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.

Daffodil Day

Sit with yourself: Do nothing, breathe and watch yourself.
After a while, you will feel a positive change inside.

I hate having to repot the twenty-two pots of daffodils, but I’m glad I made a start. The new compost is magnificent, and these lovely daffs will thrive. I placed a can of Guinness just for effect, and will enjoy it with another when half the job is done. Will finish tomorrow and place them in sheltered corner until November. The daffodils, that is… The Guinness cans will be recycled promptly.

Composting Success

I started a proper compost heap last year and constructed it so that there is plenty air circulating. Today, I uncovered it to find that it truly is Black Gold. It is light, crumbly and with a great balance of materials. A few bucketfuls spread on an unused section of the raised vegetable bed allowed me to proceed with the repotting very easily. Ill be able to spread the rest of the heap along both beds later in the autumn.

Guinness is good for you me… Sláinte.

I Have A Plan

The plan is to move one third of them (yes, daffodils) to the patio area in early November, and the rest over the following few weeks. By doing that, I hope to stagger the blooms over a longer time in late winter and through the spring. Let’s see how it works out…

There’s a look back to this week in 2018: Cheering Up My Monday: Shaggy Ink Cap

Finally (Faoi Dheireadh)

This is my garden blog, but because I own it, I can bend the rules. I’m bending rule 27a right now by including a rewiew of last Saturday’s 160km cycling in Kerry/Cork. I reiterate my primary motivation for writing is to enable me to look back on stuff in 2050. Gardeners may opt to read it or otherwise. Gardener cyclists may be a bit more keen.

Tour de Beara 160km

Tour de Beara from Kenmare. Mighty weather and great cycling for 165km. Kenmare is renowned for quality restaurants and it did not disappoint. @no35kenmare. Great accommodation with luxurious breakfast at The Twelve Oaks. @the_twelve_oaks_kenmare. Thank you Ann Marie.

Top of Healy Pass the second time.

Report from the captain: Nine cyclists from Group 4 took on the challenge of the Tour De Beara. Even though the event itself was cancelled we had a great welcome from the people of west Cork and Kerry. The weather conditions were perfect as we set off from Kenmare on a calm Saturday morning at a steady pace. Up and over the Healy Pass and onto Castletownbere for the first coffee stop. We then headed to Allihies and followed the very steep and challenging coast road to Eyeries.

Once completed all were ready for the lunch stop in Ardgroom. Harrington’s the local shop, post office and resturant provided a fine spread of soup and sambos which were very welcome at this point. Reenergised after the break we headed for Lauragh to take on the Healy Pass for the second time, a bit more difficult due to a headwind. All safely over, we headed to Glengarriff and after a slow drag some record speeds were recorded with the wind on our back on the descent to Glengarriff. A brief stop to refuel for the last climb over the Caha pass and back to Kenmare. 160Km done, a first for the some in the group with 2,200m climbing. Well done to all a great achievement and teamwork on the day.

Check it out on Instagram. Non cyclists are excused.

Pádraig,

14th September 2020

Latest Articles

Six on Saturday – Dibbers And Pringles

Which photograph takes first place in my garden competition this week? It was a private affair and I won easily. The prize is a two-night trip to West Cork.

Summer weather has returned and I’ve been basking and cycling in warm sunshine (not at same time), but September is a working month so I’ve continued the daily garden tasks as needed. In the meantime, there will be lots to savour. Here are just six. In fact they comprise this week’s Six on Saturday from last Thursday.

1. Many of the Begonias have put out new flowers as they bask in the same warm sunshine. This is a blurred yellow one.

2. There’s a very small Fuchsia that I keep forgetting about. It’s a mere 30cm in height and it is almost hidden between a fern and Bergenia. Rest assured it will be reduced in height as I intend taking three cuttings. These cuttings bring my total to 102. By end of the month I estimate there will be 126. After that, a second Cold Frame 2.0 would be required.

3. Strawberries are in reverse mode. They looked spent a month ago and now there’s a flush of flowers and a few small fruits. I neglected feeding so they won’t taste great. Likely, with colder nights and slower growth, they may not fruit at all.

Bitter rhubarb made sunny-day strawberry face the realities of life- and taste all the better for it. (Judith Fertig) 

4. Feeding the Osteospermums also fell by the wayside, but they are surviving. There’s just a few flowers because I also neglected dead-heading. I normally do not like purple but this is go h-álainn. What’s in between purple and pink? I’m artistically colour-blind.

5. When I went shopping for pringles and pasta I added this variegated Hebe. It seemed a shame to leave it behind. It was in a sad, very over-watered state so I tidied it up and placed into the Holding Area until I make room for it somewhere. I’m tempted to pop it into a large patio pot, but will most likely wait until March. Three cuttings will be taken, but to give them a fighting chance, I’ll wait a few weeks as it settles into its temporary home.

6. Persicaria and Campanula are peeping through on the rockery under the tall fuchsia. This photograph took first place in my garden competition this week. It was a private affair and I won easily. The prize is a two-night trip to West Cork. Social distancing and hand-washing will be a top priority. Some Guinness will provide essential protein after cycling.

In Other News

We’ve jumped the gun already, as we are in West Cork for a few days. I’m cycling 160km with friends, while Marion is buying plants and dibbers, but not pasta. Likely, I may be on my rothar even as you’re reading this. Truth be told, if you’re reading on Saturday, I’ll be on it long after you’ve moved on. Naturally, I thought to grab some garden photos midweek, put a few words together in advance and set everything to auto-post. That way I don’t waste Guinness-time.

My wife and I have completed a list of six garden visits which we hope to make between now and the end of winter. Each has a nice café/restaurant for lunch nearby and each has some interesting local loop walks. If weather is good we may even bring the bikes. Drive to X, cycle for an hour or ninety minutes, have some lunch and browse for a plant or a new dibber. Home then to a cozy warm stove.

West Cork Museum, Kenmare?

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 hope you have a great week, be it in the garden, the potting shed or elsewhere. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

12th Seprember 2020.

  • Silent October Sunday #3
    Pádraig, 18th October 2020.
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    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.
  • 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 … Continue reading “Hyssop and Cavendish”
  • Just in case…
    I am in the process of transferring my site to another hosting service. I do hope there’ll be no loss of content, and that normal service shall continue. In the event of a glitch, I’ll be back ASAP. Pádraig, 14th October 2020.
  • Silent October Sunday#2
    Pádraig, 11th October 2020.

Killing Two Birds

As a bald man, I’ve skinned my head badly on a regular basis when entering the glasshouse. The sharp lintel is just a wee bit too low and there’s a very slight lip at ground level so I’ve had a tendency to look down to avoid tripping. I’ve cut my head so many times down through the blianta.

Furthermore, the overhead glass triangle broke a few years ago. I had patched it with hardboard but it became warped and weather-damaged. De facto, in reverse: weather-damaged and warped. Yesterday, I killed two birds with one drill.

Firstly, I replaced the hardboard. Easy peasy. Secondly, I drilled a few holes and inserted three drop down alarms using plastic string, and knotted them for effect. Environmentalists will cringe.

Problems solved. After breakfast, I’m off to the safe glasshouse zone to check on new seeds sown last weekend. I’ve got pot marigold, lettuce and Sweet Pea. Clearly, the tomatoes are unwilling to ripen and I may remove them. It’s really sad, but sin mar atá.

Pádraig,

8th September 2020

Six on Saturday – National Garden Exhibition Centre

I’ve heard it said that men don’t do retirement very comfortably, and there have been times I’ve felt a bit lost, but by and large, I’m very happy not to be clock-watching.

For thirty-five years I returned to work during the first week of September. It marked the beginning of the new school year and put a halt to my summer gallop. My wife and I slowly stopped going places, we began the slowing-down process in preparation for winter stay-at-home coziness. This semi-hibernation lasted each year until the end of February, and although I no longer work for a living, our summer still finishes at the end of August. The first of September is like New Year’s Day.

Our only staycation this year was in County Wicklow the week before last, and I include memories here to look back on in thirty years time, using the nursing-home-supplied iPad. I’ll be 92. Come along with me on a magical journey to the National Gardens Exhibition Centre in Kilquaide, County Wicklow on the east coast near Dublin. As with the recent storm-force-Francis winds, I’m bending the SOS guidelines very severely as these images are sixteen days old.

1. Move along, move along…

Step from one garden into another, similar to moving from one season into the next. Life moves along and changes, sometimes seamlessly and at other times abruptly. There’s a step up this time. In other cases, life throws in a step down or even a steep drop.

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance. - Yoko Ono

2. Let there be darkness…

We visited in mid-afternoon, following forty-eight hours of rain and wind. The weather was just beginning to brighten, yet there was a darkness very uncharacteristic of August. I am reminded that life brings such dark moments when we least expect them. Embrace life in all its strange times.

3. Think beyond…

On a more positive note, this little nook brings to my mind the beauty of looking beyond the present. There is light beyond the darkness. This time will pass.

4. Creating from nothing…

Whoever created this scene obviously started with the stone steps and planted around them. I’d like to think that the creator is able to see the beauty that has resulted. A vision to create beauty from within.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

5. Shade and Light…

I was struck by this scene. Life brings us moments of bright sunshine and darker times. The trick may be to realise that everything is constantly changing. Rotha mór an t-saoil. The wheels of life keep turning.

6. New arrival. ..

This is the Wicklow Budda. I’m told I should rub his belly every few days. Marion has waited a long time to find the right one for this spot. I did mention that a Fitbit would look good on his wrist but she knew I was only being half-serious.

7. On a personal note…

Throwback to this time seven years ago. My retirement clock. I’ve been #busybusy ever since. Busy also finding time to do the things I love. Cycling, gardening, writing and lots more. I’ve heard it said that men don’t do retirement very comfortably, and there have been times I’ve felt a bit lost, but by and large, I’m very happy not to be clock-watching. Here’s to the next seven. I’ll be 69. (Originally posted on Instagram. I’ve no time for that Facebook craic, and I’m better for its disappearance from my day.)

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,

5th September 2020.

Cold Frame v. 2.0

I’ve been saying it for many years and I’d been thinking it for a few years prior to saying it. Now is the time to do it, and hey presto, it’s done in two days.
It’s my Cold Frame 2020 v. 2.0. Timber bought, measured, cut and varnished yesterday. Assembled early this morning and now my many cuttings have a sheltered warmer home for the winter. I intend growing winter salad as well, and it will be a mighty advantage in getting vegetable seeds started much earlier in Spring. In April next year it will be used as a half-way-house between the glasshouse and the garden for delicate seedlings because I’ll be able to leave it wide open during the day and closed at night.

7-9am this morning. Breakfast well earned.

It’s a deluxe Cold Frame, with two separate WiFi-controlled hinged vents and stylish teak knobs. I decided to place it directly on the concrete walls of my raised bed but it can easily be moved to the next bed or even further along the bed. It will not be needed between May and August and the area will be needed for vegetables, so I may just move it away to a quiet corner. Why on earth did I not get this sorted years ago? Note: it’s not WiFi-controlled!

I did have a Cold Frame back in the last century, but now I’m bang up-to-date again. However, I am looking for advice. This frame is west-facing and gets sunlight most of the day, and importantly from midday to 4pm it’s direct sunlight. Will I need to shade it? Will cuttings survive inside? If it were WiFi-controlled I’d be able to pull a blind remotely.

Baby, it’s hot inside.

As I mentioned up top, this was in my mind and on the tip of my tongue for ages, yet it was only when I saw a friend of mine showing his gorgeous updates on Instagram that I was prodded into action. Bit of maths, trip to Topline, gloves and paint, wine & sleep, and finished the job before breakfast. I might toast my efforts with a further glass or two of Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva. Would that be good advice?

It is highly likely that this super-duper high-tech project (and the contents within) will feature over and over again in future articles. I am excited, and in a strange way, looking forward to some cold weather! Having said as much, I sat in the gáirdín this afternoon in warm sunshine. Felt like about twenty. The thermostat in the Cold Frame measured 28.3C just before 4pm.

“Why isn’t it called a Warm Frame?”, my daughter asks.

Sky above and cuttings below.

Credits:

  1. Míle buíochas to my brother Ray for his willingness to donate two teak windows to the project. There will be a half dozen plants winging his way in 2022.
  2. Christopher, my Instagram friend from Belfast, who got me started.

Pádraig,

Thursday, 3rd September 2020.

September 2016

Four years ago today, I was a bit obsessed with taking cuttings. It didn’t just develop overnight.

Here’s the proof. I originally had this on my previous blog, so here’s a reminder to my older 2050 self that it was there too. I’ll be 92. I did love PetalsByPáraig but I didn’t love Blogger. I did like it at the time, but it was not love. Links may be out of date. Bit like myself, I suppose.

Note: Páraig is the shortened version of Pádraig, aka Pat, Patrick, Patsy and Paddy. My wife loves Páraig, and I love her too.

Looking back…

Looking back, three things I notice now:

  • The shed was much tidier.
  • There’s a very professional-looking dibber.
  • I was using very posh terminology: Pelargonium rather than ordinary-Joe-soap Geranium.
  • Blogger was not my favourite piece of software.
  • I loved Marion back then too.

Pádraig,

2nd September 2020.