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The Autumn colour show.

23 Oct

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I love the colours of this time of year…Summer’s pastels are gone to be replaced by vibrant reds, yellows and oranges.  While we admire the colour show there’s a lot going on within the trees, shrubs and flowers at this time of year. Before they go into hibernation plants reabsorb the valuable nutrients from the leaves. Chlorophyll… the pigment that that gives leaves their colour is one of the first nutrients to be reabsorbed…which is how we get this wonderful colour show.

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On the lane the Ash and Hawthorn have already lost their leaves. These will be collected and left to break down over the Winter for use in the garden next year.  Free soil nourishment from Nature.

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These Gooseberries which are being brought on in the polytunnel have turned a beautiful shade of pink. They are cuttings I took in the walled garden at Lissadell 2 years ago. Delicious black Gooseberries on a hot Summer day prompted me to sneak a few cuttings.  They will be planted out in their final position next Spring.

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Cocks Comb Amaranth has been brought indoors to dry…still vibrant pink after the long Summer.

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It’s seeds have been saved to start the cycle all over again next year.

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Sycamore looks so lovely in it’s temporary Autumn dress of yellow.

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Guelder Rose has lost most of it’s leaves but the fabulous bright berries are shining bright like premature Christmas baubles.

The name Guelder comes from Gueldersland…a Dutch province…where the tree was first cultivated. Apparently the berries are edible when cooked. Lots of sugar or honey is needed to mask the peculiar taste.  They were used to make cough medicines in the past. Don’t think I’ll bother with those!

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The circular leaf of the Darmera is just spectacular…so many colours in there. Soon it will die down completely…ready to reemerge fresh and new next Spring. The cycle of life to begin anew.

A perfect Summer morning.

26 Jun

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I was up early this morning…woken by the birds and the bright sunshine. Even though it was perfectly still there were no midges about. The smell of new mown grass still perfumed the air.

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I love how the freshly cut grass makes everything look nice and fresh. The cut grass is a valuable resource for the garden…we use it for mulching around plants and also add some to the compost.

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The dew was still on the plants when I was rambling round the garden. With only light canvas shoes on I soon had wet feet from the dewy grass.

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Masses of perennial Geraniums in flower now. These were here when we moved. I do like them but they need breaking up with some other plants…contrasting colours. Any ideas anyone?  Lots of work to be done here next Winter methinks…of course shopping for plants to be done first. Lovely!

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I love the tiny little flowers on this Geranium.

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The bed I planted up last month has come on very well. Nothing grew for a while but then we had heavy rain and everything took off. That’s what makes Ireland so lush and green…the life giving rain. Ireland wouldn’t be Ireland with a hot sunny climate.

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In the new bed I notice the Tree Lupin is coming into flower. Nothing special about it…a fairly common plant. However…this one is special to me because I grew it from seed. I never tire of that feeling of watching something you’ve sown as a tiny seed grow into a mature plant. Magic!

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Lovely shadows created as the sun filters through the trees on the eastern boundary…

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and the pond is so still…even the little creatures that live here are still resting. If you look carefully you can see a Newt in the pic. Lots of them here.

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As I head indoors this freshly emerged Poppy catches my eye. Couldn’t miss this striking colour I suppose!

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Back indoors I have a cuppa whilst admiring this lovely bouquet I received yesterday from another cottage garden.

A perfect Summer morning at Flynn’s Cottage.

As Solstice approaches…

17 Jun

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As the longest day approaches everything in Nature is full of vitality and bursting with energy. The weather is good… not as hot as our recent heatwave which suits me…and probably most Irish people better. I don’t think we are genetically disposed to very hot weather…most of us wilt when it gets above 23 or 24c.

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Cherries are starting to swell on the trees. It’s looking good for Apple and Plum harvests too…and of course the Blackcurrants never let us down. Even in the recent bad Summers the Blackcurrants came up trumps. The seem to like the conditions here in the north-west. Lots of freezing, jamming and chutney making to be done later it seems.

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In the polytunnel the first bed is made.

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The first thing to be planted was a Mexican Midget tomato. It already has flowers so shouldn’t be too long before we get lovely little sweet Tomatoes here. Several varieties of Lettuce, Basil, Rocket, Chervil and Dill were planted plus 3 more Tomato plants. That’s that bed full…time to get another one constructed.

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In the front garden Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus)  is in flower beside the pond. Not one of my favourite shrubs but I can’t see us taking it out either…but then again maybe we will. Andy isn’t a big fan of it either.

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Within the pond the Water Lily has been teasing us for days with it’s semi-open blooms.

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Under the shelter of the verandah  the Clematis has burst into flower.  Not the dark purple I’d like but still quite pretty. It’s one of the plants the previous owners planted here. Maybe I will replace it in the Winter with Clematis jackmanii my absolute favourite Clematis.

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On the lane the Hawthorn flowers are just going over. Soon they will make little Haws which will light up the hedgerows with their vibrant red come Autumn.  The cycle of the year continues…as it always does.

From bygone days…

15 Apr

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A neighbour visited last night and brought with him some old photos of people in the locality. These would all have been taken in the fifties in and around Frenchpark. How things change, black and white photographs, everyone sitting in line for the photo very formally. No instant look at the photos either like we can now. These would have been taken into town on the weekly visit, left at the shop and picked up the following week.

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The woman sitting on the ledge here was our visitors Mother. I think the machine behind the horse was for turning hay. As a small child I remember my Grandfather using one of these in the seemingly long hot days of Summer. Were the days really like that then or is the child’s view through rose tinted spectacles? I wonder…

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Three pretty girls all dressed up in their Sunday best. Everyone had what was called their “good clothes” which they wore to Mass and all day on Sunday. For the men it was always a suit and tie, for the women a pretty dress and coat or a skirt suit which for some reason, in Tipperary anyway, was always called a costume. I wonder if these three were headed off to Mass or on a day out somewhere. Of course visiting friends and relations was always done on a Sunday too so maybe they were going visiting.

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This picture is a bit blurred bit it gives an idea of the typical Grandmother figure of the time. Always dressed in black, a figure to be respected by all. This woman had the reputation of always having a smile on her face, she must have been happy with her lot.

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Last but not least another one of smiling Granny. I wonder if these two lived in the same house or was it visiting day? A happy day anyway.

I love these old photos, they bring one back to a time long gone, a time when as a very small child I probably had little appreciation of what we actually had back then. Makes me sound ancient but I’m not, to me anyway, I was born in 1958. My Grannies, both of them also wore the black. One of them died in 1981 the other in 1983. Of course not everything was perfect in those days. Years later we realise that sexual abuse was rampant in the church. Unmarried Mothers, as they were called, were often ostracised by their families, sent away, often never to return. At that time everything was swept under the carpet but thankfully the truth came out in recent years.

Many thanks to our friend Hubert for giving permission to share these photographs on my blog.

 

 

All in a day’s work…

9 Apr

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Yesterday was a nice sunny day if a bit windy. Andy was away for the day so I decided to have a clean up of this area near the back porch. First to go was this Willow planted in the middle of the yard.

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This area is south facing so it gets full sun, an ideal spot for a plant display. The dogs got the idea I was making bunk beds for their sunbathing. Sorry dudes!

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Since we moved, two months ago now, the plants had been in this east facing spot beside the shed. Not ideal, especially with the fierce east winds we had for almost all of March.

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The dogs stayed in their sunspot as the space filled up with plants I brought down in the wheelbarrow, although Lettie is looking a bit worried in this pic.

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So glad the succulents survived the move and the hard Winter. I do love succulents…they are so resilient. Look at those tiny Daffodils or are they Narcissus? I don’t know the difference! Anyone know what the difference is? All my books are still in boxes so I can’t look it up. I could Google it I suppose…..

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By evening the area was looking better and I’m sure the plants will enjoy the new position. Still loads more plants to move but that’s for another day. It will be a while yet before plants go into the beds. Things to take out, move about and all that sort of thing.

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Evening time, table and chairs in position. All we need now is the sun to keep on shining and we can sit and admire the plants.

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When Andy got back he moved some stones that I just couldn’t budge.

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He just lifted them effortlessly…and smiled annoyingly all the while…

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as the stone was positioned beside the new path.

 

An at home St. Patrick’s Day.

18 Mar

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Yesterday was a beautiful if cold day. We decided to have a stay at home day. I have seen so many St. Patrick’s Day parades that I didn’t feel as if I missed out. The morning was beautifully sunny and we spent the some of the time enjoying the heat of the sun in the micro climate in the conservatory. That’s my Mum in the pic, she is staying with us for a couple of weeks.

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After lunch we decided to restock the wood pile in the shed.

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Yes! That’s my Mum, Lizzie, 77 this year, chopping the logs.

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Andy did some chopping too.

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Lizzie and I piled the logs in the wheelbarrow….

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and I wheeled them up to the shed.

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A cold week is forecast, 4-5 degrees C, so it’s nice to have a store of chopped logs.

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After all that it was time for tea and cake. I didn’t bake it myself but it was locally made, bought from Patricia’s Homebakes in the local town of Boyle. I haven’t sussed baking in the Rayburn yet.  The cake was Coffee and Walnut and it was delicious!

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In the evening we had a nice walk through the forest behind the house, back by the road and up the lane to the house. A nice circular route.

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Still time to enjoy a swing before heading indoors and watching the Dublin parade on the telly. A full enjoyable day without moving from home.

The Garden.

10 Mar

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To finish the tour I will show you the garden  today. Much work to be done here. Even though the the house was lived in up to the time we bought it it seems that interest in the garden had been lost. The land including the lane amounts to three quarters of an acre. Plenty for us now as we don’t have any animals apart from our two dogs. It is nicely laid out in beds and there is a good flow to the garden.

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The old chicken run will be taken down as we don’t plan to get chickens. I’ve been through the pain of losing them to Fox  and Mink too many times. Actually the last inhabitants here were taken by Foxy Loxy.  This is where we are planning to put veg beds, should be nice and fertile from the chooks. Looks like it was used for growing some time ago as the outline of the bed is still visible. The conifers behind are on our neighbours land and they are being cut down in the near future.

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Lots of  Blackcurrants  and other fruits here. They need pruning but I wonder if it’s too late now? I don’t want to cut off the fruit buds. Maybe I should leave them until after fruiting.  What do you think?

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There is a good composting  area with lots of compost in there ready to go. Yippee!!

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In the back garden there is a pond, don’t know what the plants are, time will tell. Lots of Frogs in there at the moment havin their annual orgy.

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At the bottom of the back garden is Ivy House, the previous owner was a woodworker and he made the plaque with the name. This is the guest accommodation…eventually…at the moment it is full of our boxes. Alongside this is a workshop.

So as you can see there’s lots of work. The plan is to tidy up for now, see what comes up and then make any changes in the Autumn. Well that’s the plan anyway…lets see what happens!!

Bridget x.

The Cottage.

8 Mar

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The cottage was originally just 3 rooms like so many of the old ones were. The previous owners, who were Dutch, built the conservatory extension to the front plus another extension on the back which has bathroom, utility, hallway and a second bedroom.

They purchased the house in1998 and renovated it from derelict. 

The name Flynn’s Cottage comes from the people who lived here before them. Two brothers and two sisters lived here, none of them married and so the Flynn’s died out from here. I think it’s a little mark of respect to them to leave the name.

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This is the back of the cottage. Looking a bit untidy at the moment but that will gradually be sorted.

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I like this covered sitting area  just outside the conservatory. Ideal for the Irish climate. Outside dining without getting wet.

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The centre of the house, the original three roomed cottage, is kept cosy by the Rayburn. Great for cooking too.

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Today was wet here so I spent the day mostly indoors. The kitchen smelt of Summer as I used the last of 2012’s Strawberries to make jam. Roll on Summer 2013. Hopefully the New Zealand weather forecaster gets it right and it will be a good un. Fingers crossed!

Bye for now,

Bridget x.

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