Six on Saturday – Moments of Joy

This week there’s been a bit of everything: chiropractor, haircut, wedding anticipation, a shameless off-piste plug for my daughter, barbecue, plenty wine, some sleep and just a little bit of gardening. Therefore, in keeping with above my garden six this week attempts to duplicate the mix.

I would not usually think of including the heather because it is not in flower. Despite this, it’s a great all-year-round plant. There were originally nine plants here, now reduced to seven, and with a little imagination you’ll clearly see that it is an outline of my County Waterford. You may need to turn the image until you see it, and I’d suggest it may be easier to turn your device. If you’re not geographically familiar with my county, there’s really no need to go any further in your search for accurate salellite images or professionally drawn maps.

A very very close zoom into my county will bring you to my garden, and a further deeper inspection shows the lettuces. This year, I made a very conscious effort to sow seeds every three weeks since mid-April. I am so glad that I did, as I have enough to fill my lunch tortilla every day. Thus far I’ve munched through about a dozen varieties. The plan from now on is to sow every four weeks as the growing season shows very small signs of slowing down. Discuss: Does northern-hemisphere Autumn begin on 1st August as I was taught in school? There are arguments for and against. Extra marks for explanation of viewpoint, beyond a yes/no reply.

This Penstemon was grown from seed last year and grew happily in the holding area until last May. This is its second flowering flush, having been given the Chelsea Chop in mid June. Until recently, I’d not known about this, but akin to Covid underground barbering, it’s a thing. Freisin and also, I will be taking a dozen cuttings from this beauty after the wedding.

Here’s another heather that I like. Lighter in colour, it enjoys its cozy spot at the base of the raised vegetable bed where the lettuces live.

The Buzy Lizzies have been great so far this summer, yet they will begin to look bedraggled soon enough. I’ve got a selection in the front garden that have rotted to a slimy mess, so it’s very important for me to appreciate these good ones. They are slightly rain damaged, yet they fill me with joy every day. Of course, there are other things such as wine & a barbecue that have the same effect… moments of joy, I mean, not rotting to a slimy mess.

This is my first year growing courgettes. To be more precise, a courgette. It’s called Courgette Ann Moloney. She gave it to me and I dare not neglect it.

My Welsh courgette-guru friend reminded me that the “male flowers are definitely necessary – until they’ve done their job! The female ones are fewer and have a small swelling behind the bud which will be a new courgette if the flower is pollinated. You can help things along by taking a male flower, tearing its petals off and applying to the female flower. Or use a cotton bud. There are fewer female flowers and they are rarely out at the same time, hence fewer courgettes than you’ll actually get. Male flowers fall off, female ones stay on. I believe the pollen will survive for a few days on a cotton bud so work collecting some if you have a female flower that’s not open yet.” Am I on my way to being a cotton-bud-weilding guru?

In Other News

Purist garden readers should stop reading now. All others should read right to the bitter end.

Me: I love you.
You: Is that you or the wine talking?
Me: It's me talking to the wine.

Finally, I’m going just a bit off-piste, as I include a plug for my daughter. One of her very many talents is animal sketching. Her new Instagram account is HERE, so feel free to take a look.

  • Looking is free.
  • Spreading the focal is very much appreciated.
  • Send a DM for enquiries.
  • Purchasing is optional.

That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Get yourselves over to The Propagator to find many many more weekly gardening stories, and until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

8th August 2020.

Six on Saturday – Urgente Opus Prioritas

The gable end of the new shed is just crying out for some climbing plants. I’ll somehow need to attach something to it that will enable plants to climb. Of course, additionally, I’ll need to plant a plant or two, preferably climbers.

My Six on Saturday this Saturday features six tasks that need doing. All were in my garden yesterday, they’re there today too, and all will need doing soon. There’s too much for just one day. Matter of fact, chun an fhírinne a rá, some have been there as ugly eyesores for the past thirty-something years. I now create this numerically ordered alphabetical to-do list and will revisit it shortly to prioritise the six items, most likely non-alphabetically.

Alphabetical Ugly Eyesores:

  1. Climbers to be secured to the unvarnished fence (different from 4 below).
  2. Gable end to be planted up.
  3. Fence behind glasshouse to be completed as soon as I get myself into size 38 trousers.
  4. Oiltank to be camouflaged.
  5. Tree-stump to be removed, once certification is in place.
  6. Wall behind rhubarb to be upgraded to “less annoying”.

Here are my six this week, in no particular order:

Hiding the ugly plastic oil tank will be my number one priority if it rises to the top of the prioritisation process, as I feel it will. I know exactly the way I intend to do it and when it’s finished, the ugly plastic oiltank will be hidden from view. That’s the whole point. It’s on the way to being a top priority.

The gable end of the shed is just crying out for some climbing plants. I’ll somehow need to attach something to it that will enable plants to climb. Of course, additionally, I’ll need to plant a plant or two, preferably climbers. Instructions will be added to their DNA to stop growing as soon as they reach shed height. It’s an unusual form of genetic modification which is purely cosmetic, called SWSHIR. (As Gaeilge: SNASBAB).

We completed 20 metres of new fencing last month to hide the ugly wall, and there now remains but a very short ugly section behind the glasshouse. The plan is for me to lose lots of inches from my waist in order to get at it. This project is urgent, yet it may be put on the long finger until completion of all other projects has depleted me sufficiently.

The rhubarb is growing wildly, but the bare wall is beyond annoying. Both are unconnected. After thirty-two years, it’s time to put the wall on a project list. I’m hoping this little job beag will be completed along with hide-the-oil-tank, at which point I intend to move the rhubarb back to its base.

The stump of Meabh’s beech tree remains. Recently, I thought of trying to make a little seat of it, but I’m doing an online lumberjack certification course, so I hope to demolish it completely, right down to ground level. Items required, according to my online tutor: sledgehammer, metal wedge and some Saxa salt.

This unvarnished fence gives us great privacy and there are a few climbers on it. However, they hang precariously on thin wire. A more secure method of securing them would bring me great relief. I would welcome suggestions. This item may sink to the bottom of the list until such time as sufficient suggestions are received and evaluated. I ndáiríre, it might never happen.

That’s my story this week. Sin mó scéal. If you would like to read garden updates from other Six On Saturday participants, you may do so over at JP’s garden. The stories, unlike this one, are generally about lovely flowers and favourite plants written by lovely people.

Urgente Opus Prioritas

“It’s in Latin.”
“So? What does it say?”
“I don’t read Latin!”
“You’re kidding. I thought all geniuses read Latin. Isn’t that the international language for smart people?

Rachel Caine, Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires)

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in Ireland. This article was pre- prepared and scheduled to auto-post, because I figured that I’d have a small bank-holiday hangover be on my annual retreat. After many months of lockdown, we had hoped to have friends over for some wine and a chinwag, together with liberal lashings of hand-sanitiser. Instead, Thursday’s events meant that plans got knocked on the head! Anyways, ar aon nós, wherever you are I do hope you have a joyful and fulfilling weekend, and to bring you more joy, here among my Six Ugly Eyesores, is my lovely sister’s mallow.

If you are hesitant to comment on any of the above ugly eyesores or the pretty mallow, here are some prompts you may find helpful:

  • What’s your favourite holiday weekend?
  • Have you completed your lumberjack course? No? What about other practical ones?
  • I’d be honoured to attempt a reply to a non-English-language comment. Oui, certainment! No Latin please.

This Six on Saturday was largely composed in hospital after a heavy bang to the head yesterday. Apparently, no kitchen tiles were damaged and, although I was tempted to show my consultant a final draft of this as some proof that upstairs was still functioning, I waited for official discharge on purely medical grounds. I’m back gardening today, and spending some time reading other lovely garden Sixes.

Pádraig,

Saturday, 1st August 2020.