Six-on-Saturday – Conveyor Belt Required

17th April 2021.

I’ll tell you one thing, and one thing only. It would kill a saint. I’m not really much into saints, but I’d imagine that a saint would take a serious amount of killing.

Here’s the thing… I’ve got five large planters with three begonias in each. They do not fit anywhere in the glasshouse because they’re too heavy for the shelving. I have them in the shed by night, and they need to be brought out every morning. I cannot even leave them in the cold-frame because it has been removed to make way for the planting of my maincrop spuds. I think this daily pilgrimage will need to continue until the end of this month, particularly if night temperatures don’t pick up a bit. A conveyor belt would lighten my daily load.

Rather than dwell on this demanding daily ritual, it would be better to highlight some things in the garden that are sparkling, things that bring joy and comfort. How many things, I wonder? Why, of course… it’s Saturday, so six should do it! Let us begin.

Unfurling

My Lovely Fern is unfurling. It’s a bit blurred, but no matter. I had left last year’s growth in place until the middle of last month. It’s a way of providing shelter to the core of the plant during the coldest months. In this case, the plant is in a very sheltered spot and only some of the outer sections were frost-damaged.

As soon as I cut back the old growth, I admired the formation at the centre. As in previous years, I would check progress almost daily as I pass by, waiting for The Unfurling. When it happens, it’s just stunning. Unbe-ferny-lievable! I wish I could put a camera on it for a few days and do a bit of advanced time-lapse trickery.

Note: My Lovely Fern is a variation of My Lovely Horse, taken from the very successful BBC comedy Father Ted. The only difference is that My Lovely Horse is a song, and the other one is… not a song. Would you like to sing along? You can do so here. Much laughing is encouraged, but doing both together takes from the beauty of the music.

Building Castles

Last year I worked part-time at my local garden centre. For the most part, I enjoyed it very much. Of course, it became very clear to me that I wanted to spend most of my wages on plants and accessories! One other bright spot in this experience was that I had an almost unlimited access to used plastic pots. However, since last year, I’ve undertaken an enormous growing project. Presently, there are over a hundred little plants in the glasshouse, and that’s after the giving-to-friends that started last week. Pots need to be washed and sterilised in order to keep Abbeyside infection free, but it’s a job I do not like. I had been given lots of pots by friends but I had left them in water for three weeks. Finally, on Wednesday last, I got round to finishing the job.

Female Royalty

On Monday I visited the garden centre to buy spray for potato blight and came home with a few extras. These seeds will provide great colour over the summer, and into next year in the case of the Penstemon. What caught my eye at home, as I added them to My Seed List, was that there’s an inbuilt Royalty Theme, as all are given female titles… Queen, Duchess and Empress. Does an Empress outrank a queen? I may return next week to search for some male equivalents.

I wonder is it a marketing ploy? Do plants with female names sell better than Bishop’s Children, Sweet William, Bachelor’s Buttons, Rosa Just Joey or Cotoneaster Tom Thumb? I can’t imagine Tom being up to much in the company of the distinguished ladies.

Home Sweet Home

I was doing a clean-up in the shed on Monday and I spotted this hanging from the ceiling. I think it’s a wasp’s next. Can anyone confirm or inform me otherwise? Unfortunately, in my efforts to see if there was anything inside, I knocked it. It is incredibly fragile and the interior is a marvel. As it turns out, I wouldn’t have been happy having this nest within the shed.

Update: yes it has been confirmed as as wasp nest,and some advice too…

It would get to be twice the size of a football with maybe 5000 wasps in it. It is started at this time of the year, by a queen wasp, just after coming out of hibernation. And grows exponentially,  as the number of worker wasps increases. I would flatten it now with the back of a spade if I were you.

D. H.

I’ll be very busy between now and the end of May. That’s the date I have in my head to get all the big work done, and after that, it’s time to relax and enjoy the summer garden. With the exception of tending vegetables and watering plants, June, July and August are mostly for sitting and relaxing, eating and socialising. Oh, please let there be some socialising!

Lily Gurt Mór

I had been reading back through my article about Lily Gurt Mór, written last July. Here’s the state of play right now. There are four that are about 10cm above ground. I had been waiting for them, wondering had they survived the winter, dejected when I thought they hadn’t, and overjoyed to finally see them pop through. It’s time now to add some fresh topsoil and start feeding them.

Lily Gurt Mór is the name I’ve given to these trumpet Lilies. Gurt is South West England vernacular, meaning very large, used semi-frequently by Devon bloggers of note. I like it, and have added “mór”, our Irish equivalent, to emphasise just how tall these Lilies will climb.

Vibrant Red

This brightly-coloured pot, with polyanthus and cyclamen is on the opposite end of the Gurt Mór ladder. Bought just before Christmas, there was also a type of frosted conifer that soon died. Now, the remaining combination is having a second flush. I’ve moved it around a bit, and it looks great just under the budding fuchsia. Having said that, I’m tempted to follow Nora’s advice. It would be good to add vibrant red to the new Raised Seating Corner. But I’ll save that for later. I don’t want to be seen to accept suggestions too quickly!

I’m regularly skinning my head going in and out of the glasshouse because the lintel is too low. But this week, I’ve done further damage. While pruning my little Hebe Rhubarb & Custard with the very sharp new secateurs, I snipped a little piece of something other than the plant. Just happened that the top of my thumb was in the wrong place. There was perfect calm as I was bandaged up, but plenty screaming and doubling over the following day when I hit it off a bedside locker while assisting with the changing of sheets. I really will have to stop doing bedsheets. Interestingly, tieing shirt buttons, shoelaces and washing face with one hand are wonderful experiences that are teaching me lessons.

The unfortunate event has added a whole new meaning to the Covid catchphrase Stay Safe! That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. Thumbs up! I’ll be back with more next Saturday an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday articles from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I hope you have a great week. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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31 comments

  1. I chopped through my finger earlier this year. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one daft enough to do it!

    Wasps are a nuisance (although very valuable from an ecological aspect, I’m told), but their nests are certainly a thing to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could build a castle with pots a little taller than yours, but right now they’re all full…😂
    I’m still waiting a few days for the temperatures to cool down before planting all the tomatoes in the greenhouse.
    I confirm that it looks a lot like a wasps nest. I have one or two like this every year, hanging under my roof

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was very fortunate to be given 50 large five litre pots also. Can never have enough.
      I’ll be clearing out the shelving from one side of the glasshouse next week to plant tomatoes.
      Do you get rid of the wasp nests, Fred?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have wasp nests in the house. We killed a few when we moved in ten years ago, as we had a baby, but otherwise we live with them. They’re not the sort you’ve got though — ours are solitary and build with mud. They’re a bit ugly, but so far no stings!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last year there was an underground wasp nest in one of the gardens I worked in, as long as I remembered where they were all was well. It was fascinating watching them at work and they ignored big lumbering me completely. Sorry about the accident, I’ve cut myself loads of times, just a second of wandering mind and oops! And my mind does tend to wander somewhat, usually wondering what the wasps are up to. I am sure there is a very good reason why not, but have you considered wrapping your begonia pots with fleece each night, might be easier on your back. Have fun, a chara!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fleece? Gosh, that sounds too sensible for me! There’s plenty of it in the shed, so I shall take your advice!
      Do wasps not attack bee hives? Perhaps it’s just certain types…. I’ve been advised by a local beekeeper to get rid of the nest.
      All is well again. I can cycle, garden and tie shirt buttons. Just a temporary reminder that I’m fallable. 😀

      Like

  5. My, you’ve been busy this week! Lugging pots…….cutting your finger…….riding your bike! I’ve been playing catch up! Been very warm and beautiful for us here! Sooooo done with COVID and masks! Cady

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Entertaining read as always Padraig! Your arduous pilgrimage and faithful service to your begonias will be rewarded, isn’t that how religion is supposed to work? Expect amazing blooms. The wasp’s nest is a work of art, so beautiful. Wasps eat aphids, among other services, and am gradually learning to accept them as they come and dine on my trumpet vine each summer, but it’s gradual!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can relate to the good intentions coupled with endless procrastination in cleaning the recycled plastic pots. I have also been developing quite the collection and have yet to clean or organize them. So just a pile. Of dirty and sometimes broken pots.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ouch! Your poor thumb! Hopefully it is on the mend! Like you, washing and sterilising pots is not my favourite job, but unfortunately one that has to be done! Completing it gives a sense of relief….until next time! I was amazed to read about the wasps, and to see their nest! It is perfectly constructed!

    Liked by 1 person

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