Acers in Autumn

It’s overcast here in Dungarvan and there has been light overnight mist. Seems like a good time to continue with a few more cuttings. Today it’s Acer time. I’ve got 15 little babies in the making, three of each. That would be 18, you say… However, two of the images within the collage are from the same plant, but which two?
Have you any recommended Acers? I’d opt for Seiryu, Orange Dream and two unknown ones, simply because that’s what I’ve got!

These cuttings are safely tucked away in a shaded corner and I’ll keep a close eye on them. Ideally, I’d prefer a cold frame. Maybe I’ll tackle that before winter. Time now for late breakfast. Bricfeasta.

Acer cuttings & others

Late update…

Two days later… It’s DONE. I’ve completed the Cold Frame in double quick time. Here it is.

Pádraig,

1st September 2020.

Hebe ‘Rhubarb & Custard’

I bought three Hebe Rhubarb & Custard plants back in April 2020, and planted them near the roses. They have settled in very well and are putting on good growth.

I had held off buying these from the previous year because they were overpriced everywhere. Eventually, my patience was rewarded as I got them for less than half price.

Now is the time, I think, to take some cuttings. The plan is to take three from each plant. I had written about it on Instagram in June.

Previous Articles about Hebe

Below is a repeat photograph taken this week from the same angle as the one above. I can see that they are growing well.

In 2022 these three will grow to become one large group.

How to Propagate from Cuttings

Here is a very simple guide to propagating Hebe from cuttings:

Step 1: Cut and trim the lower leaves and remove the growing tip. Dip each cutting in rooting powder and shake off any excess.

Step 2: Fill containers with a mixture of peat and sand. Water well and leave for a few hours to drain. Use a pencil to make three holes and place one cutting in each. I had nine cuttings, and put three in each pot. I always liked maths. From these nine, I expect to get four or five new plants. Place the pots in a cold frame or a sheltered spot. I do not have a cold frame (yet) so I will go for plan B, and I’ll check them in about six weeks. I will pull very gently and if they have rooted I will know immediately. Its exciting.

The logical deduction is that I can now buy more plants and still save money.

Such excitement!

Note: Storm Francis arrived last night. Plenty rain and some wind, but nothing as severe as Ellen last week. Today is a bright and fresh, ideal for gardening.

Pádraig,

Tuesday, 25th August 2020

Japanese Maple Seiryu

My Seiryu is just turning three. Sounds vaguely like a proud dad informing his mates down the pub about his daughter’s upcoming birthday!

My Seiryu was bought in 2017. Technically it began life several years earlier in a nursery before moving to a garden centre. Life was good for little Seiryu. However, since I fostered it, she has thrived.

Spider in residence.

It now has good soil, sheltered location, other plants for company and is fed and watered regularly. On top of all that, I sometimes run my hand gently through the foliage. What more could little Seiryu ever want, except perhaps another Seiryu for companionship? Now there’s a tempting thought.

This lovely maple will grow to fill this section of the garden. It will rise higher than the fence and spread its wings.

The official name for this plant is Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’. Full details about it can be got from Shoot Gardening, one of my online gardening services. I have recorded most of my plants in my virtual “garden”, and I am reminded monthly of what tasks need attending to. Also, there’s full details of my TWO online garden services here.

Learn something new today:

Here’s three things I learned about maple trees:

  • Baseball bats, snooker cues and bowling pins are generally made from maple wood
  • Bark and leaves are infused to remedy eye complaints
  • Maple syrup comes from a particular maple and has been harvested since the 1600’s.

Three questions…

  1. Have you a plant lore fact you’d like to share?
  2. Have you a favourite plant you’d like to see featured?
  3. Can you sleep through thunder and lightning?

Sin a bhfuil (shin-a-will) from the garden and The Google. I’ll be busy relaxing until my next venture at the keyboard. Stay safe.

Pádraig, 16th June, 2020.

Hebe ‘Rhubarb & Custard’

The logical deduction is that I can now buy more plants and still save money.

Hebe ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ is a compact, bushy, evergreen shrub with small, glossy, oval, pink-flushed, dark green leaves with irregular cream to pale yellow margins. Leaf tips and margins turn deep reddish-pink in cold weather. Compact, dense, racemes of violet flowers bloom in late spring and early summer.

Take cuttings in August, as follows: Remove sideshoots of the current season’s growth from the main plant using sharp secateurs. Trim them to 10-15cm lengths, cutting just below a node. Removing the lowest leaves and soft tip, then make a shallow cut, 1-2cm long, on one side of the stem base. Dip the cutting base in fresh rooting hormone powder, ensuring that the cut is well covered. Tap off excess, and then insert the cutting in a pot of standard cutting compost and put in a cold frame. Water in well. Ensure that the compost remains moist, but not wet, until the cuttings are well rooted. During the winter check and remove any fallen leaves and dead cuttings, watering only if the compost feels dry. Harden off the cuttings gradually the next spring before potting them up individually.

This plant had been on my wish-list since last year. I held off because it was priced at €12.99 or thereabouts in several garden centres. Finally, I bought three of them in April at €5.99 each. The logical deduction is that I can now buy more plants and still save money. Also, if I were to grow a few dozen cuttings I’d make my fortune before turning seventy.

Information above about this plant is copyright Shoot Gardening, my virtual online gardening. All my garden plants are stored there, and they tell me when to do what.

Greenfly on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

I sure hope they’ll give me iPad or tablet when I’m in the nursing home 2050 so I can look back on my gardening.

Julie Andrews is almost 85. For her 79th birthday, she was asked once again to sing the very popular “My Favourite Things” from the 1965 musical The Sound of Music. She chose to change the lyrics to reflect long life and old age.

I was reminded of it today as I photographed my roses, one of which was bedecked with pretty greenfly, and rather than Raindrops on Roses my head immediately went into musical mode as I attempted to update the words with a gardening theme, starting with the very obvious “Greenfly on Roses, and blackbirds on strawberries…”

My composition will have to wait until it is complete (ie more than one line), so in the meantime I am content to include the adapted lyrics by Julie.

Just Joey

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Cadillac’s and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things.
When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Korresia

Why is this even relevant here on my garden diary? Well, although I do like others to read my stories, primarily I write for myself. I sure hope they’ll give me iPad or tablet when I’m in the nursing home 2050 so I can look back on my gardening.

Start the conversation: Any tips for writing adapted version of a song? Any tips for moving greenfly to a neighbouring garden? Anything you’d like to share about your gardening or greenfly or roses?

Summary: Pádraig is the author of GrowWriteRepeat. He loves roses, musicals and new dental fittings. He also likes greenfly (as food for the good insects) but prefers them on other folks roses.

Pádraig,

4th June, 2020.

Sorbus Acuparia

I hope to care for these lovely trees for quite a while, and leave it to someone else to sit in their shade some fine day long in the future. He or she might even write about it.

Last week my local garden centre opened for the first time since late March, and I was anxious to join the queue. I bought two trees, and managed to get them home safely in the little Toyota. They are both Sorbus apucaria, commonly known as Rowan or Mountain Ash. One is planted to break the view of the gable end of Marion’s “Seomra”. It’s not a good time to plant a tree, but I will watch it very carefully to give it the care it will need until winter. The following two days gave the tree its first test. There was a Met Éireann Wind Warning in place and it proved to be remarkably accurate. The tree was buffeted over the entire two days, but survived. I had staked it correctly, yet I was amazed to notice that even though the tree was being blown to about 45 degrees, it was not damaged.I am reminded of how strong human beings can be when they are being tested by traumatic life events. What gives us this strength? In some cases, it may be in the genes, but I would think that much of our inner strength comes from the support of others.

There’s an old Irish saying that goes: “Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.” A rough translation is that we live and thrive by sheltering on the shadow (support) of others.

Finally, I do love a good quote. Someone who said something which others found to be worth writing down to pass on to others, that I in turn want to pass on to others. I normally use Goodreads as my source, so I searched for “tree”. My favourite one is:

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

I hope to care for these lovely trees for quite a while, and leave it to someone else to sit in their shade some fine day long in the future. He or she might even write about it.

Added few hours later:
I dedicate this tree to Romina Ashrafi, a young Iranian girl killed by her father, apparently by decapitation. Romina had run away from home due to threats and abuse from her father, and she was returned to her home by the authorities.

According to the neighbors, Romina knew that if she returned home, her life would be in danger. She had warned the police and judicial authorities and she was unwilling to go back, but the police returned her to her home anyway.

Romina had fallen in love with a boy in their city. Her father was arrested for honor killing and the investigations into her murder are ongoing.

According to the Sharia law, only the “blood owners” (the immediate family members) are allowed to demand execution for the murder of their loved one, therefore most honor killings go unpunished or with little punishment since the family will not demand the death sentence for another family member.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
About the author: Pádraig (also known as Pat) is the author of GrowWriteRepeat. He loves trees, Goodreads quotes and old Irish proverbs. Furthermore and also, he likes Met Eireann forecasts, writing again after a long rest and natural justice, but not sharia law hohour killings.
Pádraig, 27th May, 2020.

Marigold from 2016

This photograph goes way back to the summer of 2016. I cannot remember much about that summer but I remember taking this. It is one of my favourite photos. I think it’s because of the light and shadows. There are a few drops of early morning moisture to add to it, without in any way damaging the flower.
I looked back through my January photos and I thought a bit of colour is needed. This, of course, is a marigold, officially known as Calendula and was sown from seed. Time to grow it again as it is a wonderful plant to deter pests from vegetables.

Cheering Up My Monday: Shaggy Ink Cap

Last Thursday I cycled the off-road Waterford Greenway with my wife. We had a fantastic day and a very tasty lunch on the way. On our return cycle, we stopped to sit on a bench strategically placed to allow us to admire the stunning view of local hills, and while we sat, I noticed some mushrooms growing in the tall grass.

Coprinus comatus

Later, I put out an Instagram and Garden Tags request to help me identify this, and the results came back in double quick time.

“It’s Coprinus comatus”, says Ben.

Problem solved! Yet more information arrived via the internet wires and cables from the US, Italy and England. The common name is Shaggy Ink Cap, edible when young and fresh.

“In Italy we call them mazze di tamburo which means drum maces”, says Chantal. “When the hat is open (as in the back ones), it is cooked on the plate and then seasoned with oil and parsley.”

I was able to send some Irish language idioms back across the miles to my assistants, and I mentioned that the phrase for mushroom is “fás aon oiche”, which means one-night growth. Therefore, the circle of information is complete. The internet is now full, and is accepting no further data.

Sit with yourself: Do nothing, breathe and watch yourself.
After a while, you will feel a positive change inside.

Happy gardening, wherever you are!.

About the author: Páraig is the author of GrowWriteRepeat. He loves mushrooms and photographs of mushrooms. He also loves connecting with others far and near, but not while driving.

Beauty Berry Profusion

I think profusion is a very lovely word.
I had this beautiful shrub until the snow of March 2018. Unfortunately, along with 5 other plants, it died. I have added it once again to my wish list.
About the author: Páraig is the author of GrowWriteRepeat. He loves berried shrubs and snow. He loves lots of other things too! Like cycling, great movies such as Shawshank Redemption, but not hoovering.

Pádraig,

9th September 2018.