Diary of the Plague Year: Day 90 13 June 2020: Transplanting

Rain. At last. Woken in the night.

Decided to transplant the cornus kousa, which has been looking more and more unhappy in the gale force winds lately, and replaced it with a cheap and cheerful dwarf cherry from the pound shop.

The cornus went into the orchard by the hedge and already is looking much happier. Time will tell. The cornus is billed as able to sustain wind but I don’t think these categories allow for the West Cork variety.

And managed to snap my spade in the process.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 87 10 June 2020: New Garden Plants

Rain at last.

New plants in the garden:

Astilbe Chinensis “Glitter and Glamour”
Astilbe “Happy Spirit”
Astrantia “Hadspen Blood” Masterwort
Geranium “Daily Blue”
Veronicastrum virginicum “Red Arrows”
Aruncus “Misty Lace”

Worm Wood Artemisa “Powis Castle”
Catananche Caerulea Cupid’s Dart “Amor Blue”
Sisyrinchium californicum
Heuchera “Black Beauty” Coral Flower
Salvia nemerosa “Sensation Pink”
Salvia Concolor

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 80 3 June 2020: A North wind

After a week of heatwave, a riotous North wind has arrived. It is rampaging through the garden and luckily I staked the new Delphinium I bought yesterday. The wind turns the leaves on the trees and they shine with a silvery light in the sun. The last time we had a North wind like this was last March when all the leaves on my new trees were burnt. This wind feels relatively warm in comparison so I hope the trees won’t be damaged.

Read a bit of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” – we had been asked to find some dialogue that had had a profound effect on us and, having not read it for 3o years, have been lured into reading it again.

The first para:

“Our is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over he obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 69 23 May 2020: New Plants


Papaver Royal Wedding. Will die back and reappear in autumn. Perennial

Verbena Buenos Aires. Hardy Perennial

Bell Flower Campanula poscharskyana Alpine. Evergreen.

False Lily of the Valley Maianthemum bifolium. Spreading perennial.

Globe Thistle Echinops bannaticus “Blue Globe”. Perennial.

Dragon’s Head Dracocephalum grandiflorum. Perennial

Erigeron Glaucus “Sea Breeze”. Hardy perennnial.

Digitalis Purpurea F1 Dalmatian White. Hardy perennial.

Lamium maculatum “White Nancy”. Spotted Dead Nettle.

Lawn Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile Treneague.

Catmint Nepeta “Six Hill Giant”



Fountain Grass

Cherry Hedelfinger


Viburnum Tinus (Laurustinus)

Magnolia Stellata

Lavandula Augustifolia Hidcote Blue

Eucryphia cordifolia Ulmo

Drimys lanceolata “Red Spice”

Euphorbia amy. Purpurea

Rose Blanc Double de Coubert

Iris Bearded Iris English Cottage

Lonicera caerulea Duet

Cotinus Royal Purple

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 54 8 May 2020: The Hedge Trimmers are in Action

Before and after the hedge trimmers did their worst

The hedge trimmers are now my favourite toy. The brambles had all been treated about two years ago with some kind of weedkiller and all the dead branches looked pretty hideous. I bought the hedge trimmers specially for this as I had tried to use secateurs which were just useless and the only result was that I got completely lacerated. I have found some lovely ferns growing, foxgloves and two lovely wild roses. I am hoping that all the wild flowers, brambles and ferns will be rejuvenated. The view from my kitchen window is also much clearer.

R came over with some lysimachia nummularia aurens known to us peasants as Golden Creeping Jenny. Yay! Thrilled and have just planted and watered them in my large urn.

Although it is only 5.30 I am stopping as I got eaten alive at about this time by about a thousand tiny insects. My head was a mass of lumps last night from the bites. Most alluring.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 48 2 May 2020: the death of my gardening jeans

My trusty gardening jeans have finally come to the end ….

Finished mowing the path and sowed lawn seed. Unwrapped the new cherry and pear trees. Oh dear. The roots … what a sad sight. Well, if nothing else I have learnt that gardening is sometimes the triumph of optimism over deep misgivings and stark reality. In they go. The cherry is by a sheltered spot next to the wall by the gate. The pear is in the Dingly Dell in place of my much-lamented Magnolia Laevifolia. Presently, I am on the hunt for Golden Creeping Jenny Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’. I am trying to remember the Latin names as garden centres, rather snottily sometimes, do not recognise their vulgar names.

Had Tea by Skype with D, P, S and L. All in Sussex except for me. They are planning a visit once this is all over.

Other than that had a very lazy day, cutting out cardboard circles for my trees and shrubs as anti-grass devices. Feeling daunted by the new hedge clippers.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 47 1 May 2020: On the back roads

May Day.

As it is such a beautiful day I took a roundabout route home from Clon today and stopped to photograph this house. The overgrown, secretive front gate. The birds on the gateposts are owls.

The back roads were deserted and the bluebells were blowing. Their colours vary, sometimes an intense matt lavender in the shade of trees and after rain an electric, varnished blue. You only have to look at a sunny sky and back again at bluebells to understand the impossibility of describing blue.

A magical house on the back roads

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 43 27 April 2020: Cardboard

Another grey and cloudy day. I had vowed not to go into the garden thinking I should get on with some work in the shed. Instead, I started going through the cardboard I would normally recycle but at the mo we are able to only recycle household waste. I don’t want the cardboard going into landfill so decided to cut it up to put round the trees to prevent grass growth. I then piled grass cuttings on top as mulch. I am going to cut up the smaller bits of card and mix it up for the compost heap.

Ended up trimming all the hedges as well. It is impossible to go into the garden to do just one quick job. Very tempted to get an electric hedge trimmer for all the dead brambles along the back wall …

I wish it would actually rain – this is the forecast.

Corylopsis Sinensis

A not very clear photo of my corylopsis. I wanted a picture of the leaves which seem to unfurl like butterflies emerging from the crysalis. It is a Chinese tree – Corylopsis Sinensis. It was very badly burned and battered by the freak North-easter we had about this time last year. It will be very interesting to see how it recovers this year. All the trees were badly affected, the leaves were burnt brown – it was horrible

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 41 25 April 2020: Cole slaw

I had some leftover veg in the fridge so decided to make cole slaw:

A quarter of a head of red cabbage
A head of fennel
Two carrots
One small onion
Dried dill
Greek yoghourt
Salt and pepper

Chop all the veg into small pieces, add the mayonnaise, greek yoghourt, salt, pepper and dill and hey presto a really delicious cole slaw.

Fresh dill would be better but in these straightened times ….

Apart from cooking and cleaning – I cleaned behind my fridge today and surprised a large spider who looked very at home and most put out at being disturbed – I have also started a writing course. The course has been organised by Cork County Council Arts Office and is free. Novelist Denyse Woods is running it and we have been set our first assignment. We could choose to write 200 words on either of the following:

1.  The J-cloth had seen better days …

2.  Apart from the staff, there were three other people in the library….

I chose the J-cloth naturally.

I would be interested to know if choosing an inanimate object to write about as opposed to the human is psychologically revealing in any way.  It probably means I am a psychopath, this seems to be the latest buzzword and all roads seem to lead to psychopathy these days.

Anyway, I got thoroughly carried away and ended up writing a short story in the end. Based on the J-cloth.

In other news, my lovely little Bosch strimmer died on me last autumn so in a moment of madness I ordered a new one. It is a Worx cordless strimmer and so far so good. It did a great job in the orchard and now I just need to tidy up a few overgrown corners. The only drawback is that the battery takes aeons to re-charge but on the upside you can use the same battery for all other Worx tools – very tempted to get a hedge trimmer now.  The instructions were in the usual hieroglyphics. It was like deciphering the Rosetta stone trying to work out how to put it together.

Some outstanding garden jobs:

1.  Make inventory of all plants – I have a chronic memory for plant names and so before it’s too late …

2.  Trim hedges.

3.  Cut dead brambles from back wall.

4.  Weed flower garden and plant out all pots with cuttings.

5.  Re-seed lawn and path through back meadow.

6.  Put out bird bath.

7.  Create insect log hotel.

8.  Clear outside perimeter wall.

The meadow was the main task and now that is out of the way …