Tag Archives: gardening

Waiting…

12 Jan

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It’s a wet Sunday here in Ireland today. Just thought I’d post a few pics of Summer flowers to cheer us up as we wait for the gardening season to start. I find this time of year the longest part of Winter.  Up to Christmas we are busy with fairs and preparations for the festive season. Then suddenly it’s January and all is quiet…far to wet to work in the garden…a little early for planting seeds.

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What to do? We have been busy finishing things off in the house. The spare bedroom and our own bedroom are now decorated. The larder was painted and sorted as of yesterday. Today I processed the first of the Seville Oranges…a year’s supply of  marmalade by the end of the coming week.

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There are still a few things to be done in the conservatory.  Andy is putting a stove in there this week then a rejig of furniture and that will be done. There’s lots to be done outdoors but mostly fair weather jobs.

As I see plants budding my desire is to  get out there and get my hands in the soil once again.

But for now I must wait…

Garden work on hot Summer days.

8 Jun

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Hi folks! The big news is that we have a polytunnel. Yippee! We bought it from the Galway based Polytunnels Ireland. They arrived yesterday morning at 10.15. Started work at 10.30 and had the whole job done by 1.30. Yeah…that’s right…all done from scratch in 3 hours. Hardest working guys in seen in ages. They only stopped to drink water and an occasional few minutes in the shade. It was a really hot day… 27 celsius…so the plastic is really tight.

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Today was also very hot but I couldn’t resist starting to mulch in there. We will use the no-dig method to make the beds. First a good thick mulch of cardboard and newspapers…then the manure will go on…and lastly compost on top and it’s ready for planting.

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We now have 3 hugelkultur beds made. One with Onions…one with Black Tuscan Kale and the last one planted today with Peas. There’s nothing to beat home-grown Peas. These are Daniel O’Rourke… an old Irish variety. I shall also save seeds from these at the end of the season.

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Andy was feeling the effects of the sun today so he chose a job under shade. He sorted out all the wood from the Poplar tree we had felled some weeks ago. The big logs were put in a big pile to season and all the small branches he sawed up and put in the fuel shed. In the country one always has to think ahead to Winter fuel supplies. This lot should be ready to use by September.

Temperatures are set to return to 19 celsius by Monday.A  better temperature for tunnel work.

Summer days at Flynn’s Cottage.

6 Jun

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The weather has been fab for over  a week now. Temperatures of 22 c every day. Housework is neglected and all the time is spent in the garden.

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All the trees on the lane are now in full leaf…everything looks lush and healthy. The dappled shade gives shelter at the hottest time of the day.

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Yesterday was World Environment Day and to mark it we planted more trees on the laneway. You wouldn’t think any more would fit but we managed to squeeze in about 10 more trees.  Some were bought as bareroot while others…

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like this little Oak were grown from seed or in this case an acorn which is of course the seed of the Oak. Hopefully it will stand here proud and strong many years after we have left our present incarnations.

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In the pond Bogbean is in flower. This little water loving native flowers from April to July and is the food plant of the Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillars.

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The Bumble Bees love it too. There seems to be lots of Bumbles this year…haven’t seen any Honey Bees though. According to the Irish Beekeepers Association 76% of Irish Honey Bees died over the long Winter. It really is a serious worldwide problem…every third morsel of food we eat is dependent on the Bees for pollination. If we don’t stop the environmental damage we are causing, the Bees and many other insects will be extinct. We do our best to provide a little natural oasis here but when you see the neighbours spraying poison on a few weeds in the yard despair begins to set in.  I am however an optimist by nature so that doesn’t  last for long.

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Andy has been busy cutting away Snowberry and Ivy from around the trees. It’s amazing how much space the spreading Snowberry takes up. When he was finished we planted a Damson and Buddliea here…also some Comfrey which can be just chopped and dropped in situ to feed the growing plants. Comfrey has a deep taproot so it brings up nutrition from deep in the earth. This permaculture technique is one I have used for many years…it works really well.

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It was a revelation when the Ivy was cleared from these Hawthorns. Lovely evening sunlight flooded in and we had a clear view through to the Ash plantation beyond.

Here’s hoping these wonderful Summer days continue for a few more weeks.

As Spring slides gently into Summer.

29 May

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It was a beautiful day today, warm and sunny, an ideal day for working outdoors. I’m not a very early riser but I was up at 7.30 today, woken by the feeling that is was going to be one of those perfect days.

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The garden is green and fresh and feels so vibrant right now. One can almost see things growing. The old cottage garden favourite Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine has burst into bloom. It all over the garden in shades of blues, pinks and creams. Luckily I like it very much.

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The Tulips are still giving some colour too. These are late partly because of the cold Spring but also because they were planted late,  a bargain buy in the January sales.

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Most of the day was spent working on this bed. I planted about 30 plants in here, all grown from cuttings from my old garden. The exception being the Maple planted at the top, the dogs are admiring it here, this was a birthday present from my Mother.

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This is the same bed about a month ago. A good transformation I think. After everything was planted, I mulched the bed with wilted grass clippings. These will keep the weeds down, hold the moisture and feed the plants as it rots down. I watered everything when the Sun went down, first with water and then with a manure tea. That will feed everything and also get the soil microbes active.

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As I was planting I hit rock a few times. Further investigation revealed some lovely flat stones. These will be used in another part of the garden as stepping stones.

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Sitting on the verandah in the cool of the evening and I’m still enchanted by the day and the lovely way the long Spring is sliding nicely into Summer. Hopefully there will be many more days like this one.

SOS….Save our Seeds.

26 Apr

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Last night as I was perusing through Facebook, as one does, I came across a post on pending EU legislation that would make it illegal for seed to be sold that wasn’t  on an approved list. It would also be illegal to grow or swap seeds not on the list. Not always believing what I read on Facebook I did a bit of frantic follow up research and sadly I have to report that it’s true.

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“EU is preparing legislation that will make it illegal to grow crops that are not on a list of approved seeds. A list that currently is 60% dominated by big corporations like Monsanto, AsrtraZenecar and others. The pros list are basically only hybrids, which means you can not take next year’s seed from this crop. Furthermore, it will not only be forbidden to sell other seeds than those already mentioned but also to grow, “File sharing” in the area of seeds will become a criminal act.” (Section of the Avaaz petition against this legislation).

Please sign the petition. This is a devestating piece of legislation for anyone who cares about food sovereignity, growing or having access to non GM food. For have no doubt, that’s what this is about, the domination of corporations over our food choices. http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_dont_accept_this_Let_us_keep_our_seeds_EU/?tTLFjbb

If this is passed it will make criminals of all who wish to grow home saved seeds. It will be a criminal act to swap saved seeds with your friends and neighbours.

Please sign the petition. Write to the European Commisioners. This legislation goes before the Commissioners on May 6th. Not much time!!

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.

 

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