YOUNG TENDER SHOOTS AND COLOURS

I took a walk around the garden this mild spring afternoon. I went to see what vegetables are still growing, and what young tender shoots or flowers are hiding here and there, and of course they were. I came across a whole range of fresh young growth that shot up all of a sudden because of the sunshine in the past week.
The comfrey, tansy, lungwort, hypericum, foxglove, wild leeks, are all throwing out young shoots, some are near flowering. My winter garden did not produce as much as I had planned, partly because the slugs ate some of the produce, and partly because the rain and storms destroyed some of the vegetables, in fact the soil became too wet for anything to grow. But the Brussels sprouts are still growing strongly, small as they are, they are looking good enough. My white round radishes are doing well, as are the beetroots and the leeks. And the kale is still lasting, even if we ate from the plants regularly. One of my kale plants has grown over 1.50m and is looking fabulous, I am leaving it as an experiment, it is now growing new small leaves among the large old ones, I want to see what happens next.  The lavender plants are shooting up well, the grey green young leaves adding to the variety of colours now in the garden, as are the primroses and grape hyacinths, they are just about flowering, they too are bringing some very welcome colour to the garden.  And our little Korean fir tree is really doing well, ever since I put it outside again after Christmas it has been showing an abundance of shoots, leaves but also cones, beautiful.

In another week or so we shall be going away for a month, and so my garden will have to take care of itself, which I am sure it is very well capable of, I am already curious what I will find when we return, will there be a lot of wild plants, to be sure there will be, I remember from last year that the goose grass had overtaken the garden fast enough.  I will let it be, I’ll tell my grandchildren to come and take away the produce that is there though.  One job that I will try and fit in is to spread some leaf manure over the raised beds, I think the soil will benefit from it greatly and I have plenty of it.

And now soon for us it will be looking at the flora, the insects, the architecture, the folklore, the rocks, and the people of the island of Malta, a whole new experience awaits.
YOUNG GREEN IN GARDEN

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

Back in February 2014 I published this write up in my blog, I was only writing for one month. Because today was such a beautiful day I decided to re-blog this.

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What an amazing day it was, so beautiful, mellow sun rays eventually filtered through the lazy late summer leafs in the garden. I collected some more produce, some for adding to the deepfreeze, and some for using now and in the week to come. While doing this I discovered two exciting things, one a creature – or three, and the other some well hidden little Cyclamen. I was delighted, the creatures were caterpillars that I found on the tomato plants. I took many pictures, beautiful creatures, I’ve always been interested in them, and in what they become. All right they ate into some of the tomatoes.

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Caterpillar Art!

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So, yes, magnificent creatures, one wonders what they will become but I have set them free again so I won’t find out unless perhaps I google it later.

And some of the produce today as we are coming to…

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A LITTLE FROSTY, BUT SUNSHINE

Some of these mornings lately are frosty, and the garden looks a little white, but the nice thing about it is that we get sunshine along with it, so very much needed here in West Cork.  Clear the air too.  The garden is waiting for attention, but my mind is on other things right now, and it’s all good.  All will be in order for a fabulous growing season.

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A MEETING OF GIY (Grow it Yourself)

Tonight was the first meeting this spring of the local GIY group in Skibbereen, the town where I live. It was well enough attended and all those there shared some of their own wisdom and garden lore, this made the meeting very interesting and motivating. One of the persons had issues growing coriander and was looking for tips on how to succeed, one of us suggested that he would start showing the seeds straight away, saying that February, is the ideal time to sow coriander because of the short amount of daylight still at this time, and to sow the seeds against a North facing wall. Another person brought up growing basil and yes of course it is not easy to grow basil here because of the climate. There was advice about growing blight resistant potatoes, I was actually surprised that blight is still a problem in these days. There was chat about growing more flowers to facilitate the bees. I brought up the question about trees, should we be growing fruit producing trees, or should we stick with the decorative trees. I am leaning very much towards taking down our larger trees and growing apple or pear trees instead, but the jury is still out on this. Another person said she was looking for ideas to use in the school where she works, for the children. Then there was the person who was disappointed that her rhubarb had disappeared, she was given advice to try and use Rock phosphate but to keep it away from the leaves, other advice I heard was to use fishbone meal and to scatter that around the soil to improve the growth of sweet peas, and lots more.  I think of course we need to use discretion, but also to remember that some of these people are well seasoned gardeners and vegetable growers.

The link to the GIY website is:
http://www.giyinternational.org/
But before all this we had been shown a video about the ‘Incredible Edible West Cork’ initiative, this is an initiative where the community is encouraged to grow vegetables anywhere they find a space, be it in containers, in corners, along roads, little plots, elderly peoples gardens etc… and the food produced should all be for people to take away free, it is a lovely initiative and actually all the participants in the meeting showed enthusiasm for this idea.

A link to their site: http://westcorkgardentrail.com/incredible-edible-west-cork/

We also discussed our local community garden and how we see the new growing season, volunteers were requested for a variety of jobs, including taking school groups and showing them around and helping the children to help with the garden work. We were told that last year children grew potatoes there and each child went home with a couple of potatoes at the end of the growing season which of course is lovely and a great encouragement to these kids.

We finished up the night with swapping seeds, and sowing some, and of course more chatting about seeds and growing…

It was a very enjoyable and inspiring meeting.  My hands are getting very itchy to start work in our garden, though right now the soil is still too wet, but I will be sowing some seed in the next few days.

FROSTY MORNING

This morning a glorious sun rose over the hills to the East, a bright blue sky welcomed me from my dream-filled sleep. The grass fields across the valley looked like well ironed patches, smooth and very green. And in the garden there I found jewels. Jewels because it had frozen during the night, but already the thaw had set in, some of the vegetables and little plants were still beautifully laced with ice.  Texture and colour, a feast for the eye.
A precious new morning, a beautiful new day.
I feel energized from this sunshine,
something to be very grateful for.

LONDON FROM THE WINDOW OF A TAXI CAB

 

It had been a long time since I was in London for any reason, but recently we had the pleasure of being invited to a luncheon with my partner’s brother and cousins, a bit of a reunion you could say, and very pleasant it was. This meant that we would take a taxi ride from the train station to the venue, and sitting in the back of the vehicle I had quite a good view behind me and also from the side windows, so out came my mobile phone and I just snapped away. Not too unhappy about the result I decided to share some of the photos here. All these photos are taken somewhere in the central area. London has so much to see architectural wise, also delightful is to see all the people passing by, normally I am very careful about photographing people, I am always conscious of not wanting to be intrusive, so I was delighted to notice that I got quite a few people in my pictures this time, I find it so interesting, such an amazing diversity of humankind to be seen in this cosmopolitan city.  I was very impressed with the beautiful contemporary architecture of Kings Cross railway station.  Like being underneath a gigantic mushroom inside!
I am also always very interested in the trees that grow in cities, they make all the difference to and add enormously to the beauty of the buildings, even, and perhaps especially in winter.   I am thinking of the boulevards in Paris, the many mulberry trees in Lisbon, the pine trees around Athens, and the plane trees in Antwerp to name but a few.    It is also good to see that trees can still form part of modern city planning, more and more so in fact.

I’ve enjoy the short visit to London and after all it’s only an hour’s flight from Cork!

 

 

ANGLESEY ABBEY

During last week we were privileged to make a visit to Anglesey Abbey and gardens near the village of Lode in the UK. A faint sun and a slight cold wind made the walk around the gardens pleasant enough. There was so much to be seen, I did not know where to turn may attention first. The lovely fresh snowdrops made a carpet underneath the beautiful ancient trees their branches low to the ground.
Here and there I could see some yellow aconites among the snowdrops.  Further along a splash of bright lilac among the borders were the European cyclamen.  The hellebores also gave us a most pleasing show, many different varieties.

The lanes and walk ways weave along the shrubs and trees giving off a wonderful woody scent even in winter, now and then there was a gate which opened up into a landscaped space created according to historical values, all along there are interesting sculptures, some of them covered right now against the cold weather.

The abbey itself, was established in 1236 as an Augustinian priory, and is a beautiful Jacobean building in almost white limestone.  I did not get a chance to go inside the building but took the tour around it with a guide who told us a huge amount of history about the building.  Everywhere I saw beautiful features, the layout of the out-buildings and the surrounding gardens, especially the rose garden, were nice and interesting.  I could imagine how nice the scent of all the roses during the summer months.

We did not walk as far as the mill, but I am sure that I will visit this place again as we are due back in the area during the summer.  The place is in care of the National Trust by the way.

I do hope that you enjoy my photos, it just goes to show that even during the winter months there is so much to see and enjoy in nature, something to be very grateful for.