Six-on-Saturday – A Good Week

A few of my favourite things in the garden this week. Six in all.

How do you define a good week? What makes it so? As a gardener and cyclist I’d be very grateful for rain by night, together with no wind on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings between 9am and 1pm. If I were to be really picky, Crystal Palace would win at the weekend. Other than that, I’d not complain too much. On a more serious note, having my family safe and well around me, being in a position to get up each day, get out and about for fresh air, exercise and some properly controlled social interaction is very important. As Julie said many years ago…

It was a good week here on the South-east coast. There has been no rain worth mentioning and some worthwhile activities were undertaken. In other news, most Covid restrictions are being lifted. Life will return to a new normal.

A h-Aon:

Viburnum tinus

This Viburnum was planted in the Autumn of 2020 on the raised rockery under the apple tree. At the moment it’s still small, about 30-40cm but I can see good strong growth on it. It’s Viburnum tinus Eve Price, currently starting to flower.

A Dó:

We felled a large columnar beech tree a few years ago. It was growing between the glasshouse and the shed. In fact, it was planted there before the glasshouse or shed were put in place. We felled it ourselves, and it’s a miracle that no panes of glass were damaged. It’s a miracle also that neither of us sustained any injuries beyond a few scratches. However, we failed miserably to get the stump removed. It’s about 30cm diameter, roughly cut in several places to assist with decay. Now, it’s completely covered with this adorable fungus.

February 2018.

A Trí:

Last summer’s beauty is reduced to a skeleton, yet it is worthy of mention. I cannot remember what it was. Bidens perhaps. Likely, if I were to go back over my photos of that spot I’d nail it down. I tidied up this corner during the week, but I decided to leave this be. Wouldn’t surprise me if some clever bird makes use of it to build a nest. That’s what I’d call sensible recycling.

A Ceathar:

Gardening is all about trying something and seeing how things work out. I have dozens of poyanthuses in pots but they are not doing very well. The roots are very underdeveloped and that does not help the plant at all. I think the soil is too rich. Could anyone advise? Anyway, a marauding blackbird tossed them aside with ease in order to get at something tasty underneath.

A Cúig:

This is a Hydrangea. It’s not mine. I’ve ventured beyond the confines of mo gháirdín beag, to the front garden 30 metres across the road. Apparently, it’s good to leave the spent flowers on the plant through the winter.

It’s been so mild in these parts that this beautiful bloom has survived and thrived. Just one.

A Sé:

I love grasses of all kinds, but I forget the names of most of them. This will need a trim very soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying how it looks in low winter sunshine.


As of today, after twenty-two months, almost all Covid restrictions have been lifted. A balance point is needed between being careful and being fearful. I understand that some people are very anxious. I take the other viewpoint. The glass of life is half full. Lockdown and restrictions have got us to this point, and now it’s time to live properly again. Apart from my immediate family, some others will need a hug or a handshake.


I write as a member of The Saturday Gang. We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I love reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand (Kia ora!), Tasmania, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Britain and Waterford City. Many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram using the #sixonsaturday hashtag. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Simple as that.

That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

22nd January2022.

Pádraig.

Life Balance

I can’t be gardening whenever I want. There’s chores to be done and bikes to be cycled!

Job done! I returned to Clonmel Garden Centre on Wednesday to buy a matching planter for the front garden. Last week, I had bought one that was already planted up. This time I needed to select the plants myself. Turned out to be a bit more expensive, but that was because I added some extra ones for somewhere else. As yet, I don’t know exactly where.

Everything was at a standstill yesterday. There was no time for gardening, as I needed to get new car tyres, paint a ceiling and head off on my bike for a few hours. Another easy ramble on quiet backroads was a tonic.

Earlier today, I got stuck in to the task. Similar to the other one, I’ve included a small Phormium, ivy, Hellebore and a Primrose. The remaining spots have been filled out with Crocuses and Snowdrops. I’ve even been able to squeeze in one of my double-potted daffodils to bloom next month. In my thirty-something years of gardening here, it’s my debut into the world of snowdrops.

This time last year I had no interest whatsoever in the front garden. That’s all changed. I’ve a plan for one small section before summer. I might have to buy plants.

Frosty One

A bit of light gardening to warm up on a frosty morning. Just the tonic.

After heavy overnight frost, today turned out to be a lovely day. There was bright sunshine all morning and no wind worth talking about, but very cold for gardening.

I ventured outside just after nine, but only to take a photograph, before quickly retreating inside again. Much later, I did return to finish a bit of pruning and tidy up the last of the leaves. I’m sure insects were cursing me!

This raised rockery was replanted in Autumn of 2020, consisting of…

  • Skimmia rubella
  • Camellia japonica Spring Festival and
  • Viburnum tinus Eve Price.

Likely, it’ll be another year or two before they begin to fill the space. There’s a second Camellia (Lady Campbell) behind the Viburnum, but it’s not in the ground. This will be planted in a large tub later this week.

What are you up to in the garden?

Monday, January 17th 2022.

Pádraig.

My Gardening Week – Spring Will Come

It’s been a very good week here, mostly dry, some sunshine and mild temperatures by day. It was worse last May!

I’ve been waiting such a long time. It feels like warm weather is never coming my way. This week we’ve had torrential rain, hailstones, cold northerly winds and some sunshine. The rain coincided with my first visit of the season to Lismore Castle Gardens, the hailstones arrived just as I was preparing to go cycling and the cold winds persisted every day.

Yes, it’s the middle of January, the slump month hated by millions worldwide. I can’t say I hate it but it’s not near the top of my list.  Anyway, what’s interesting is that the weather account above is early May of last year! This week has been very different. I spent most of Monday tidying up as the temperature was up to 13C. There was no rain, very little wind and good sunshine. Mild as May, I’d be tempted to say.

There’s a lot to be said for having lots of gravel and concrete paths in the garden. It means that there’s no danger of walking on wet compacted soil. I was able to prune the last fuchsia very severely and an acer very lightly without doing any damage.


Most satisfying of all, however, was moving the pelargoniums from this large pot to the glasshouse and replacing them with daffodils.  You see, underneath each plastic pot, there’s another one. I’m able to leave pots permanently in the soil within the larger pot. Then I take plants out and replace them with others. Time taken: five minutes. A bit of colour around the edge wouldn’t go astray. Pansies perhaps?

Each of the pelargoniums needed some work to remove damaged bits. Finally, a light prune  and they’re done. I’ll be hoping to get them back to the front garden in Early June. In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye on them and feed them well from about April onwards.


Bird-feeding is a regular activity here. Mostly we’ve got house sparrows, blackbirds and starlings. When we put out nyer seed the finches arrive. Recently, I’ve noticed that some birds love grapes. We love grapes too but sometimes they do not stay fresh long enough to finish. I’d been in the habit of putting them into the compost bucket near the back door but the birds simply toss everything out to get at them. So, this week I’ve started leaving them on the patio. They don’t last very long.

Slán go fóill,

Pádraig.

Six on Saturday – I Remember It Well

On Thursday I got away for an hour and a bit on the Waterford Greenway. I’ve come to regard this majestic off-road track as my Country Garden!

Yes, I’ve a vague recollection of doing the Six-on-Saturday thing, but it’s been almost three months since I’ve been there. I found it increasingly difficult to keep at it!

I’ve now accumulated a decent head of steam, fresh new steam, not just a recycled hash of old steam, so I’m ready to rock-n-roll. I’m thinking that I’ll see how it goes… I may take a little break now and then, but I’ll not be too far away.

Here’s six things from the garden this week…

1.

I’d like to have some space indoors to keep geraniums in flower through the winter. Alas, they are in the cold glasshouse. So far, I’m remembering to close it each night and let some air circulate by day. This is the only flower, and thus is to be treasured.

2.

Bought last week, this is Juncus grass, together with a few polyanthuses to add a wee bit of colour. Níl morán sa gháirdín mí Eanair. There isn’t much in January so this is a real tonic. Not sure of the proper name of the Juncus, but it’s commonly known as Rushes. Needs very wet soil, and if in a pot best to have no drainage holes. Too late now! I’ll sort it later.

3.

The little hellebore is cheering me up this week. My only other one is not in flower yet, and when it does it’s got a very drooping habit. This one is staring right at me!

4

Not my garden. Not my muscari. This is from my neighbour’s beautiful garden. I love it! Here’s the original from Twitter.

Thank you, Brigid.

5.

I’m holding off. Last year I started my seeds on the third week of January. This time, I’ll wait until late February or early March. I learned a lot from last year. I’ll be repeating several successes, for example asters, rudbeckia and especially gaura. I’ll not be sowing tomatoes, sweet peas or dahlias. I’d happily grow dahlias forever but I just don’t have room for them.

I’m a bit more organised this year. I’ve taken a photo of the front and back of each packet. I’ve uploaded the details on my Plant List and tagged each image with name and label number. In this way, I can get at the information whenever needed. Helluva lot better than keeping track on paper that gets damp or lost! This plant list is a Google Sheet that can be added to whenever I buy new plants or seeds.

6.

My other garden!

On Thursday I got away for an hour and a bit on the Waterford Greenway. I’ve come to regard this majestic off-road track as my Country Garden! It’s quiet at this time of the year. Growth is beginning to shine through. Below is one of the lovely wild flowers abundant in patches on sunny banks. Paddy updated me this time last year. It’s called Winter Heliotrope, Petasites pyrenaicus, an invasive alien. It’s far enough away from my garden, so I’ll classify it as friendly.

Winter Heliotrope

I write as a member of The Saturday Gang. We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I love reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand, Tasmania, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Britain and Waterford City. Many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram using the #sixonsaturday hashtag. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Simple as that.


Confession: I do love seeing other Six-on-Saturday contributions. However, I had driven myself to distraction trying to do the impossible… reading everyone’s post and taking some time to comment was proving to be a mammoth weekly task. Therefore, I’m going to be selective…. I’ll pick a few each week.

That’s it. All sorted. I’ll likely be back with more next week. Of course, life lessons are happening all the time. There’ll be no pressure. If it happens, great. If not, fret not.

Pádraig.

Six-on-Saturday – Missing In Action

There are plenty gaps appearing. This particular spot looked very bare so I bought these two small chrysanthemums.

9th October 2021.

It’s not unusual. The hand trowel is missing, but it usually turns up after a short while. I simply retrace my gardening steps and… voilà, there it is just where I left it. This time, it’s been missing for more than 72 hours. Marion reminds me regularly not to leave tools outside overnight. The thought of wanting to do the right thing but being unable to is devastating. The nights are cold, and the morning sun takes longer to get going. I do hope that my hand trowel will be found unharmed.

While searching in vain, I took a few photographs to reflect what’s happening this week. Here’s my selection…

A h-Aon:

There are plenty gaps appearing. This particular spot looked very bare so I bought these two small chrysanthemums. Likely they’ll flower away until the first frost, at which time I’ll cut them hard and plant them in the ground until it’s time for them to shine front-centre once again next year.

I should have bought a hand trowel while I was there.

I returned on Friday to buy two Skimmias for my sister. I’ll be planting them for her next week, but in the meantime, why not add them behind the chrysanthemums for contrast? I think they look good. The variety is called Temptation. Yes, wouldn’t you know? Hard to resist.

A Dó:

It’s beyond redemption! Growing strongly, but in all the wrong directions, I’m between two minds what to do. On the one hand, it’s too gorgeous to remove, yet it’s beginning to outgrow it’s space. There’s only one thing for it… Think long and hard. Yes, that’s the answer! I’ll do that.

By my reckoning Spring was about three weeks late this year. Now, it’s Autumn’s turn to be late for the party.

A Trí:

Some Begonias are more trouble than they’re worth. Some droop too much while others grow very spindly or flowers fall regularly. This one has no such problems. I’ll be keeping it! Others will be discarded. Definitely no hand trowel hidden here.

A Ceathar:

Yarrow is one of my favourite plants. Loved by insects, the fading flower-head is lasting a long time. It’s spreads quickly, and therefore I’ll likely cut out some of it to give away. I’ve got two other varieties to plant nearby. Not sure yet how or when to get it done, because I cannot find the you-know-what.

A Cúig:

Having mentioned bare spots earlier, this is an example of the opposite. I’ve had three pots of Nerines tucked away carefully among the rockery plants. They’ve been shaded from the sun during the warm weeks of summer and now there’s a bit of colour appearing. These are originally from mam’s garden.

A Sé:

Alyssum Gold Ball is a small perennial, and reliable too. It flowered in April and I gave it a hard cutting immediately afterwards. Now, it’s back for a second flush. Loved by slugs and snails, it seems to flourish despite being nibbled regularly.


That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

Six-on-Saturday – No Time To Die

This little conifer doesn’t look right. I’ve a feeling there’s something wrong. In fact, I’d say there’s something happening underground that’s not helping matters.

2nd October 2021.

I can’t get my head around it. “Dry spots” doesn’t mean what it used to.

This week, the phrase is used to denote areas of the United Kingdom where there’s no petrol! Here in Ireland, there’s plenty petrol but not enough wind. Reports suggest that there may be blackouts over the coming winters because coal-powered generating stations are due to be shut down.

I’m just thankful that gardening continues regardless. Mostly, it’s been a really lovely week, with plenty dry spots and very little wind. Here’s my selection…

1. There’s no shortage of salad greens. Lettuce, spinach and scallions grow better in cool autumn conditions, I think. I’ve sown another batch this week. When it comes to November, it’ll likely be glasshouse lettuces, not as tasty but acceptable.

2. The bindweed is back, so I’ll need to move quickly. Thankfully, it hasn’t flowered. I do not photograph bindweed. That’s just way it is.

3. This little conifer doesn’t look right. I’ve a feeling there’s something wrong. In fact, I’d say there’s something happening underground that’s not helping matters. This has been one of the loveliest plants in my garden, in my mother-in-law’s stone pot. It’s no time to die. I’ll check the roots to see if it can be salvaged.

4. Begonias again! I’ve moved them closer together and put them on two levels. I’m smirking with satisfaction.

5. Autumn is fuchsia time. I did not prune them hard enough last year and therefore they’ve grown a bit beyond their space. However, what’s not to love?

6. A garden is not all about colour. This fern brings no flower yet the plant is a valuable addition to the rockery.

7. I’m including another because bindweed doesn’t really count. I bought a small shredder. It’s ideal for my little garden. Presently, it’s in the shed and it may just stay there permanently. The basket underneath is removeable and the shredded contents can be emptied easily to the nearby compost heaps. I may bring it with me around the garden when the fuchsias need to be pruned in November.

Pádraig.