I went for a little walk today, it was misty but very mild. At about three in the afternoon I stepped out wanting to enjoy the birdsong along the way. There is a little boreen (path) close by, which is flanked by rock and hedge on both sides. I find the nicest little plants there and today was no different even if it is mid-winter. The temperature is 11C which is quite normal for the time of the year here in sub-tropical West Cork (due to the gulf-stream bringing warmth to our region). There was a slight smell of some coal burning chimney’s but only slight as the breeze carried the smell away. It was great to feel the fresh breeze on my face and give my legs some movement after all the sitting down at my study the last few months. I finished my course now and I found it immensely interesting. Thank you Yale University and Coursera. I learned all about the development of Gothic architecture in Cathedral building, and read some medieval literature and history. I feel so enriched by it all and enjoyed every minute of it. It is now back to my blog writing and to my garden! Wishing everyone of my friends and followers a relaxing day and a nice Christmas.
Under a bright sun on this midwinter day we took a walk among the limestone rocks and wild plants in Xlendi, a seaside fishing village on Gozo.
It feels so good to be among these beautiful honey coloured rocks, and to see the fresh young green after the days of rain we have experienced.
How beautiful this earth really is and how everything regenerates even when the drought of last year threatened to destroy so many trees and plants. It is a joy to behold all this freshness.
My partner said earlier “today is the shortest day, from now on the days are lengthening again”. Yes ‘light’ is coming, that is what we celebrate on Christmas day after all isn’t it, the ‘light’ coming into the darkness.
There is hope yet for mankind and for the earth, I will never give up hope. Every new little plant that comes up out of the earth even through the rock gives me that hope. People are much more beautiful than we think they are. Love to all my friends at this Christmas time.
Well it is midsummer now, there has been a stillness in the air all day, now as the sun slowly disappears behind Mount Gabriel, the swifts are making merry above the houses here, probably the coolness of the evening has allowed the insects to dans around making easy prey for those happily swooping birds.
It is wind still.
How nice after the emotional and exciting last two days after voting results came out, Brexit is out….. will chaos follow, or not!
I was out in the garden today, looking at what is growing, and was pleasantly surprised with the flowers and the herbs, there is not much else growing as I did not plant any vegetables, but there are quite a few wild edible plants which I am using. I did not sow nor did I plant this year because this coming autumn we are going away again, but more about that another time. There are some berries growing and producing, strawberries, red currants, raspberries, are all doing really well. The herbs too have never grown better, makes me very happy.
Though I am leaving every single flower wild or not, I am disappointed with the lack of bees and other insects, despite there being a beehive just in next door’s garden! I still have to see my first butterfly too this summer, even though I spent days in the midst of nature last week. I hope that will change soon.
I took a walk around the garden this mild spring afternoon. I went to see what vegetables are still growing, and what young tender shoots or flowers are hiding here and there, and of course they were. I came across a whole range of fresh young growth that shot up all of a sudden because of the sunshine in the past week.
The comfrey, tansy, lungwort, hypericum, foxglove, wild leeks, are all throwing out young shoots, some are near flowering. My winter garden did not produce as much as I had planned, partly because the slugs ate some of the produce, and partly because the rain and storms destroyed some of the vegetables, in fact the soil became too wet for anything to grow. But the Brussels sprouts are still growing strongly, small as they are, they are looking good enough. My white round radishes are doing well, as are the beetroots and the leeks. And the kale is still lasting, even if we ate from the plants regularly. One of my kale plants has grown over 1.50m and is looking fabulous, I am leaving it as an experiment, it is now growing new small leaves among the large old ones, I want to see what happens next. The lavender plants are shooting up well, the grey green young leaves adding to the variety of colours now in the garden, as are the primroses and grape hyacinths, they are just about flowering, they too are bringing some very welcome colour to the garden. And our little Korean fir tree is really doing well, ever since I put it outside again after Christmas it has been showing an abundance of shoots, leaves but also cones, beautiful.
In another week or so we shall be going away for a month, and so my garden will have to take care of itself, which I am sure it is very well capable of, I am already curious what I will find when we return, will there be a lot of wild plants, to be sure there will be, I remember from last year that the goose grass had overtaken the garden fast enough. I will let it be, I’ll tell my grandchildren to come and take away the produce that is there though. One job that I will try and fit in is to spread some leaf manure over the raised beds, I think the soil will benefit from it greatly and I have plenty of it.
And now soon for us it will be looking at the flora, the insects, the architecture, the folklore, the rocks, and the people of the island of Malta, a whole new experience awaits.
Yes the sun came out today, and it shone over the valley here in Skibbereen, it was glorious and so welcome after all the days of mist, rain, and stormy weather. So I took a walk along the boreen* and found a few wild flowers making colour, their therapeutic effects did not stay behind, I felt so energized after that walk.
To find the red clover in flower was probably early in the year, but then the temperature is warmer than normal, it has been a steady 10C for a while now and today in the sun the temperature went up to 15C even despite a cold northern wind.
This beautiful little fern grows along rocks even in urban settings all over Ireland. It’s most delicate and very hardy.
The gorse usually flowers twice a year, once in February, and once in the summer. It’s probably early this year, but I did not get any of its scent, we need stronger sunlight for that.
I took this photo behind our houses, it is waste land, the sedges are lovely, I like this sort of landscape too. Soon St.Brigid will be celebrated in Ireland and people will use the sedges to make St.Brigid crosses, I used to teach people in the library to make those, it’s fun to work with the sedges.
It is getting time that I start planning my garden, I have not done anything about it really because the weather has been so wet. Today I started to take stock, and some of the raised beds wood surroundings have rotted! The soil is still very wet.
Roll on warm and dry weather!
Yesterday I nearly had a disaster with my blog, not realising that if you delete photos from your media library, that they also disappear from your actual blog entries, I started to delete very energetically. Luckily I discovered in time that something was not right. I was told to up-grade – my kind partner Ian treated me to the update for the year, I am very happy that I can keep going, and also I only need to replace photos of my first month of blogging which was August 2014, that is easily done. So now I’ve got 13GB instead of 3GB to play around with.
Today it was quite nice out despite the soft rain and heavy clouds. I went and looked at my overgrown garden to check what I needed to do first, so I set to trimming the overgrown hedge along side one of the raised beds that I am also putting in order. This year was my first year in permaculture, not sure if I got it quite right, since I was not able to do much gardening (instructing and keeping an eye on my wild plants that like to grow more vigorously than my vegetables), due to family visits and reunions.
There has been a lot of growth, a lot of the larger herbal plants have been trashed down by rain and wind, so it all looks a bit messy. I am reluctant to cut down the large comfrey as it is full of flowers and bees visit constantly, this is important. The feverfew is beautifully in flower, but the wind has also slashed it down, and the lady’s mantel the same. I cut one hedge and got rid of the branches and leaves on the compost heap. Then I got side tracked into the shed, as anyone can remember I am making a big effort to clean out my two ancient sheds. One was used by my now ex-husband when he still had the roofing business, there is still stuff in there that needs to go. I got quite a bit sorted, and while dealing with an old press riddled with woodworm I came across this spider. I thought that it was a lace web spider but I could be wrong. So took some photos. I then discovered that a lettuce which had gone to seed had black lice on the stem, and found that there were also quite a few ants running over them, maybe they eat them?
Yesterday I also noticed that I am getting flowers on my bitter gourd plants which delights me, one experiment going real well 🙂
This blog entry is a ramble, and that is exactly how I feel about my garden right now, it’s overgrown and so lush and green, it’s amazing, making me feel a little puffed and wondering will I ever get it sorted again, but then it is good the way it is, so much to discover, so full of life. It is all good. It’s a job finding some vegetables among it all though, but slowly things are coming along (those that were not eaten by you know what!)
And that brings me to some new books I got in the library this morning. They both look interesting. The one about the companion planting especially will be useful, the other one is just for inspiration. I find that books always inspire me so much, I let them too, and choose them carefully. We are lucky to have a good library, and of course there is always Amazon, and second hand bookstores around which are lovely to browse through.
Lush summer growth flattened by wind and rain.
Black currants, and some of my sweet peas growing among the edible peas.
Garlic nearly ready to harvest, and the peas which also suffered from the rains but are doing fine.
Variety of herbs, all fighting for space it seems.
So blessed with a good library!
One of my precious bitter gourd flowers, and the hypericum flower.
The black lice with the ants, and the lace web spider (I think)
Today was a real garden day, the first real warm sunshine, and towards the middle of the day it was just lovely to be outside. Work had to be done, twigs had to be shredded, and other winter things cleared away. My grandson, partner and I even sat on the garden seat drinking a cup of tea while taking a rest from the work. I could not resist going around observing and taking photos of what is happening at this time, and there is lots to be seen, shoots of the soft fruit coming up, small flowers opening, and young salad leaves coming up, all exciting and lovely.
The Borage is already nearly in full bloom, the bees will be happy when they come out!
Lungwort Pulmonaria Officinalis is a lovely plant, I treasure the one I have in the garden and hope to grow more.
Last year’s English Marigolds are coming into bloom again brightening up the garden so much.
Fumitory on the wall, a little herb that is supposed to be a good little liver plant, must double check that though.
Daisies are to be found flowering in heaps right now, as are Dandelions, a great sign of spring.
Salad leaves sowed outside last autumn, and doing well. And Wild Garlic a whole bed full of it!
These Grape Hyacinths are starting to flower in a window box, love these little things, they add a touch of colour and they have a nice subtle scent.
Great activity going on in the garden today, perfect for a sunny Sunday, and the first day of spring in Ireland. The temperature was 8 degrees Celsius in the shade and went up to 15 degrees in the sun, lovely and warm. I had a raised bed to prepare, and according to the rules of permaculture that I am learning about, I do not disturb the soil. So I only pulled up some tough grass that came growing there during the winter. Then I distributed some of the seeds I had been saving, Plantain, Evening Primrose, Yarrow and some others. I found young plants growing there such as Tansy, Nettle, Lemon Balm, Goose grass, Dandelion, and some Oregano that I planted last autumn. When I had everything recorded I mulched just a little leaf matter to protect the seeds, and added some Epson salts (I read this is good to help with germination). I am trying to copy what nature does anyway with overwintering seeds of wild plants (and they grow so wonderfully in spring without our help). This raised bed is my ‘experimenting’ bed and I will keep a close eye on what happens in the next few weeks.
The raised bed now ready to be left alone for some time, and to be watched to see what happens.
Young Nettles and Tansy plants that came growing here by themselves.
Lemon Balm, and two types of Oregano
Dandelion, Parsley, and either Dill or Fennel, not sure, will find out. All these overwintered.
I also re-potted some house plants, I like especially the Peace Lily as it is a plant that is said to purify the inside air from electro magnetic pollution. The Aloe Vera also got too big for its pot. And lastly two young Poppy plants that seeded themselves over the winter. A good start to spring, very appreciative indeed.
Today I was sorting through all last summers harvested seeds, and check when I should start sowing. My hands are itchy, and I have already put down some seeds of sweet peas which are such a delightful scented flower that I grow it among my vegetables just for the scent. While I was working at the table overlooking the garden, two doves, those that frequent our bird table daily, were letting nature get the better of themselves, but I did not see the male’s mating ritual of a vertical flight, with long circular flight down while holding it’s wings below it’s body in a Vshape. They then started to prune each other and themselves, they sat there for over an hour just close together, maybe soon they will be building their nest. I learnt today that they typically nest close to human habitation, as long as there is plenty of food available. The female will lay two white eggs. It is said that they remain loyal to their mates. We have six of these guys around the place and they are lovely.
Also today our little Wren which delighted me as I love it’s song. And another great Tit visiting the bird table.
Sorting through the seeds and making notes, and a variety of containers where I keep my seeds. Last year I saved some seeds of wild herbal plants such as Plantain, Hypericum, Yarrow, Evening Primrose etc. soon they can be sown as in nature they are also in the ground during the winter. Exciting. Can’t wait to see everything get started.