Six-on-Saturday – Murder Most Foul

29th May 2021.

There’s just no accounting for taste. That’s my overwhelming reaction when I look at a particularly barren garden not so far away from me. It is entirely bricked over, growing only moss. On the other hand, it’s likely that the lady who owns it might be saying the same about me! Why on earth does he grow all those yokes? Wouldn’t it be easier to just cover it with concrete and grow moss?

There are no slugs, snails or other unwantables. It’s a no-fly-zone for birds, whereas I’ve got territory wars aplenty.

Sunday might last, and on Thursday I was on slug patrol. It’s like trying to keep the tide out. If I were spotted, with torch in one hand and scissors in the other, many questions would arise about my sanity and my bad taste.

During the week, I read Eddie Cantwell’s article in the local paper about the extreme poverty in this area in the late 1800’s. Later, with torch and scissors in hand, the thought occurred to me that gardening was for the rich folk. The mighty estate gardens of the gentry were a poke in the eye to a starving peasant population. I continued my murder of defenceless creatures, but didn’t sleep well.

So, to lighten my mood, I’m picking six items from the garden. Off we go again this week, and I’m looking forward to catching up on garden activity from near and far timpeall an domhan. You can tap this link to visit The Propagator’s blog or check out @cavershamjj on Twitter. You’ll find plenty writers linking their Six on Saturday garden selection in the comments.

Roses

I have spent many years improving my little plot, but the Irish tenant farmers received no compensation or reduction in rent for their labours. In addition, I’m mindful of the housing crisis here in Ireland. So many people are unable to buy a house. In this regard, I consider myself rich. I can continue to grow roses and kill slugs without fear of consequences.

My favourite Rosa Just Joey has come through the unbearable hardships of a cold spring, and is ready to bring joy again. The forecast for this weekend is very good, and I expect the first blooms very soon.

Elephant’s Ear

I have a small Bergenia, known also as Elephant’s Ear, in a little corner of the rockery. I’ve seen this same plant, in large drifts, in larger gardens. Following my earlier disturbing thoughts, I’m thinking that so many plants from far-flung corners of the world were brought to Europe by explorers, mostly funded by rich benefactors. I suppose I’m grateful for the vast array of plants now available to me. In these times of cancel-culture, it’s a wonder there isn’t a clamour to have foreign plants removed, as there’s some liklihood they may have been taken from their habitat in an unsavoury manner.

Patio

I’m continuing to rearrange my selection of the vast array of available plants in my Patio Potpourri, and in an attempt to recreate the past, I found a photograph (below) taken last July. The area had been rejigged so often, and that’s what appeals to me about it. However, in between my nightly slug episodes, I moved everything as best I could so that it now resembles its former self. My neighbour would surely say that there’s no accounting for taste! I have bedding begonias at the ready to put into the large container. That will complete the picture.

Campanula

Most plants that are planted at the front of a rockery will tumble down, but Campanula seems to grow in both directions. This one is certainly moving quickly backwards and will meet the Saxifrage next year. There is a weed-suppressing membrane beneath the gravel, so it’s easy to keep the plant contained, and very easy also for me to separate sections of it for planting elsewhere.

Acer

Very soon, I’ll need to decide what to do with my favourite Acer. I allowed this to grow too big and there’s no growth low down. This was before I understood about pruning. I’m still unsure about how to prune this correctly, and would welcome expert opinion. It’s likely that cutting off too much would mean that it would take several years to return to its glory.

Bachelor’s Buttons

I located what I had written back in early June last year: Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is also known as Bachelor’s Buttons. It’s good to have a plant that finds the perfect spot and thrives there. Nothing to do with the gardener knowing where best to plant it. I had its parent planted in the rockery nearby two years ago, and I’m thrilled to see that it has seeded itself in several places, mostly in small cracks between the patio slabs. It flowered very freely last summer from its new home, and I liked it very much. This year, there are many more seedling plants among many more cracks, and they seem to be growing very happily.

Here’s a preview of what to expect in early July.

I’ve kept a Christmas basket and will pop a few annuals into it, and I’ll put a few other pots in place around these. I can visualise it, and will update here later in summer.

This completes one full year of Six on Saturday updates from my garden. I’ve loved every bit of it. Many thanks to everyone who reads or comments. I’ve learned so much from so many others. That’s it for this week, but the story continues. Slán go fóill.

Just before a very early cycle.

For anyone who’d have about seven hours to spare, here’s the entire list of Six on Saturdays, all 53 of them. Have I a particular favourite? Well, my first one is special, I think. There’s no accounting for taste!

Ups and Downs

  • Planting of annuals will be completed this weekend.
  • A delightful selection of plants arrived from Waterford. Thank you, Paddy! Free delivery too.
  • The sun is out and it’s warm!
  • The Sweet Peas look miserable.
  • Some bindweed has reappeared.
  • But, overall, the garden looks good, despite being several weeks behind schedule.

The Week That Was

Not garden-related, this is merely to keep a record of events for future reminiscing.

  • Belarus forced down a flight over its airspace, in order to arrest a critic of the autocratic government.
  • Wednesday was the warmest day of the year thus far. It was a suncream day at the beach in Ballinard.
  • Columbian Egan Bernal seems to have won The Giro.
  • More importantly, my first TT of the year went much better than expected. When I’m on the bike, I think I’m thirty-two!

Pádraig

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22 comments

  1. A very thought-provoking post, you are right that we are so blessed to be able to garden. I love your Patio Potpourri . . . neighbours are entitled to their opinions but I’d take that over bare concrete any day. Could you not do a little bit of guerrilla gardening and send some of that lovely (golden?) feverfew her way? 😉 I love self-setters, and shamelessly encourage them. They’re usually very happy where they choose to grow, so I’m happy to let nature have a free hand. Happy gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about the feverfew! I’ve got dozens of little ones appearing and will only clear any that are in our direct walking path.
      Thank you for reading. Beir bua!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. L
    I love all the “mad” names on the flowers/plants. Elephant’s Ear and Batchelors Buttons. At least I can pronounce/ spell these names, compared to their Official names. I lover the Acer 🥰 Great read as always 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning! The garden looks smashing 🙂

    I like the artfully placed logs around the Patio Potpourri. And the plants contained therein, of course!

    The Feverfew growing in the paving looks very at home. It’s always Nice to have a few surprises in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not easy to prune an acer, it’s also not very recommended … I have a variety that the seller told me that it will not exceed 2m tall: it measures almost 4m now despite a small cut each winter in height.
    Nice photo and I can’t wait to see your patio potpourri again this summer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had imagined you’d have good advice, Fred. I have read its not recommended, but it’s too close to the door. I may just sacrifice a large limb this year and see what happens.
      When you mention a small cut, would it be perhaps 30 cm? Less?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For my part, I cut the tips of each stem to keep a homogeneous and rounded shape: some measure 50 cm and others less. On the other hand it’s absolutely necessary to do that in the winter ( february, March )and not this time. (Before the buds appear). If you cut large sections of branch, it may not restart next to the cut. I have had the experience as well….sadly

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Feverfew seems to provoke varying reactions. I love the smell from the foliage when you touch or crush it but others find it very unpleasant. It was suggested as an excellent cure for headaches – perhaps using the leaves to make a tea? I have a double-flowered feverfew here which self-seeds gently and makes the batchelor’s buttons name appropriate. There is another plant which carries that name also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Varying reactions indeed, Paddy! I remember you mentioning that Mary isn’t partial to it.
      I have severe skin allergy at times, so I’ll look but not touch, despite magical claims. Thankfully headaches are a thing of the past for me!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thank you so much. Eagle Eye! A friend of our took delivery of two dozen half pennies and gave us two. 1965 has no particular significance but we like them. I must sink the raised one to match the other.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No, a chara! The torch is to light my way in the dark. 😁😁 Our damp weather is ideal for slugs. They’re laughing in the rain, and they get very large!
      But you’re right about the Acer apparently. Fred is my go-to-expert.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gardening most certainly is largely for rich folk and it’s good to remember it sometimes! I was struck by the techie innovation in this post — photos of photos, photos of mirrors? — wow 😉 I wish my feverfew would come up and spread like yours though we have almost no slugs or snails, so I guess one can’t have everything…

    Liked by 1 person

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