Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Break time.

In Ireland, nature on May 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

 I was so touched recently by all your expressions of sympathy on the passing of our lovely doggie companion Alice. Alice had been with us for fifteen and a  years so it was a big wrench for us to lose him. We have of course come to terms with it now but we deeply appreciated the calls and comments left by each and every person. It made me realise that this blogosphere does have a community feel all of it’s own. I am happy to be a small part of it.

Right now I feel is the right time for me to take a small break from blogging. Not too long…will be back here again towards the end of the month.

In the meantime I may have some adventures I can share with you on my return.

For now I will leave you with a couple of pics taken in the last few days. This is a mule snapped on a neighbours farm. Not an animal you see much nowadays.

This is a Giant Skunk Cabbage growing in my friend Saffron’s garden. It looks lovely but smells yucky…

this is the inside view. Bye for now. Be back soon!

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A Spring Day in Winter!

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.

A January Day.

In arigna, Gardening on January 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

The morning sky looks bleak despite the blue. Are those chemtrails or just harmless vapour trails? I wonder!!

The animals are constantly watching the door to see if they have any titbits to recieve. Their faves are Ginger Nut biscuits and Carrots.

Ash trees against a grey sky. Kilronan Mountain in the background.

Early afternoon sees a blue sky giving some hope of sunshine… which alas does not appear.

Through the garden gate an old tree stump has become colonised with Foxgloves. One of my fave native wild flowers. They did’nt have the distress of a hard Winter this year so perhaps they will flower before May.

Aster too is showing strong growth. I will divide this clump in the coming days. Now is the perfect time for this work in this frost free mild (for January) weather.

 By evening the sky is grey and cloudy. Another January day almost at an end. Not too many more until the 1st of February, St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc the Celtic festival of Earth once again awakening.

As darkness falls we light the fire in the small stove in our sitting room. Candles are lit, a nice meal prepared, watch a bit of telly and a bit of the world wide web. Another January day ends in Arigna.

Fave pics of 2011.

In Gardening on December 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

We only have pictures from May onwards as our computer had a hissy fit and devoured everything before May including photos of our Finland trip in April. Boo hoo!!  This pic was taken in the garden of The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin. It is of course lovely hubby Andy stopping to smell the Roses. Taken in May.

14th June was my Mothers 75th birthday. We went to Birr Castle to have lunch and visit the gardens there. Pictured is myself, on left, Lizzie in the middle and Bridget my 16 year old niece.

July should have been high Summer…it was’nt…it was grey, cold, wet and windy. My lovely Buddha statue was blown off the windowsill and broke. Rather than bin it I inserted the top half in a pot  planted  with succulents. It has filled out nicely now.

Back to the end of June which saw the arrival of new puppy Freddie. He has settled in with our other dogs Lettie and Alice. He was 1 year old in October.

The bad weather continued into August but there were lots of flowers despite it. This is through the garden gate into the veg and fruit garden.

September gave lots of rain so there were lots of Mushrooms. We went to Ireland’s first Mushroom Festival at Killegar Manor in County Cavan.

In October I was in Clare house sitting and looking after Goats, Chickens, Cats and an orphaned baby Guinea Pig called Gerry who had to be fed from a dropper twice daily.

November was great…good weather at last. After the coldest Summer in 50 years November was mild and Springlike. Fab! That certainly shortened the Winter. I can’t believe it’s now just a few days to the Solstice when once again we can look forward to Spring and lenghtening evenings once again.

As November Ends.

In Animals, nature on November 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the month draws to a close the weather has become a little colder…we were spoilt by the mild conditions of October and November. Still no heavy frost…lots of rain though. The sun is low is the sky…less than a month to go now before it starts its upward journey and the days once again start to lenghten.

 

In the garden the plants seem to have been fooled by the Spring like Autumn. I have never seen Borage to be still producing flowers into November…and this plant is outside!

 

 

 

The Fatsia has produces it’s odd little flowers…last year they were destroyed by hard frost. Daffodils and Crocus are budding early…as are so many other things.

 

The grass in the fields continues to grow which keeps the animals happy. Last year we were feeding them hay throughout November. We have hay in store so if the weather suddenly turns we are prepared. Lots of food in our own store too. We were snowed in last year for 2 weeks at end of November into first week of December. Then we had a thaw before being cut off again for 2 more weeks which included Christmas Day.

 

Daphne is looking very cuddly at the moment as she has grown her Winter coat…she’s takin no chances with the weather!

The dogs and I continue to have twice daily walks on the lane regardless of weather. The low sun gives little Lettie the shadow of a Great Dane…and me a giant. Yes…I continue to be amused by the long shadows…I’m easily entertained really!

 

In  the kitchen work continues turning the Summer fruits into jams and chutneys. I have booked a stall at the Christmas Fair in Manorhamilton next Sunday so will sell the preserves there. I will also do some baked goods…Almond Tarts, Melting Moments and Caramel Slices are always good sellers. So…a busy week ahead for me.

Ireland’s Native Trees.

In Ireland, nature on November 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Ash tree in back field.

 There are differing opinions about the number of native Irish trees. A general consensus seems to be 18. Ash is one of the commonest trees. It grows on all soils and self seeds readily. The national game of hurling is played with hurleys made from Ash. It is also a great tree for burning and can be burned from green.

Scots Pine at Lough Rynn.

 The mighty Scots Pine can grow to a height of 40 metres and live up to 300 years.  The wood is known as “red deal”…it is used fencing, in house building and in telephone poles. It is high in resin which makes it longer lasting.

Young Oak tree at Seed Savers in Co Clare.

 There are 2 native Oaks…sessile and pedunculate. The difference is in the acorns. The acorns from Sessile Oaks have no stalks while the pedunculate have quite long stalks. Ireland’s oldest Oak is at Tuamgraney in Co. Clare…it is 1,000 years old. The Oak pictured above is grown from an acorn from that tree. It is known as Brian Boru’s Oak. Brian Boru was the last High King of Ireland…he was killed at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 reputedly at 88 years old. Oak produces very strong timber…most of Ireland’s Oak forests were felled to be used in the making of ships for Britain’s Royal Navy.

Birch, Scots Pine and Ash to the north-side of our house.

 Now is a good time for planting trees, especially in the mild weather we have been having. It is a good idea to plant native trees as they are accostumed to the climate…more wildlife friendly…birds and insects are fussy and will only inhabit plants they recognise.  Check what grows in your area already. If something is not going to do well in your soil there’s no point planting it.

The complete list in addition to those mentioned:

Birch, will grow in boggy, wet soil. Rowan, also called Mountain Ash. Alder, has nitrogen fixing nodules on it’s roots. Willow, hundreds of species, grows easily from cuttings. Holly, only the female bears the red berries that symbolise Christmas for so many. Hazel, produces edible nuts that are much loved by humans and squirrels. Aspen, a fast growing member of the Poplar family. Bird Cherry, found mainly in the north-west. Crab Apple, produces small sour apples which make an easy to set jelly. Strawberry Tree, found mainly in co . Kerry. It produces fruits which look like Strawberries hence the name. Whitebeam, has a preference for limy soils. Wych Elm, mostly wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease. Wild Cherry, grows best in alkaline soil. Yew, most often associated with graveyards produces berries which are poisonous to livestock.

 If you’re going to plant a tree…do plant a native tree.

 

 

 

Spring days in November!

In Gardening on November 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The weather here at the moment is amazing. Blue sky, sunshine and so mild too. The only clue to the fact that it’s Winter is the lack of leaves on the trees. Hopefully it will continue. I find these type of days quite invigorating.

In the garden many plants are flowering again. This Fuschia did’nt do well flower wise in the wet Summer…it is now covered in cheery blooms. Not a sight I’ve seen in previous November’s. This time last year was 10 degrees colder…we had really heavy snow at the end of November.

Feverfew is flowering again…

as is this Rose which is in a pot by the back door.

Inula is flowering by the garden gate…

and on the laneway the skeletal remains of Summer plants serve as a reminder that yes…it is Winter.

I’m delighted that this Spindle has flowered and produced berries as I grew it from a seed planted about 8 years ago. Soon the skin on these seeds will split open to reveal the vibrant orange coloured seeds inside.

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.

Irish Museum of Modern Art Garden.

In Gardening on May 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

Could’nt take pics of the exhibitions, although we did take one sneaky one. This huge sphere made by Romauld Hazoume was in the courtyard.

Also by Hazoume, also made from jerry cans. Sounds from a busy day in Benin are playing continously giving this exhibit an exciting vibrancy.

There is a formal garden at the north side of the main building which could be easily missed if you did’nt know it was there. Well worth a look, there is no admission charge.

Lots of beautiful Roses, mostly scented. They are sheltered by the high walls of the garden.

Box hedging enclosing a bed of Catmint.

Aaaah! I’m outta here, she’s holding some blokes head!!

This one’s a bit more gracious looking!

Love the cherubs!

From Templetuohy to Prospect Cottage.

In arigna, Cooking, Gardening, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on April 7, 2011 at 7:47 am

Templetuohy in north Tipperary is the village I come from. Driving back home to Arigna on Tuesday took about 3 hours as usual. There are places and landmarks along the way that mark the journey. Athlone is the half way mark, another hour and a half to the familiar comfort of the warm welcoming kitchen, the cup of tea, the welcoming dogs, the loving welcome, at both ends of the journey.Lizzie (my Mother) is a gardener too. Unlike me she would not describe herself as a gardener. I always remember a vegetable garden, not from any idea of saving the planet but from economic necessity when we were children and money was scarce. Old habits die hard, 75 next birthday, 2 hip replacements and still there is a garden. The strawberry bed above, weeded and already with budding flowers will supply lots of fruit for jam, desserts and just enjoying fresh off the plant. The weekend desserts were strawberries and raspberries from the freezer, the last of 2010s crop.In the polytunnel there are lots of flowers on the early strawberries. These first fruits of the season will be relished with joy. Anticipation already building for the children. All sorts of receptacles are used for planting seeds into. Old biscuit tins, plastic containers are all saved and reused in the garden. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are all grown from seed. There will be enough plants here for my brother’s garden too.

One of my favourite landmarks on the journey is this magnificient bronze sculpture. The Black Bull stands atop a stone wall beside the pub of the same name about 10 miles from Roscrea. A real attention grabber, I love it! I want one for the garden!