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 – Depth of Field

Our lives, like our gardens, are made up of the crisp clear images we portray to the world, together with our darker blurred backgrounds.

Marylin vos Savant is very wise. She is an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer and playwright. She is known for many other things, one of which is that she rates as having the Guinness Book of Records highest IQ title. I am learning about her. She has said many wonderful and practical things. A selection of her various words of wisdom advises that you should:

  • be able to cite three good qualities of every relation or acquaintance you dislike
  • be able to decline a date so gracefully that the person isn’t embarrassed that he or she asked
  • be able to hiccup silently, or at least in a way not to alert neighbours of your situation. The first hiccup is an exception.

I have been practicing depth of field photography, and one of her quotable quotes makes the link I’m looking for.

The length of your life is less important than its depth.

Marilyn vos Savant

Enough of this in-depth introduction. Let’s get to the most important aspect of the situation deep down to the nub of the matter. Here I go again with my six this Saturday…

Uimhir a h-aon:

Buzy Lizzies and Privet stand out against the darker blurred background. Prizes for the first five who can identify the background plant on top right.

Uimhir a dó:

I do love grasses and this one has been catching my eye all summer with is tiny purplish tinge. There’s a lot going on behind.

Uimhir a trí:

The upside-down flower, Liatris spicata was featured on Instagram last week. Here it is again, one week on, opening further down. I watched a single busy bee stay on this plant for about twenty minutes a few days ago.

Uimhir a ceathar:

This is a rescue Acer. It had been in the neglected front garden. Now it is being tended carefully and the new growth has made the work worthwhile. Again, there are prizes on offer if you can identify the bike stand. Simple yes or no will suffice. The purpose of the bike-stand is two-fold as explained yesterday.

Uimhir a cúig:

The zonal pelargoniums are in focus amid the other varieties. Some dead-heading is required and these plants will need a long soak in the soak tray. After they’ve had a long soak in the soak tray, I will drip feed them from overhead. Likely, they will need to be checked individually because when potted plants are packed so tightly they suffer because of lack of air blowing through. All of these little tasks are on the early-next-week list. It’s Rule 42b for July and August.

Uimhir a sé:

Rosa ‘Korresia’ wafts its scent as I walk nearby. The flowers are short-lived, but new replacement buds quickly appear go tapaigh.

That’s my Six on Saturday. I hope you pick your favourite in the comments. Feel free also to win a prize or to outline any deep thoughts that come to mind.

Deep Saturday Thought

On the basis that depth of field photography highlights the foreground and blurs the background, would the image be interesting if the background was not there? Our lives, like our gardens, are made up of the crisp clear images we portray to the world, together with our darker blurred backgrounds.

Spoiler alert: The answer is 42. Don’t go there, unless you’re a fan of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

For easier browsing, why not take a look at what my gardening friends are showing this Saturday by visiting The Propagator? You’ll find details about how to participate there too. And now it’s goodbye from me, but the story continues next week. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

Saturday, 25th July 2020.

Lady Rozanne in Blue

17th September 2016

While many summer plants are very much past their best, the gorgeous Geranium Rozanne is flowering still.

The fuchsia is losing lower leaves and while the patio containers are looking good with unusual combination of Busy Lizzie and Sweet Peas, it’s Rozanne that steals the show this week.

Geranium Rozanne is one of the top plants recommended by the RHS, and is merited with many awards.

Pádraig, 17th September 2016.