Moving The Blog

Finally and at last, I’m ready to move my GrowWriteRepeat blog to a new location.

Here’s the link: GrowWriteRepeat.ie

The regular Six-on-Saturday will be there as per usual. To date, there are 146 followers of my blog. Half of these are marketing blogs, a small percentage are very dubious, and the rest are genuine gardeners and other people interested in reading the blog.

I do hope that if you are a follower here, you’ll be interested in following me there also.

For WordPress.com users: there are two ways to follow my new blog.

1. Using the WordPress Reader, search for GrowWriteRepeat.ie. Select the Sites Tab and tap the follow button.

2. Using a browser, go to https://wordpress.com/read If you are not logged into your WP account, you’ll need to do so, then search as above. You will be presented with my old blog and new one. Follow the new one and unfollow the old if you wish.

I’m still working on options for non-WP users. Please bear with me.

With best wishes,

Pádraig.

Six-on-Saturday – Missing In Action

9th October 2021.

It’s not unusual. The hand trowel is missing, but it usually turns up after a short while. I simply retrace my gardening steps and… voilà, there it is just where I left it. This time, it’s been missing for more than 72 hours. Marion reminds me regularly not to leave tools outside overnight. The thought of wanting to do the right thing but being unable to is devastating. The nights are cold, and the morning sun takes longer to get going. I do hope that my hand trowel will be found unharmed.

While searching in vain, I took a few photographs to reflect what’s happening this week. Here’s my selection…

A h-Aon:

There are plenty gaps appearing. This particular spot looked very bare so I bought these two small chrysanthemums. Likely they’ll flower away until the first frost, at which time I’ll cut them hard and plant them in the ground until it’s time for them to shine front-centre once again next year.

I should have bought a hand trowel while I was there.

I returned on Friday to buy two Skimmias for my sister. I’ll be planting them for her next week, but in the meantime, why not add them behind the chrysanthemums for contrast? I think they look good. The variety is called Temptation. Yes, wouldn’t you know? Hard to resist.

A Dó:

It’s beyond redemption! Growing strongly, but in all the wrong directions, I’m between two minds what to do. On the one hand, it’s too gorgeous to remove, yet it’s beginning to outgrow it’s space. There’s only one thing for it… Think long and hard. Yes, that’s the answer! I’ll do that.

By my reckoning Spring was about three weeks late this year. Now, it’s Autumn’s turn to be late for the party.

A Trí:

Some Begonias are more trouble than they’re worth. Some droop too much while others grow very spindly or flowers fall regularly. This one has no such problems. I’ll be keeping it! Others will be discarded. Definitely no hand trowel hidden here.

A Ceathar:

Yarrow is one of my favourite plants. Loved by insects, the fading flower-head is lasting a long time. It’s spreads quickly, and therefore I’ll likely cut out some of it to give away. I’ve got two other varieties to plant nearby. Not sure yet how or when to get it done, because I cannot find the you-know-what.

A Cúig:

Having mentioned bare spots earlier, this is an example of the opposite. I’ve had three pots of Nerines tucked away carefully among the rockery plants. They’ve been shaded from the sun during the warm weeks of summer and now there’s a bit of colour appearing. These are originally from mam’s garden.

A Sé:

Alyssum Gold Ball is a small perennial, and reliable too. It flowered in April and I gave it a hard cutting immediately afterwards. Now, it’s back for a second flush. Loved by slugs and snails, it seems to flourish despite being nibbled regularly.


That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – No Time To Die

2nd October 2021.

I can’t get my head around it. “Dry spots” doesn’t mean what it used to.

This week, the phrase is used to denote areas of the United Kingdom where there’s no petrol! Here in Ireland, there’s plenty petrol but not enough wind. Reports suggest that there may be blackouts over the coming winters because coal-powered generating stations are due to be shut down.

I’m just thankful that gardening continues regardless. Mostly, it’s been a really lovely week, with plenty dry spots and very little wind. Here’s my selection…

1. There’s no shortage of salad greens. Lettuce, spinach and scallions grow better in cool autumn conditions, I think. I’ve sown another batch this week. When it comes to November, it’ll likely be glasshouse lettuces, not as tasty but acceptable.

2. The bindweed is back, so I’ll need to move quickly. Thankfully, it hasn’t flowered. I do not photograph bindweed. That’s just way it is.

3. This little conifer doesn’t look right. I’ve a feeling there’s something wrong. In fact, I’d say there’s something happening underground that’s not helping matters. This has been one of the loveliest plants in my garden, in my mother-in-law’s stone pot. It’s no time to die. I’ll check the roots to see if it can be salvaged.

4. Begonias again! I’ve moved them closer together and put them on two levels. I’m smirking with satisfaction.

5. Autumn is fuchsia time. I did not prune them hard enough last year and therefore they’ve grown a bit beyond their space. However, what’s not to love?

6. A garden is not all about colour. This fern brings no flower yet the plant is a valuable addition to the rockery.

7. I’m including another because bindweed doesn’t really count. I bought a small shredder. It’s ideal for my little garden. Presently, it’s in the shed and it may just stay there permanently. The basket underneath is removeable and the shredded contents can be emptied easily to the nearby compost heaps. I may bring it with me around the garden when the fuchsias need to be pruned in November.

Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Unsung Heroes

25th September 2021.

What’s a man to do? We’ve been away for a few days, and now, not long back, I’m off again! This time I’ll travel (alone) to the Kingdom of Kerry. All going well, there will be scenery to beat the band, good company, some challenging cycling terrain around Dingle and food at the finish. I am very much looking forward to the Tom Crean Unsung Heroes 112km cycle. We are raising funds for Down Syndrome, but the best bit is… we start and finish at a garden centre! I may just certainly will browse upon my return.

Thus, my efforts to get something decent ready for Six-on-Saturday deadline has been touch and go. It’s a lovely phrase… Touch and Go. Decent is a matter of interpretation!

Begonia Illumination is lasting well, helped by the fact that watering is not as critical as during midsummer.

The berries are ripening on the Skimmia. Marion gave me this as a Christmas present a few years ago. It’s certainly better than socks!

There are four Dahlias here, and they do a mighty job of almost covering the entire gable end of the shed.

Aconitum, delivered by Paddy earlier in the year, is in flower. I love the pureness of the colour.

Grown from seed, the Asters are delightful. I’ll be growing more of these next year. In previous years, I’d have neglected Autumn annuals, so I’m thrilled to have these. Very easy to grow.

Each of these six plants selected this week are Unsung Heroes. I have many many more too.

Update on Sunday: I didn’t browse! We got very wet on the Connor Pass. Although the last 40km section was dry, the soaking was in my socks! Thankfully, there was no cold whatsoever. So, I had a delicious chicken burger and headed home contentedly.

South Pole Inn

That’s it for this week. It’s my second week of making a half-hearted effort, but I’m OK with that. I’ll do a sort of Autumn wind down. The bike sportive season is finishing soon, so I’ll have more time. Really? Somehow, I don’t think so. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Could Be Anything

18th September 2021.

I knew it would happen sooner or later. On a scale of one to ten, this lame Six on Saturday blurb merits about one-point-five. Yet, in a strange way, it’s good to climb off the hamster wheel. I shall upgrade my vote to two-point-two.

I’ve been very very busy (trèz trèz ghnóthach) and the garden has been neglected, so I’m resorting to the theory that a garden in September can mind itself, mostly. It’s a theory I’ve just concocted. No research papers have been published.

If I get a few hours here and there over the next few weeks, everything will be hunky dory, known locally as maith-go-leor. If not, it’ll be a case of letting the Autumn decay accumulate and I’ll do a clear up later on. I’ll adapt to the situation.

So, what can I show-and-tell this week? I continually surprise myself. I refer to Jon’s mantra… Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday… Could be anything. In my head-scratching search for anything, I think I’ve found something, yet whether it be classified as something or anything is highly debatable. What is definitely self-evident is the effectiveness of prolonged head-scratching.

A h-Aon:

Does anyone else label pots? I’ve scratched my head and failed to recall even one Saturday Sixer who has labeled a pot, except myself that is. I am quick to clarify that it’s just the one pot. I didn’t lose the run of myself entirely. I have written somewhere what this means. 21B refers to bulbs planted this year. I know also that they’re lilies. 123 is obviously the variety, but until I find where it’s secretly stored, I’m unable to enlighten myself. Could be anything.

A Dó:

Molly & Becks

Our two Yorkies share the garden with us. Becks is older and waddles slowly around, while Molly keeps a vigilant eye for invaders. They’ve missed being under my feet this week.

If I were a dog, I’d be Becks.

A Trí:

I’m on the look out for unusual items, in particular, a milk churn, an old cart wheel and an old-fashioned water pump. In the meantime, I am very content with this. I’ve added a wooden frame. Right now, it’s propped up against a bare wall. I did have plans to mount it somewhere, but I like the notion that it can be moved from place to place. Dreams change too.

As this dream is merely leaning against the wall, is the wall bare, I’m wondering? It’s a small point.

A Ceathar:

Again, what self-respecting Saturday Sixer would dream of showing bins? Seriously, like! Grey, brown, green and blue, together with a smaller bin and bucket at ground level. Correction: all six are at ground level. It’s great to have a selection of colours that remain constant all year round. I’ve been thinking of swapping them around but permission is not forthcoming.

A Cúig:

I’m making it abundantly clear… A tonne of loose stone won’t ever go astray. This will be used for something or other sooner or later. Probably later. There will be head-scratching aplenty.

A Sé:

In all conscience, I couldn’t send this to my editor for publishing without including something that grows. Usually, a plant or two would spring to mind, but this week my mind is moving in different circles. Something that grows? Let me think… A combination of laziness and aesthetics leads me once more to hide behind a beard. I’ve been known to grow a féasóg from time to time, at intervals of about two years. Whenever I’m reminded that a beard doesn’t suit me, I’m inclined to mention Mr. Steinbeck.

“A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave.”

John Steinbeck (Cannery Row)

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading. I shall be spending some time scratching and reading other SOS updates when I can. If you’d be interested in joining the fun, the details are here. Wherever you are, have a great week. Slán go fóill.


Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Thinking Ahead

11th September 2021.

Thinking is hard work and thinking ahead is the hardest. In any case, while enjoying this week’s selection, I’m making mental notes. I’ll allow just a small thinking-window. I’ll call it a by-product of the moment. There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. William would have approved.

I do like my salad greens and I mostly remember to repeat sow them the first week of each month. Several varieties of lettuce, spring onions and spinach are at various stages of growth. I’m rarely without something to nibble on.

These ones were sown a few weeks ago, but the blackbirds have been doing damage. It’s like Fort Knox, but they will not be deterred. The beautiful crumbly new compost is just filled with tasty morsels. How can I solve the problem? These intelligent birds are known to move bamboo. They’re thinking on their feet. I’ll have to buy another thinking cap.

I’m thinking ahead to finishing this bare wall next summer. There will be trellis and mirrors. I feel that it’ll happen in spring. As yet I’m undecided about what to grow on the trellis. Jasmine perhaps? I’m taking recommendations. It’s a great way to sub-contract out the thinking.

It’s still going strong! Gaura has been in flower since early July and I love it! I’m told it’s one of the longest-flowering plants so I do expect it to keep on going for another month or thereabouts. It does tend to lean over after heavy rain, but recovers beautifully soon after. I’ve moved it slightly from its original spot. Now it’s just behind the Lobelia Cardinalis. What a combination! I’ll definitely be growing more of the Gaura from seed, and it’ll soon be time to divide the Lobelia. I’ve got three in pots, bought in 2019. I’ll separate them into six plants and put three in the ground. Thinking ahead. Wasn’t too taxing.

Having bought a 10-pack of Busy Lizzie, I’m thrilled with the outcome of my efforts this year. I’m told that the secret is to grow them in semi-shade. There are a few smaller ones growing on top of the rockery. They’re smaller because they’re competing with shrubs, and also because the soil there is a bit too dry. However, I don’t really mind. The entire corner has been a highlight of the many successes this year. I’ll not be using my new thinking cap here. It’s a mistake to overthink what’s already working well.

The glasshouse is back to its shelved state. I had removed everything in a failed attempt to grow tomatoes. Now I’m ready for autumn/winter. I’ll continue to sow some salad greens. Later, when the first frosts arrive, the Begonias will be brought inside, together with other delicate potted perennials. It’s also a good spot for coffee on cold winter days, and some thinking might happen too.

French Marigilds are still growing very well. I’ve saved some seed and am letting them dry out in the sunshine. Later, I’ll store them away safely. I’m thinking that these brightly-coloured flowers would do very well in my swap-pots next year.

I’ll have several thousand of these seeds left over. Local enthusiasts will be more than welcome to come along and collect same. My guess is that there will be several hundred for everyone in the audience. Best between now and end of this month, I’d imagine. Pick and dry your own. Much more satisfying that way.


I write as a member of The Saturday Gang. We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand, Tasmania, USA, Canada, Britain and Waterford City. Many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Could be anything, and frequently is. Do join in.


This Time Last Year

Here’s the full article: Dibbers And Pringles

Pádraig.

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Bite My Lip

There are times when I’d want to scream!

The entire world is awash with everyone’s tuppence worth. It’s a sinister trap and I’m mostly happy to pass on by. Yes, I’ve been there and worn the t-shirt of shame. Yes, I’d feel like telling him and her and them all what I think. But then, I stop… and scream.

I do chuckle every now and then. It’s easier. Chuckling is reserved for poor spelling, lack of punctuation and incorrect choice of words. Nowadays, it’s very uncool to correct these little things. After all, we mostly do understand what’s being said. So, I chuckle to myself and move on. Truthfully, it’s more than very likely that I’ve been guilty of a grammatical or factual boo-boo or two.

My favourite chuckles are reserved for phrases that just don’t quite come out right. One such phrase this evening brought a smile and a chuckle!

“I’m going out on a whim here. I hope that you don’t mind me asking this… “

The lady proceeded to ask, but my mind was elsewhere. I’m not sure whether to deduct points from the usual douze, or award bonus marks?

I’m reminded of this very welcoming sign at a local garden centre…

I’m easily amused. Another way of putting it is that it’s hard to please me!

Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Here And There

4th September 2021.

I see me here. I see me there.

The first three items below were purchased, photographed, catalogued and planted last week. The second trio have been in permanent place for over one hundred and fifty years, yet it has taken me until now to grab some photos. I call it the tortoise effect.

1. Coreopsis Golden Sphere

Coreopsis Golden Sphere (Tickseed)

My sister and I brought mam to Mount Congreve Gardens and while we were having tea, I spotted this from a distance. I abandoned my station to take a closer look, and having taken said closer look, I bought it together with two other plants that had escaped my notice at first glance.

When I got back home, I was thrilled to notice that the pot (yellow, but that’s not important now) is the same as the seven pots-within-a-pot in Joe’s front garden pot. As the summer geraniums are beginning to fade, I swapped one out and popped in the Coreopsis, known also as Tickseed.

2: Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)

I can’t believe that the Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy) escaped my first glance. I’ve placed it within my Central Patio, again swapping it for one of the fading summer annuals. My hope is that it will add colour there for several weeks to come.

3: Pennisetum (Fountain Grass)

Pennisetum Rubrum (Fountain Grass)

The Pennisetum (Fountain Grass) has also been added to Joe’s pot, but I’m not sure that it’s the right place for it. I’ll leave it be for the moment. Later, I’ll repot it to a larger container.

All three new plants have been catalogued. I’m repeating myself. It’s a tactic used by teachers and I’ve been unable to shake it off. Regarding this catalogue, I’ll spend some time during the winter filling out the details. I’ll want information at my fingertips about propagating them. Do I take cuttings? If so, when? Do I propagate them by division? Again, if so, when?

One of the loveliest little apps I use regularly is called Garden Tags. I enter the name of the plant, confirm that I have it in my garden, and hey presto… I get reminders from month to month about how to care for it. I pay a very modest fee for this information.

Yes, I understand that, as with everything in life, there are two sides to the coin. Realistically, I do adhere to the theory that the best way to check the weather is by looking out the window. However, in this case, a helping hand from technology will be much appreciated.

4: Lady Louisa’s Walk

This is the scene along the banks of the Blackwater, just a few hundred metres south of Lismore Castle. Downstream, it could be said. Lady Louisa Cavendish became the person in charge upon the death of her father in the 1850’s. Being a lady and liking her ladylike walks, she supervised the creation of this peaceful 3km loop walk from the castle. We recreated her morning ritual at midday last Monday.

5: Overused?

The backless timber seat is a later addition that hasn’t stood the test of time.

6: The Long Road

Having followed along by the river, the walk veers into shade and back to the town. This stile marks the separation point where a long walk called Saint Declan’s Way continues. It is a pilgrim way stretching from Cashel to Ardmore. For those not familiar with the geography, that’s about 100km. Declan and Lady Louisa part company here. They would have walked the section common to both routes approximately thirteen hundred years apart. Both have left a permanent mark on the local landscape.


This Time Last Year

Excerpt from September 2020:

“I’ve heard it said that men don’t do retirement very comfortably, and there have been times I’ve felt a bit lost, but by and large, I’m very happy not to be clock-watching.”

Here’s the full article, a three minute read: National Garden Exhibition Centre

The Week That Was

  • A road map for abolition of Covid restrictions is announced, emphasising personal responsibility. What’s that?, says lots of people whose apple fell very far from the tree.
  • Crystal Palace have signed several decent players. Now the task is to get them working together to earn their shillings.
  • Mam is returning to Dungarvan after a long summer in Waterford.
  • I return to jeans this week, but will keep my shorts at hand. The Indian summer may stretch on a bit.
  • I’m shocked. I’d even go so far as to say flabbergasted. Enough said, I’ll say no more. Is binn béal ina thost.
  • Cycling: just one 40k spin. Fast and slightly furious, I’m recovering from the shocked state.

That’s it for this week, a cháirde, so until next week I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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Here Come The Storms

Wedneday, 1st September 2021.

It’s wonderful! The super-efficiency of the national weather-forecasting service is commendable. MetEireann, in collaboration with UK and Dutch counterparts, have wasted no time in releasing the 2021-2022 Storm Names.

For very obvious reasons they waited until today. Less obvious was the release of this information on the day after the close of Premier League transfer window. To be sure, all windows should be closed in such storms.

A little phonetic assistance.

Arwen will be first to arrive. What a lovely name! Irish names this year include Barra, Méabh, Pól and Seán. Being loaded towards the back end of the alphabet, it’s very unlikely that we’ll get to the last two fellas, but our Méabh could be brutal. I should really check to see if I was stormed since 2014? That’s when it started.

Did you know?

  • Each storm alternates gender.
  • The letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used.
  • This year, the first storm is female. For obvious reasons, it alternates each year.
  • Names are selected by the public. It could be you.
  • Storm year runs from today until end of August 2022.
  • Get more details by googling Irish, UK or Dutch met services

Pádraig.

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