3rd July 2021.
It’s been a very warm week here in Dungarvan. Not exactly the type of weather to demolish the overgrown front garden, but that’s what we started. I’m so lucky that Marion is not afraid of hard heavy work! We spent three hours cutting shrubs, prising roots out and removing a 5cm layer of loose stone. Loose stone is a misnomer, and the result was aches and pains from toe to top. On Wednesday I took a break to rest and recover and we will set our sights on finishing the job next week. Such was my excitement, after an extended nap, that I wrote a POEM: Old Age Garden.
But heavy work and perspiration won’t get the Six-on-Saturday deed done. Indeed no. I’d have been tempted to subcontract an RHS magazine writer, yet even at a time of deadlines and blisters, I’ve set my mind on the usual six updates. To be truthful, finding six items is very easy as we move to the beginning of the second half of the year, but as I tap on my phone using only my left index finger, I’m aware of an overall body tiredness. That said, it’s time to get on with it, and what better way than to relax into it. But first… my favourite flowery quote from this month’s RHS magazine:
Spiky blue flower heads of Eryngium phlanum create a wash of blue throughout the meadow, punctuated by frothy pink and cream Achillea Summer Pastels Group. Towering Stipa gigantea form shimmering golden clouds above.Bunny Guinness, page 69. (see featured image)
1. And Relax…
The Duck-Egg seat is very popular. It has been admired, checked for any missed bits of paint, handled lovingly, droned from above (you guessed right… from above!) and tested for load-bearing. Then Méabh sat there awhile and it seemed that Goldilocks had found true comfort at last!
I’ve noticed that whenever I take a photograph here, the water fountain is off. It’s set on a fifteen-minute timer between 9am and 6pm. I’ll put it on my list next week to catch the flowing water.
2. Cape Daisy
I have several Cape Daisies (Osteospermum) in the garden and they’re not there just to take up space! In sunny weather there’s nothing nicer than seeing the flower open. With that in mind I sowed a packet of Lidl seeds back in early February. In fact, from eighteen seeds I now have ten plants. Most are this almost-white with a tiny hint of mauve.
3. Starting Over #3
Until 2004, this was green grass. I did not like it, and I did not like mowing it. So, we put in some kerbing, shrubs and heathers. The entire area was membraned and stone was added. For many years it was tidy and needed no work. In recent years, I discovered three things. Firstly, the no-maintenance garden is a myth. I should have attended to simple pruning, but I didn’t do so because of the second reason, namely a prolonged lack of interest in the front garden. Honestly, you could count on the front left toe of a doe the number of times I’ve selected anything from here for my Six-on-Saturday. The last problem, in third place with just one point, is that moss has been falling from the roof on the lovely stone. I mean a lot of moss, and we delayed doing anything until that got sorted. This third
excuse reason contributed largely to the second.
And so began makeover number three, following a year of dithering. Marion wanted it done more than I did, and she’s a professional prodder! So, on Monday and Tuesday, in record-breaking heat, we removed most of the shrubs and about half of the stone. The roofer worked on Thursday and Friday to clean and treat the tiles while I continued the preparation work for what will be our Old Age Garden. There’s lots to do, but my plan is to feature the finished article next week. There will be sweat and many aches. There will be some swearing, no doubt, and it’s likely that the entire operation will be conducted in record temperatures. If anyone comes along afterwards and says “That’s nice.” I may not be responsible for my actions. At the minute, there’s fat chance of such a delicate compliment! Watch this empty space.
4. Covid Dining
We have two very old stone troughs in the garden, brought from Marion’s home at Cappagh. I’ve got a small conifer of some sort growing happily in this one. Last summer, it became our practice to stick lollipop sticks around the edge. It’s a strange thing to do, but we enjoyed every single Magnum, and it’s a bit like a prisoner marking the passing of time on a wall.
This year I’ve upgraded from lollipops to cutlery, symbol of Covid dining take-aways. Anyway, who’s counting?
I had asked for FB feedback, and it arrived in spades! I’m not going to make a meal of it, but it has to be said this is cutting edge gardening at its finest. The grave of the unknown gourmet.
I buy apples, yet I don’t eat most of them. They end up in the compost bucket. This apple has been put on a raised saucer and the blackbirds is enjoying it. I am enjoying watching and capturing the moment so that you might it enjoy too. An apple is a feast that can last all day.
6. Banana fight
On the other hand an over-ripe banana is a different matter. The starlings are jostling for position and the pecking order seems to be organised on the basis of pure aggression. The entire episode continued for about thirty minutes, at which point they sought out food elsewhere. Bananas are a great source of carbohydrate and minerals for cyclists, so I’m thinking these starlings will be flying it for days to come. “Flying it” is a compliment given to a cyclist who is clearly very fit. Another phrase used is “going well”. Sounds understated, but equally complimentary. Both phrases are never used to describe oneself.
I’ve been watching professional cyclists going well on the roads of Brittany this week. I’m reminded of the starlings jostling for position. Many
cyclists have crashed hard and have severe road rash as a result. Bananas are of absolutely no use in this situation.
What’s it all about?
We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I’ve been doing this since June last year and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away. Lest we forget, 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. Hashtag #sixonsaturday.
This Time Last Year
At the risk of repeating myself, my writing is for myself. My aim is to record my garden and some little thoughts about stuff from time to time. I want this record in order to look back on things when I’m in the nursing home. As I’m now into my second year doing this Six-on-Saturday thingy, I’m including a link at the end of this article which was written this time last year. I’ll not be in the least miffed if readers choose not to read it. Happy Saturday! Here goes…
Short excerpt, written for the first Saturday of July 2020:
Here’s a shot of Begonia Corner. I went completely over the top with these for the last two years, having forty-two altogether. I mismanaged them last winter and now there are sixteen. They are not at their best yet, but I will enjoy them right up to the end of November.
The Week That Was
Not garden-related, this is merely to keep a record of events for future reminiscing.
- 18-34 year olds have inundated pharmacies for vaccination
- Marion and I made a good start at the complete revamp of the overgrown front garden.
- I made a return visit to Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens with my brother.
- Day-trips are the in thing this summer. Spike Island was the largest prison in the world, a legacy of British rule in Ireland. Brutality at its worst.
- Marion and I are having our very first Garden Open Day. We are excited. Details next week.
- I’ve been watching the Tour de France. Who’d be a bike racer? It’s pure carnage.
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