THOUGH NATURE IS MEANT TO BE ASLEEP, I SEE MANY SIGNS OF LIFE

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Our garden does not know whether it should be asleep or begin to wake up.  On this peaceful and last Sunday of the year 2019 I took a little stroll to check on my vegetables and herbs.  So far it has been a mild winter except for one morning when all was white with frost.  We did have more than usual rain though, and one or two real destructive storms which blew over our bird feeder and destroyed it.

I found that the few bean plants which survived being served as someone’s dinner (the slugs), are doing rather well, the spinach and the kale are doing great too.  Among the herbs the oregano, thyme, sage, and rosemary are all thriving.  The rosemary is even flowering, but then it flowered all summer too, perhaps it is an everlasting flowering type 🙂

The Camelia that I planted out weeks ago has buds and seems happy where I put it.  The Californian Lilac is also doing great and I cannot wait to smell its flowers, and to look upon the red Camelia flowers later when spring comes along.  Bulbs are pushing through the still very wet soil.  And the young Californian Poppy plant I found fresh and green, early flowering is expected.  It is always nice to take stock of the garden around the start of a new year I think, and to start planning.

A tender young Lupin plant has pushed through some leaf covering. And the Rudbeckias that I have been carefully tending since last spring when I sowed them, are so far doing fine, I hope that they will become strong plants and I know that they will last for years as I used to grow them before.

But I wanted to look a little further than my own garden today and took a walk through the Boreen and further-a-field.  Planning has been received and work has started on building 50 houses for a social housing scheme.  This will mean that from next year onward we will be surrounded by houses, whereas up to now we still had so many fields.  But I understand that housing is needed badly and that the plan for rural Ireland is to have satellite towns and not much housing in the countryside, this to give easy access to all utilities without too much need for new infrastructure.  Anyway that seems to be the plan for the future and the future is now.  While walking the Boreen I found beautifully fresh and healthy Yarrow plants, I also found that the Gorse was flowering, and that the sweet little plants of creeping Hypericum are still intact and have not been affected by the wet weather.

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There had been a certain quietness around the place here with some neighbours away over the Christmas period.   The land was also quiet this afternoon apart from some starlings, a wagtail and a thrush that I saw along my walk.  Year’s ending has that certain feeling about it in nature, a stillness that is a promise of new life and activity to come.  I like it.

Along my walk and in the Boreen, Yarrow, Creeping Hypericum and flowering Gorse.

And so we enter the last days of this year.  Tomorrow my grandchildren and their mum and dad are coming to open presents, that will be lovely.  The rest of the week will also be spent with family visiting and so we will enter the new year surrounded by loved ones.

 

 

 

 

MORE UNUSUAL TUBERS FOR EXPERIMENTING

Been absent from my blog the last few days, busy with a lot of things, among them sowing, thinning out, and sorting seeds and buying more unusual tubers. The other day I was in a local health food shop and found there some tubers that I did not see before, they are called:
‘Yacon’ or ‘Smallanthus sonchifolius’,this is a root vegetable that has been domesticated by the indigenous peoples of the Andes, so they originate in South America. Yacon is a member of the sunflower family, so it has small yellow flowers, and — like its cousins, dahlias and Jerusalem artichokes — it develops huge tubers. I Googled them and found out a few things about them, first and foremost how to grow them, as I am not going to cook these few I bought, only sprout them for growing. The plants are very easy to grow and seem to thrive in almost any soil or climate. So you have to put them in small pots with slightly damp compost. They will make roots and once they are a bit bigger, after all danger of frost is past – you can plant them out in the garden. The foliage and leaves become very large, I better only grow one or two, anyway I am growing them as an experiment, not even sure if they are tasty as I never did taste them. These roots are supposed to be useful in blood sugar management, liver health, and in helping with health of the colon. I’m sure excited to see how they will do in my garden. As they take 6 to 7 months before you can harvest, and some years before they are really well established, it will be a long-term experiment.

This reminds me of once I bought a Taro root in the supermarket, as a vegetable, but when I came home I decided to plant it instead of cook it, it became a large indoor plant, (Colocasia esculenta), quite interesting, but it died when I left it with friend when I went travelling, I have not seen another Taro root since in the shops.
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Jerusalem Artichokes – some sprouting, and some just bought and ready to sprout.

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My Bitter Gourd seeds arrived from India thanks to my dear friends over there.  And some of the peas sprouting already, and leeks ready to pick out in larger pots.

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More seeds sown, Ginger sprouting finally, Turmeric too.  And Holly Basil sown under an inside glass house.

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My Sweet pea seedlings had to be protected from slugs, who knows where they came from, inside the conservatory and all.  And Leek seedling after being pricked out.

 

SEEDS WILL SPROUT

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“Plants are nature’s alchemists, expert at transforming water, soil and sunlight into an array of precious substances, many of them beyond the ability of human beings to conceive, much less manufacture.”
Michael Pollan,