In nature, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on July 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm
July 1st is here and walking on the lane with the dogs this morning it almost had an Autumn feel. All the rain has kept everything lush and green. But then that’s what people love Ireland for…the forty shades of green. I’ve never met anyone who came here for the good weather.
The lane is a 3 mile long cul-de-sac. We live about 2 miles along. There are lots of other houses on the lane so it’s not as isolated as it would initially seem.
Berries have already set on the Hawthorn, adding to the Autumnal feel. In his book Food for free, Richard Mabey, says : “When fully ripe they taste a little like avacado pear. They make a moderate jelly, but being a dry fruit need long simmering with a few crab apples to bring out all the juices and provide the necessary pectin. Otherwise the jelly will be sticky or rubbery. It is a good accompaniment to cream cheese.”
I think this arrangement of Ferns, Hawthorn, Moss and Foxgloves looks lovely. Nature does it better than any garden designer. A passing Sheep has made a contribution to the scene. Diarmiud Gavin eat your heart out! No multi-coloured monstrosities needed here!
Maybe the wool was from this Mama who thinks she is invisible as she sits quitely in the long grass.
“Hey Mama, I think they can see you.”
Foxgloves are playing a blinder this year…so many of them. Gorgeous!
Lettie likes to drink from the puddles on the lane. In their water bowls in the house we always add Citricidal, which is good for eliminating internal parasites. Given the choice she always goes for the pure unadulterated rain water.
In Ireland, nature, sustainable living on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 am
Summer Solstice is upon us once again. The high point of the Summer when everything in Nature is lush and abundant. This year the weather has been pretty good since March so it seems like we have had Summer for a long time already. We have also had lots of rain which combined with the warmth has enabled rapid growth of everything.
Now is a good time to propogate shrubs from cuttings. There’s always a place for new plants to be slotted in. Otherwise the abundance of the season can be shared with friends. A free plant always brings a smile to someones face.
A nice bunch of flowers is another welcome gift. This arrangement was collected from the garden yesterday morning. Given to a friend who is retiring from work, it brought a beaming smile of appreciation. The flowers were placed in a glass which I then covered with this organza bag which was saved from I gift I had recieved. I always save nice packagings, ribbons and gift bags to be reused and recycled.
For me Foxgloves are the flower of Summer Solstice. They self seed everywhere here and most of them are left to reach maturity. It would be an insult to remove these gifts from Mother Nature. Far nicer than anything bought at the garden centre with the added bonus of no air miles attached. No patent attached here!
In the vegetable garden there is lots of produce. We are harvesting Lettuce, Spring Onions, Beetroot, Peas, Broad Beans and Mangetous right now. The Potatoes are just coming into flower. They will be ready for harvesting about 2 weeks after flowering. Of course leaving them longer gives bigger Potatoes but thats not likely to happen. These are Ballydoon which were planted on St. Patrick’s Day.
Summer Solstice is the time when bonfires are lit to celebrate the season here in north-west Ireland. This tradition which has been going on since Pagan times has died out in other parts of the country but alive and well in this area. It is now called St. John’s Night, the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist. Like many other Pagan celebrations it was masked by Christians as the celebration of a saint’s day.
To conclude I wish you all health, happiness and abundance at this special time of the Summer Solstice. Happy Days!
In Gardening, green living on March 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Daffodils about to bloom…these should be in flower for St. Patrick’s Day.
Lots of growth on Summer flowering plants in the background.
Tete a tete still in flower. Poached Egg plant, in front, survived the mild Winter.
Hot chocolate in Sligo…did’nt realise the “large” would be quite this big! We managed it though!
First Peach blossoms in the polytunnel. I will hand pollinate these when all the blooms are out. Not enough insects yet to do the job.
The first forage…picking Wild Garlic in Lough Key Forest Park.
Made Wild Garlic and Parsley pesto. Delicious with pasta and home-grown salad.
Planting Foxgloves with local school children. The teacher told me the old local name for Foxgloves is Fairy Fingers.
Click on pics to enlarge.
In Bees, Gardening, sustainable living on June 14, 2011 at 6:54 am
The polytunnel is getting to the stage I really like now, everything growing like crazy, plants merging into each other. Nasturtiums self-seed profusely here, I love their bright colours and the fact that they are edible. The Peach tree has put on lots of growth, I will prune it once or twice during the Summer. Summer pruning works for Peaches, Plums and Nectarines, Winter pruning can lead to silverleaf and canker.
In the top orchard the Bees are happily working away. Andy checked them recently and the hives are good and healthy, no spare honey yet, the weather has just been too cold and wet. Hopefully the weather picks up and we will get some honey in late Summer. Our main priority is to have happy healthy bees.
Also in the top orchard we have been extending the mulched area. Up to now an area around each tree was mulched. Last week Andy strimmed the grass, we put down lots of newspapers and cardboard, then used the strimmings on top as mulch. When the weather gets better, (fingers crossed) we intend to plant this area with Pumpkins. They are already growing on in pots in the polytunnel. It’s just too cold at night for them so far. They can run rampant here and be pollinated by the Bees.
Foxgloves are in full flower now. I am often reminded of a picture of a painting I once saw in a book, of a gnome like being wearing a Foxglove flower as a hat. The painting was by Walter Thun, husband of Maria Thun who compiles the biodynamic calendar each year. I always have that in my mind’s eye as I gaze upon a Foxglove.