It’s Monday and I’m cheering myself up again. I’m combining Cheering Up My Monday with another of my sometimes forgotten regular features, Just Three Things. Cheering Up my Monday is self-explanatory. What’s Just Three Things about? Simply put, it’s three things I’ve noticed today and three things that need doing.
I’m delighted with my forward planning project which is almost complete. At present I have about 60 seed packets, many of which will be started in the heated propagator in the New Year and then transferred to the glasshouse to grow on. Last year I simply did not have enough space. With this in mind, I made a start last week to put in more shelving and the job is almost complete. Three shelves are finished and the final one will be finished when the extra timber arrives. I’m very happy with the outcome, so much so that I have decided to put an extra shelf on the other side too.
I sat down on the bockety glasshouse chair to admire my work, only to find that my extra weight damaged the fabric. I did try to effect emergency repairs by tightening the screws but they did not hold. Plan B, therefore, and the seat is now comfortable and safe. Cable ties are great for tying stuff, but it’s a first for me to use them in such a situation.
It’s raining outside and the wind is whipping up. Tá gaoth láidir amuigh. So I’m sheltering inside and admiring my handiwork.
That’s enough work for the moment. What three things (just three) did I notice today, and what else did I see that needs doing?
Three Things I Noticed
The rotary clothes line is leaning because of prevailing wind.
The Avocado stone that rooted in the compost heap is nearly 30cm tall!
Several of the Begonias are still in flower. I’ve dumped the ones I don’t like.
Three Things To Be Prioritised
Finish the top shelf.
Sow the next batch of organic winter lettuce.
Put my feet up, on the new shelving. I shall upgrade this to top priority.
Donate On Ko-fi For just the price of a cup of coffee, you can put more bread on my table. Here’s the magic link: Support Me On Ko-fi. It’s breakfast time, and my Monday has been cheered up greatly.
It’s October already. Seize the moment, my friends. Yesterday I figured out that because of all the seed packets I ordered, I’d need more shelving. Without further ado I ordered blocks and timber, and both were delivered a few hours later.
The tomatoes are still producing, so I needed to build around them, and I’m almost finished. There’s another shelf to be constructed tomorrow. Seven tomatoes needed to be eaten during the construction process. All the seeds to be grown here between now and spring will be very cozy!
I’m participating in an Instagram challenge called My Garden This Month. The idea is to post something each day according to a given prompt. The link is here. If you’re an IG user, do consider joining in using the hashtag #mygardenthismonth
Storm Alex is arriving from France over the weekend. I am reminded of my reaction in October 2018. The scouts taught me to “Bí Ullamh”. In the case of this one, it may not be severe as Met Éireann have issued no weather warnings. That could change.
As a bald man, I’ve skinned my head badly on a regular basis when entering the glasshouse. The sharp lintel is just a wee bit too low and there’s a very slight lip at ground level so I’ve had a tendency to look down to avoid tripping. I’ve cut my head so many times down through the blianta.
Furthermore, the overhead glass triangle broke a few years ago. I had patched it with hardboard but it became warped and weather-damaged. De facto, in reverse: weather-damaged and warped. Yesterday, I killed two birds with one drill.
Firstly, I replaced the hardboard. Easy peasy. Secondly, I drilled a few holes and inserted three drop down alarms using plastic string, and knotted them for effect. Environmentalists will cringe.
Problems solved. After breakfast, I’m off to the safe glasshouse zone to check on new seeds sown last weekend. I’ve got pot marigold, lettuce and Sweet Pea. Clearly, the tomatoes are unwilling to ripen and I may remove them. It’s really sad, but sin mar atá.
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:
Climbers to be secured to the unvarnished fence (different from 4 below).
Gable end to be planted up.
Fence behind glasshouse to be completed as soon as I get myself into size 38 trousers.
Oiltank to be camouflaged.
Tree-stump to be removed, once certification is in place.
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.
“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.
The garden seats are put away and will not reappear until April. It’s just not warm enough to sit outside comfortably. But it is definitely warm enough in the glasshouse whenever there’s direct sunshine. Today was one of those days. I read my Kindle for a while and enjoyed the warmth. I’m reading Educated, by Tara Westover.
It’s a lovely spring day here in Abbeyside and temperatures are up a bit from last week. The glasshouse is filling up steadily. That’s nine trays germinated, with three more in the propagator. There are about twenty more packets to be sown so this shelf and others will be overflowing by mid-March.
I’d better get cracking to make the cold frame. This is a sort of transition house before the little plants go outside in May.
Hard frost. Light flurry of snow lodged overnight. Thawing rapidly at midday. The seeds inside are cozy.
This is my favourite from about twenty taken this morning. A light overnight fall of snow turned to ice before dawn. Here, a Skimmia leaf holds on to its icy load, but it is about to slip. Last year, I lost a few plants during the snow of March. The Beast from the East dumped about a foot of snow and some plants died. Plants do not manage well when the weight of snow is too much. A bit like you or I trying to put up with cold weather while having a double-decker bus on our head. I spent a short while this morning removing the compacted ice from the Skimmia. It’s also important to remove snow from the glasshouse roof. In my case, the smooth back of the rake is ideal for the job. Later the rising temperatures brought things back to normal. Snow, sleet and a heavy frost is forecast again tonight, and some vigilance will be needed. I’m off inside now to light the stove and warm my tootsies. What’s it like where you are?
This week I focus on a challenge I joined lately. It’s called Short Days Challenge. I briefly introduced it just last week. The idea is to note the little things in the winter garden and to publish one item every day between November and February on Instagram using the #shortdayschallenge hashtag. Now, I take a look back for this Throwback Thursday at the daily winter little things I noted.
Friday, December 7th: Today’s winter garden: Another journey starting. I loved cacti and succulents many years ago. Having visited Deep Route Gardening in Cork during the week, I returned with enough plants to kick-start my interest once again.
Thanks to Deep Route Gardening in Cork
Saturday, December 8th: Today’s winter garden: I purchased a replacement thermometer for the glasshouse. The previous one fell into a barrel of rainwater about 15 years ago. This machine measures maximum and minimum and the humidity and well.
Temperature & humidity data log
Sunday, December 9th: Today’s winter garden: almost identical colour and petal form on two great winter plants: wallflowers and violas. Continuing #shortdayschallenge as I briefly log winter here in Waterford, Ireland. Time to focus on the little things.
Wallflower and viola
Monday, December 10th: Warm mid-morning sunshine. Small flowering plants at this time really stand out. These are smashers!
Tuesday, December 11th: I put out a query as follows… “Can anyone I’d this plant please? It was bought as a trailing annual and has thrived to such an extent that it has rooted wherever it can. In fact, I’m now wondering will it survive the winter as three nights of frost seems to have had no effect on it.”
Glechoma hederacea variegata (Ground ivy)
Speedily, the information came back from several sources:
Wednesday, December 12th: Today’s winter garden: It’s good to take a photograph from near ground level. Just another angle on things. Parhaps this is the everyday view of this section of the garden seen by our two Yorkies, Molly & Becks?
Ground photo. Nandina in foreground
Thursday, December 13th: Today’s winter garden: Plants thrive in small spaces. Top left: nasturtium in a sheltered cul-de-sac. Top right: Geranium rozanne is now dormant but resurrection will happen. Bottom left: leaf shelter for the homeless creatures of the garden, and finally, another cranesbill rooted between wall and patio. Continuing #shortdayschallenge as I briefly log winter here in Waterford, Ireland. Time to focus on the little things.
Nasturtium, dormant geranium, leaf-shelter & a second geranium
Would you like to join in? Simply use the hashtag #shortdayschallenge either on your blog, Facebook or Instagram to connect with many others noticing the little winter things that bring delight to these short days. Have you a favourite winter item in your garden, be it plant, structure or ornament?
Páraig (also known as Pat) is the author of Petals by Paraig. He loves his Yorkies and winter and low-angled photographs. He also loves post-winter resurrection, warmer temperature in the glasshouse and Garden Tags software but not exclusively. Shoot Gardening is his software of choice.