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.

Just Three Things

I thought it was wheat until my farm-raised wife upbraided me with a gentle “What would you know?”

My morning garden inspections continue. Most mornings I check it out just before 7am, while my boiled egg is boiling. Regular readers will know the story. I make a note of three things that catch my eye and take a photograph. In addition, I take mental stock of three tasks that need attending to, but without any deadline for completion.

1. Non-gardeners might regard the Chelsea Chop as some sort of post-lockdown haircut, but we know better. This Penstemon got it back in mid-May, which is the recommended CC month. It is in full bloom. Grown from seed last year, it’s doing very well in a good sunny spot, but will need some winter protection.

2. Here we have a general view looking down the garden, and in the immediate foreground is an ear of barley. I sowed a packet of mixed grasses back in mid-April, and there’s a fine selection of perhaps six different varieties including this. It’s likely the birds will feed off this when the time is right. Initially, I thought it was wheat until my farm-raised wife upbraided me with a gentle “What would you know?”

3. Cycling is very close to my heart. I love almost everything about it, including an occasional lung-busting time-trial, but cleaning my bike does not come easy to me.
I got fed up of taking this bike-stand from the shed and returning it once a week (well, more like once a month). Finally, I decided to leave it in situ and attempt to disguise it as a garden feature. I was going to hang a flower basket on it, but settled for bird-feeder. It’s another win-win situation.

Three things that need doing:

  • Wash my bike
  • Fill the bird-feeder
  • Go cycling

Link to last week’s Just Three Things.

Finally, some non-gardening stuff (just so I’ll be reminded of it when I read this again in 2030).

Family:

  • Mam got to the hairdresser for first time since March
  • Family Zooms continue
  • Lunch for 3 in Ormonde

Bike:

  • Social spin last Wednesday and Saturday
  • 20km time-trial on Thursday. 37m44s
  • Booked entry to Tour de Beara in mid-September

Curiosities:

  • 40% feel life will be better post-Covid
  • Extra €628 million spent on groceries during lockdown
  • Palace beaten 3-0 by Leicester

Thanks for reading & I hope you have a great week.

Pádraig,

Monday, 6th July 2020.