MY GARDEN UPDATE ~ JULY

It has been a while since I did serious work in the garden, seeing that I had not sowed nor planted anything this season, I had let the garden be for the bees and the insects, they of course took full advantage of the wilderness, and though there were not as many insects around this summer, I was still able to find some today. I had my little helper with me all day, Ruben, my grandson, came over and we both put on our wellingtons and out we went, we soon started to pull some of the overgrown cleavers away from other plants, also some of the ivy was removed. The two cold frames were totally overgrown some of the plants were pushing up the plastic and some had grown through it! Ruben, being almost 6 and a very enthusiastic worker was lifted into the frame and soon had pulled all the ‘weeds’ out, they then went on to the compost heap. We covered the earth in one of the cold frames with comfrey leaves, that will be good for the soil.

Ian came and cut the grass so we could use this for mulching as well.  We spotted quite a few insects and I am happy to say that Ruben does not mind them at all, he is just very interested in the little creatures and seems to quite love them.  Here is one beauty sitting on the flowers of a parsley plant, there were several others on the same plant.

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Then there were all these weevils, and several different types of beetles, spiders, and caterpillars, lots of woodlouse as well. And the snails and slugs could not be counted, so many.

We have at this moment quite a few of these most beautifully scented white clover growing, I sowed them last year to improve the soil and they are giving a lovely display this summer.  They will be good for the soil.  The flowers of the parsley are quite beautiful too, they seem to attract many different insects.

And so the summer is moving along, there is more work to do, is lots to prepare before we leave for Gozo in autumn, though the garden will not be unattended while we are gone as there will be people in and out of the place all the time, still, I must make sure that when we return the garden will be ready for me to start more planting.

GRANDPA SCRATCHY

What a mellow, mild, and wind still autumn day it was, so nice to spend time outside in the garden today. And Ruben came, and Ian felt like splitting some of the larger logs, so a lot of activity was happening in the garden. At first Ruben and I were pruning soft fruits, Ruben was collecting the leaves and twigs, then we went and dug out a forgotten potato plant, Ruben got one big potato and some babies which he was very happy about, then there were broad beans to pick and gather. After that I lost my little helper to Ian who came out to split his logs. Ruben takes such an interest and is learning all the time, he gathered up the logs as they fell, with the biggest of smiles on his face, he just loves helping Ian. He even had a little go at letting the hammer fall on the axe, under the eagle eyed supervision from amma (that’s me) of course, and grandpa scratchy too. Grandpa scratchy got his name from his little grandson, (because of his beard), and now he’s grandpa scratchy for my grandson too. We are both very fond of Ruben and love to see him grow and do so well with everything he learns about.
To end the day we all sat down for the usual cup of tea, a worker deserves their break isn’t it, it is a ‘thing’ between Ruben and us, the cup of tea while having a rest from working in the garden. A good feeling.

These beautiful mild autumn days are just what we need here in West Cork after a wet and cool summer. How blessed we really are.

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Sorting the garlic for planting,    And playing with his block, trucks, and grandpa scratchy!

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MY GREAT LITTLE HELPER

Wednesday afternoon is always interesting, apart from all sorts of things happening in my garden, I take care of my five year old grandson, Ruben just loves helping in the garden and today we planted out the winter beet leaf plants. Ruben then gave them plenty of water, but he also dug the holes, so he is a real help. Then we always take rest and have a cup of tea, and today Ruben was pleasantly surprised to meet our new tenant, the robin! This little bird came to pick up crumbs that had fallen on the carpet in the conservatory to the delight of Ruben. There was lots more to be seen and done, there was a caterpillar, and there were herbs to gather and put to dry, and tools to clear up and much more. Ruben, who has just yesterday started big school is a delight to have around. He likes to go for a walk to see the horse in a nearby field too, and playing hide and seek with his amma (that’s me). We laugh and laugh and have the greatest fun, meanwhile Ruben is learning all about gardening and about little creatures which he is very gentle with (even lowering his voice when near them).  A wonderful, gentle and delightful boy!
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Yet another crop of calendula, and chives flowers and stalks.  They are drying now for use this winter.

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On our walk along the boreen, there were seeds on the violets.  And hawthorn berries starting to ripen.

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Our resident robin who spends more and more time inside with us.

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A caterpillar on the petunia, and another fresh crop of yarrow, to dry for making tea in the coming winter months.

PAINTINGS IN FRAMES

My four year old grandson who has DS has a great talent for beautiful painting, he does this mainly at playschool and enjoys it a lot. The other day he brought some home with him when I collected him, and I was so impressed that I decided to take photos of them, to keep a record, and I thought they would look nice in a frame, so that done I wanted to share them on my blog, because my grandson has figured in my blog before, during the growing season he likes to help me in the garden, he even grew radishes last summer, putting in the seeds himself, watering them, and then harvesting lovely big produce. I’m real proud of him.

Please do not copy as they are not my own work, and don’t belong to me.
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CHRISTMAS MAGIC

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Today was the Christmas play of my four year old grandson.  It’s a yearly wonderful event.  Organised by the two lovely women who run the playschool.   My grandson is special needs and he did very well indeed.  He was one of the shepherds in the nativity play.  After the play and after some carol singing, all the little children walk around the room with a lighted candle in an orange.  It’s such a lovely sight to behold, it warms the very inside of your heart. ( I took the photo out of focus on purpose because we do not put a child’s photo on the internet.)

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MY GRANDSON AND THE CHESTNUT

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This is just a little Chestnut that was found today by my four year old special grandson.  The tree was grown by his mum when she was young, it is huge now but it does not give us many Chestnuts.  This year only one or two little ones came falling down, and Ruben found one.  Ruben is very fond of working with me in the garden and he is a great inspiration and help.  He was born with Down Syndrome and he is such a clever boy.  Any work (or play – of course) with soil, water, wood or tools is what he loves and enjoys.  After he and I sowed some green manure today, he helped me do the watering.  He is so much part of my gardening project, and when his mum collected him this evening, he took home one of the cucumbers and some of the tomatoes for his tea, very proud he was, and well deserved.

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The Chestnut in his little hand, he has planted that in a pot now, we will be waiting to see it grow.

And here he’s watering the Beetroot.

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A bed ready for the winter months, green manure has been sown and been watered, and we will see what comes from it.  During the winter it will fix nitrogen into the soil, so improving it.  In spring it will be dug under.

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The first ever Sweet Pea I have grown, it is late in the year but I sowed them much too late, nice to still see them flower before the winter.