Happy Wife Policy

Until I retired in 2013 I had lost interest in my garden. The love of gardening that was there 30 years ago vanished amid the stress of work.
Now, I’m back in full flow and loving the time I get to spend a few hours pottering. Some days I’ve got a plan in my head but most days it’s a case of seamlessly moving on to what I notice needs doing. Of course, there’s also a helluva lot more time to relax, have a coffee or take a nap.

In all this, my good (best) wife Marion leaves me to my own devices. She sees the satisfaction it brings me and likes what she sees. She did have two long-term requests: a water fountain and a Budda. So, in line with my Happy Wife Policy (Rule 1.1.2b), we added both during Covid-19 lockdown. We are happy together.

Better than a dripping tap.

Link to the YouTube version.

Pádraig,

8th October 2020

Six on Saturday – Pears and Pancake Mix

Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again. Repeat defeat!

Reading time: 5 minutes + 1 minute spent looking closely at photographs. That’s Six on Saturday.

I’ve been saying it for several weeks. It’s Autumn, and now it’s officially Autumn. The past few weeks have been very dry and warm, so the garden is looking great. The cold nights and dininished light are adding the expected colour changes everywhere. The diminished light and cold nights are not bedfellows, as nights are generally completely dark. For the sake of Autumnal clarity: The diminished daylight hours combined with the cold nights are turning my garden to Autumn gold.

When I’m not gardening I’m playing with my phone or cycling. This week I skipped the midweek cycle, but spent a few cúpla euro to buy a gimmicky little camera app that applies filters to photographs. The hands are not mine and neither is the phone. They belong to someone else who got paid a nominal stipend to allow distribution. I think they are not gardening hands. This is a photo of a photo of my Six this week. Read along with me in reverse alphabetical order:

1. Strawberries

My strawberries had been in pots and window boxes this year, but I’ve been driven demented as mo mheabhair watering and feeding them. I seldom seemed to get it right, so I purchased four hanging baskets and loaded each one with twelve plants. I have one basket left over for something else.

Competition: How many plants altogether? If each plant produces one hundred fruits and the birds get 10% how many bowls of twenty will I have? Ceist eile: What might I put in the remaining basket? I’m reminded of a classic conundrum…

Classic!

2. Pear Tree

Hiding among the two fuchsias is my new pear tree, which is actually two pear trees, and a close look at the second photograph grianghraf clearly shows where the second one has been grafted on to the main plant. The first is Williams and the other one is Buerre Hardy. Perhaps it’s the other way round? This will grow to 3m wide, so I will need to consider very carefully where to plant it.

Which is which?
Pear Williams & Buerre Hardy

3. Onions

During the week I got stuck in, and completed the job of getting the onion sets into the ground. They are protected by netting and surplus shopping baskets. Don’t ask!

4. Feverfew

This little guy is flowering again. Feverfew, sometimes known as Bachelor’s Buttons, is a great little addition to the garden and I’m happy to see it seeding itself in nooks and crannies among the patio slabs. Along with the little flowers, I love the lime-green foliage. This was featured among my very first Six on Saturday articles in early July.

Bachelor’s Buttons

5. Begonia

My begonia-love is changing, as is the case with true love. There are still six in the garden, constantly being moved around for visual variety, a few are being dried out in the glasshouse and finally, a few have been added to the compost heap. I never thought this would happen. Love does not normally discard, yet I’m adapting… Some of the trailing begonias do not suit my garden. They are best viewed from a height of 10 cm, and I’d need to be a miniature Yorkie to really appreciate them. Could I use the leftover hanging basket? In any case, recently I have been influenced by many SOSers who have espoused the virtue of dumping unwanted varieties rather than keeping them simply because they have been purchased with hard-earned cash. My previously-loved Begonias are now in the process of returning to the garden next year via the compost heap. The hanging basket is still available.

6. Acer

A beautiful plant in summer, this comes into the limelight from now until the end of October. The diminishing daylight hours and cold nights are in no way connected to limelight. I wonder where did the word originate?

Acer limelight

SOS – Only One Garden Here

  • Royalty cheque for $200 arrived from Fashion Artist. It’s a decent stipend, and we feel happy to authorise our wide distribution. Top tips indeed.
  • On Paddy’s recommendation (Paddy, An Irish Gardener) we visited Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens in Wicklow. It’s a wonderful place, and I’ll be back. Beidh mé ar ais.
  • Sam Bennett was on the brink of finishing the TDF in the Green Jersey last week, and on Sunday last he  sprinted to a double victory in Paris. Chapeau Sam!
  • Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again last Saturday. Repeat defeat!
  • Separate Yoga and Chiropractor sessions have me bouncing 360.
  • I enjoyed a nostalgiac photographic back-look to this week in 2015 when we visited our daughter in Thirsk, Yorkshire. I double-jobbed by cycling the Moors including Sutton Bank and Rosedale Chimney. In reality, I escorted the bike on foot for much of the latter.

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 reading articles by so many others. I hope you have a great week wherever you are. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

26th September 2020.

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.