Posts

beautiful & guaranteed irish [part 1]

As I write this post I’m in the beautiful city of Cork [i’m back in work by the time you read it]. I’ve just left Limerick. It is after all my summer holidays 🙂 I [and her indoors] made a concious decision to keep our euros in Ireland this year. I heard the media hype up the recession [every flippin’ day – yawn at this stage] and as soon as they finished they went to the euro/ sterling spiel and the buying of cross border televisions [are you asleep yet….?] That all may be so very correct. But I needed a break and I did it in this so very beautiful country. I am so very happy that I did. I saw the most beautiful towns, met the most wonderful people and not only helped ‘my’ economy – but I had a great time.

I’ve bought books on beautiful landscapes but there are very few as beautiful as those I saw surronding the towns of Kilmallock, Glenbrohane and Kilfinnan. It wasn’t expensive [our first guest house was €35pps – Fitzgeralds 063 98139 by the way]. It wasn’t rip off republic. It was simply beautiful. If you are there make sure and visit Mary Fox in the Kilmallock museum near the 13th Century Dominican Friary [the tour is free but you can make a donation if you wish]. Ireland doesn’t have to be Ferrari’s and flat screens – why can’t it just be beautiful to look at and enjoy. I wonder if this is a news worthy story…. ? [continues tomorrow… click here]

the garden guest sessions…

the question was asked...

the question was asked...

This year and trickling into next, The Thursday Garden Guest Sessions were an absolute success. 10 guests speakers, self nominated and at random, first come first selected took it upon themselves to tell their story of ‘The Garden – What I like about…’.

And so to the next Thursday Garden Guest sessions. The name is open to change. The selection route holds no boundaries. It is your garden. It is your story and it is up to you to decide…If you fancy telling yours, drop me a line via email, pick up the telephone or just leave a comment here.

can you do it... ?

can you do it... ?

Regarding the name of the upcomng series [Oh My God 😉 ]the most immediate suggestions came from John Peavoy with What’s behind YOUR hedge?” “Green-fingered gurriers” “Weeds, seeds and grassy knees”. Irish stu came in with dig dug donegan” “peter the pothead” “grassed up” and the road to prune” “weeding out” “Who Will Sucseed? Bohoe decided on “No recession in the garden”, or “Yes, I can garden”, or “The Green Visitor”, or “Your Next Door Gardener”, or “Gardenator”…and finally Donna Mair came in with “The plot thickens”.

donna… thursday garden guest #8

If you’d like to know more about thursday garden guest – click here

For the moment writer #8 is Donna. There are few things that one should be in life. One of them is polite. To be able to say hello and thank you, the basics in their simplest form. After that anything else, for me, is a bonus. Donna is one of those great ones that comes with a lot of little bonuses and if ever a series of articles could show a different side to how you may have perceived anyone, Donna’s is one that in that context that has made gardens interesting yet again. People of world, please charge your glasses, coffee cups or beakers… Donna!

The Garden – What I like about…

simplicity

simplicity

One of my earliest memories of gardening is living in Saskatchewan (Canada) and picking baby carrots, peas and green onions from my mom’s garden to snack on in summer time. I remember the many hours my mom spent on that particular plot of land – clearing the grass off the top first, staking out the boundaries and picking all the rocks out – only that garden also brings back memories of us kids being made to pick rocks too! Was it worth it in the end? Now of course I think yes, but back then…

earth

earth

When I had my own place, I was on ground floor and under my window was a small strip of ground, about 2 feet wide, and 5 feet long. I was only renting but asked the apartment manager if I could plant something out there. He said yes, so I dug it up, picked all the rocks out (that brought back memories!) and went to the library to find a book. I found a neat one called Postage Stamp Gardening that impressed upon me how much food I could grow in a small plot of land. After a week of planning and scheming, I went and bought seeds, and seedlings… if I remember right, radishes, cherry tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and two zuchini (I think UK people call them vegetable marrows?). I called my mom all excited about my new garden, and told her two about my 2 zuchini and she laughing asked if I planned on feeding the entire neighborhood! By the time summer was over, I had reaped a harvest of 3 meals of beans, a ton of zuchini, a few mishapen radishes that were so hot I could hardly eat them, and no tomatoes. Apparently I didnt water my plot often enough 🙂

life

life

A few years later, I got married, and moved into my first home. My husband lovingly built me a raised garden in the back yard, under a huge fir tree. We bought top soil, and again I plotted and schemed as to what to plant. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself reaping a harvest of fresh lettuce, watercress, cucumbers, garlic, snap peas, even swiss chard – all things that my mom had successfully grown in her own garden over the years. Needless to say, the first year I planted too soon and our Vancouver rain washed away my neat rows of lettuce seeds, drowned my garlic, and caused my cucumber plants to go moldy. The lettuce did sprout, but instead of nice neat rows, it was all in one clump at the lowest point of the garden! I was crushed, but not beaten!

The next year, I dug my own compost into the garden, waited till after the May 24th long weekend ( my neighbor told me to wait, as thats when the rain would quit) and I tried again. Again my garden was a sad state – the plants grew, but so did the weeds! And I had gone from a part time job, to a full time job and ‘inherited’ two stepsons so had little spare time to put into it.
The third year – my husband gently persuaded me that although my thumb is green in my own mind’s eye, in real life it really isnt so 🙂  So I planted all flowers – Static, and flowers for drying. California Poppies, Bachelors Buttons. Two blueberry bushes. Even a Peony plant. My garden thrived! We had a multitude of blueberries all summer long and it was wonderful.
beautiful

beautiful

The fourth year – I had to clear nearly 6 inches of dead pine needles off the top of my garden – it was under that giant fir tree remember? And the soil by this time was so acidic that even after adding lime to it, it wasnt balanced enough to grow anything decent… except weeds!  So we put plastic over it, let the summer sun kill off all the weeds, and then dismantled the garden and redepositied the soil around the rest of the yard.

Am I sad about having no garden? Yes and no. I still love digging in the dirt. I know there are still things I’m good at growing… blueberries and flowers that dont need watering every day 🙂  And potatoes. I know I can grow potatoes. But until I get time to do gardening on a daily basis (which might be soon actually), I’ve chosen to plant things around my yard that are native to where I live: Lupins, Foxglove, Ferns, Shasta Daisy, Lily of the Valley, Crocus’. And I do have a Lilac tree, Lavender bushes and a Clematis that no matter what I don’t do to it, I just can’t kill!
Thanks to Peter for letting me share my gardening adventures.

looking for a bargain-beque …?

a bargain-b-q

a bargain-b-q

I love this time of year. Ok so I would NOT NEVER go buying Christmas cards in January but I would buy a barbeque. Mainly because I dont have the time to do so during the summer… I bought this last week for about €20. BARGAIN!! It was one of the DIY stores [i can’t remember which; really sorry; as I threw away all of the packaging; into a recycle bin of course].

So I got thinking of when I was younger and we had to save up all of our 10p pocket monies to buy Christmas presents and I reckon euro back to irish pence – [i’m one of eight children] we might just have done it on a weeks money; money aside – it is more thoughtful than socks – am I in trouble with my sisters now? Then I thought about Christmas Day and why oh why do of all of my sisters [and families] go to my Moms for Christmas dinner and the Boys to their outlaws inlaws… ? hmmmm

Back to Gardens. Gardens are all about planning. If I dont plan for next year – I will not have a barbeque. I wanted a built in barbie. I’ve got one. I think I’ll build mine over Christmas while the gunfire is going on and Willie Wonkas Chocolate factory is on full volume…. 🙂 [Give me a while and I’ll work out exactly what quantities you need.]

adrian… thursday garden guest #5

If you’d like to know more about Thursday garden guest time – click here

adrian....

adrian....

For the moment writer #5 is Adrian Mc Mahon. One of lifes really nice guys. Genuinely. If he could help you, he would. And when I have asked – he has. That said ‘Aidos’ main reason for living usually seems to always end with ‘….ah but he’s a mate, you’d have to’. For that reason alone, Im so very proud to know him. He’s also ‘a Ballyboughal resident’. 😉

One of the brains of the Segala team, the Wubud team and the reason why Donegan Landscaping is so advanced from a technology aspect [that said his garden usually looks very good?!!]. He also resides over at Ballyboughal.net. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the sound man from Emmerdale Farm, North County Dublin…..

The Garden – what I like about…

fields of lavander

fields of lavander

From a child hood perspective what I liked most about gardening was digging holes. In those days the garden was what the Playstation or XBox is to many kids today.

One of my earliest memories of our back garden was a big muck hill.

Builders rubbish but to a kid it was what ever you could cook it up to be. Some days a dig-out for action man or else a ramp providing hours of endless fun.When it was removed to make way for the new tarmac drive way I’m sure we shed a tear.

Those tears didn’t last long, with tarmac came new adventures. Firstly skate boarding the mother broke her ankle on a board. Good thing she didn’t try the jump! Enter the BMX, we used to jam a sheet of ply wood up against the garage door as a make shift quarter pipe, thats when kids could be kids and no on worried about insurance.

.... my favourite...?!!

.... my favourite...?!!

While this was going on there was also the other aspects of life in the garden. I remember having to cut the grass! A huge chore with the aul push mower, mind you I was happy to use it after I heard about the local doctor who cut his toes off while using his new petrol mover.

I was a little too young at that stage to man such a machine… little did I know it would provide me with a summer job when I got older. Yes, all summer long myself and my best mate cut grass.

We charged about 50p (front and back) I remember being so chuffed at getting paid for doing something we enjoyed.

At the back of our garden, like Damien I was given a plot to grow what ever I wanted. I used to buy the bags of seeds in the local hardware. They never grew and I never really understood why but if honest I didn’t really care, it was all about the planting.

Many years later after building a house in Ballyboughal. I enjoy the garden more now than I ever did. I’m not over the top with plants. I like it to look nice and clean yet simple to manage. The garden is my excuse for getting some fresh air into the lungs. No one else will do it, its a great excuse for some quiet offline time, be it weeding the roses or battling bramble bushes and having the arms cut to bits.

the 'great' outdoors....

the 'great' outdoors....

I’m still a big child at heart and love my gadgets. The garden is my excuse for a petrol hedge cutter, with enough hedgerow to keep me occupied for the whole weekend is a gamers dream to me.

I don’t get hung up on the name of a flower, if it looks good it stays, if not then it goes, a garden should be as simple as that. Ask me what are my plans for next summer sure as ‘be darned’ I couldn’t answer that right now but one thing is for sure it will involve doing something in the garden 🙂