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.
In arigna, Gardening, Off the beaten track. on August 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm
Have been asked by Elaine of www.rosebankramblings.com to show a few pics of the wider view of our place. So here we are, ready for a little tour.
This gravel garden which is in its very early stages, it was only started in April, is still being worked on. This is at the front of the house. Front entrance behind and to right from where I took this pic. The wooden building is a separate building, I will do a post on that soon.
From outside our back door, which is the entrance we use most and where you arrive to the house, looking left there is a big weeping Birch and a cottage garden style flower bed.
Looking right is the herbaceous border and beyond can be seen Corry mountain.
Round the corner of the house is this small grove of trees, Birch, Sycamore and Scots Pine. This is opposite the herbaceous border. The grass is left uncut, apart from an edging strip, until September. The goat shed can be seen in the field beyond.
Continuing on to the gate and our steep drive. Decent brakes needed here!
Looking back towards the house from the gate.
The next post will show pics from the vegetable and fruit garden.
In arigna, Folklore, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on August 3, 2011 at 9:28 am
Monday last was August 1st, also known as Lammas or Lughnasa. In the not so distant past this was a time of fairs and horse trading in honour of Rhiannon, the horse Goddess of the Underworld. There is still one remaining horse fair held on this day which is I believe held somewhere in Galway. Here in Arigna we like to harvest produce on this day as it is also a celebration of the abundance of the season. A time of gathering and preserving in preperation for the Winter which is just around the corner.
In April we planted Potatoes using a method new to us. Newspaper was placed on the ground, potatoes on top then covered with a thick mulch of rushes (straw could also be used). See post Blueberries, Potatoes & Rushes published on 11th April for more info and pics.
The variety planted was Colleen. Wow, the results far exceeded my expectations, I admit I was dubious. The Potatoes are clean, just pull back the mulch and there they are. Good yield, the amount above is from 2 plants. The size was a bit erratic, some very large Potatoes, some small. All in all we are well pleased and shall definitely use this method again.
In the new gravel garden, see post Elephant Hawk Moth & Gravel Garden published June 8th, everything is filling out nicely. The pots with mostly succulents in are doing particularly well. It is the sunniest spot. Many of the plants have flowered for the first time. Really love the little flower on this one.
In the vegetable garden Oregano is flowering now. The Bees just love it. Some of the flowers will be dried for use in teas. It is useful for colds, headaches and gastro-intestinal disorders. With the addition of a teaspoon of honey it makes a delicious tea. The leaves can also be infused to make a hair conditioner or added to your bath water to promote relaxation.
In Gardening on June 8, 2011 at 7:30 am
Spotted this on the bench in the polytunnel yesterday. Elephant Hawk Moth, is’nt it beautiful. It was there all day, I kept going back to look at it. The larvae like to feed on Rosebay Willowherb, Fuschia and Honeysuckle. All plants that are growing in abundance here.
For some time now we have been meaning to do something with the gravel area to the front of the house. Somehow all the garden work seems to be at the other side. Andy dug out the pond about 3 months ago, it is filled by the runoff from the roof. I have been collecting bits of driftwood, stones and old bits of ironwork to put around it, sort of Derek Jarman styleish!
This lovely lump of bog oak I got on one of the Tipperary visits. My brother and I often go walking on the bogs and that’s where we found this and a few other bits that had been dug up by the peat harvesting machines. These trees have been lying in the bog preserved by the peat for thousands of years. This was probably growing before Newgrange was built. Amazing! Have planted Lavender, Sedums, Saxifrage, Thyme and Eryngium around it.
Lots of succulents have been planted up in pots and grouped together, this will be added to as time goes on. The piece of bog oak was from the same bog excursion. Like the rest of the garden areas this will be a continuing work in progress.