Oh Brother!

Labelling with marker is a thing of the past. They faded in sunlight and were generally just not good. I had thought of getting a super-duper cheer-up-my-Monday labelling machine many years ago but I could not justify the cost. Finally, I purchased one and I am surprised with the quality and the value.

I got this Brother P-touch H110 in the post recently, and spent a while figuring it out. I’m not good with visual instructions but this is foolproof. I got the text-based instructions as a download and… Bob’s-your-uncle!

It uses 6xAAA batteries when down the garden and can be plugged into mains electricity when in the potting shed.
Of course, I’m likely to drop it so I’ll be on the look out for an Otter-box lookalike.

Already, my recent Mondays have been cheered up. I know THINGS are not specifically meant to make me happy, but in this case, I’m happy that I have it! Actually, maybe it’s a bit of poopy-crap to impose thoughts that happiness arrived at from having things is not real? Rather than happy, I’ll just leave it at this: My Monday has been cheered up.

Grow Write Repeat. 1,2,3…

Big News

Finally, here’s my BIG NEWS. I intend publishing all my 2020 garden articles as an e-book in January 2021. You might like to support me by donating three euro (€3) towards costs. Here’s how you can do that…

Donate €3 to my Ko-fi account

Pádraig,

28th September 2020.

Six on Saturday – Pears and Pancake Mix

Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again. Repeat defeat!

Reading time: 5 minutes + 1 minute spent looking closely at photographs. That’s Six on Saturday.

I’ve been saying it for several weeks. It’s Autumn, and now it’s officially Autumn. The past few weeks have been very dry and warm, so the garden is looking great. The cold nights and dininished light are adding the expected colour changes everywhere. The diminished light and cold nights are not bedfellows, as nights are generally completely dark. For the sake of Autumnal clarity: The diminished daylight hours combined with the cold nights are turning my garden to Autumn gold.

When I’m not gardening I’m playing with my phone or cycling. This week I skipped the midweek cycle, but spent a few cúpla euro to buy a gimmicky little camera app that applies filters to photographs. The hands are not mine and neither is the phone. They belong to someone else who got paid a nominal stipend to allow distribution. I think they are not gardening hands. This is a photo of a photo of my Six this week. Read along with me in reverse alphabetical order:

1. Strawberries

My strawberries had been in pots and window boxes this year, but I’ve been driven demented as mo mheabhair watering and feeding them. I seldom seemed to get it right, so I purchased four hanging baskets and loaded each one with twelve plants. I have one basket left over for something else.

Competition: How many plants altogether? If each plant produces one hundred fruits and the birds get 10% how many bowls of twenty will I have? Ceist eile: What might I put in the remaining basket? I’m reminded of a classic conundrum…

Classic!

2. Pear Tree

Hiding among the two fuchsias is my new pear tree, which is actually two pear trees, and a close look at the second photograph grianghraf clearly shows where the second one has been grafted on to the main plant. The first is Williams and the other one is Buerre Hardy. Perhaps it’s the other way round? This will grow to 3m wide, so I will need to consider very carefully where to plant it.

Which is which?
Pear Williams & Buerre Hardy

3. Onions

During the week I got stuck in, and completed the job of getting the onion sets into the ground. They are protected by netting and surplus shopping baskets. Don’t ask!

4. Feverfew

This little guy is flowering again. Feverfew, sometimes known as Bachelor’s Buttons, is a great little addition to the garden and I’m happy to see it seeding itself in nooks and crannies among the patio slabs. Along with the little flowers, I love the lime-green foliage. This was featured among my very first Six on Saturday articles in early July.

Bachelor’s Buttons

5. Begonia

My begonia-love is changing, as is the case with true love. There are still six in the garden, constantly being moved around for visual variety, a few are being dried out in the glasshouse and finally, a few have been added to the compost heap. I never thought this would happen. Love does not normally discard, yet I’m adapting… Some of the trailing begonias do not suit my garden. They are best viewed from a height of 10 cm, and I’d need to be a miniature Yorkie to really appreciate them. Could I use the leftover hanging basket? In any case, recently I have been influenced by many SOSers who have espoused the virtue of dumping unwanted varieties rather than keeping them simply because they have been purchased with hard-earned cash. My previously-loved Begonias are now in the process of returning to the garden next year via the compost heap. The hanging basket is still available.

6. Acer

A beautiful plant in summer, this comes into the limelight from now until the end of October. The diminishing daylight hours and cold nights are in no way connected to limelight. I wonder where did the word originate?

Acer limelight

SOS – Only One Garden Here

  • Royalty cheque for $200 arrived from Fashion Artist. It’s a decent stipend, and we feel happy to authorise our wide distribution. Top tips indeed.
  • On Paddy’s recommendation (Paddy, An Irish Gardener) we visited Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens in Wicklow. It’s a wonderful place, and I’ll be back. Beidh mé ar ais.
  • Sam Bennett was on the brink of finishing the TDF in the Green Jersey last week, and on Sunday last he  sprinted to a double victory in Paris. Chapeau Sam!
  • Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again last Saturday. Repeat defeat!
  • Separate Yoga and Chiropractor sessions have me bouncing 360.
  • I enjoyed a nostalgiac photographic back-look to this week in 2015 when we visited our daughter in Thirsk, Yorkshire. I double-jobbed by cycling the Moors including Sutton Bank and Rosedale Chimney. In reality, I escorted the bike on foot for much of the latter.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I’ll be spending some time today reading articles by so many others. I hope you have a great week wherever you are. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

26th September 2020.

Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens

With my sincere thanks to Paddy, An Irish Gardener. Please send on more good recommendations, a chara.

Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens is a two-hour drive from Dungarvan. I simply cannot believe that I haven’t been there before, but I surely will again.

I don’t believe it.

Victor Meldrew, (One Foot In The Grave)

Featuring a remarkable selection of plants and trees, the oldest of which is 600, the garden is the historical home of the Acton family. The original Mr. Acton was a lieutenant in the army of a certain Oliver Cromwell. Going back further to the 7th century, there was a Christian monastery, presided over by a fella by the name of Mocheallóg. Apparently, the ruins of the monastery, dissolved by the much-married Henry 8th, were used to build the smallish Acton family home. We made the journey there yesterday, and I feel the day is worth recording. Rule 38.2.b comes into play.

Pádraig, digital manipulator

Memories of our day-trip include:

  • Warm sunshine throughout
  • A badly-bruised toe, the second on my right
  • Brambles café is quaint and the food is good
  • Angela gave us a very interesting guided tour
  • Entrance and tour were free, thanks to OPW, paid for by my taxes
  • I was rushing home for yoga
Combined age: approx 568

Next time I’ll devote a full day and soak it all in slowly. My sincere thanks to my garden-blogger friend Paddy, also a Dungarvan native. Please send on more good recommendations, a chara. Is iontach an aoibhneas to be had on a stayanta-saoire day-trip, escaping the four garden walls.

This is a first for Kilmacurragh. I’m sure of it.

Gallery:

Click/touch first picture, and swipe your way through.

One For The Road

Love is… digital manipulation

Pádraig,

23 September 2020

Cheering Up My Monday – My Virtual Garden

It’s great to look back on and I sometimes check up on myself with great satisfaction. But, as with many paper records, some day it’ll get lost or damaged.

I’m adding some new tulips to my two online virtual gardens:

  1. The Garden Tags app @gardentags
  2. Royal Horticultural Society

Both sites keep track of all my plants and they fire out timely reminders of maintenance tasks to be attended to. Thanks to both, I never miss a trick.

The three varieties uploaded are Yokohama, Purissima and Orange Emperor. Actual planting to be completed soon. Of course, I do keep a paper record of things, plants I’ve bought, seed lists, what goes where, daily tasks to be done or completed, and so on. It’s great to look back on and I sometimes check up on myself with great satisfaction. But, as with many paper records, some day it’ll get lost or damaged. I suppose it’s good to have the best of both, paper and digital. In any event, it’s the same garden, same beauty, same work & enjoyment.

Pádraig,

21st September 2020.

Six on Saturday – The Snip

It has been a wonderful week for gardening. Warm and dry. Ideal weather for a t-shirt, be it red or otherwise.

While tidying the shed a few weeks ago I came upon a New Garden Product. I had known it was in there somewhere but it eluded me for many years. Truth be told, I had come across it during the last recession but had no interest in using it so I dumped it at the bottom of a bosca. It is a Rooting Globe. However it can no longer be called a New Garden Product. My Six on Saturday this week features this Old Garden Product six times. There’s only a faint glimpse of plants, but for the record they are:

  • Rosa Just Joey
  • Acer x2
  • Fuchsia

Full instructions are included, together with website and even the bar code. I shall do an inspection in mid-November and report back.

The kit consists of five globes, three small ones, a medium and a large. Obviously, the small ones are for small branches, and the others for medium and large respectively. I just thought that was worth pointing out.

The First Step is to cut and peel off a short section of bark, as below. This is Step Two on instruction sheet above. Don’t worry about the lack of synchronisation.

This is the Acer, together with attached globe. Looks cool, I think. Nature will work its magic and hopefully there’ll be roots in eight weeks, at which point I will sever the branch, hide the globe at the bottom of a box in the shed and plant the new Acer in the Holding Area.

Rosa Just Joey also got the snip, and I await the results. Propagation of the species will continue despite methods that imply impossibility.

This is the large globe attached to a larger branch. Unfortunately, I selected a branch that was a bit too small and the globe was not secured tightly against the cut. Nevertheless, despite a ghastly appearance, some tape and a cable tie did the trick. Very close inspection of the reflection in some photographs will show that I’m wearing a red t-shirt but not in this one. I’m wearing one and it is red, but it just cannot be seen because the tape is not reflective.

Where To Find It

Cutting Globes are available from Amazon or your local garden centre. They may also be found hidden at bottom of a box in an untidy shed. If you’ve a box in an untidy shed, it might be worth your while checking before purchasing. Red t-shirts are ten a penny and can be got everywhere.

Request for advice: Have you used these? Have you any tips? Would non-transparent be better? I’ve a feeling that rooting would be easier in the dark.

Weather

It has been a wonderful week for gardening. Warm and dry. Ideal weather for a t-shirt, be it dearg or otherwise.

In Other News

Last Saturday’s epic 160km cycle was… epic. I did write a bit about it here. What else stood out for me during the week?

  • Sam Bennett is on the brink of finishing the TDF in the Green Jersey
  • I rearranged the glasshouse shelving, updating it from two to three-storey. That’s big!
  • My super-duper labelling machine has arrived and surely I’ll be writing about it just as soon as I figure out what’s what.
  • Covid-19 second wave is intensifying, as too many fools are endangering themselves and others.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I’ll be spending some time today, tomorrow (or perhaps even yesterday?) reading articles by so many others, and I’ll not be clock-watching ar chor ar bith. I hope you have a great week, be it in the garden, the potting shed or elsewhere. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

19th September 2020.

Come With Me – Demolition and Exploration

Date: September 2014.

The timber shed was demolished, to be replaced by a steel one. We’d had it for nearly twenty years and it was beginning to crumble. As I look at this photograph, Meabh’s tree is on the right, planted when she was born in 1994. It too is gone, as it grew too big and cast too much shade.

Clearly, there was grass, but truthfully, it was never a lawn.

The previous week we had spent some time in Kerry and took a boat trip to the famous Skellig Michael. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it did not disappoint. The monks lived in isolation there in the 6th century.

I was reminded of this as I cycled the Beara Peninsula last Saturday (13th September 2020). Both islands (Mór & Beag) can be seen from the road between Allihies and Eyeries. Monks residing there were made of tough stuff. No Amazon Prime free deliveries back then.

Further Wikipedia details here.

Will this “Come With Me” become a regular here on my Gardening Blog? We shall see…

Pádraig,

16th September 2020.