First off, this is a bit of a cheat! I wandered the garden yesterday before breakfast. So really it’s Three on Monday to add to yesterday’s Cheering Up My Monday. No need to read that back again, coz it’s a bit garbled. The boiled egg was boiling as I grabbed the camera for a five-minute stroll through the garden. It was indeed looking very summery.
The Skimmia is doing well in the container. In fact there are two. Bought back in 2018 together with the Acer Red Flamingo, they are doing much better since I moved them to a more shaded spot. Correction: they get plenty sun, but critically the pot is shaded in front of a small wall. The original article about these is one of my favourites, and also includes my delight when Trump lost a lot of momentum in the mid-term elections. Here’s the link.
This grass is past its best. It has set seed and I am wondering will it come again if I cut it back hard? Must check that out. However, I very much like the heads and may decide to leave it in its natural state.
The bindweed is dead. I repeat, the bindweed is DEAD. It took me six weeks to beat the life out of it. Now, the bare space needs to be filled. That’s something for the jobs-to-be-done section below.
Three things that need doing:
Sow more lettuce & spinach
Water and feed the strawberries
Fill the bare soil where the bindweed lived.
There are many many more lovely items in the garden at the moment. After all, it is the last day of June and things are looking good. There’s been enough sunshine and enough rain. There are also many more little jobs to be done but right now my egg should be ready!
Finally, I include for the first time a selection of three’s not related to gardening. This a trial to see if I am interested in continuing it. My thinking is that I may like to read back over this next year or in several years time. Or I may do it irregularly from time to time.
18th birthday gathering for my niece. Cake also
Got a dog-walker for the old Yorkie
Visit to two garden centres with Marion. Such an exciting life we live
Group Coffee spin to Kilmacthomas with Danny, Tony & Majella
Wednesday 20km time-trial
Sunday 85km, group of nine, very blustery, plenty hills
New government. Taoiseach Mícheál Martin
Restaurants open again!
16 Covid deaths last week
Crystal Palace beat Bournemouth but lost against Liverpool & Burnley
Liverpool won Premier League
Plans for December All-Ireland finals
Curiosities, courtesy of Irish Times:
23 sitting TDs have hired members of their families
6200 attended Trump rally, whereas they expected 100,000
Average price of a Dublin home is €438,000
Thanks for reading & I hope you have a great week.
Rozanne is of the Geranium clan, and I’ve loved her for many a year.
My morning five-minute examination of the garden was damp today. We had a light mist for most of yesterday, and it continues.
Here’s what caught my eye:
1. The first Nasturtium is in flower. My wife doesn’t like nasturtiums very much, but I do. Yes, I know my she is always right, and I know I love her very much. However, these easy to grow plants will fill uninteresting corners and last right through until the first frost. Marion gets my number one vote and these guys are very close behind. Going forward, as the nasturtiums begin to dominate the area around the oiltank, I know it will be very important to tell Marion that I love her more than them.
2. Another of my favourites is Rozanne. Rozanne is of the Geranium clan, and I’ve loved her for many a year. Here, she is bows her head to shelter the important bits from the mist.
3. The forget-me-nots are finished for this year. I waited a full three weeks after the last flowers before pulling them. I did this to be sure they have a chance to shed seed for next year, before sending the remains to Compost Heaven. I am looking forward to to finding the new 2021 version in unexpected places. It always happens. Anyway, lo and behold, an gcreidfeá é, there’s one last late developer! Such a moment, and I’ll not forget it! Shall I show it to Marion? Yes, that would be delightful.
Three jobs that need doing (soon)…
Put fresh water in the birdbaths
Sow seeds of Sweet William and Aquilegia for next year
Move the Fairy Door to a surprise location. Marion loves this, and loves to be surprised
On a sad note:
My blue egg-cup is in the dishwasher, so I had to use the white one today. I do not like the white one because it is too big and the egg sinks right down into it. Despite this catastrophe, the day is a good one. I have completed the garden inspection, noticed some lovely surprising things and my to-do list is easy to complete after breakfast or maybe later this week.
Most mornings I take a very short stroll down the garden while my boiled egg is boiling and my toast is toasting.
Three things from the garden this morning:
1. I do not have many strawberries, but the few that I have are very tasty. They are now well protected. I like to savour one or two most days.
2. The garden really did need a drop of rain. The weather here has been very dry for many weeks and there is a six-week hosepipe ban in effect. The rain arrived overnight, together with accompanying thunder & lightning. The image below is Sorbus aucuparia Rafina.
3. We bought this for the dogs. We thought they might like it, but it is not nearly as interesting as other things, such as the cat on the wall or the blackbird. However, I am leaving it where it landed. It reminds me of cancelled sporting events that are in lockdown limbo.
Three jobs that need doing (soon):
Continue the BEP bindweed eradication programme. Now in my third week, I am determined to defeat this nasty undercover agent.
Watch to see when seed pod is ripe on the Acer Red Flamingo. I’d like to attempt growing a replica, knowing full well that I will be quite old by the time it grows tall.
My November 2018 article about Acer Red Flamingo is one of my FAVOURITES. Well worth a click, even if I say so myself. Plenty there: funny story, the tree & its symbolism, American mid-term elections and some of my thoughts about The Trump.
I missed out on my semi-regular “Cheering up My Monday” feature yesterday. I had a lot on, so the camera didn’t appear until mid-morning today, and after a late-night session at my favourite Lady Belle in Dungarvan, there was a noticeable shake. I did succeed in getting some decent shots during my short walkabout. So, instead of Cheering up My Monday, here’s my Throbbing Tuesday update.
Three things I noticed:
The ornamental butterfly seems to be flying on one wing. Perhaps she’s had a rough time of it over Christmas. The front left spring has failed, and the suspension is askew. This little girl will require some TLC to bring her hack to some sort of equilibrium. A bit like myself today, really.
Droopy wing syndrome
My garden here in Dungarvan is directly beneath the main flight-path connecting North America with London and other major Western Europe airports including Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Knock. Today, as a result of clear skies and cool temperatures, the contrails were all over the place.
Noughts-and-crosses at 35,000 feet
We decorated the bare apple tree with Christmas baubles for the first time. They look great, and apart from a severe buffeting last week during Storm Barbara, they still retain their shine. I noticed when taking this shot, that the reflection of the photographer clad in lycra (me!), was faintly visible. (Perfect recipe for any viewers who are into men in lycra to zoom in for post-Christmas titillation!)
At A Plant Level
The sprouts were delicious. This year, as a first, we cooked them according to a very tasty recipe.
2 rashers, diced
1 red onion
lots of home-grown sprouts
Cook the sprouts in boiling water for six minutes. Meanwhile, fry the rashers and onion in oil. When sprouts are cooked, drain and then mix with rashers and onions on the pan for thirty seconds.
This was delicious with lamb, potatoes and roast vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, peppers, baby tomatoes)
Brussels sprouts “Roodnerf”
I planted two pots of the lovely daffodil Ziva during the Autumn. One had been inside over Christmas, and the other outside. I will swap them today, as the indoor heat means that this lovely flower struggles. Regular swapping every five days is the answer.
Approaching the mid-winter solstice, my time in the garden is limited by cold and dampness. The work is done, yet it’s rewarding just to walk around for a few minutes to see what happens. Yesterday, on my way to the shed to get wood for the stove, I met Mr. Robin on the bird-feeder. He was on it, I was not. We eyed one another up and down before he returned to feeding as I journeyed to the woodpile.
This little fella accompanied me on my 5-minute ramble
Just before the woodpile (in the shed) I glanced down to the two rows of gypsophila seedlings. I had planted these back in October, and they are thriving. Well, they were thriving until very recently. Yesterday, most of them were cannibalised, a gourmet starter for Mr. Slug and friends, perhaps even starter and main meal. I’d be tempted to have a word with Mr. Robin, but I don’t think he likes them either. There are about seven plants remaining, and this one seems to be head and shoulders above her siblings. The others have been beheaded.
One of the few untouched gypsophila
Finally, loaded to my chin with seventeen logs, I approached the kitchen window boxes. The pansies are in full bloom, defying wind, rain and cold. This particular one is so pretty, added to by a tiny spray of light mist remaining from overnight. Naturally, you’ll understand that this photograph was not taken until I had unloaded the seventeen stove logs in the stove log basket beside the stove; and when I returned to the shed to get the camera (it was beside the log pile, you’ll agree?), the delicate mist on the pansy was exactly as it had been one minute earlier.
I love the misty rain on top
Time in garden: five minutes. That’s just about enough. I’ll put on the kettle and set the fire while it boils.
Four minutes to set and light the stove
Four minutes for water to boil
Result: tea and accomplishment
Five minutes later on, warmed by both tea and stove, to to dickie up the robin photo
This is #2 in my “Things Come in Threes” series, recounting a five minute ramble in the garden, and consciously seeking out three things of interest. Want to look back to #1?Here it is: Things come In Threes #1
Winter may not be a time for active gardening, yet it’s a good time to observe. Rather than the full-on effect of summer abundance, it can be the best time to notice the little things.
1. On a micro-level, while photographing one of the few remaining rose blooms, my eye was drawn to a small slug sheltering between the petals. I did consider removing it, but on reflection, I left it there.
2. The leaves of the columnar beech have all fallen. At a certain time of the day, the low sun glints through the boughs. It’s time to appreciate the beauty even when the tree is bare.
3. The winter lettuce is thriving, despite some hard frost, and the first narcissus is in full bloom. That’s crazy for the 2nd of December!
Interestingly, I find myself walking much more slowly. On the flip-side, this slow walking leads me to see small tasks that need attending to. Here’s today’s three:
thin the thriving winter lettuces
replace one cracked glasshouse pane
spray the window-box pansies for whitefly! I’d have thought that hard frost would have helped me out, but the buggers are still there
Task 1: Winter lettuce needs thinning
Task 2: replace the pane to stop draughts
Task 3: kill the critters the frost left behind!
I have resolved not to complete these tasks on the spot. Rather, they get added to my mental schedule for later in the day / week. Besides, my garden ramble is before breakfast, and the kettle usually is on the boil.