In arigna, Garden, Ireland on July 3, 2012 at 8:39 am
After having had pretty good weather in March, April and May it seems that June was the wettest since 1860. I do think that the south of the country had it worse though. Every time I rang my Mother it seemed to be raining heavily there, yes, we have had rain too, but it’s only the last 2 weeks that have been monsoon like. That’s climate change I suppose, some places getting less rain while we get more. If it continues in this vein more growing will have to be done indoors in polytunnels, in Ireland anyway. The overcast skies are quiet depressing and heavy. A rare patch of blue sky yesterday evening had me rushing out with the camera to capture it!
It darkened again almost immmediately and this rainbow which bridged Corry and Sliabh an Iariann appeared. Not the usual high arch to this one. Very squat and low lying. Have’nt seen one this low before. Even the rainbows are affected by the low cloud!! Does’nt the countryside look beautifully fresh and lush though…one benefit of all that rain.
In the garden flowers are doing surprisingly well. I don’t like this dark leaved Lysmachia, actually I thought I’d removed all of it, but I have to admit it makes a good pairing with this peachy pink Lupin. Maybe it’s saved itself!
Lady’s Mantle and Catmint, two plants I really like, they look good together. I have to admit I’m a trial and error gardener. I bung everything in, cottage garden style, if it really does’nt work I’ll just move plants in the dormant season. I know some people swear by plans and charts but not for me. Lots of self seeders are left to prosper too. I don’t have the heart to remove them.
The wild Dog Rose is almost finished now…
each fallen petal leaving a temporary love message for all to see.
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 arigna, Gardening on June 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm
Catmint and Lady’s Mantle looking good together, Foxgloves looking on. It is said that blue and green should not be seen together. This gives the lie to that.
The Tomatoes are doing well in the small polytunnel. I do find lettuce is going to seed very quickly this year, probably due to the unsummery weather. The only outside crops doing well are Onions and Potatoes, the rest are just sitting there looking miserable. Thank goodness for polytunnels!
In the back field the Sycamore stands strong and proud, oblivious to all weathers. Sycamore is not native to Ireland but it has naturalised and self seeds itself profusely.
Facing West just outside the back door is Ganesh, a present from our friends Paul and Debra who visited last weekend from Co. Clare. Is’nt he fab? Ganesh is said to be the remover of obstacles. I think he has his work cut out for him here. The biggest obstacle, as regular visitors will know, facing us here in the north west is the threat of the destruction of the land in search of gas. The process called fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the only one that can be used to extract the gas from the shale rock we have here. If this happens it will leave a trail of destruction. Water sources destroyed, land and air polluted, an industrialised landscape instead of the amazing untamed wildness we now have. I am still stunned that our government would even contemplate letting this happen. But it seems they have. Maybe Ganesh will be successful!!
In Bees, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 9, 2011 at 8:22 am
Blossom covered Plum.
The main soundtrack in the garden yesterday was the sound of bees buzzing busily hither and thither. The Plum above is covered in blossom again this year, and the bees are ecstatic. So much has come into blossom in the last week, they are spoilt for choice.
Victoria is the varietyof Plum and it has done well since it started fruiting 5 years ago. Last year we had to prop all the branches they were so laden with plums. I thought it might have a slack year this year but it seems not. The main point to remember with Plums is not to prune in Winter as this can lead to silver leaf which is a fungal disease.
Planted up loads of self-seeded Nasturtiums in the cardboard centres of loo rolls. We save these throughout the year, they make great plant pots, being biodegradable they can go into the earth without disturbing the roots of plants. They are great for peas and beans as they can have a longer root run.
Dicentra spectablis is in full flower now. Very early this year, I’m sure it did’nt flower until May last year. It only seems a few weeks ago I posted pics of it just emerged from the earth. Check out Daphne in the top right hand corner!
Lamium or Dead Nettle as it is more often called also seems to be flowering early. This is a great plant for a shady post and creeps along by throwing out runners, much like strawberries. It is easily propogated from cuttings. Dislikes dry soil.
Many people regard Alchemilla (Lady’s Mantle) as a weed, it is a prolific self-seeder. I love it, especially how it holds the raindrops in it’s leaf. The word alchemy comes from this plant, because of the healing dew that would collect overnight in the leaves. These dewdrops were used in many mystic potions. In herbal lore it was mainly used for “women’s problems.”
In Bees, Cooking, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 8, 2011 at 9:02 am
Yesterday was a glorious day, blue sky and too hot to work in the polytunnel by afternoon. I managed to spend the whole day in the garden. Strawberries (Elsanta) and lettuces were planted out in the big polytunnel.
Tomatoes were potted on, these are Mexican Midget, from seed savers in Co Clare. They form a long gangly plant with trusses spaced well apart. Fruits are the size of grapes but so delicious, lovely sweet flavour. They were still producing late in the season last year. We are also growing Moneymaker which gives a nice size Tomato. Many people say they don’t have a good flavour but grown organically I do not find that to be the case.
Sweet Cicely at back, Lady's Mantle and Sedum spectabile in front.
I love how certain plants that complement each other in the kitchen come into season together. Sweet Cicely and Rhubarb typify this. Rhubarb is known to have a lot of acidity and not suitable for people suffering from arthritis. However when Rhubarb is cooked with Sweet Cicely it reduces the acid considerably.Reduction of the acid means less sugar is needed so good for diabetics too. It also looks good, mine is in a flower border. White flowers are produced later in Spring, the bees love them.
Everything here is grown naturally, no boxes with skull and crossbones lurking in our shed! It works, plants want to grow, no mystery.
Meanwhile in New York 60 farmers,seed businesses and agricultural organisations have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto challenging the company’s patents on genitically modified seed. The plaintiffs are suing to prevent themselves being accused of patent infringement should their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s seed. Monsanto has a history of this, with one Canadian farmer having to pay the company $28,000.