Six-on-Saturday – Malus April Dolan

24th April, 2021.

It’s been a week of two halves. Initially, the first half lasted two days, while the second was longer. That’s the way with halves. Never the same. Dull and foggy, followed by bright sunshine and fresh easterly breezes. I made great headway in emptying out the glasshouse, got my spuds and tomatoes planted and enjoyed more cycling in one week than the entire month of March. Nights are still cool, so I’m ever watchful of the many tender plants outside, but I’m moving safely towards last frost date.

Here we go again for the last Saturday of April. Read along for a bit of fun, a small amount of useless information, some nostalgia and preparations for an upcoming world event.

1. Aurinia Gold Ball

This week one of my two Aurinia Gold Ball rockery plants is in bloom. Notice how I phrased that very carefully. Interestingly, there’s a second one that is way behind and not likely to get to this stage for another month or so. It would be very unusual, but not unheard of, to encounter one of the two Gold Ball rockery plants way behind. I wonder why is this? I wrote about this five years ago, explaining how the process of flowering and setting seed works. I think I should put a disclaimer with it, stating that all opinions are my own. I may be talking through my hat.

I’ll do two things as soon as flowering has finished. Firstly, I’ll trim the plant back very carefully with my sharp new secateurs, all the while adhering to the new Safe Thumb Positioning Policy. Secondly, to contradict above, I’ll leave one corner untouched in order to allow seeds to ripen. It’ll be somewhat like a number two haircut with a bobble. The seeds will be collected, dried and grown in the Autumn. I believe it’s also possible to propagate Aurinia from softwood cuttings taken in May. Therefore, I’ll use some of the trimmings to make more. Double-jobbing.

Aurinia was formerly known as Alyssum. Taxonomists recently moved it to a new family. I don’t know what it is they know that prompted the poor thing to be expelled and re-classified, so when I discovered this trickery on Tuesday, I was moved to investigate further. I read lots of information that is quite useless to me, but I’m happy to note that the plant is not liked by deer. I can now safely take down garden walls on all sides.

2. Gone To Pot

Fifty plastic pots arrived from Dublin last week. Each one had contained a rose, and the pots were offered free of charge. My friend collected them for me and now they are filled with Dahlias and Begonias. I have removed the top shelf to fit these bigger containers. I’ll be planting some of my tomatoes inside as soon as I’ve got a chance to remove all the shelving from the other side.

Hey presto, voilà! I’ve managed to move seed trays and plants to the other side and the shelves have been removed. The shelving will be used on the patio. To improve drainage I’ll put all the summer pots on them, rather than directly on the ground. The tomatoes and cucumber are in their final summer position, and I await an early crop this year. I have some tumbling tomatoes that will go in pots outside, but that will wait for a further week or two.

Someone mentioned recently that it’s like musical chairs, all this moving things around from month to month. That’s exactly what is necessary in a very small space.

3. Not Very Interesting At All

Here’s a close up of a pot containing a dahlia.  Of course, the dahlia cannot be seen so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Not very interesting, you say? I agree, not very interesting.

I inserted a few twigs of fuchsia to deter birds from enjoying a dust bath. The twigs were cut last Autumn and kept for this purpose, but guess what happened? When inserted in soil, the twig that was cut almost six months ago has sprouted! Surely, you’ll agree that’s interesting? This was not meant to happen!

4. Bluebells

This photograph does not do justice to the beauty of the bluebells. They were not my choice for planting back in 2016, but they’re growing on me. They are definitely worth a short paragraph.

5. Crab Apple Blossom

About ten years ago I gave a budding cyclist my second bike for a few months. She had joined our local cycling club and was studying for her Leaving Certificate exams if I am not mistaken. Towards the end of that summer she returned the bike, together with a gift of this apple tree. I wonder how did she know that I was into gardening, and I wonder did she know that I might be writing about the episode a decade later? Therefore, continuing my policy of renaming plants whose real name is unknown to me, I hereby christen this lovely tree Malus April Dolan. Dolan was the make of the bike, red and much loved. Many years later, as I moved along up the bike ladder to a much-more-loved bike, I gave Dolan to my cousin, and it continued to ride the roads of West Waterford until very recently. During my time in the saddle, its career highlight was the ascent of Alpe d’Huez in July 2006. We did not set any time records, Dolan and I. Later the same day I crashed and broke my little finger lúidín, caused by an over-zealous Frenchman. Right hand, same as last week. I could do up an injury CV, so I could.

The tree has matured to give me much pleasure and summer shade. I did think that the night frosts of the last two weeks would damage the emerging blossom, but it seems to have come through the hardship with flying colours. A bit of hardship is character-building.

I’ve decorated it betimes with Christmas baubles, and resolved to broaden my decorating skills this year. The broken belt buckle is significant in this regard. I’m informed that next Saturday is World Naked Gardening Day and I’ll be putting my best foot forward. I shall not name my two informants.

6. Broad Beans Again

There are over two dozen broad bean plants growing well on the vegetable bed at the back of the garden. Some were sown last autumn, while others are spring babies. As you’ve probably guessed, this one is from Autumn and I’ve potted it and put it among my patio plants. You could say that it’s a put-pot-patio-plant. I keep thinking that the flowers are eyes looking at me. I’m thinking it would be best to throw a blanket over them next weekend!

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading, and to Jon for getting us all together every week. Have a good week. Slán go fóill.


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  1. Looks like you have a new fuchsia plant! I had a similar experience with some apple twigs I used to support some peas last year – quite a nice display of blossom for a few days!

    World Naked Gardening Day? I’ll be at work in someone else’s garden – I’ll have to see what I can do…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes both are doing really well. I did leave the Acer go too far without pruning and there’s lots of empty space low down… But I’ll make use of the shade during summer. The begonias thrived there last year…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I nDún Garbhán amháin a chuala mé riamh “an lúidín”, an t-aon focal a raibh agam riamh agus mé óg do mo mhéar bheag, cúis gáire do mo chómh scoláirí sa scoil chónaithe a raibh mé ag freastal air!

    Amuigh ag rothaíocht a raibh tú! Cheap mé go raibh tú imithe den saol mór go hiomlán!

    Togha crainn an crannn úill sin!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tá mé ar aon intinn leat faoin leaid sin. Tá mé ag éirí thar an beagáinín tuirseach den suiomh sin. B’fhéidir go mbuailfidh mé chun bóthar ar mo bhóthar fhéin! Anois, obair dian romham…leis na méachain, an-trioblóid go deo agam leis na gualainn.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no idea that alyssum had changed their name. Mine are just starting to take on a few colours here and don’t have that ball shape like yours. I usually have a river in front of my greenhouse . Musical chairs at the moment… That’s exactly it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, You covered a lot today! You are going to have a LOT of everything aren’t you? Everything is looking great! It had been very hot here, in the 70’s, and then we got some nearly freezing nights! Yikes! Now we are due for 80’s weather next week! I have been working hard in my garden though! Hubby moved all of my hostas from the Woodland Garden up to the Fern Reserve. I am tired of the deer chewing them to the ground and I don’t think they like my gravel path and coming so close to the cottage to eat them in the Reserve! We’ll see! Have a good week Padráig! Cady

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I’ve lots of perennials from seed and not sure where to put them! Lots will stay in pots but that means lots of work over the summer.
      I’ve never likes hostas. Glad that you had help getting them moved & that those saucy deer stay away.


      1. I have about twenty five different hostas! I love them, before they’re chewed up! They are on much higher ground now! The newest one’s, which I planted closer to the fountain and near the cottage are never disturbed, so I thought I might as well extend the Fern Reserve and put the remnants all there! We’ll see how that works! Cady

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely surprise that your fuschia trimming sprouted! Very pleased to hear that you’ve been able to resume more frequent bike rides. Broad beans have a lot more going for them aesthetically than I would have imagined. The legume flowers, yes, but also the way the new growth emerges. I need to think about integrating vegetables with my ornamentals to stimulate appreciation for the plants forms, foliage, colors as well as whatever edible I may be growing them for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are still not allowed group bike rides here, and I miss the social banter.
      Be careful what you wish for! I had put basil in among my pots but it was destroyed. I’ve never seen so many slugs in a small space.


  6. The crab apple tells a good story, rather like its owner I suspect. That’s a lovely architectural broad bean you’ve got there. Good to be out biking again, what with that and tending to 50 pots of dahlias and begonias, you’ll be fit as a fiddle!

    Liked by 1 person

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