Tag Archives: Irish gardening

April (nearly) Apres

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Things here are far from normal. I’d prefer not to go into detail, but hubby is again very unwell. Nevertheless, I found a way back into the gardening groove. I’ve done a lot in the last few days, without even getting near the years-old stash of seeds.

Wrong time of year, I know, but I planted the rest of the gladiolus hubby bought me last year (it might die, but it will certainly die if leave in the house another year). I also planted snakes-head fritillary, some ordinary lilies, three spider lilies, and about four other types of bulbs he bought for me last year. I’m almost glad he isn’t well enough to be shopping right now as I have hardly any room left! All these seed packets of potential life are kinda breaking my heart. I need about five more acres of land…

I have had a few happy surprises from older plants.


My peony has a bud! Just one, and it is soooo tiny. Today I saw that new shoots are coming up about 4in from the main plant, too. I think she is happy here!


I have an asparagus! One. Ah, well. 


Celeriac? I tried some from seed two years ago, no joy. This grew in a poor bonsai that himself bought me – bonsai died (one of the things I’m not good at). I dug it out and moved it to the Stupid Girl raised bed. Hope it keeps going as we have discovered that celeriac is delicious


Bluebells! Gift from his uncle. 


I am pretty sure these gladiolus are coming up way too early. Also shown is the world’s tallest gazania, still going strong. Tallest according to Ark, who should know; they are native to South Africa. 


The head of one of the red and black lilies I’ve had for years now. I love how they grow in an anti-clockwise spin. 


Ash tree that decided to grow in one of my containers. There aren’t any ash trees nearby at all! One of two I have. They take up a good amount of space, but I have a friend who wants them both for his very wooded property. He is welcome to have them – I figure if they like me, they will like him, too. 

My one and only tulip. You can’t tell here, but this is about the size of the top joint of my thumb. It is wee! I dug them all out last year and planted them nice and safe in sunshiney pots… I got one. Oh well! There is always next year. 


Mystery things. Look orchid-y with the purple spots, but the stems are just a straight solid shoot. May be another blow in? Garden is now plagued (in a good way) with native orchids. 


Rosemary back to its flowering tricks again. Second most neglected herb I have growing in a pot. I’m afraid to let it loose after what the oregano and sage have become (triffids, I’m not kidding).


Who doesn’t love these?


One for Ark – I rarely see grasshoppers here. This one is so tiny, that white thing is a dog hair. Poor thing was also missing one vital back leg. I ushered it into the grass, maybe it will have a chance there. 

Projects Done and in the Works

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Please forgive photo quality – these were taken with my iPad.

We had some glorious weather last week. It inspired iDJ into garden-helper mode. Not that I couldn’t have done this myself, but to be honest: I obtained the materials and had ideas of what to use them for, then stalled out.

They might not look like much yet, but he made trellises out of wood laths for us. These laths were packing material for something that came in to us at work, and I grabbed them whenever I could. Thought I’d use them for the fire, but they don’t burn well with the fire-door open (spit and spark so not safe for cats trying to bask). Then I wanted to make trellises out of them, but my attempt at using recycled twine failed last year. The cheapo staple gun we bought wasn’t up to the job either. So nails it was, and I’ve little patience with nails. Thankfully he does! One of the many ways we make a good partnership. 


The mostly-assembled trellises, along the wall we intend to screw em into. Three will be two-high, with an extra lath in between, and then a high one inbetween for plant-spread.

Once he had made them, we remembered that we had also bought garden-specific paint. We had ideas of painting other things, not trellises. The paint was 3 for the price of 2…we only needed one but couldn’t resist the fun colours. So! I’ve now painted them in yellow and green. No pictures yet. Next time I’ll paint before assembly; laths are way easier than grids. We still have to cut the larger bits of wood (also recycled: in-box supports for the oven we bought in 2006 and finally installed last year) that will space them nicely out from the wall (these laths are less than a centimetre thick). Then I paint the cut ends, and we drill and whatnot. His job. 

Then we plant! He already bought three new clematis. They were on sale…he loves clematis.

I just have to pressure-wash the wall (and the shed, and the house). It’s okay, I love love love pressure-washing. So satisfying! 

We also did this:


My new, and substantially smaller, strawberry patch. One of the first things we did when we bought the house was to plant strawberries at the base of this shed-wall. I never upgraded them and they became elderly and no longer produced. My fault, I hate killing plants. Then he got me raspberries. I like them a hell of a lot more than strawberries! So last year I dug out and murdered all my old strawberries. I also stuck some bearded iris in there,  because I was running out of room and ideas for where else to put them (left of pic: we will get blooms this year and I’m so excited).

I was strawberry-less. Then…we went to a garden centre we’d not been to before. In October. I asked about the three little lonely leftover pots of strawberries, and surprisingly found myself gifted with them along with our purchases. Don’t know about you, but I have to love a place that hates to waste or kill plants as much as I do. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a good place for them anymore! This is the sunniest place in the garden so they had to go here, but how? 

I wanted terracotta strawberry pots, but cut in half for wall-mounting. No such thing could we find. These planters hopefully will do the trick. Out of reach of most slugs (and I dosed them with pellets), liberally topped up with more old Christmas tree needles, and screwed into the wall! I hope they are happy there. And that the corvids don’t figure out it they are a nice and safe buffet.

I Did Garden Stuff Today! 

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Some of my country was frosty today. I even heard rumours of snow. But not here! Today (between hail showers) we had lovely sun and not too much wind.

Of course, I was out in the garden as much as possible. We even had the grass mowed; first go of the year, thanks to iDJ’s wonderful uncles and their gas mower. They even took away the clippings, which was very welcome to me, as my compost bin is full to the top.

Digging out some of that black gold is a job for another day. Maybe tomorrow, if it stays nice.

I used the hail-shower time today to start some seeds, finally. More gazania, more rudbeckia, and trying yet again with the coleus and zinnia that have failed to germinate year after year. Just for the hell of it, I am also trying lilac seed I collected off of a friend’s tree, ancient broad beans, and pumpkin seeds that I saved from the past Halloween. These are in homemade mini-greenhouses on the best windowsill (sorry, cats). More Gerbera daisies, and some funny fuzzy sunflowers called ‘teddy bear’ that hubby found, liked, and bought for me. He does love his sunflowers. Also something called ‘honesty’ which I don’t have high hopes for, but hey; you never know.

I trimmed a lot of tiny bits of dead wood from my three blueberry bushes, and put a layer of needles from last year’s Christmas tree on top of the soil. Supposedly they are good for acid-loving plants. I still have most of a bucket of needles left over, too. Want some? They are premium: mostly dog-hair & random-strands-of-tinsel free. 

  
Glad to see the best of my three blueberry bushes is making flowers, too – by next weekend I should have some happy bees sampling them.

I also gave some needles to the azalea my mother-in-law got me two (?) years ago. It’s not been a very happy plant, and tries to flower in November for some damn reason, but this spring it seems to be settling in and realising that it has to live here.

  
Not the healthiest looking thing, is it? Weird furry leaves, too – can’t blame that on the dog. At least is it blooming at the right time, finally.

The clematis is going gangbusters. I’ve not given them any attention whatsoever. I’d say some of this is at least 12ft (3.66meters) high. 

  
I think I am going to (try to) kill the grey willow they climb on, and use its corpse as a trellis for way cooler plants. The birds love this tree as there aren’t many other trees nearby. I had plans…but my lilac from seed is now six or seven years old and still only a foot tall. It won’t do. Then again, if it wasn’t in a pot…

  
Raspberries are making flower buds, too! And spreading out into the grass like weeds. Dammit.

  
The tallest one there is six foot (nearly two meters). It is entirely new growth from last year, so all of this will make fruit. I’m going to be up to my eyes (literally) in raspberries.

  
New lilies from last year are coming up fast!

  
As are the old red-and-black ones that have been in this pot way too long now. Going to have to do some heavy culling and sharing this winter.

  
Dammed slugs have eaten the entire tops off of my yellow lilies. Hence all the blue pellets you see in all these pictures. Sorry but not sorry – I do poison the little sumbitches. I have thousands in my garden, and no chickens or hedgehogs to help.

  
Another thing the slugs have been at: the nicotiana I grew from seed last year. They did fuck-all in 2015, but overwintered well and are now getting big. 

But. There was an awful lot of leaf-litter gathered under those big leaves: from the sweet pea that you can see on the far right (it’s not any variety that makes sense), and random plant-rubbish blowing into the drive. So it was slug-heaven under those nics until today. I cut off most of the raggedy leaves before taking this pic, and obviously was liberal with the slug pellets. 

And don’t you love the ivy? I love the ivy. I didn’t plant it. I didn’t have to: its Ireland. My neighbor, however, hates it. It’s technically his wall, too. Oops. All I know is that I don’t have to paint that part because leaves.

  
Something the slugs don’t eat: garlic. I really thought I’d gotten it all last year – I harvested about a kilo. Clearly, I missed these. Still: slug pellets because they are eating the hell out of the two native primrose I stuck in this planter (which aren’t doing much but getting eaten, at the moment).

  
Lavender is coming into bloom! Had a bumblebee around today seeing if these were ripe. 

  My columbine (aquilegia) went from basic leaves to this in a week. Caught me off-guard. I haven’t even been around with the peter’s special yet. Tomorrow…
  
Last-meet Katy! She’s a flamer, but don’t hold it against her. Been an indoor plant for about a year now, and so top-heavy it isn’t funny. She’s a kalanchoe that I think I got for about 30 cents when she was done blooming. Shame that people just don’t have the patience to care for a living thing when it isn’t ‘pretty’. I’m glad I do – repotted once, needs it again, and she is quite the stunner. 

Sunshine and Plantiness

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Does that title even work? Meant it to be a play on sunshine and happiness, because if I do one more post with spring in the title I will be annoyingly repetitive.

That said, Mental Mama has started a new posting challenge, and the first one is… Spring. Easy-Peasy!

First: the daffodils are finally opening. I have more of them than I expected, considering I’m not actually a huge fan of them in general. These were all given to us.





Four different plants at four different locations! The last pic is for ARQ, who recently got giddy over tiny tiny daffs (probably actually narcissus – I don’t know, like I said I don’t have a love for them so, meh). 



This is what happens when you forget what you planted where and accidentally sit a pot on top of a daffodil bulb. How did I not notice this sooner? Damn, I feel like an asshole now. Poor thing.





My rosemary is blooming! I didn’t expect that. The tiny flowers almost look like orchids.



The raspberries seem to love their home and have lots of new growth. I finally gave up on my elderly strawberries and dug them all out. But because I just can’t stand to kill a plant, I put them into the Stupid Girl raised bed. For now.



I put these three beauties into the vacant spaces the strawberries were (that hadn’t already been taken over by raspberries moving underground). We won’t talk about how much they were for one damn corm – ouch – because you and I know they will be awesome and well worth it a few years down the road!



This is Our Robin. He’s made our little estate his territory, and between us and our neighbours on the other side of this wall, we feed him and adore him. Think he has a lady-friend, but as they look nearly identical it is hard to tell. March is their breeding season after all, and he did fatten himself up on my blueberries last year, the little bollicks. 

Spring on my Step

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I’m sick – again – this time with a stomach bug one of my co-workers brought in last week, courtesy of his daughter. Fine one second, using the bathroom in all kinds of noisy ways the next. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I can barf into the sink while still sitting on the toilet…never thought there would be a bonus to a tiny bathroom but there you are.

So. I’ve been sitting on these pics for a few weeks. The daffs are in full bloom now, but they looked this this not so long ago:

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And a close up:

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The black lilies are ahead of the pack – they are really shouting for joy at the sunlight and warmer temps.

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The ones out front don’t get as much sun, so they aren’t as large. My beloved tigridia isn’t doing a thing – I’m wondering if it even comes back. I had a gentle dig and the roots aren’t rotten, but also not showing signs of life. Damn. Ah, it’s hopefully okay – I have hundreds of seeds that I saved and they are coming up!

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