Six on Saturday – Lismore Castle Gardens

It has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds.

There’s been some Autumnal giddiness this week along with serious work in the garden and homework in my head. I am in the process of moving my website from WordPress to Hosting Ireland, but I asked the team leader to allow me time to get my Six-on-Saturday up and out. No problem, she said. Amid all this ticking of boxes and following my nose, I had some John Cleese moments in the aftermath of my visit to Lismore Castle Gardens last Sunday. More of that later níos déanaí. My six (plus one) this week comes from the lovely garden in Lismore, twenty kilometres away.

1. Aon

The original castle was started in 1170 and I’m pretty sure they grew a few beans and bushes, along with thorns and truffles from time to time, but the first real attempt to add a garden befitting the castle caisleán commenced in the 1605. My meander through the present gardens, upper and lower, was the highlight of my year. That’s really saying something! I lost myself moving from one section to another through narrow maze-like alleys, eyes ahead in anticipation, moving from one century to the next.

2. Dó

I came upon this erect grass everywhere and I really do want it. Can anyone help me out?

3. Trí

This is the Avenue of Trees na gCrann. one of several throughout, most likely added by some new owner. Speaking of owners, it has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds. Since the 1600’s this has been just one the very many large estates owned by the Duke of Devonshire. The current Duke is Peregrine Cavendish, but I was unable to meet him because of my other Sunday commitments.

4. Ceathar

As I neared the castle walls I sat to enjoy a Hamlet moment, I was joined momentarily by a hedgehog. It crept slowly out of view as I admired the bigger picture.

5. Cúig

Very impressed I was by the many secluded nooks. This one would be ideal for a picnic or romantic moments. I had neither of these but I did sit to take stock of life.

6. Sé

Voila! Here’s the back entrance, the coffee-and-apple-pie café and the newly-established art exhibition gallery. The café was very tempting but the gallery was closed. I saw someone looking down on me from a window, so I assumed an interested gaze at a tree down to my right and pointed the camera away. Later, my thoughts turned to Rapunzel.

One for the road…

The back lawn is spirit-level level, but as I photographed part of the castle from the approaching bank, I needed to shift my weight to my right foot cos. Accordingly, the building is leaning. The builders of banks and castles could not have known at the time that this would cause first-world issues. An image of the Rapunzel in Pisa lingered with me.

That’s my short account of my first visit to these majestic gardens. I enjoyed it so much that I will save up for a season ticket. The gardens will open again in March next year, all being well with the world, so I will have some time to save slowly.

Further Study & Giddinesss

I did mention giddiness at the outset. In fact, it persisted until Wednesday, by which time I had produced a few fun items… photo edits, a tongue-in-cheek article and seven tweets. I’m told I’d do Twitter a great service by not bothering.

Just shocking! Read about it HERE.

Wouldn’t you just love to visit many other majestic gardens or castles from around the World? England, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator.

SOS World Tour

Read all about it and follow this week’s gardeners’ gardens. You may join in free gratis, saor in aisce. Ireland has several keen enthusiasts, and my County Waterford is headed up by An Irish Gardener and myself. That’s it for this week. Stay safe, enjoy your garden and garden reading, keep your distance and wash your hands. I’ll be back next week so until then, slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

17th October 2020.

Hyssop and Cavendish

Agastache is also known as Hyssop and has many medicinal, herbal and culinary uses.

Marion’s cycling group are known as G5. I’m going to suggest some hyssup oil for them. In the coffee! Hyssop is known also as Ysup, Herbe de Joseph, and Herbe Sacré. Great for cyclists in appropriate doses.

Lismore Castle is owned by the Duke of Devonshire. No connection to the Hyssop family. Due to other commitments, I was unable to meet him. The current 12th Duke is Peregrine Cavendish. The family seat is at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and the heir is Lord Burlington (William Cavendish), who is regularly in Lismore. According to regulations the heir must be male. There’s also the important matter of legitimacy.

Keep an eye out for the Hyssop…

Music © Back home by  Winter Foe

Pádraig,

14th October 2020.

Six on Saturday – Fading Light & Black Gold

Today is World Mental Health Day. I received a notification on my phone during the week reminding me of a short piece I wrote four years ago today. I thought and thought (while planting peas and composting compost) about how I might link WMHD to things going on sa gháirdín ar chúl an tí. The 100 Word Challenge linked above is also added as text at the end of this article. This may sound very confusing, but I do hope you’ll be able to get past the fog.

Monday

Days are shortening and that means nights are longer. Yin and yang. It’s a time of the year when people’s mental health may be affected by lower levels of light. Studies suggest getting outside more often. Today, I did get out and I started the Patio Pot makeover. By 2:25pm it was time for me to have a late lunch. My recommendation today is to do your best to get things in balance.

Tuesday

Getting outside is one important part of self-care. But the trick is to do it over and over again. With this in mind, I added a few finishing touches. The bird-feeder will bring me great joy over the months ahead. Close comparison between this photograph and yesterday’s shows that there are four minutes less daylight. What words of advice would I give to anyone struggling today? Watch the birds!

Wednesday

I got out again on Wednesday just to top up my vitamin D levels. Apparently, this vitamin is important in regulating mood. To be sure, by 3:02pm my mood was upbeat as the Patio Pot feature is almost finished. In reality though, chun an fhírinne a rá, I’ll keep adjusting it every few weeks. Speaking of adjustments, there’s an extra four minutes of darkness since yesterday. In the Northern Hemisphere we are slowly tilting away from the sun. Mantra for today: get out there, even if you do have to wrap up more.

Thursday

Just after midday, I fortified myself with coffee and sugar. I’m advised that coffee is not ideal to regulate My Mental Mood, but hey… life is for living! I had spent several hours finishing the glasshouse shelving, planting peas outside and shredding apple tree branches for the compost heap. My advice today is to do what makes you happy.

Friday

There’s a side we present publicly and another we present only to ourselves. In light of that, here’s my messy composting corner, being outed publicly. I accept also the messy corners of my mind. Look on the bright side… this heap of rubbish will transform to “black gold”.  The World Health Organisation has solid advice about self-care. Small things make a big difference. Here’s my tip for today: Limit screen time.  There is an off button. Doing this may allow time for reflection and acceptance of your private thoughts.

Saturday

I’m late uploading my garden thoughts as I wanted to get a photograph watermarked with today’s details. Today is the day. It’s World Mental Health Day. I do hope it’s a good day for you. In the past I’ve been affected with seasonal depression, yet strangely mine appears in April. We are all different. I have good coping strategies in place and I know that they work. Gardening and writing work well for me. Then, I like cycling, reading, cooking one new meal each month (sometimes very successfully, I’m told!), meeting friends for coffee & sugar, meeting friends for no coffee, and lots of other little pleasures. For me, life is very good and while I’m grateful, my thoughts go out today to those who are struggling. Would I have some words of comfort today?

  1. People who lift you up are a blessing. Stick close to them, particularly when you just feel like being alone.
  2. Don’t get caught up in small details such as noticing that since last Monday there is less daylight here in South East Ireland amounting to 18 minutes.
  3. Get your hands into the earth.
7:49, 10-10-20

100 Word Challenge October 2016

Could I impart even a very small amount of my enthusiasm for gardening in 100 words? (20 used thus far).

World Mental Health day is on October 10th. Can gardening help with mental health? I say a resounding YES. Here’s my top 3 thoughts:

  • A good garden MAY have some weeds. Akin to ill-health, weeds remind me of life’s struggles. The trick is to ensure that the flowers dominate.
  • I frequently see one small job that needs doing, but after an hour of pottering about I have lost myself in harmony with the earth.
  • Gardening is my therapy of choice.

End of 100-word challenge.

“I am intrigued by writers who garden and gardeners who write. The
pen and the trowel are not interchangeable, but seem often linked.”
Marta McDowell (and adopted by GrowWriteRepeat).

100 Word Challenge 2016

Why not take a look at what my gardening friends are showing this Saturday by visiting Jon The Propagator? “Six on Saturday. Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything, you decide.” You’ll find details about how to participate there too. And now it’s goodbye from me, but the story continues next week. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

10th October 2020. WMHD.

Six on Saturday – Fading Light & Mental Health

Today is World Mental Health Day. I received a notification on my phone during the week reminding me of a short piece I wrote four years ago today. Having looked through it, I feel that it’s worth copying directly. I thought and thought (while planting peas and composting compost) about how I might link WMHD to things going on sa gháirdín ar chúl an tí. The said article is at the end of this article, which may sound very confusing.

Could I impart even a very small amount of my enthusiasm for gardening in 100 words? (20 used thus far).


For easier browsing, why not take a look at what my gardening friends are showing this Saturday by visiting Propagator Jon? You’ll find details about how to participate there too. And now it’s goodbye from me, but the story continues next week. Slán go fóill.

World Mental Health day is on October 10th. Can gardening help with mental health? I say a resounding YES. Here’s my top 3 thoughts:

  • A good garden MAY have some weeds. Akin to ill-health, weeds remind me of life’s struggles. The trick is to ensure that the flowers dominate.
  • I frequently see one small job that needs doing, but after an hour of pottering about I have lost myself in harmony with the earth
  • Gardening is my therapy of choice

End of 100-word challenge.

“I am intrigued by writers who garden and gardeners who write. The
pen and the trowel are not interchangeable, but seem often linked.”
Marta McDowell (and adopted by GrowWriteRepeat).

100 Word Challenge 2016

Pádraig,

Date

Happy Wife Policy

Until I retired in 2013 I had lost interest in my garden. The love of gardening that was there 30 years ago vanished amid the stress of work.
Now, I’m back in full flow and loving the time I get to spend a few hours pottering. Some days I’ve got a plan in my head but most days it’s a case of seamlessly moving on to what I notice needs doing. Of course, there’s also a helluva lot more time to relax, have a coffee or take a nap.

In all this, my good (best) wife Marion leaves me to my own devices. She sees the satisfaction it brings me and likes what she sees. She did have two long-term requests: a water fountain and a Budda. So, in line with my Happy Wife Policy (Rule 1.1.2b), we added both during Covid-19 lockdown. We are happy together.

Better than a dripping tap.

Link to the YouTube version.

Pádraig,

8th October 2020

Happy Wife Policy

Until I retired in 2013 I had lost interest in my garden. The love of gardening that was there 30 years ago vanished amid the stress of work.
Now, I’m back in full flow and loving the time I get to spend a few hours pottering. Some days I’ve got a plan in my head but most days it’s a case of seamlessly moving on to what I notice needs doing. Of course, there’s also a helluva lot more time to relax, have a coffee or take a nap.

In all this, my good (best) wife Marion leaves me to my own devices. She sees the satisfaction it brings me and likes what she sees. She did have two long-term requests: a water fountain and a Budda. So, in line with my Happy Wife Policy (Rule 1.1.2b), we added both during Covid-19 lockdown. We are happy together.

Better than a dripping tap.

Link to the YouTube version.

Pádraig,

8th October 2020

A is for Alterations

The patio pots brightened my heart all summer. I loved making almost weekly changes, adding pots here and there and moving things around just for fun. I also moved pots away when flowering was finished. The exception to this were the spent lilies, because the upright stems added height.
Yesterday I started the transition to Autumn. Many pots were taken out and nearly everything that was left was rearranged. Many more were added in order to get a good sense of Autumn close to the house. It’s not quite finished yet, but I’m very happy with how it’s shaping up. Now that I see that in writing, it’s never actually finishes because as the autumn/winter progresses changes and additions will be made.


I highly recommend this form of musical-chairs gardening. It is time-consuming in the height of summer as constant watering is needed. Also worth considering is keeping the smaller pots on the most shaded side. I’m lucky that the garden is south-facing and so the smaller stuff is facing me and also helps to graduate the entire structure gently. By the way, the Fairy Door is still there! It has moved once more. They’ve been so careful to stay out of sight that I doubt you’ll see it.

Many plants that I had purchased during the summer when garden centres reopened after lockdown had been minded in their pots in the Holding Area, and several are suitable for this Autumn patio project. Likely, some of these will be permanently planted in the ground at some stage. But now it’s time for to relax.

Here’s a link to my article about musical-chairs gardening back in July. Note that there’s detailed account of the problems caused by them fairies.

Click first picture to commence step-by step gallery.

Have you tried something like this? I’d love to hear of your efforts.

Pádraig,

6th October 2020