jamila – bought from Bakker in 2013

A wonderful rose that loves to climb – although bought as a Hybrid Tea she lives on the Clematis Walkway and produces these large abundant flowers – bothered a bit by blackspot but my new policy of taking off all affected leaves as I deadhead the roses is definitely reducing the amount of blackspot on all the roses.

Just Joey -Hybrid Tea

This rose has been around for a long time. Although described as a Hybrid Tea I find that the flowers come in clusters and he really wants to climb! Perhaps his location is the reason why the flowerinf stems often reach 5 feet!

Miniature red rose – very pretty!

When a family member far away was lost to Covid I got this rose to remember her. These little roses are really meant for pots for short periods so for me it is a bit of a challenge encouraging it to grow!

Romance is the favourite rose of the bees because of the open centre.

Romance is another rose that had a severe setbck when she was moved but the addition of layers of compost is now paying off and more and more flowers appear every year.

What a great rose! I think it is Rose Flower Carpet Pink

The most trouble-free rose in the garden! I grew it from a cutting from a neighbour – three cuttings all grew! No blackspot, no greenfly, hundreds of flowers for months at a time – what’s not to like?

Royal Red from Bakker 2013

This is a small climber – it came as one of a pair – Royal White and Royal Red and in 2013 I envisaged them each side of an arch in the then Rose Garden. Relocating them side by side at the Clematis Walkway it is clear that the original idea would not have worked! Royal Red is struggling to make 4 feet tall while Royal White is up and over the top of the arches!

Royal White climbing rose – companion to Royal Red

I love this rose. The buds are tinged with yellow but they open to white. It has scrambled up over the archway build for the Clematis and just keeps on flowering from early Summer well into Autumn. It is not strongly perfumed but its abundant flowers make up for that!

Waltz Time – another survivor!

This rose is even more of a miracle than its companion transplanted roses. I thought it was gone completely but finding a tiny sprig under the Jamila rose I potted it up to see what would happen! To my amazement it produced this lovely lilac flower and it now has a new home where it gets lots of sun so I look forward to it growing stronger in the future.

Wenlock – modern shrub rose

I really should pay more attention to the descriptions of my roses before I plant them! This was a house-warming present from my cousin Róisin and her mother Dolores in 2008 when the garden did not really exist so it survived in a pot for quite a while! The deep pink of the flowers and the generous petals are only equalled by the scent which is divine! It is planted too close to Romance, so one of them is going to have to move!

White Symphonie – vigorous climber

White Symphonie has amazing clusters of flowers and is another one that loves the Clematis Walkway. It is located at the entrance to the walkway and manages to push its way through Clematis Montana Marjorie to send blossoms skywards from early June! I probably need to train these two enthusiastic climbers to live a bit more harmoniously!

Zephrine Drounin – saving the best for last!

Zephrine Drouhin is an old favourite for many rose growers. Her perfume is divine and fills that area of the garden with scent every evening! She flowers with enthusiasm but best of all, she has no thorns! I no longer spray my roses so her tendency to blackspot is a bit of a disadvantage, but my policy of collecting fallen leaves and removing damaged ones when I deadhead has certainly reduced the problem. I am also trialing companion planting of Allium around her to see if that helps!

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my roses!

Buddha Makeover

I think I am watching too many “makeover” programs on TV. A few days ago I decided to weed the area around my Buddha in the Buddha Garden and after spending a couple of hours clearing I only had half of it done. I began just weeding but I realised that more drastic action was needed.

Before and After all in one picture!

It was so difficult to remove the Celandine and the Grape Hyacinths without destroying everything else in the border that I had to do a re-think. The decision was a complete “Makeover”. So I carefully removed all the Tulip bulbs, the Hostas, a Lily and some Vinca minor “Atropurpurea” and put them to one side. Everything else was for composting! I had added some gravel previously in a vain attempt to keep the border in order so what was left when the plants were removed was hardly promising!

After the clear-out of the planting.

The next stage was to remove as much of the gravel as possible. I also realised I needed to lower the level somewhat. A large container was filled with some very stony soil which will come in handy when I am potting stuff up since I am determined not to use any more peat. Having adjusted the level to my satisfacion I then treaded it down – a bit like treading grapes – and then headed off to get some weedblock and pegs from my local Garden Centre.

Preparations complete!

I started to lay the weedblock – a double layer to try and keep the invaders at bay, or at least to slow them down! I was now under pressure because it was my Gardening Club that evening and I didn’t have a lot of time! Once I started it I needed to get it finished because the wind had picked up a lot and the weedblock would be reefed up if I didn’t have it secured!

A few big stones helped to keep the weedblock in place overnight.

Next morning I was back at the Garden Centre getting a couple of bags of decorative stone. I wasn’t sure how much I would need but I took a chanc on three bags. I hasten to add that I enlisted the aid of stronger arms than mine to get them from the car to the border!

Yes Sir Yes Sir Three bags full Sir!

There was just the right amount in the three bags, and it was a quick and easy job to spread the stone. I finished weeding that area and now I will pot up the Hostas, lily and Vinca and replace them on tip of the gravel. The Tulips are healed in to a large pot with some compost to keep them safe for planting up next year- again in POTS!!! That is the plan – everything in pots which can be switched in and out to suit the seasons!

All done! Just need to add the potted plants tomorrow!

I am totally delighted with the make-over. It is creating the simple and tranquil appearance for the Buddha Garden that I want to achieve.

Bit of a weeding problem ….

Today’s task was to plant out the Sweetpea round the pollarded Willows in the front areas. I added lots of compost to the area at the base of the trees to give the sweetpeas a chance.

Sweet peas round the base of the pollarded Willow

Having planted out these little seedlings I decided to weed that area of the border. What prompted me was the way the Lesser Celandine had inflitrated one particular plant in the border. This is the very pretty Alchemilla Alpina that I was given by a gardening friend in 2014. It was doing quite well and had started to increase in size over the first few years but the Celandine has a preference for seeding into the middle of other plants so each year I was having to extricate the seedlings to help the Alchemilla survive! Because I was out of action this time last year that job didn’t get done so I was horrified to see how it looked today!

The leaves of the Alchemilla can just be seen peeping out down near the stones!

Just for good measure there are a couple of Japanese Anemone seedlings also rooting into the plant. I began trying to winkle out the invaders but this was not working. In the end I had to uproot the whole plant and tease out the soil until the invaders could be dislodged. I filled a bucket with what was taken out!

This is what was left when the clean-up was completed!

I decided that the best approach would be to divide up the plant and pot up the divisions while I look at a better location for this very pretty plant! I’m sure this is not the best time to do this but having already totally disrupted the plant I felt there was really no alternative! Just then I spotted a little seedling of my alchemilla in the gravel path so I carefully transplanted it into the space once occupied by the parent plant!

The little seedling and a tiny piece that broke off during the weeding process.

The next task was to divide and pot up the main plant. I managed to create lots of pieces with decent roots attached and planted two or three pieces in each pot! They are planted in a mix of soil and my own sifted compost so I hope they will do well! For the moment I will keep them in the cold-frame so that I can keep an eye on them and see how they go! If they survive I plan to find much more suitable locations for them where I can enjoy them!

Divisions of the Alchemilla – hopefully at least some of them will survive!

It is particularly disappointing when a treasured plant from a friend gets into this kind of difficulty. I have mixed feelings about the Celandine – in my woodland area they are one of the first flowers in the Spring and when they appear elsewhere I try to weed them out with as much of the root as possible. They are one of the early pollen sources for the bees and other insects but they really are terrible thugs! People say they just die away in summer but the ones in my garden don’t appear to have heard that news! Here’s hoping that the rescue of the Alchemilla Alpina will be successful!