Cheering Up My Monday & Just Three Things

It’s Monday and I’m cheering myself up again. I’m combining Cheering Up My Monday with another of my sometimes forgotten regular features, Just Three Things. Cheering Up my Monday is self-explanatory. What’s Just Three Things about? Simply put, it’s three things I’ve noticed today and three things that need doing.

I’m delighted with my forward planning project which is almost complete. At present I have about 60 seed packets, many of which will be started in the heated propagator in the New Year and then transferred to the glasshouse to grow on. Last year I simply did not have enough space. With this in mind, I made a start last week to put in more shelving and the job is almost complete. Three shelves are finished and the final one will be finished when the extra timber arrives. I’m very happy with the outcome, so much so that I have decided to put an extra shelf on the other side too.

Nearly there.

I sat down on the bockety glasshouse chair to admire my work, only to find that my extra weight damaged the fabric. I did try to effect emergency repairs by tightening the screws but they did not hold. Plan B, therefore, and the seat is now comfortable and safe. Cable ties are great for tying stuff, but it’s a first for me to use them in such a situation.

Emergency repair.
Satisfaction.

It’s raining outside and the wind is whipping up. Tá gaoth láidir amuigh. So I’m sheltering inside and admiring my handiwork.

That smug look.

That’s enough work for the moment. What three things (just three) did I notice today, and what else did I see that needs doing?

Three Things I Noticed

  1. The rotary clothes line is leaning because of prevailing wind.
  2. The Avocado stone that rooted in the compost heap is nearly 30cm tall!
  3. Several of the Begonias are still in flower. I’ve dumped the ones I don’t like.

Three Things To Be Prioritised

  1. Finish the top shelf.
  2. Sow the next batch of organic winter lettuce.
  3. Put my feet up, on the new shelving. I shall upgrade this to top priority.
Feet up.

Donate On Ko-fi
For just the price of a cup of coffee, you can put more bread on my table. Here’s the magic link: Support Me On Ko-fi. It’s breakfast time, and my Monday has been cheered up greatly.

Small donation welcome.
Nothing more than a cup of coffee.

Pádraig,

5th October 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.

Three Little Things

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.

Andy Warhol

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.”

Tamara Ireland Stone, Little Do We Know.

Three Curiosities

  • It was my birthday yesterday.
  • Marion bought cake & cooked steak (yesterday)
  • 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!

Instagram @growwriterepeat

Twitter also, but it doesn’t really work because I don’t understand it yet.

Finally, the deep meaning of GrowWriteRepeat is explained over at the About Me page.

Pádraig
Tuesday, 14th July 2030

Just Three Things

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.

Three things that need doing:

  • Wash my bike
  • Fill the bird-feeder
  • Go cycling

Link to last week’s Just Three Things.

Finally, some non-gardening stuff (just so I’ll be reminded of it when I read this again in 2030).

Family:

  • Mam got to the hairdresser for first time since March
  • Family Zooms continue
  • Lunch for 3 in Ormonde

Bike:

  • Social spin last Wednesday and Saturday
  • 20km time-trial on Thursday. 37m44s
  • Booked entry to Tour de Beara in mid-September

Curiosities:

  • 40% feel life will be better post-Covid
  • Extra €628 million spent on groceries during lockdown
  • Palace beaten 3-0 by Leicester

Thanks for reading & I hope you have a great week.

Pádraig,

Monday, 6th July 2020.

Three on Tuesday

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!

Link to last week’s Just Three Things.

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.

Family:

  • 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

Bike:

  • Group Coffee spin to Kilmacthomas with Danny, Tony & Majella
  • Wednesday 20km time-trial
  • Sunday 85km, group of nine, very blustery, plenty hills

Ireland:

  • New government. Taoiseach Mícheál Martin
  • Restaurants open again!
  • 16 Covid deaths last week

Sport:

  • 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.

Pádraig,

Tuesday, 30th June 2020.

Three on Tuesday

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.

Follow Me Around:

Pádraig,

Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020.

Just Three Things

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.
  • Get the latest garden plant safely into the ground. I bought a lovely Carex oshimensis Everest.

And finally

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.

Have a good week,

Pádraig

Sunday, 14th June, 2020.

January You Are Welcome

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.
  1. 2 rashers, diced
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 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.
Narcissus Ziva
Callicarpa Beauty Berry

Made Me Smile

It’s always good to have a bit of a laugh, and this got me going today. Thanks to unknown welly expert for perceptiveness.
That’s it for today. I hope you all have a really good year ahead.

Happy gardening,
Pádraig, 3rd January 2017.

Twitter & Instagram @growwriterepeat