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.

Geranium: An Excellent Garden Plant

I have bought geraniums most years, for as long as I can remember because they are one of my favourite flowering plants. I tried growing them from seed a few years ago, but they worked out quite expensive as packets usually contain only a small number of seeds. Additionally, the seed is classed as not easy yo germinate.

This year I bought three potted Geraniums, and they have provided very good colour from early June until now. I have moved them from their new large stone pot into the glasshouse in order to prolong flowering, and to protect them from the cold winter. I will watch out for any lingering whitefly or mould, and quickly nip it in the bud.

They are easy to grow, and easy to care for. Additionally, they are easy to propagate from stem cuttings. I checked for plant information on the RHS website, which is my online reference of choice, and here’s what it has to say:

Family: GeraniaceaeGenus: Pelargonium can be perennials, sub-shrubs or shrubs, sometimes succulent and mostly evergreen, with palmately lobed or pinnately divided leaves and clusters of slightly irregular, 5-petalled flowers

How to grow:

Grow in fertile well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Remove spent flowers. To overwinter, grow small plants in late summer from cuttings or cut back old plants by one third and lift for storage in frost-free place to repot in spring when growth resumes

Propagation: Take softwood cuttings in summer and overwinter plants in frost free conditions or take softwoodcuttings in spring

How to care

Pruning: Deadhead regularly

Pests: Vine weevil, leafhoppers, caterpillars, thrips, fungus gnats and Aphids can be troublesome.Aphids are generally more problematic on over-wintered plants

Diseases: Foot and root rots can be a problem in wet soils. Grey moulds are often troublesome in wet conditions. A virus can often be a problem where cultivars are maintained by cuttings. Pelargonium rust can be damaging to zonal pelargoniums and associated hybrids.

Pádraig, 10th November, 2016.

Ugly Looking Cactus

Cactus, unknown variety. Apricot / orange flower

This might look like an ugly fecker, but it’s definitely not. It flowered during June, July and August and the tiny flowers were the most beautiful light orange / apricot. There were approximately ten flowers at any given time, each one a tiny 5mm across. It’s a cactus, but I don’t know the variety.

My new Tamron camera lens arrived from Hong Kong today, having been delayed while Irish Customs took a peek at it. Michael Moonan’s civil servants calculated the duty at €33.00, and I’m happy to be contributing a little bit to his pre-budget coffers. Why? Because, I had purchased the item on eBay at approx 40% of Irish retail price, and even well below best price on Done Deal new or second hand. I had been looking for something like this for the past few months, and now that it’s arrived, I’ll be hoping for some nice close up shots. Stay tuned.

Tamron AF70-300 F4/5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2

I don’t really understand all the numbers, but it does what I want.

Pádraig, 29th September 2016.

Lady Rozanne in Blue

17th September 2016

While many summer plants are very much past their best, the gorgeous Geranium Rozanne is flowering still.

The fuchsia is losing lower leaves and while the patio containers are looking good with unusual combination of Busy Lizzie and Sweet Peas, it’s Rozanne that steals the show this week.

Geranium Rozanne is one of the top plants recommended by the RHS, and is merited with many awards.

Pádraig, 17th September 2016.

Fuchsias

I have a few new fuchsias to add to the collection.

1. Fuchsia Mrs. Popple, (x2) probably one of the most popular. I planted them temporarily on one of the vegetable beds, to be planted in position during the autumn.
Mrs Popple’ is a vigorous upright shrub with small, dark green leaves. Flowers single, with bright red sepals and tube and violet-purple petals, as described on the RHS website. Here’s the link.

2. Fuchsia “Genii”. Again, I planted this temporarily on one of the vegetable beds, to be planted in position during the autumn.

Description on the RHS site: Genii’ is an erect medium-sized deciduous shrub with yellow-green foliage. Flowers single, small, with narrow, up-curved cerise sepals, slender cerise tube and reddish-purple petals. Here’s the link.
I took cuttings from an established Mrs. Popple recently, and will likely repeat in a few weeks, together with “Genii”
Pádraig, 3rd September 2016.