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.
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
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.
Click/touch first picture, and swipe your way through.
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.
It’s about being alive. About noticing all the little things, because no one ever knows if it’s the last time they’ll see them. (Tamara Ireland Stone)
Also known as Just Three Things or Three on Tuesday.
My morning inspection yesterday filled me with immense satisfaction for several reasons. My friend delivered two dozen double-yolk eggs, two of which will be enjoyed shortly. Two doubles, that is. Known also as killing two birds with one bite. You’d be forgiven for thinking this will merely be a Two Little Things article, whereas in fact this is the introduction to the two things that caught my eye and the one pointed out to me by my OH.
First, there is a fine strong sunflower which obviously seeded itself tidily from the bird-feeder. You’ll notice also that it is not exactly there only since yesterday. I did notice this three weeks ago and deferred adding it to my list of three until now. It is a late developer, and I’m not sure what height it will get to, so I shall do an update next month.
Second in my line of sight was the spinach. This is from my second sowing and very tasty it is too with my morning omelette on days when I tire of boiling eggs, be they single or double. I rarely have spinach with dinner. That’s just something about myself I’m OK to share.
Finally, take a very close look. The bindweed is not yet gone. It’s back to tempt me into cursing violently. However, I shall not do so. I’ve got it and myself under control. I will keep an eye open for surprise appearances of this troublesome plant and be vigilant in binning it carefully. It will not spoil my day. Curiously, it was Marion who spotted this. Even so, nothing could spoil my birthday.
Three Little Things that need doing:
List is unordered. Completion by time frame is suggested only.
Bin the bindweed (after breakfast).
Measure the sunflower today.
Sow a third batch of spinach later this week.
Readers interested only in gardening should stop reading NOW.
Theee Little Quotes about Little Things:
Two are from well-known names, the third longer and less so.
You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.
It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
You do realize the message of this play, right?” Tyler asked. “Sure.” My arm was still over my eyes. “It’s about life on a farm and falling in love and watching the people you love die. So, you know, that’s awesome.” He ignored the sarcasm. “It’s about being alive. About noticing all the little things, because no one ever knows if it’s the last time they’ll see the.”
My writing has been described as being deadly & peculiar. I know that’s only two, but enough is enough. Sin a bhfuil. (Yesterday, today and…)
Just Three Things (sometimes called Three on Tuesday, only if…yes you understand!) is a regular part of my garden writing. Today, I take the liberty of renaming it Three Little Things in order to remind readers & myself that it is in fact a virtual trilogy. That’s enough three thinking this Tuesday. Today.
Dear Reader: if you like peculiar writing, you’ll not regret following this blog-thingy. I try to be consistently peculiar. My gardening and my writing are specifically so that when I’m in the nursing home in 2050 I’ll be able to look back on all the fun stuff. Use of an iPad will need to be negotiated. That’ll be deadly!
I thought it was wheat until my farm-raised wife upbraided me with a gentle “What would you know?”
My morning garden inspections continue. Most mornings I check it out just before 7am, while my boiled egg is boiling. Regular readers will know the story. I make a note of three things that catch my eye and take a photograph. In addition, I take mental stock of three tasks that need attending to, but without any deadline for completion.
1. Non-gardeners might regard the Chelsea Chop as some sort of post-lockdown haircut, but we know better. This Penstemon got it back in mid-May, which is the recommended CC month. It is in full bloom. Grown from seed last year, it’s doing very well in a good sunny spot, but will need some winter protection.
2. Here we have a general view looking down the garden, and in the immediate foreground is an ear of barley. I sowed a packet of mixed grasses back in mid-April, and there’s a fine selection of perhaps six different varieties including this. It’s likely the birds will feed off this when the time is right. Initially, I thought it was wheat until my farm-raised wife upbraided me with a gentle “What would you know?”
3. Cycling is very close to my heart. I love almost everything about it, including an occasional lung-busting time-trial, but cleaning my bike does not come easy to me. I got fed up of taking this bike-stand from the shed and returning it once a week (well, more like once a month). Finally, I decided to leave it in situ and attempt to disguise it as a garden feature. I was going to hang a flower basket on it, but settled for bird-feeder. It’s another win-win situation.
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