In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on August 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm
The gate to the vegetable garden.
First thing to see is this Victoria Plum tree laden with fruit again this year.
Following the path, Blackcurrant bushes on the left, veg beds on the right.
There are 2 polytunnels. The biggest one is 63ft long, the smaller one about 22ft. Among the vegetable beds there is a seat, an essential in any garden. It is one of my fave places to sit and contemplate or just observe the beautiful nature which surrounds us.
At the bottom of the small tunnel and looking back towards the house there are fruit trees, Plum and Apple. These are planted in tyres as the ground here is heavy and wet. Herbs and flowers are planted round the bases of the trees.
More veg beds beside the small polytunnel.
Looking over the fence we can see the house through the Birch tree. The cottage garden bed is at the other side of the fence.
Hope you enjoyed the tour!
In Gardening, sustainable living on June 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm
Despite the weather it looks like being a good year for fruit. This plum tree, it’s a Victoria, is already laden down. If a drop does’nt occur I shall have to thin out the fruits. Home grown plums are nothing like the horrible shop ones, these never ripen fully and have no great flavour. They are probably irradiated and full of chemicals too. A home grown plum, ripened by the Sun, is a different experience. They have a scent, beautiful flavour and are full of juice. Yum yum, anticipation building!
In the polytunnel Peaches have put on a lot of growth. They look inviting already even though they won’t be ripe for some time yet.
Lettuce just coming into flower, I really want to save seeds from this one. Don’t know the variety but it’s grown from seeds I got in Bulgaria. It is similar to Little Gem but a lot bigger. It can be hard to save Lettuce seeds in Ireland’s damp climate. The seeds are tiny and mould has been a problem in the past.
The Escallonia has just come into bloom. The flowers are small but there’s loads of them. This is a really hardy evergreen shrub which is easily grown from cuttings taken in Summer. The flowers last until early Autumn.
In Gardening, sustainable living on May 19, 2011 at 10:01 am
Rhododendron ponticum is just coming into flower at the moment. Hated by many because it is so invasive one cannot deny the beauty of it’s flowers. Introduced to England and Ireland in the 18th century it has escaped into the wild choking out all in it’s path. Every Summer grows of volunteers work at cutting it back, especially in Kerry where it has become a huge problem. Each plant sets thousands of viable seeds so it’s progress is speedy. It is also poisonous to animals.
Was delighted to see this Ladybird yesterday, first one this year. They are in serious decline because of pesticide use and habitat disturbance. One way to help Ladybirds is to leave a patch of Nettles in your garden. The Nettle Aphid is a fave food of Ladybirds emerging from hibernation, it is’nt a garden pest. Ladybirds are of course a great friend to the gardener, they will consume aphids, scale insects and mealy bugs. Many people consider them lucky and love to see them. My Mother’s name for them is God’s Cows, that’s what they were always called when she was a child.
The old cottage garden favourite Aquilega is in flower at the moment. Also known as Columbine or Granny’s Bonnet it’s flowers are short-lived but so pretty. It is easily grown from seed and self seeds readily.
The Victoria Plum has set lots of fruits again this year. It likes the heavy ground here. We also have a young Opal Plum tree which has set fruit for the first time. Once again it seems that working with Nature will provide abundance here in the Arigna valley.
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.”