Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

More Summer flowers from Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening on July 31, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thalictrum (Meadow Rue) adds a lovely light and airy feel to a border. Last year I saved lots of seeds and planted them in Spring, not one plant resulted. Maybe they need to be sown when fresh? There were however lots of self-sown seedlings so I got my extra plants anyway!

Lysimachia or Loosestrife loves a damp area and will tolerate shade. It is however a rapid spreader so be careful where you plant it. It is propogated by division of clumps in Autumn or Spring.

In the polytunnel Antirrhinums or Snapdragons as they are commonly known continue to do provide lots of colour. They propogate themselves from year to year.

Cosmos is doing well too, I love this shade. Deadheading ensures a continuity of blooms. Towards the end of the season I will allow some seed heads to form for propogating next years flowers. Gardeners always need to think ahead.

Galega officinalis “Alba” also known as Goat’s Rue or French Lilac does well in moist but well-drained soil. It isn’t fussy about siting, I have it in full sun and also in a partially shaded spot. It does well in both situations. It can be propogated by division or seed. It is on the Noxious Weed List in parts of America because of its rapid spread, I have not found it to be such a rampant spreader here.

Shasta Daisy, another perennial which does well in our area. It has a long flowering period and it too divides well to provide extra plants. It is very hardy which is useful considering our increasingly colder Winters in Ireland.

Sunrise and Summer flowers @ Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening on July 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Did’nt sleep very well last night so I was up early, 5.30, not usual for me. There was a beautiful mist lying in the valley with the early morning tinge of pink from the rising sun. Beautiful. I can see why people say it’s the best part of the day.

More pink, even though it looks red in the pic, from these Poppies which self-seed like mad. I just pull out what I don’t want. The flowers don’t last long if it’s raining, luckily the last few days have been fine. No sun though. Its a strange Summer so far, very little sunshine.

Sweet William’s are doing well in this tractor tyre together with Strawberries. There is an Apple tree in the centre.

Love Sweet Peas especially this colour.

Inula, each flower like a mini sunshine. In front is a pot of Cornflowers. Blue and yellow together like the Roscommon flag.

Double flowered Feverfew, so pretty.

In a pot by the back door is this annual Mallow. Love the vibrant colour.

Trip to Tipp!

In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on July 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Made the trip to Tipperary at the weekend to visit the folks. My Mother, 2 brothers and their families live there plus the multitude of other relations. Stayed with my Mother, Lizzie, and as usual her front garden is a riot of colour. A lot of these, Sunflowers, Marigolds and Sweet Williams she grows from seed in a small polytunnel. Lots of perennials too plus self-seeded stuff makes for an eyecatching display.

A standard Rose, a birthday present from Andy and I 3 years ago is covered in beautiful blooms.

This Clematis Lizzie grew from a cutting some years ago. It produces a mass of flowers each year. I have taken several cuttings and none have taken. I guess Lizzie’s fingers are greener than mine!

On Sunday afternoon Lizzie, myself and nieces Bridget and Shauna went for a drive to Moneygall. This little village has become a tourist destination since Barack Obama visited there some weeks ago. Falmouth Kearney, a maternal great great grandfather of Barack Obama’s emigrated from here in 1850. The plaque above has been erected on the site where the Kearney family lived.

Some people are taking the American link a bit far but Obama’s visit has certainly brought new life to this little village. There’s an Obama Cafe, a new gift shop selling lots of items with Obama’s face and signature on, and of course the bar where Barack and Michelle drank the famous Guinness is doing a roaring trade.

Stopping in the village of Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, I spotted these pigs sculpted from limestone. Are’nt they great. Pity some vandal broke the snout of one of them. Senseless vandalism, I hate it!

Beauty by the sea.

In Off the beaten track. on July 23, 2011 at 8:04 am

Went to visit this lovely area near Grange, Co. Sligo a few days ago. It was fairly windy so it was quite “fresh” coming to evening.

As you enter you can go right to a stony beach or left to an area of solid rock that must cover a few acres. This solid rock area is really beautiful, well the whole area is, but this is strikingly, amazingly beautiful.

The limestone is littered with fossils, each one so beautiful and intruiging.

Depressions in the rocks hold little pools of water with the most amazing bright green algae.

Fossilised coral.

A little Sea Campion growing in a rocky crevice,

and this fab fossil made up of so many little tubes. Such a beautiful fascinating place. I shall return!

Weird and wonderful.

In Off the beaten track. on July 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Travelling around Ireland one sees many strange and wonderful things. This sign on the road between Dowra and Blacklion is for me very odd. It is meant to depict a dead Yellow Bittern. Someone did a drawing of a bird then turned it upside down! It just does’nt work for me. The story behind it is that a couple of hundred years ago Cathal went for a walk by nearby Lough Mc Nean on a very frosty morning, trapped in the ice was a dead Yellow Bittern which moved him to write a poem on the experience.

This Pine Tree blew over in a storm last year and has been in this position ever since. It is still alive and growing! Seen near Sligo. Wonderful!

This cross is in a garden I recently visited. The owner saw a similar cross in Armenia, liked the design, did a sketch of it then made it on his return home. When he dies it will mark his burial place.  Weird or wonderful? I’m not sure if it’s either!

This object is in the same garden as the cross. I find it rather menacing. Weird!

Fossil on a rocky beach in north Sligo. It looks like a headress to me. There’s also a face if you look closely. Wonderful!

Finally a sight this is now very rare in Ireland. A water pump. At one time these were a common sight in all parts of the country. A few up and downs of the handle and fresh spring water was yours. Sadly this one is missing a handle so it is only an ornament.

Weather, weather, weather!

In Animals, Cooking, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

What a difference a week makes. Last week I took this pic of Bella and Enid sheltering from the heat of the sun under the Sycamore tree. The last 3 days have been like a return to Winter. Have’nt opened the polytunnels for days as there have been such strong gusts of wind. Huge amounts of rain have fallen and it’s been cold too. I’ve hears it said that “a week is a long time in politics.” Well, a week is a long time when it comes to Irish weather!

So, what to do when stuck indoors in July. I cook and bake. Over the weekend I made 3 cakes which are almost gone, we did have lots of visitors! Also the 4 brown breads you see above. I always bake 4 together, 1 to use immediately and 3 for the freezer.

Gooseberries are ready for picking, a job for tomorrow.

The Rosebay Willowherb is still looking lovely on the lane. Won’t be bringing it into the garden though as it does spread like crazy.

The Lavender is flowering, unaffected by the rain and wind, although the scent is not so good without sunshine. Lavender has a multitude of uses. It can be used in cooking, from flavouring for jams to crystallizing the flowers for cake decoration. Medicinally it can be infused as a tea for headaches, to calm nerves and ease flatulence. Household use includes using the flower heads in sachets to protect clothing from Moths. All that and it looks good too! The good news on the weather is things are set to improve with high pressure dominating by next weekend. Fingers crossed!

Saffron’s Garden.

In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on July 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

The garden has been developing over the last 11 years and is now maturing beautifully. There are 2 large ponds.

Beautiful established herbaceous border leading to a lower level seating area and barbecue.

The large polytunnel has a jungle feel, it is filled with a mix of edibles and ornamentals.

One of Saffron’s beautiful sculptures enchances this mixed border.

This lovely piece was also carved by Saffron.

Heading back to the house through the garden.

The next open day is on August 21st or visits can be made by prior arrangement, ring Saffron on 086 8691141.

Thursday Musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening on July 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

For Diana of Elephant’s Eye blog: a front facing pic of the old Quennie stove planted with succulents. Sorry pic is a bit wonky!

Harvested the first onions yesterday. These were from sets planted in Spring in polytunnel which were for use as spring onions. We did’nt however use them all so they grew to full size. We use lots of onions in cooking so these won’t last long.

These perfect white Roses are on a plant grown from a cutting by my Mother.

Cosmos have been flowering for a while now. They are in every shade of pink, this darker colour is my fave.

In the small polytunnel the Tomatoes have been mulched with Comfrey. This will rot down over time and give the plants an extra boost of nutrients.

Leeks have been planted in the beds outdoors. I save the loo roll holders to stop the soil from falling in on the plants.

By the back door this lovely Geranium is flowering, I love the colour.

Weird and wonderful plant containers.

In Gardening on July 12, 2011 at 7:52 am

We use all sorts of weird and wonderful objects to make containers for plants. This one is a snare drum with a succelent in.

Two more drums from the same set. I think there’s two more left to be planted from the kit. Don’t worry Andy got a new set so he’s not without drums.

An old pair of wellington boots make a home for more succelents which are starting to spread nicely.

Old worn out boots are given a new task.

Metal dustbin filled with Ferns, Ivy and a Hosta.

Finally, an old cast iron stove planted up with succulents. Yes, I do like succulents. They are easy to care for, grow easily from cuttings and spread fairly quickly.


In Off the beaten track. on July 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

The east window of the ancient Abbey of Tarmon, Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim.


Nothing left now except the stone walls and the beautiful window above. Built sometime between the fourth and fifty centuries this was a Franciscan Friary. All is quiet now here on the western shore of Lough Allen.

Wonder what these sticking out stones were for on this old farm building. Any ideas anyone?

They stop at the little window. I’ve asked several people and nobody knows what they are for!

This now deserted farm shed was once an important shelter for animals on the smaller farms that were part of the Irish landscape pre EU days.

Inside the lovely flagstone floor is being taken over with Ferns and wild flowers.

The Hydrangea continues to bloom each year despite it’s isolation.

The old laneway once used by the men who travelled to work on foot to the local coal mine. Deserted now and being reclaimed by Nature.