Killing Two Birds

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.

Pádraig,

8th September 2020

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.