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.

Six on Saturday – Guinness & Begonias

I’ve previously mentioned I write this primarily so that I can look back on events on my nursing home iPad in 2050.

There was very interesting and varying reaction to last week’s question about the seasons. This week I am firmly focused on summer as the Begonias continue to work their magic. The warm dry weather suits them very well and suits me too. My Six this week is top-heavy with a selection of Begonias, with just a few exceptions.

Be warned, áfach, that I’m proceeding with an alternative layout this week by writing the paragraph under the corresponding picture rather than above. I’ve seen this carried off well by some very impressive down-under Sixers recently. So, without further words, let’s canter on…

Having lost many corms last winter, I am left with just fourteen. There were forty-four, to the best of my recollection. However, let’s look on the bright side. This one survived, and is doing well in its container. I placed it among several rockery plants so that the pot is completely invisible. It’s working well as the roots are kept cool and watering is more manageable. I have many Begonias in pots around the garden and I like nothing better than swapping them regularly.

Here’s more of the same. The geranium in the foreground is finished flowering but the plant is beautiful even as a ground-cover, and the added begonia colour brings this area to life. Again, the pot is invisible and visitors (excluding readers here) think they’ve been there forever. Clarification: the Begonias, not the visitors. I keep meaning to do an online clarification course.

What a yucky photograph! I really should have got a better one, and now I can’t. This one, along with about a dozen various ones, is gone to a new temporary home for my niece’s wedding. I am unable to attend because of the pandemic, so I am thrilled that I shall be represented by my plants. Instead of the conversation being about the bride’s dress and my daring tie, the guests will be oohing and aahing about the cerise Begonia and others. In addition and freisin, excluding readers here, they won’t even know that it’s blurred. Begonia? Tie? Photograph? Never mind… I hope you both have a wonderful day, Laura & Shane.

I love the colours on this one. I love the open drooping habit and I love that it is ever so happy slightly hidden behind the Agapanthus. Truthfully, it’s impossible to hide anything behind this agapanthus because visitors (and readers here) can see through it. Furthermore the black pot is not invisible because it can be seen. That’s called a tautology. Begonia aga. tautologicus.

This wilting gladiolus was great last week. I am not impressed with these in pots and I’ll get them back into the ground next year. Apart from the sharp image of the wilting gladioli I do hope you’ll be as impressed as I am with the composition here. The sharp-eyed among us will notice that two of the photographs above are also within this one. This was completely intentional. No blurring of the mind would interfere with a master plan.

Finally and faoi dheireadh, I return once again to my daughter’s 2018 Christmas gift. It’s Acer Red Flamingo (Snakebark Maple), and brings me joy as I look at it every day. This one also brings me joy because it is the subject of one of my most favourite articles. Spoiler alert: there is mention of my joy when the American mid-term election results rolled in, marking the beginning of the end of “The Trump”. This lovely tree will last longer than lies and misinformation from across the Atlantic.

This Six on Saturday is a worldwide staple among garden bloggers. Six things, in our gardens, this week, every week. You can find out more about it here. You may read and follow, or like myself, you may choose to write and follow. Either way, it’s great fun!

For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with my articles, I’d like to mention that I generally include a few phrases in Irish, marked in italic, simply to raise awareness for my native language. I try to ensure the meaning is self-evident from the context. There’s also a little cartoon version of me sometimes. This has nothing to do with raising awareness of anything, and I’ll have to have a word with my editor if I appear too often. That’s it from Dungarvan this week. Wherever you are, I wish you well and hope to be back with you again soon. Slán go fóill.

STOP PRESS: Late edit after my first Guinness since March… I’ve previously mentioned I write this primarily so that I can look back on events on my nursing home iPad in 2050, so I want to wish my dear sister a relaxing holiday away in Donegal having taken such wonderful care of my mam since early March. Stay safe.

Pádraig,

15th August 2020.

Cheering Up My Mondays

It’s the first day of October. The swallows have gone, and the days are shortening. My gardening year is coming to a close, yet there is much to do. However, rather than doing it, I am still in writing mode and the doing will be done it its own good time.
In attempting to find reasons to cheer Up My Monday, I am never lost for ideas. This week, I find myself thinking about bots. Yes, bots. These are the fake automated accounts I realised are everywhere out there. Let me give an example.

A recent Instagram photo

I use Instagram to share my garden with others. My account is petalsbyparaig and I love the interaction there. A simple garden photograph speeds its way to my many followers. Similarly, I enjoy looking at photographs posted by others, and the circle continues, adding excitement and motivation to my garden photography.
This is a list of some recent “followers”: (names edited to prevent further following!

  • click.toincreasefollowers (Yeah, right…. more bots!)
  • clinique58 (House of Fazer?)
  • presstoobtain (Get Fame on instagram)
  • pproteinIreland (I have enough, thanks!)
  • Gracie98 (with Snapchat link only)
  • hayeng212 (I  can earn $100 per day…. wow!)
  • Brazilian Lingerie (Online shop that delivers to me)
The list goes on and on. What amazed me was that many of these replies are automated, and a “like” or a “follow” returns instantly. Initially, I thought to myself, ah feck off…. and continued my day. But as I write this, I intend taking things a step further. I intend removing accounts that are obviously fake, because not only do I not want them following me, more importantly, I do not want them having access to my data. I am considering making my account private but will consider the matter a bit more. In such a case, I would approve follow requests, yet this takes away from gardening and writing time.
This will cheer up my Monday big time! Other things that cheer me up today include:
  • Still lots of tomatoes ripening
  • Garden catalogues arriving soon
  • Sunshine last week was incredible
  • The garden still looks great.
  • Autumn is blooming
My to-do-list is taking shape. Among many of the jobs on the list are:
  • Final spraying of roses
  • Make a cold-frame
  • Fix a leaking drainpipe
  • Propagate several plants from cuttings and division
  • Stop the birds from enjoying a soil dust-bath just where I have sown beetroot seed
  • Sto the birds from enjoying a soil dust-bath just where I have sown spring onion seed
Other than that, here’s a photo selection to cheer me up even more!

About the author: Páraig is the author of Petals by Páraig. He photographs and writes about his garden in Ireland. He loves using Instagram and sharing things there, but doesn’t love the bots, and particularly dislikes the ones that promise money or other things.