A is for Alterations

The patio pots brightened my heart all summer. I loved making almost weekly changes, adding pots here and there and moving things around just for fun. I also moved pots away when flowering was finished. The exception to this were the spent lilies, because the upright stems added height.
Yesterday I started the transition to Autumn. Many pots were taken out and nearly everything that was left was rearranged. Many more were added in order to get a good sense of Autumn close to the house. It’s not quite finished yet, but I’m very happy with how it’s shaping up. Now that I see that in writing, it’s never actually finishes because as the autumn/winter progresses changes and additions will be made.

I highly recommend this form of musical-chairs gardening. It is time-consuming in the height of summer as constant watering is needed. Also worth considering is keeping the smaller pots on the most shaded side. I’m lucky that the garden is south-facing and so the smaller stuff is facing me and also helps to graduate the entire structure gently. By the way, the Fairy Door is still there! It has moved once more. They’ve been so careful to stay out of sight that I doubt you’ll see it.

Many plants that I had purchased during the summer when garden centres reopened after lockdown had been minded in their pots in the Holding Area, and several are suitable for this Autumn patio project. Likely, some of these will be permanently planted in the ground at some stage. But now it’s time for to relax.

Here’s a link to my article about musical-chairs gardening back in July. Note that there’s detailed account of the problems caused by them fairies.

Click first picture to commence step-by step gallery.

Have you tried something like this? I’d love to hear of your efforts.


6th October 2020

Six on Saturday – Packed Patio Policy

It has been very dull for the past few weeks. In fact, my wife went so far as to suggest that it was boring. Bland, lacking a little je-ne-sais-quoi and indeed just very… dull.

The weather has also been dull, yet that’s outside even my wife’s control. On the other hand, the bare patio needed just a little something, and she requested that I draw up three plans for her consideration. I am so happy that she put the hosepipe to my head because the hard work is now done and the patio is not even the slightest bit boring!

My six plants this week are being classed as one tightly-packed group. Management needed policies & safe practices to effect a solution to an issue I encountered after buying lots of plants recently. I have a central area on the patio which changes in appearance regularly. In it I have some permanent containers, together with some annuals. The last step in the process is to pack my newly-bought plants tightly in and around the others until I decide in Autumn where to plant them.

Generally, they are placed on the sheltered side so that they do not suffer too much from the heat of the summer sun. Included at the moment are…

  • various ornamental grasses
  • Spiraea Red Carpet
  • Ilex crenata Golden Gem
  • three Euonymus Emerald Gaiety
  • six Emerald Gold
  • and a Fairy Door

About once every six weeks I rearrange the plants, give them a decent soaking in a tray and add the new ones that I was unable to resist at the garden centre checkout till.

Anyone who remembers my post from a few weeks ago will know also that the fairies are in residence and the Fairy Door can be seen by zooming. No, not that kind of zooming! Continuous zooming will bring the nameplate on the door into clear view. “Fairy’s Live Here”.

Top Fairy left me a cryptic note last Thursday. I couldn’t make head nor tail of it, but clarification arrived after I appeased her with the promise of more plants to disguise the main entrance. Ar ndóigh, it appears that some of the wee clan want to sign up for this Six on Saturday thingy hosted by PJ, but frustration has set in because my WiFi does not reach within their door, and I am reminded to get it sorted… Or else… My boiled egg will be rotten, my rothar punctured or the bindweed will return.

There’s no longer anything dull on the patio, nor within the hidden micro-residences. My wife is pleased. Top Fairy is onside again and I’m off to spend a long day in the gáirdín. I hope you all have a good week, and that there may be some gardening involved.


Saturday, 11th July 2020.

Píosa beag Gaeilge:

  • rothar is a bike
  • gáirdín is very obviously garden
  • and “ar ndóigh” apparently means exactly that!

Hamlet Cigar & A Shocking Discovery

The fairy door has moved AGAIN. It had been behind the Alchemilla for the last few weeks, but the little devils relocated overnight.

There was a time when happiness was a cigar called Hamlet, until TV tobacco advertising was banned. How times have changed! In my case, I did enjoy a cigar every once in a while and yes, it was a Hamlet. Nowadays, other things do the trick very nicely.
I could write a book about the little things in my garden that help the happiness bug, and if I were to pick just one it would be my daily five-minute pre-breakfast garden inspection. I’ve written about it just this week.

“Fairy’s Live Here”

So what caught my eye today? I made a shocking discovery! The fairy door has moved AGAIN. It had been behind the Alchemilla for the last few weeks, but the little devils relocated overnight. Worryingly, they are nearer the house behind a large stone. I dare not get too close, and they will wreak havoc if I tread on their invisible meandering pathways. My boiled egg will be rotten, my bike punctured or the bindweed will return.

Unrelated to the Irish wee folk, I came upon this from Marcel Proust:

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

I have enough people in my life who make me happy, and I am grateful every day.

Finally, I return to the fairies and include here one of my brother’s favourite school poems by William Allingham. I have omitted the two verses not traditionally known as they are a bit offside.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watchdogs,
All night awake.

By the craggy hillside,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
For my pleasure, here and there.
Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather.


Thursday, 2nd July 2020.

The Manic Fairy

Today is the beginning of late winter. Still cold, but we haven’t had the severe frost that was forecast.
I always thought that the winter months were November, December and January and that the first day of Feabhra marked the beginning of spring. But it seems that all references to spring are now focused on March 1st.
In ancient Celtic times, the feast of Imbolg was a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It was held on the 1st of February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Imbolg was believed to be when the Cailleach—the divine hag of Gaelic tradition—gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolg is bright and sunny so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolg is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.
Apart from all that, my Fairy Door is closed. The fairies will not be out today. I bought this last week and I was particularly happy to notice the spelling is incorrect. There’s probably a fairy spell to fix that.

The little fairy tapped on the window while I was having coffee.
“Didn’t you think about it? The powerwasher kept cutting out,” she said.
Was it you?, I asked.
Well, to be honest, no. I wouldn’t do that. But Mikey the Manic Fairy was all riled up yesterday and he said he was going to cause trouble.
What riled him?
You bought that Fairy Door in New Ross last week, and you just moved it to Abbeyside without asking.
You can’t be just moving fairy doors wherever you want. Mikey was all set to help Wexford score a few points in the hurling, and you took it all away. He’s here in your flippin garden and he’s not a happy fairy.
What can I do?
Well, if I was you, I’d face him head-on, coz he’s a crazy fecker.