Six-on-Saturday – Endings And Beginnings

17th July 2021.

Everything dies, eventually. That was my birthday thought and it stuck with me. I’m now sixty-three, and I’ve enjoyed the 490 million kilometre journey round the sun since July 2020 at a speed of 30km/h, about one third of which happened while I slept. If I were cycling, 30km/h would be pushing the boundaries. I do hope to stay upright for many more years hoovering, cycling and sleeping horizontally.

Meanwhile, the garden needs my attention, and I want to continue the Six-on-Saturday journey too. So, without further thinking about death, birthdays or sleep, here’s the Old Age Garden, finished for my/your reading pleasure.

Endings and Beginnings always touch. When you end something, a new beginning has already started to form.

Fabulous app.

1. Grasses

I love grasses. In many cases I don’t bother remembering the names; I just call them grasses. Such a simple plant, and there are so many varieties. What I love most is the way they sway in a gentle breeze.

2. Japanese Blood Grass

I do remember the name of this one. It’s called Japanese Blood Grass, Imperata Red Baron. I’ll remember it too because over the past few weeks I’ve been cut, scratched, stung and sunburned. On a positive note, no blisters have appeared.

3. Buried In Stone

I’ve continued with my pot-in-a-pot routine. I’m thinking I should patent the concept ©PPP (#PadraigsPottedPots). It’s not yet a thing, but I could make my second fortune when it gathers momentum. A million YouTube views would bring in a strong revenue stream.

When the grasses become pot-bound it’ll be a very straight-forward job to remove, divide and return. I would think it’d be a five-minute-job.

4. Joe’s Concrete Tub

My neighbour Joe gave me this many years ago. It’s been painted three times and powerwashed more often. Sometimes, the powerwashing can damage paintwork.

The summer annuals add some colour and I’ll replace them seasonally. I’ve taken out the spring bulbs and replaced them with pelargoniums. Could anyone recommend something for Autumn? The summer annuals will begin to look ragged and I’d rather freshen things up.

5. Unfinished

This corner hasn’t been touched because there’s a nest of bumble bees in the centre of the Pampas Grass. I’ve been given good advice, and the bees are staying. In late Autumn I’ll remove the plant, and put something in its place, an evergreen perhaps.

6. Odd One Out

Mostly, the garden is a two-tone of fluffy-wavy greenery. Then there’s this Lobelia cardinalis Queen Victoria. For some reason, I’d called this Cardinal’s Cap, but I see no online reference to it. Truthfully, any reference to Queen Victoria and a cardinal seems unlikely. The flowers from August onwards are very distinctive. I did think about replacing it with something else, but neighbourly advice won the day.

Also in the odd-one-out category is this small Feverfew, known also as Bachelor’s Buttons. It will seed liberally among the stone for next year.

6A. Euomymus White Spire

Euonymus: (you-on-ee-mus): This had been in the back garden and it’s been promoted. I’ll be keeping a close eye on it, because it’s a plant that does best in full sun, and now it’s in a much more shady spot.

6B. Ornamentals

Finally, faoi dheireadh, tá rudaí suntasacha curtha agam ann. I’ve placed some interesting containers here and there. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a rusty old trycicle, a birdbath and a milkchurn.

So, it’s finally finished, except for the unfinished bits. Three weeks, an unplanned deadline and a second inside-the-house tiling job all combined to make it a time to abandon the bike. That is being rectified both days this weekend. There’s life in the old dog yet!

Music: Jeff Kaale
  • You Tube version
  • 60 seconds of video.
  • 20 days.
  • 1 nest of bumble bees
  • 1 nest of dangerous wasps.
  • 1 tonne of soil.
  • 3 tonnes of stone.
  • 36 plants from back garden.
  • 7 purchased pelargoniums.
  • 1 very satisfied gardener.

Thanks to:
Rob Shine: expert tree-feller.
Don Hayes: wasp expert.
PJ Curran for advice about nest of bees.
Declan Earley for metal planter.
Ber & Harry: project planning & afterhours advice throughout.
Marion de Burca for the big push to get started. Never one to shirk hard work.

When I say it’s finished, I don’t mean it’s finished. I mean that the conversion from old to new is complete. This finished garden is a low-maintenance new beginning.

In all probability, I’ll now be much more likely to retain an interest in its proper upkeep. Likely also that, when there’s regular upkeep, there’s going to be additions and changes from time to time… regularly, one might say.

That’s our Old Age Garden. Méabh reminded me for my birthday that things may start changing. Here’s my short FB update…

Yeah… Just 62. But I got a terrible kick-up-the-backside. Méabh says she’s going to ask me regularly… “Tell me now. Who’s the president? Take your time now.”

Turns out I’m actually 63. It’s started already!

Note to self: every July, add +1.
Start again
Dig it out
Pull it down
Too hot today
Two hours of heavy dragging
Then two hours rest
Grateful for neighbours
Stopping for a chat
It would be good
To arrange a passer-by
Every twenty minutes.

Is there a deadline?
Maybe there is
I see the finished version
In my head
Finbar says it will be grand
It'll see me out, he says
We both agree
We're not sure
Is that good or bad?

My Old Age Garden
Is taking shape
I'll surely want a seat there
And space for the Zimmer frame
I have the plants
And I'll go looking at stone
Should there be a concrete pathway?
To walk or wheel around
In my old age.

It'll see me out
Be there after me
My legacy with weeds
My name will be mentioned
By passers-by
They'll say
"I remember him
He was delighted
That I stopped for a chat"

I'll cheat a little
By naming a plant after me
Put a little sign nearby
To start conversations
About new beginnings
And endings
That come calling
Will I want a bit of me
Scattered in the corner?
I think I'd be
A good bone meal substitute

Start again
Dig it out
Pull it down
Too hot again today
Wishing for rain
Wishing the year wheels
Of old age ahead
To stop turning
But no
The garden will grow old
With me and then
Without me
In the meantime
I might perfect cartwheels
Or wheelies
Before the afterdeath.

What is Six-on-Saturday?

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. I shall be spending some time sleeping and reading other SOS updates, but not at same time. Wherever you are, have a great week. Slán go fóill.

This Time Last Year

Excerpt from July 2020:

It’s my breithlá and I relaxed in the garden on Monday morning.
The beautiful blooms, assembled using YouCollage, are… Lily Trumpeter, Rosa Just Joey, Cornflower,

Geranium Mrs. Johnson, Strawberry Red, Begonia, and mixed grasses. Although last one is technically not a beautiful bloomer, I’m taking liberty of adding it, coz it’s my birthday.

Here’s the full article, a three minute read: Flying Ants Day & Birthday Celebrations

The Week That Was

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

  • Severe flooding in Germany, Belgium and Holland has resulted in 120+ deaths, and many more are missing.
  • Marion and I got our second vaccine jab last weekend, and Méabh her first on Wednesday.
  • I enjoyed a well-deserved day off for my 63rd birthday.
  • I took a second rest day on Wednesday and enjoyed a lovely afternoon in Tramore with Mam, Michele & Elaine.
  • Elaine is a fast walker!
  • Dungarvan Cycling Club spins are back on again. It’s time to get motoring.


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      1. Yeah, it’s really too hot to be out these days, certainly in the afternoon. You should be off now while it is still nice and cool.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s looking great. I like fluffy-wavy greenery and that Japanese Blood Grass is very pretty. Thank you for the you-on-ee-mus aid – I always say it incorrectly apparently, much to my wife’s amusement. I shall casually drop it into a conversation later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Red Baron is a beauty, yet it likely needs cutting back in early spring. However, because plants are in pots within pots in the ground, it will be very easy to put daffodils there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What about a sedum – like Autumn Joy – for your autumn pot?
    I’m intrigued about the pot within a pot. Have you sunk a permanent pot into the ground then added a temporary pot with plants and covered with the stones? Interested because I was considering doing something similar in my Shady Border at the back – not so I can change them around but so I can remove them and take them with me sometime in the far distant future (when we’re too old and decrepit to climb our steep stairs, and to clean windows where their tops are 9 feet above floor level).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Within the tub there’s space for seven empty pots, packed with soil around them. All pots are same size. Then I’ve 7 same sized pots planted with pellies. The pots slip into the empty ones. I’ve currently seven same size pots with daffodils, and seven more for Autumn plants. Sedum is an old favourite of mine, so that sounds like a plan. Likely I won’t buy seven. If I get 4 I’d have seven the following year. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure I like the moniker Old Age Garden when you’re only 63…doesn’t bode well for me in the coming years 🙂 . I do like the garden itself, and happy to hear you let the bumble bees stay where they are. If you have Pelagoriums in your planter for the summer, the logical choice for the fall would be Chrysanthemums. Maybe you should do something not logical though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🤔 I feel this will be very low maintenance for 20 years! Fingers crossed. Eileen has suggested sedum, and they’d go well with Chrysanthemums. Thanks for the suggestion, Chris.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is looking great and all that hard work has paid off. I really do like feverfew – it’s a charming plant and will look great here if it spreads about.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nice grasses, I do like them. And I’ve just bought the very same Queen Victoria lobelia for a pot, I like its dramatic foliage and am looking forward to seeing the flowers. I read somewhere it is called Cardinal flower for its colour. I will have to remember to water it regularly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mam had it in her garden years ago and called it Cardinal’s Cap.
      You’re spot on about the watering. This one was wilting badly yesterday.
      You’ll be able to divide & multiply perhaps next year, definitely year after.

      Liked by 1 person

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