Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘marigold’

On Butterflies and garden progress.

In Garden, herbal remedies, sustainable living on April 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

 

The Peacock Butterflies are out of hibernation now, I saw this one on the lane drinking from a Dandelion. Could’nt get close enough for a better photo, it took several attempts to get this one. It is a bit better if you click on it to enlarge. The favoured place for Peacocks to lay their eggs is on Nettles so if you have a patch of Nettles leave them for the Butterflies. They need to be in a sunny spot though. Do of course have the fresh tops for soup…very nutritious and an old remedy for cleansing the blood in Spring.

 

In the garden the Raspberries are at last starting to spread. They were planted 2 years ago and have’nt done much up to now. Thigs are looking good for this year…lots of flower buds. Fresh Raspberries…bliss!

 

In the polytunnel the beds are filling up with transplants. Growth is slow enough as the night’s are still quite cold.

 

With good planning it is possible to have salad crops all year round. These red Lettuces ready for picking now were planted last August. They don’t make much growth over the Winter as our polytunnel is unheated but once Spring comes they take off again. Having fresh salads is a big priority for us as we eat a lot of salad…in all seasons. I never buy supermarket salads as Lettuce is one of the most sprayed crops grown commmercially. I remember reading once that the average Lettuce is sprayed on average 22 times in it’s short forced-grown life. Washing does not remove these poisons…for that is what they are…and then it is eaten raw.

 

Pot Marigolds or Calendula are flowering early in the polytunnel. I love their cheery faces. The whole plant is edible but I find the leaves a bit coarse so I only use the petals which look lovely decorating a salad. The petals also make a soothing eyewash and a salve can be made can also be made from them. It is very good for cuts, grazes and rashes.

 

 A handful of Lettuce leaves and Parsley to make the evening salad…with a nice dressing to accompany it makes a fitting complement to any meal. Topped off of course with a Spring Onion and a scattering of Marigold petals. Art, happiness and Nature’s Bounty on a plate at the end of the day. Perfect!

January Musings from Prospect Cottage.

In arigna on January 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The view out the window from our computer spot is pretty grey today. The mountains are shrouded in mist and the wind is gusting very strong. It’s not a day for venturing out unless one has too. My only outing today was to take the dogs for a short walk and venture into the polytunnel on the return to get some carrots for the evening meal. We will have the carrots with mashed potato and the remnants of a Hazelnut and Courgette Loaf I made yesterday. Today the loaf will be fried. Perhaps a soupcon of onion gravy too.

 

The land is saturated at the moment, there was a lot of rain in December and it’s now continuing into January. The lakes and rivers are full to capacity and every drain and ditch is busy with rushing water. Very strong winds over the last week. I find wind so tiring, it exhausts my energy.

In the house everything is warm and cosy. The stove is going from early morning to late at night. The Christmas tree still twinkles on the table, it is considered unlucky to take down the decorations before Twelfth Night, January 6th. We got a living tree this year. After the 6th we will repot it,leave it in the polytunnel, then move it outside when the weather improves.

 In the garden there are some signs of Spring waiting in the wings. Willow is budding, it’s lovely catkins one of the symbols of Spring. Daffodils are up a few inches but I suppose the colder weather at the moment will have put a halt to their growth. When the ground dries out a bit there is lots of work to be done dividing perennials to create new plantings. But alas it’s far too wet right now. A little patience required!

In the polytunnel February Orchid (Orychophragmus violaceus) is flowering early. A little beacon of hope for an early Spring!! This little plant with a big name is not an Orchid at all but of the Brassica family.

Marigolds continue to flower in the polytunnel, a sure sign that despite the current wind and rain that it has so far (fingers crossed) been a mild Winter here in Ireland. I wonder if they are perennials in their native land? Anyone out there know? Their cheery flowers certainly help to brighten the dull days of January here in Arigna.