In Garden, Gardening, nature on June 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm
The Poppies had been fully opened for the last few days…today they are closed and hanging low with the weight of the rain. Love their colour…so vibrant.
The leaves of Escallonia are super shiny in the rain. The forecasters say it is to rain all day today and tomorrow then nice again for the weekend. Fingers crossed they’re right.
Usually the Foxgloves are having lots of Bumble Bees visiting…but not today.
Lady’s Mantle is of course well known for how it holds the droplets of water. It also has medicinal use…it is astringent, styptic, tonic and vulnerary. Culpepper says that “It is proper for those wounds that have inflammation, and is effective to stay bleedings, vomitings, and fluxes of all sorts.”
Hostas also hold the water on their leaves. With all the dry weather we’ve had the slugs have’nt had a chance to devour them this year…so far.
The little pond in the big polytunnel is full again. I had to fill it fill it from the tap for the last few weeks as it was almost dry. You can’t see them in the pic but there’s loads of tadpoles in there…did’nt want them dying. Frogs are great for keeping the slug population under control. These seem to be at the tadpole stage for ages. Anyone know how long it takes for them to mature into frogs?
In Animals, Gardening on January 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Officially it is still Winter but the weather has it’s own mind. Today was Springlike in the valley. Just beautiful! I spent late morning pruning last years growth, now dead and brown, from the perennials on the bed by the Birch tree. I leave it over Winter so the birds can feast on any seeds. The birds kept me entertained as I worked, lots of them singing and chirping in the Birch tree. So many Tits and Chaffinches, and a few Goldfinches too. Can you spot the little Blue Tit in the Birch Tree?
It’s amazing how much early growth there’s been this year, 23rd January today and Sweet Cicely is already flowering.
Arum Lily has put on a lot of growth and
Escallonia is looking lush and healthy. Last year it came through the Winter but looked battered and bruised.
In the afternoon Lisa the Equine Dentist came to look at Daphne’s teeth. Donkeys teeth need to be checked anually especially as they get older. Daphne is about 22 now. Far back in the Donkey’s jaw are the molars, these often give trouble because the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw, the grinding movement is from side to side, so the teeth on the outer edges of the upper jaw and the inner edges of the lower do not get any wear. This in time leads to sharp points developing which will cause discomfort for the animal. The dentist uses a rasp, which is like a giant file, to rectify the problem.
Daphne did’nt need her teeth rasped today but she did have a loose tooth which Lisa extracted very quickly. Loose teeth can be sore and impede grazing so they do need to be checked by an expert.
And there it is, the troublesome tooth, gone! Daphne did’nt seem a bit bothered and returned to grazing as soon as she was back in the field.
In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 5, 2011 at 9:26 am
Lychnis coronaria, it’s striking magenta flowers would light up any border. The grey leaves show up the flowers brilliantly. It loves well drained soil and a sunny position. There is also a white version but this is the one for me! I shall save seeds from this one, I want more!
Thistles are just starting to reveal their beautiful purple flowers. Purple is one of my fave colours.
Seed heads of Sweet Cicely, these have a slight aniseed flavour and can be used in Apple or other fruit pies. According to Lesley Bremness in The Complete Book of Herbs they are used to flavour Chartreuse liqueur and when crushed make a furniture polish.
Escallonia at the back of the border provides year round greenery. It is covered in tiny flowers right now, their abundance making up for their size. Now is a good time to take cuttings of Escallonia, they strike easily.
Lots of Calendula at the moment, it self seeds from year to year. An ointment can be made from the flowers which is good for burns, bruises, sores or other skin problems. To make it: 100g Calendula flowers (about 70 heads), 150g emulsifying ointment (from pharmacy), 70ml glycerine(also from pharmacy), 80ml water.
Method: Chop flowers and put with rest of ingredients into a bain-marie for about 1-3 hours depending on desired strength. Take off heat and add a few drops of lavender oil. Strain into sterilised jars.
In Gardening, sustainable living on June 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm
Despite the weather it looks like being a good year for fruit. This plum tree, it’s a Victoria, is already laden down. If a drop does’nt occur I shall have to thin out the fruits. Home grown plums are nothing like the horrible shop ones, these never ripen fully and have no great flavour. They are probably irradiated and full of chemicals too. A home grown plum, ripened by the Sun, is a different experience. They have a scent, beautiful flavour and are full of juice. Yum yum, anticipation building!
In the polytunnel Peaches have put on a lot of growth. They look inviting already even though they won’t be ripe for some time yet.
Lettuce just coming into flower, I really want to save seeds from this one. Don’t know the variety but it’s grown from seeds I got in Bulgaria. It is similar to Little Gem but a lot bigger. It can be hard to save Lettuce seeds in Ireland’s damp climate. The seeds are tiny and mould has been a problem in the past.
The Escallonia has just come into bloom. The flowers are small but there’s loads of them. This is a really hardy evergreen shrub which is easily grown from cuttings taken in Summer. The flowers last until early Autumn.