WILD SUMMER GARDEN ~ INSECT PARADISE

A look at our garden through the conservatory window on a rather dark day this summer, but it’s all good. This spring and summer I let all the wild plants grow wherever they wanted as first and foremost on my list was to give as much food as possible to the insects. It has worked too, we never had so many insects before. Some of the thistles at the back of the garden are now taller than myself, as are the poppies and some of the foxgloves.
It has worked, yes. At first we had a huge quantity of borage, then the kafir lilies started to flower and the marigolds, then in the beginning of May so many more flowers followed. Soon bumblebees, bees and hoverflies started to arrive. Honey bees seem to favour the kafir lilies, the bumblebees are partial to the foxgloves, the comfrey, and the borage. By now the lavender is also visited by all the insects.
As you can see, the garden is rather wild. My patch of garlic is totally overgrown with foxgloves and thistles. Unused leeks are growing and coming into flower soon, they are allowed and I am looking forward to see what they will add to the garden.
Apart from the kafir lilies we are having a super crop of red poppies which we are enjoying very much, as are the insects.
Foxgloves grow wild in Ireland, and so they just come to grow in the garden too. I love them and they are never without some insects visiting them.
Mostly herbs here, sage, oregano, lavender, Melissa, thyme, and some celery too.

LIFE MOVES ALONG

Summer has come to an end. We are not ungrateful, we had a gently warm summer with enough moist to keep land and animal happy, so, looking at some other countries where people endured hardship because of the weather we have every reason to be happy. Today is dark, windy and very wet. It is time for us to go I think and that is what will happen in the week to come, all going well.

Reflecting on the summer months for a moment, for me personally it was wonderful because of all the activities with my daughter and grandchildren, we went for many walks and explored a variety of wonderful gardens around West Cork. At home also spending a peaceful time with Ian and enjoying many long conversations and discussions on everything under the sun, for some of these my sister Josefine was a part and a great input that was. There were the Art Exhibitions and the Art Festival, also the Historical Festival here in Skibbereen, and the Ellen Hutchins Festival in Glengarriff with an amazing walk in the grounds of her estate, all of which I enjoyed to the full. I’m sorry that I had to miss the Literary Festival in Bantry!   I am also very happy because I was able to connect with all of my siblings (8left), this is something that is both important to me and very dear to my heart.

So I leave some images for everyone to enjoy. As I will be travelling in the next week or so I will again miss checking out all blog entries of my lovely friends and followers , but I hope to catch up soon. It has been a bit hectic around here. Meanwhile I would like to thank each and everyone for your encouraging support of my blog. Take care and be blessed.
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Bantry Bay with the Caha mountains in the distance.

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There was a lot of magic in the garden this summer, the sun on a dew drop early in the morning creating diamonds was just one such moments that creates a feeling of wonderment.

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One of the amazingly beautiful paintings of Maurice Henderson, his works of flowers and his blues especially I love.  We attended a celebration of his life recently after he passed during the summer.

And of course there are always lots of wonderful discoveries in and around the garden.

CARRAIG ABHAINN GARDENS

Carraig Abhainn Garden which lies in Durrus, West Cork.  It is one of the very interesting, well established and peaceful gardens in the area. It consists of 1-hectare which is bound by a mill stream. An amazing waterfall and further along the tranquil stream add to its charm and serenity. My daughter and I visited it recently with my grandchildren and the garden was loved by one and all. The children found it exciting with all its nooks and crannies, and we adults – although we often become like children when we are surrounded by nature – we just loved the tranquillity of the place. I was particularly interested in the variety of trees and plants, among them a Mimosa tree, a Korean Fir, and a whole range of other exotic trees, even a Banana tree! The variety of other subtropical plants, Palms, Rhododendrons and others was interesting too. I think it would be a lovely garden to visit in the autumn also just because of the variety of trees, although many of them are evergreens, a lot of them are deciduous trees also. I think my photos will speak for itself.  I hope that everyone enjoys the walk through this lovely garden with me.
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20170803_142255After our walk we had a chat with Eugene, the owner together with his wife of this beautiful garden.  Eugene is a goldmine of information on plants and trees and he knows his garden inside out.  I will be visiting again and he promised me a guided tour to which I am looking forward very much.  Here is a link to information on this garden.

http://www.ireland-guide.com/gardens/carraig-abhainn-gardens-.7116.html

 

AN ALMOST TOTALLY WILD FLOWER GARDEN

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These days as we find ourselves getting towards the end of the beautiful month of May, I am delighted with the many birds, bumblebees and other insects that I am finding in our half wild garden.  Every morning I listen to the dawn chorus of blackbirds, robins, and other little birds who are nesting in our overgrown hedge.  It is a wonder to see the wealth of these creatures enjoying our smallish garden and we in turn enjoying their company and song.  The butterflies and bees have still to come, maybe the temperature is not warm enough.  Yesterday, a day of heavy rain freshened up all the plants and today the bumblebees are out in full force, the sun is out and it is warmer, a glorious day!  We are expecting friends for lunch and it seems like a day we might be able to sit outside.

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I have found a beautiful fern growing around the old pump and the red stone wall, both of which are in this garden from the time we first created it decades ago, my then husband Ron was a great garden creator, though I owe the present raised beds to my partner Ian who has put in a lot of work creating these also.  But the creation of the present lush wild flowers and plants has come about totally as a gift from nature, and happy I am about that.  It seems all I have to do this spring is walk around in this luxurious growth and admire the colours and shapes that nature throws out there, what a palette, what a beauty.

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20170518_181812And so spring is slowly turning into summer, at least its got that feel about it.  Weather- wise it seems to be warming little by little, in fact we were able to sit outside sharing a lovely meal and glass of wine with friends, chatting into the late evening surrounded by the sounds and scents of our garden, wind still.  I would not wish to be anywhere else at moments like this and feel very grateful to be able to enjoy this wealth.  The moisture and warmth after a day of rain in West Cork is something you have to taste before you can believe it.

 

Our friends brought us some young asparagus seedlings which they planted out with me, in two years time I should be able to harvest some of them and make a lovely soup, Ian’s favourite.  This bed was full of ranunculi and it took me a whole morning to get all the roots out, much as I love buttercups, they had to make space for the asparagus.  There is great satisfaction in creating something in the garden apart from enjoying all the wild plants.

A WALK THROUGH MY SISTER’S GARDEN

My sister Meave has a beautiful garden, it is situated on the coast of the beautiful Bantry Bay in the South West of Ireland. The area there is sub tropical and though near the sea everything grows real well. I went visiting the other day and with her permission took many photos to illustrate my writing in this blog. Meave has worked wonders with this garden over the last ten years or so, and by now plants have matured and a nice vegetable plot, in the raised bed that her husband Jay made, is giving her plenty of produce. A walk through this garden is truly wonderful, the more so as Meave has a love of the wild birds with plenty of feeding and bathing areas, it is a delight to see all the different birds, and listen to them too.  The climate is mild due to the gulf stream coming from Mexico Bay, this means that many of the plants cultivated here are sub tropical.  One of the trees growing here, for example, is the Arbutus, also called the strawberry tree.  Palm trees are quite common, also the tree fern which is rather beautiful and special.  Meave has let a lot of native shrubs such as the fuchsia and hawthorn grow and they make her garden really natural looking, she also cultivated many otherwise wild growing roses which do extremely well in her garden.  She pointed out several plants and shrub which were given to her by various sisters and friends and which have special meaning for her, it is lovely to see these grow so well.  Altogether a beautiful garden where butterflies, bees, and other wildlife find a welcome and good home.

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A view towards the sea, the garden slopes down towards the coastline.  Looking towards Sheepshead peninsula.

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Palm trees are quite common around here.  And a dark type of Marsh Mallow flower is growing profusely.

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A flowering shrub that I don’t know the name of, and the Rose of Sharon, a shrub which is seen a lot here too.

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Sheep in the surrounding fields giving a very pastoral feel.

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An old Irish kettle filled with geraniums and one of Meave’s cats, this one is called Trooper!

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The raised bed full of delicious looking vegetables and herbs.

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Another little corner with loving attention to detail, and the bird table surrounded with protection from cats.

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A wild thistle almost in flower, it’s seeds will be great for the goldfinches.  This shrub I think is Berberis vulgaris.

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Rose bushes everywhere with lots of different varieties, lovely scents.

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Fuchsias and foxgloves growing wild in hedgerows, also in the garden.

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Another beautifully scented rose, and I do not know the name of this yellow flower.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE SOME PLANNING MAKES

This was my garden before I started with the raised beds, the reason why I actually decided on raised beds was that because of all the trees the soil was difficult, full of roots and sunken. My garden sloops down towards the S.W. the soil was drying out too quickly too. But my garden was wild as I did not have time to work in it, I loved it’s wildness and thought that it was beautiful, but then I decided, that is when I retired, to grow vegetables organically (of course), and it is only last year then that I decided I would look at permaculture and go that way.

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Now there is a lot more light in the garden as we cut down some branches of the trees.  There are five trees in my 300 square meter garden.  I am very happy with the raised beds some of which I still let wild plants grow in whenever they want and where they want, I just guide them along a bit.  There is much more to learn and to apply, time will tell, a huge part of permaculture is watching your garden, observing and seeing what comes to grow where etc.  It’s all very rewarding, seeds have been put down, and tonight I am attending a meeting of the local GIY group, about the community garden, there will also be a seed swapping, it should be interesting.  So off I go.

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