Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘rosebay willowherb’

Weather, weather, weather!

In Animals, Cooking, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

What a difference a week makes. Last week I took this pic of Bella and Enid sheltering from the heat of the sun under the Sycamore tree. The last 3 days have been like a return to Winter. Have’nt opened the polytunnels for days as there have been such strong gusts of wind. Huge amounts of rain have fallen and it’s been cold too. I’ve hears it said that “a week is a long time in politics.” Well, a week is a long time when it comes to Irish weather!

So, what to do when stuck indoors in July. I cook and bake. Over the weekend I made 3 cakes which are almost gone, we did have lots of visitors! Also the 4 brown breads you see above. I always bake 4 together, 1 to use immediately and 3 for the freezer.

Gooseberries are ready for picking, a job for tomorrow.

The Rosebay Willowherb is still looking lovely on the lane. Won’t be bringing it into the garden though as it does spread like crazy.

The Lavender is flowering, unaffected by the rain and wind, although the scent is not so good without sunshine. Lavender has a multitude of uses. It can be used in cooking, from flavouring for jams to crystallizing the flowers for cake decoration. Medicinally it can be infused as a tea for headaches, to calm nerves and ease flatulence. Household use includes using the flower heads in sachets to protect clothing from Moths. All that and it looks good too! The good news on the weather is things are set to improve with high pressure dominating by next weekend. Fingers crossed!

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Wild Herbs and Birch trees.

In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Rosebay Willowherb has come into flower overnight. I noticed it on this morning’s walk with the dogs. I suppose you could’nt really miss those pinky/magenta flowers. To me they are as pretty as any garden plant.  It has to be kept under a careful eye in the garden as it spreads rapidly. Each plant has about 80,000 seeds, these have silky hairs which aid dispersal by the wind. In North America it is called Fireweed and was used medicinally by the native peoples.

The plant became known as Bombweed because of it’s rapid colonization of bomb craters in the Second World War. It needs space and light to thrive and dies out where there are trees and shrubs. In Alaska candies, syrup and even ice cream are made from the plant. Russians use it as a tea.

On the return from the short walk I picked a big bunch of Equisetum, Horsetail or Mare’s Tail are it common names, this will go in the liquid feed brew. Equisetum is said to be a good preventative against fungal diseases in all crops. Mixing it into the liquid feed is a good way to apply it.

This is the view from the bathroom window onto the first flower bed we made here. It has filled out nicely now. The stone was brought from an old building in the back field and most of the plants were grown from cuttings, or slips as they say in Ireland.

From the same window I can also look into the canopy of this Birch, one of my favourite trees.

Elephant Hawk Moth & Gravel Garden.

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.