Bridget

The return of Summer!

In Animals, Gardening, sustainable living on August 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

After what seems like months this week saw the welcome return of Summer to Ireland. Even though we are dependent on rain to maintain the lush greener that typifies Ireland it is nice to have Summer sunshine. July was one of the wettest and dullest since records began. But for this week at least the forecast is good…bright sunshine and dry weather all week.

 The Goats love this weather. They hate rain as their coats are not waterproof. If it’s raining they stay in their shed and look miserable. Many times I have seen Goats tied out in fields and they make for a miserable sight. I wonder how their owners would like it to be tied to a post in the rain and cold??

Today I finished picking the last of the Blackcurrants. The harvest went on for a month this year as the fruit ripened very slowly due to lack of sun. Despite that the harvest was fantastic. Actually all the berries produced a good crop this year. Not so good for Apples and Plums but one can’t have it all. Maybe berries are the way to go in our changing climate.  As I harvest the Blackcurrants I prune off the branches which have fruited. This is a good way of pruning. Two jobs in one!

The Goats are rather partial to the prunings. I wonder if the leaves have Vitamin C like the berries? Some prunings will be used as cuttings. I don’t bother with putting them in a trench over Winter etc like all the gardening books will tell you. I just put them in a bucket with some water and roots form in a month or two. They are then planted in their final positions. Cuttings treated this way last year provided fruit this year. Some Willow in the water helps the rooting as Willow has fantastic rooting properties and helps other plants take root. Amazing!!

The Cherry tree which was planted in this old tractor tyre sadly died, Cherries don’t do well here, so it was finally removed this Spring. In March Potatoes were planted here and mulched with garden compost. They have done well and so has all the stuff which germinated from the compost! I don’t have the heart to remove self-seeded plants which sometimes works to my detriment. The dilemna now is how to dig out the Potatoes without losing all my lovely Borage and Marigolds? I suppose I’ll just have to wait until it all dies down. Even Strawberries which I thought were dead have reemerged and fruited.

Another lot of compost used to mulch around the Damson tree has produced a wonderful crop of Marigolds. No Damsons this year though!

Much to my delight the Water Lily planted in the pond in the gravel garden has produced a flower this year. I must do a post on the gravel garden. Planted just over a year ago it has done really well and things are filling out nicely there. But that’s for another day. Off now to catch some evening rays.

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  1. We have blackberries here (everywhere!), and our neighbor’s goats love the plants.

  2. Lovely post- you have a beautiful smallholding. Like Caro I’m also curious about the addition of willow to the bucket with blackcurrant cutting?
    K

    • The Willow has great rooting properties. By putting some in the water with cutting it helps cuttings form roots quicker. It tried it often and it works. Cuttings in pots also root better if watered with Willow water.

  3. Lovely tip about the currants – I wonder if it would work with redcurrants as well? I’m being optimistic here because my redcurrant bush hasn’t actually fruited yet. It’s in its second summer but I forgot to prune it last year. Now pruned, I’m hoping for fruit next year and will certainly follow up on your tip with the bucket. When you talk of adding willow, I’m assuming that you pop a willow cutting into the bucket?

    • That’s right. If rooting smaller cuttings you can cut the Willow into pieces 1 or 2 inches long and insert in water. If cuttings are in pots of soil they can be watered with the Willow water.

  4. I love everything but especially the goats! What are damsons?

  5. I hadn’t realised goat coats aren’t waterproof. Certainly I wouldn’t like to be tied to a post in the rain! Sorry your damsons aren’t doing well. There are some in the hedgerows here and some branches are solid with fruit. Funny how it works.

  6. A great tip about how to use the prunings from the currant bushes ! And yes, everything feels better for a dash of sunshine, especially the goats 🙂

  7. Hurrah for some sunshine – I think we all benefit from a bit of sun on our backs – including the goats.

  8. Congrats on the water lily. I find such peace when I visit.

  9. Lovely goats! Pot marigolds are such good garden plants aren’t they. Cut flowers. Predator insect attractors. Great rich cheerful colours.

  10. I’m back online and trying to get caught up. 🙂
    Great photos and your goats certainly do look happy!

  11. The tyre full of marigolds looks lovely, and I’m sure there will be damsons another year. It’s been a difficult year for tree fruit – we have some damsons, but very few apples and a grand total of three pears on our two trees. Hope the sun shines on your garden for a while yet!

  12. Glad to see you’ve got some sun at last. Looks like we’re in for a spell of nice weather here too. I feel an epic day on the plot tomorrow to make up for all the rained off days I’ve missed. The weeds are looking a little rampant!

  13. Your property looks SO pretty! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a fab rest of the month for you!
    ps. Those goats look ecstatic! They made me smile! 🙂

  14. You have some very happy looking goats Bridget 🙂 I’m glad you’re making the most of the sunshine… I just hope it lasts until the weekend as sitting in a stuffy office all week is made more frustrating when it rains on my days off!
    I love your tip about pruning the blackcurrants as I get forgetful x

  15. Your goats are so beautiful!

  16. So pleased that the sun is finally shining for you! Nothing like it to cheer you up (and the garden, the pets, the goats…) Even the plants look happier. Enjoy!

  17. everything looks fresh and lovely. great repurposing of a tire for the garden bed! curious – do the goats interact much with humans?

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