Today my two oldest grandchildren came over to have some quality time with gran. We had a lovely time painting and colouring duck eggs for Easter. The girls were in great form and soon the place was full of brightly coloured arty decorations. Branches were picked out of the garden and decorated with eggs. But the girls then got side tracked and started sewing which turned out go be great fun, they surprised me with their handy work, sewing on buttons and ribbons, we then decided to go visit the local sewing shop and after much deliberation they both bought some really fancy buttons. After shopping we passed the playground and I thought it a good idea to let the get rid of some of their energy. The rest of the day was filled with more art, some seed sowing, and a yummy dinner. Tonight I am wrecked, had a lovely day, and happy to hand the children back to their parents, ready for bed. These times though, are very precious.
Helleborus, Lenten Rose, or how I used to know it, Christmas Rose is a lovely plant to have around during the late winter or early spring, which is when it flowers. As today was a wet and rather dreary day here in West Cork, I decided to plan our front garden and give it more attention than it has had for the past five years. It is a rather small garden surrounded by a fairly high hedge and a wooden fence, it faces the North-East and it gets a lot of shade as a result. So Helleborus is an ideal and easy to grow plant to have in that spot. There are very many varieties of Helleborus, in a great variety of colours, many types are white or cream with speckles, some are purple, deep pink or delicate rose. I’ve also seen some with double flowers, all very beautiful. Recently I came across a reference to two really exquisite types, one of which is called; Helleborus Hydridus which is yellow and purple/bluish and deep pink. And the other one that really took my attention is called Sanguinaria Canadensis f multiplex ‘plena’ which are the double form of Bloodroot and have pure white double flowers, beautiful and delicate. I found reference to these two particular types of Helleborus in Carol Klein’s ‘Favourite Plant’s’, a book that is full of wonderful information and photos. Anyway, I plan to put a lot more flowering plants in the front garden, growing them in containers, as most of this garden is covered up with tiles. I’ve looked into some books on container gardening and learnt a thing or two, and so I feel more prepared to try this way of bringing colour and beauty to an otherwise cold approach to our house.
“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed”. Walt Whitman
I I never particularly loved Tulips when I was younger, but lately I’ve grown very found of them, and last year I grew some, and was also given some bunches of them which brought me much delight. As they were sitting in their vase on the table, after a day or two their flower heads would open and come hanging down very gracefully, almost reaching the table cloth, a beautiful sight. This year also I will be looking forward to have some in the house. Growing them is quite easy but I still have trouble storing and keeping the bulbs from going mouldy or rotting on me during the winter. The shops here are full of them any season of the year but especially coming up now in another while. It is said that flowers feed the soul, and I have no difficulty in believing this. The delight they give is surely wonderful.
Been away for a couple of days doing some business in Dublin. We went up there by train, hence a couple of photos of a most beautiful train station below. I’ve always admired the architecture of this building. It’s reported to be designed in 1846 by Sancton Wood, a British architect from Hackney in London. Heuston station is based on the design of an Italian palazzo (that’s probably why I like it so much). It’s Corinthian columns are very intricate and decorative, (I photograph columns wherever I find them on my travels, they are the most beautiful things).
Anyway, amongst the city’s buildings and people I found some bright and cheerful Crocuses and also a little snail which I found sitting on Ian’s coat, probably dropped there by a bird, it clung on to my finger like mad and so I found it a plant to sit on. Life is funny, at home you will try and drown snails so that they stop eating your young vegetables, but in this city scene I would have thought it bad practice to kill the little snail. The Liffey is the river running through the city. Dublin has some very interesting places to visit, one of them I would have liked to go and see an exhibition in, but as it turned out we did not get to it, the Chester Beatty museum that is, a wonderful place indeed, full of ancient and Eastern illustrated manuscripts.
Something happened today, in the garden, something that I won’t forget for a long time to come and for which I will always be very grateful.
A little Robin came to sit about a meter away from me, Ian and I were taking a rest while working in the garden. The Robin sat and looked me straight in the eye, and then, of all things, he started to sing the most beautiful song, as Robins do! I was overawed, could not believe my ears! Ian couldn’t either. It was absolutely wonderful, an amazing blessing, and a very uplifting experience. It was singing so joyfully and I am sure of the fact that it was grateful too, for the lovely sunshine, and for a garden full of tasty little morsels.
While working in the garden today, and mind it is not a large garden at all, I discovered a nice trailing Marigold plant full of bright orange old fashioned English Marigold flowers, it looked so quant! Of course I knew that this plant was there, I planted it there myself last year, but over the winter it must have started to trail down beside the old pump, and it looks so good. It’s lovely when this happens, to discover something you were not expecting, something nice.
And the next cold frame/little greenhouse went up today too, as it was a lovely sunny day we were both working in the garden, and so was my grandson Ruben. We got quite a lot done, Ruben planted the broad beans and is now able to count a bit, so he could put two at a go. He also sowed (with a little help of Amma) tomatoes, and another type of Coriander. His mum showed me their new raised beds today and Easter is going to bring all my grandkids seeds and other garden goodies. I’m already looking forward to getting the stuff together for them. Last year they all grew some Radishes in my garden and had a great crop. Good to learn early in life I think.
Bed ready for planting out in another week or two. I only pulled up the Buttercup plants, left the Dandelions and the nettles, and got some scallions in there together with one Kale plant.
Some of the seedlings that are doing well inside, and four Feverfew plants for giving away as I needed to clear them out of the vegetable patch. They give lovely small Daisy-like flowers that flower all summer long.
Grape Hyacinths on the windowsill, love these little flowers!
I picked a nice bunch of Daffodils in the garden yesterday, and they opened up during the night in the warm room. There is a slight scent coming from them, some are doubles, only one is a single Daffodil. Looking at them here from where I am sitting, and enjoying their beauty, I am thinking of planting some more of them for next spring! I thought I’d share part of one of my favourite Wordsworth poems; “I wandered lonely as a cloud”
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Making a journey on the Beara peninsula in the South West of County Cork here in Ireland, is lovely any time of the year. Fresh air is always available, plenty of it. The coastal road gives magnificent views after every single bend. Here are some photos of one particular area, Ballydonegan bay, where Knocknagallaun hill and Eagle Hill make the landscape real interesting and beautiful with a wildness all of it’s own.