The photo to the right above are the seeds of the Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus), a medicinal plant that I grow in the garden, it is not for use as it is a highly toxic plant and not suitable for self-medication. The flower is pretty though and I get satisfaction from growing any herbal plant. The photo on the left are the seeds of the broad-leaved plantain (plantago major) I have one large one growing in the garden and it is beautiful. I use it mainly for treating insect bites, as a compress.
While looking over the garden for seed-heads I found this green shield-bug nymph, and not only one of them, the garden is full of these beautiful little creatures, and that is no wonder either as earlier this summer there was a multitude of the adult type mating all over the garden. This common shield bug is native to Ireland and feeds on tree and plant juices. They are harmless.
The nettles grew very tall this summer, they are now in seed. I used quite a few in cooking, but mainly I grew them for the caterpillars of Red Admiral butterflies.
I love growing feverfew, it is not only a great herb, it also looks beautiful in the garden among the lavender and the marigolds.
Among all the wild and garden flowers this summer I am still also growing some vegetables, and many herbs too of course. The large garlic was a succes this time, and the garden peas are doing real well.
This is just a little update at the end of this month of June, midsummer has just passed and I love the very early bright mornings, awaking at 4 o’clock very often while the first light appears in the Eastern sky, and the birds are singing, wonderful! And while the countries of continental Europe are scorching hot, we had a mellow feel to the day this afternoon with summer scents wafting up from the damp but warm earth, such a delight.
Henry James knew about these happy feelings when he said ““Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
After a full two weeks of sunshine and mild weather, we are
now experiencing some crazy April showers! Heavy rain is drenching our valley
and wind is tearing at the blossoms of our trees. For now the frosty nights we had lately are
definitely over. Inside, however, there
is plenty of activity and the conservatory cum dining room, half of the kitchen,
and part of my bedroom are all taken up by tender young seedlings or robust
shoots. Pots are everywhere but it is a
delight to see. Ian too is sleeping
between all this young growth.
I have learnt an important lesson this spring, to date I have
always bought my plants at the market stalls and put them straight into the
garden, except last spring when I sowed French beans, spinach, and radish as
part of an experiment and course with GROWTH.
This January, however, every time I went shopping I came
home with at least one packet of seeds or bulbs and doing this cheered me up no
end. Come the beginning of March I could
contain myself no longer and started sowing, indoors obviously. And this was a mistake….some seeds came up
after a week or more but did not thrive, most came to nothing. A few days ago I did another larger sowing
and the seed came up almost overnight and so far they are thriving! Lesson learnt! Do not sow before April in West Cork!
So far the slugs seem to be still asleep, I find them
underneath pots and planks in the garden, unmovable. Inside is quite another matter….they are
travelling leaving silvery trails in their wake over pots, carpet and table,
but so far very little damage has been done to plants.
I did plant some old English marigolds outside and I put empty water bottles over them as protection and they are doing fine. The irises will have to be planted out soon as the shoots are coming on strong, as are the dahlias and begonias. I’m so looking forward to my first time growing agapanthus. Furthermore I’ve lots of different rudbekias coming on, I used to grow these and love them, also the time of year when they flower. Seedlings growing at this moment are petunias, red poppies, ixia, cosmos, zinnia, freesias, eliopsis scabra, and phlox, they are all new plants to me. Irises I used to grow when I was a teenager, they were blue.
I’ve also sowed marrows, cucumber, basilica, African marigolds,
spring onions, chives, lots of heirloom fragrant sweet peas, and the wild bee
flower seeds which I bought because they were recommended to help the declining
bee population, the sunflowers and the cornflowers.
The local (Brown Envelope) seeds of the garden peas are also
coming up beautifully. There is a lot to
be said for sowing locally sourced seeds – plants resulting from them will be
more tolerant of local climate. There remains
to be sown my own seeds which I saved from last year’s harvest and these
are; Thistle, catnip, evening primrose,
oregano, basil mint, and purple loosestrife, some of these seeds have already
The wealth and abundance of nature is a wonderful thing to
behold, something to be very grateful for, day by beautiful day.
If, my dear friends, you have continued to read to the end of my notes this time, I congratulate and thank you. Have a nice day.
I guess it is – or rather – the gardener is awakening! Because a good crop of herbs and vegetables was growing all winter long in our little garden. But today I started getting organized because there is lots to do, and I cannot wait to get going!
Much of my space is still taken up by winter vegetables but some of the beds are ready, one for potatoes, and another one for flowers, this season the emphasis is going to be on food for the insects, that is so important today.
So yes there is lots going on even as early in spring as right now. We have enough food coming from the garden, and that helped me make the decision to grow a lot more flowers seeing that insect population is under such threat. But personally I am also very happy with this decision because I am very fond of flowers.
Dear friends, followers, and readers of my blog, I would like to thank you for all your encouragement. I’m coming up to 800 followers now and I treasure everyone of you.
Below follow some quotes from people I admire. I have put them among photos of our garden showing how lush it is at this moment, a moment to relish and savour, a moment to be thankful for and to enjoy to the full. Yes another summer is in full swing ~~~~~~~~
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient” Marilynne Robinson
“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” Amit Ray
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” Meister Eckhart
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.” – Ramana Maharshi
“You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Half way through August in Ireland is already considered to be ‘late’ summer. Some years the month of August would bring autumn-like storms and lots of rain with chilly evenings, but this year, however, it has been warm, yes even warmer than usual, and the past few days the temperature has reached into the twenties (C). It’s just a lovely time of the year I think.
I’ve been away for a while and now that I am back the first thing I did was to go and have a good look around my garden. I have a lot to consider because in another few weeks we will be away for several months and though the house will be lived in, the garden will not be looked after. So there is planning to be done, so that when we arrive home again I can start planting and sowing straight away.
Here is what I found in the garden at present:
Still beautiful flowers, I love hydrangeas, especially the blue coloured types. These won’t need any attention as they are perennials, so they grow from year to year, all they might need is a little pruning.
more evidence of occupiers
Though the start of the summer brought very few insects, lately the garden has been full of them, bees, bumblebees, beetles, all sorts of flies, and so on, also the ants are ever present. The insect hotel has been quite occupied it seems and that is encouraging.
Ripening seeds of the evening primrose flowers
Seeds are starting to ripen. Here in the garden it is the evening primrose plant and the thistle especially that are ripening fast, both of which I want to save for sharing later with my local GIY group. The seeds of the thistle of course I grew especially for the gold finch, so far I have not seen any but the they will come, they do every year.
I used the last of my comfrey tea and the barrel is ready for another brew, fortunately the comfrey grows enormously fast and another large plant is ready to use to this end. The straw I have put in the two cold frames on top of cardboard, this will help to prepare the soil for next year, and keep stuff growing there. Montbretia flowers still brighten up corners here and there in the wild areas.
The garden is still gifting us with raspberries which are sweet and tasty, I also love the tansy flowers and of course the white hydrangeas at the back of the garden which this year are giving an amazing display.
This is an update of sorts, I needed to have this on record above all, and it has done me good, if anything, writing about my garden, and taking the photos is a really relaxing activity for me, I enjoy it very much and that has got to be good.
Yes, the crow family is well represented over and in our garden. They include rooks, jackdaws, and hooded crow. For the past month or so they have been very happy and today I counted two dozen in just ten minutes. We always had some crows but never as many. The reason for this much of a mob congregating in the garden is that I have changed our rubbish collection service a while back. I cancelled it. We never had that much anyway, and it was senseless to pay the standing charges when we can just as well do these things ourselves, recycle as much as is possible, use the compost heap for the rest, and only a tiny fraction has to be brought to the waste management place in Bantry or Schull.
So, coming to the crows, what attracts them in even greater numbers to the garden is that if I have food left over that needs getting rid of, or stale bread or so, I put it out there for them. Our waste does not contain meat, but if it did I believe that crows are omnivores anyway, so no worry. Sometimes I have fish skin and they even eat that, or maybe I am wrong and it is the cat next door that empties that little dish. All in all I love these guys coming around for their lunch, it makes the garden very lively for a little while, their shiny feathers beautiful in the sunlight. It works both ways, the crows get some of their food, and for me I do not have to deal with a smelly bin in the kitchen, however small.
My favourite is the hooded crow, they mostly use the fir tree at the back of the garden, even built a nest in it as far as I can see, high up. These birds, and also the blackbirds, doves, and a variety of smaller birds, bats, and insects find a fine feeding ground here in our garden, I am really happy for that. The cat next door, she comes to have a look everyday but I give her bits of food too so she won’t kill any of the smaller birds.
Congregating on top of the shed, waiting their turn to eat, maybe.
And more of them waiting in the birch tree closer to the house.
They sit and wait all over the place, while some of them are eating.
And this is the hooded crow, I love these birds, they are beautiful, I am very happy that they choose our garden to nest in.