WORK TO BE DONE!

Yes work to be done, and that in our front garden.  The back garden is taking care of itself for the moment, quite wild, but all the same some vegetables are growing and fruit is being harvested already.

But the front garden has hardly been touched for the past six years.  For years I could not do anything much as I had a bad flare up of fibromyalgia.  For the moment that is under control.  And so the work has been waiting and it is a pleasure to do it now.  Trouble is that I have several ‘projects’ on the go at once.  All maintenance has to be done otherwise in this damp climate everything rots, wood especially.  And so, apart from power washing the patio, there are the pillars to paint, the woodwork of the fence to be sanded and treated with Sadolin or something like that, and the hedges need cutting also.  And I have been and still want to introduce more container plants, especially the Hosta which I adore.

Wellingtons waiting!  And as can be seen there is much work, especially the red brick I want to get really clean as it looks lovely when they are done.  All the same I am very aware of not wasting water!!!  But what else can one do, I decided to concentrate on the red bricks.   And to remove the moss, if I could achieve that I would be happy enough.

DSCF2196As can be seen….lots of moss and dirty bricks!

This is the end result more or less after several hours of work and too much water wasted (where is it all going?  Underneath the house?  I have all these questions and in a way I am happy that I am only doing this job every so many years.

These Verbena I potted up the other day, l love the colours and they give a cheerful face to the front garden.  The Buddleia is also almost flowering, that will bring many butterflies!  The Rose pot which used to be in the back garden I am now enjoying when I look out the kitchen window while cooking, it is a joy!

In Gozo, last winter I did see lots of lovely and well kept front gardens, the plants were mainly succulents, often in containers, beautiful.  I started then to fantasize about putting more containers with flowers in our own front garden to brighten it up.

While I am wrecked tonight, it has been well worth the effort today.

I think that I deserve another visit to the Garden Centre tomorrow!

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.

DISCOVERIES IN A NEGLECTED GARDEN

A longwinded journey brought us from Gozo back to Ireland, via visits to family in Henham, Hertford, and Cambridge which was, of course, much enjoyed as was the mild spring weather and all the beauty of the English countryside this time of the year, but more about that in another blog.
So we arrived home here in West Cork greeted by my daughter and lovely grandchildren, that was a beautiful moment. Next day and after unpacking all our suitcases I went for a leisurely walk around our garden. Neglected as it was, it has not become totally overgrown yet and I was able to find many treasured wild plants and even vegetables among the grasses and on the beds. So I enjoyed myself with these discoveries, taking note of what I will be cooking in the next few days, and which wild plants I’ll be using, and also taking photos.

I found a little plant that is new to my garden, it grows wild around here in West Cork on walls, but here it came to grow in an old flowerpot, maybe birds dropped its seeds.  It is the little Ivy-leaved Toadflax.

Cymbalaria muralis - Ivy-leaved toadflax
Cymbalaria muralis – ivy-leaved toadflax
Forget-me-nots in flower
Myosotis arvensis – Forget-me-not

And a left over from last year, the lovely blue Forget-me-not I found blooming.

As far as herbs go, West Cork, because of its mild climate is good for growing these.  I found the Melissa doing just fine, the Oregano coming up, the Rosemary and Lavender doing really well.  So maybe it is time to add a few more herbs during this summer.

I was pleasantly surprised by the numerous Borage plants coming up all over the garden, even in the cracks of the concrete path.  The bees will be very happy about this.  The Chives are ready for cutting, and Nettles ready for the soup!  And I nearly forgot all the three corned wild Garlic which are just everywhere, so delicious in salads and mixed in an omelet.

Three cornered wild leeks
Three cornered wild Garlic

Delighted to have found a Mullein plant, this is also a medicinal plant of which I sowed a few last year.  And of all things I found a young silver Birch, well I know it was there as I put it in a pot to share with someone after it came growing in the garden, a baby of our large Birch.  The only damage during the winter was to our small greenhouses, wear and tear you could say.  I also found that the massive seedpods of my Evening Primrose plants had survived all the storms, these plants should be coming up soon by themselves I think.

Salad leaves are ready to eat.  Bay leaf tree is growing well and full of very green leaves which will be uses in soups nice and fresh.  I also found several broad bean plants in flower and all, Ian will be very happy about that, his favourite vegetable.  Leek plants which I planted out toward the end of last summer and just before we left are growing.  And finally, but not really finally as there is no saying what else I might find, the bed with the berries is absolutely full of flower buds, it promises to be a good summer for soft fruits.  The water barrel shows that here has been no shortage of rain!

I am totally happy with what I found, it is lovely to come back to my garden, and looking at the evidence, the garden has benefited from being left to itself for a while, there might be something in Permaculture after all.  It feels like nature is now growing what it likes to grow, and the soil in my garden is showing me what will thrive best.

I am taking note!

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

“Happiness doesn’t lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. And home is not a house – home is a mythological conceit. It is a state of mind. A place of communion and unconditional love. It is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace.”
Dennis Lehane

Having said this, some meaningful possession can enhance a home, but are not necessary either when you really think of it, and it is the people that fill the home that really make it a precious place.  All the same, like my mother before me I like the little corners of our home that give that special feeling of authenticity.  They are often the simple things.  An old jug, a goose egg, some blue and white cups and saucers, plenty of treasured books, a sculpture that a friend made, some wild flowers, a treasured icon from Naxos island, stones picked up here and there, and on and on it goes.  And then to know that I am a minimalist in every bone of my body, but it’s the little things that give pleasure or make the place feel like home, or give that certain stamp on things that says, this is me, this is my home, and here I can express myself freely.  All the time realising how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads with so very many people homeless.  I know that it is not good to be attached to ‘things’, many people have shared wise words about his, I agree and recently read these wise words;

‘Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you’
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I will be out of action for the next few days as will be away.  So wishing my dear friends and followers a good weekend, and catch up later on next week.