Six-on-Saturday – Altamont

I googled the phrase “hummed and hawed”, and was delighted to see that there’s a variation for American hummers & hawers. Yes, it seems that delaying tactics are slightly different over there.

The advice was very definite. Go to Altamont, they said. Paddy said it. Geraldine and Ann said it too. I hummed and hawed just a bit too much, until Marion said: “Oh, for God sake, just go!” So I did. I went to Altamont Gardens in County Carlow.

It’s not often that I’d choose to drive narrow country roads rather than good motorway, but on this occasion I did. It was a good idea. I’m glad that there was no humming or hawing involved. It’s a time of year when the countryside looks great, and I relished the chance to slow down a bit.

When I visited on Monday last, it was bitterly cold and I forgot my hat. I did have a hood on my jacket but it wasn’t satisfactory. I was like a blinkered horse, able to see only a narrow view of landscape directly ahead. There are times when a good thick head of hair would be an advantage.

The snowdrop season is almost finished, but there’s plenty else to be seen. The Hellebores caught my eye along with the Crocuses.

Recently, while planting up some pots, I was reminded of the three important plant types to include… a thriller, a filler and a spiller. Well, someone must have told the gardener about it. There’s a striking thriller Phormium, some filler Skimmias and Snowdrops, and finally some Ivy to finish it off over the edge. If planting pots were The Great Bake Off, this would definitely be into the next round.

I was stopped in my tracks by the scent of this Daphne. I don’t remember the variety, but no matter. I dallied for a few moments to take it all in. Really and truly, variety names are a lot of bother. A daphne is a daphne.

Apparently, the lake was dug out during the time of The Great Famine. That’s a sad thought when viewing something that’s now so beautiful.

Having rounded the lake, I returned to the oak pathway to enjoy once again the lovely Hellebores in reverse.

That was Monday, cold but dry. I’m reminded to be content with cold dry days, particularly because Tuesday and Wednesday were biblically wet, and not a kilometre was cycled until yesterday. Today, I’ll be playing catch up with my plants and seedlings.

The glasshouse is filling up. It’s not a problem at the moment, but in a few weeks these seedlings will need to be potted up. Perhaps I could take on an apprentice?

  • Carex buchananii Firefox 22-008
  • Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feathergrass) 22-012
  • Uncinia rubra 22-013
  • Rudbeckia (Gloriosa Daisy) 22-033
  • Rudbeckia Cutting Mixed 22-052
  • Festuca glauca (Fescue) Blue Select 22-010
  • Foxglove Dalmation Peach F1 22-034
  • Gaura Sparkle White 22-040
  • Gaura lindheimeri The Bride 22-051
  • Lettuce Morton’s Mix 22-057
  • Spring Salad Mix 22-058
  • Chrysanthemum (Shasta Daisy) Silver Princess 22-037
  • Pennisetum macrourum 22-048
  • Aster Milady Mixed 22-054
  • Cosmos bipinnatus 22-004
  • Salvia nemoros (Meadow Sage 22-029
  • Cosmos Sensation 22-030

There are a further six in the propagator that haven’t germinated yet. Who said that being retired is easy?

On the other hand, there’s always time to learn something new. I’m familiar with the phrase “hummed and hawed”. That said, I googled it and was delighted to see that there’s a variation for American hummers & hawers. Yes, it seems that delaying tactics are slightly different over there.


What’s this Six-on-Saturday we keep writing about? We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. You can find out more about it here. Thank you Jon.

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 – All That Blarney

Sometimes I think to myself that I’d be better off to ditch this SOS mullarkey to focus my attention on opening paragraphs for novels.

28th August 2021.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I do like an early morning coffee outside, sometimes at about 4am. On Thursday the moon was almost full as I sipped my Bellaroom, peaceful as you like. Not a puff of wind, yet there was a noticeable coolness around my ankles.

Sometimes I think to myself that I’d be better off to ditch this SOS mullarkey to focus my attention on opening paragraphs for novels. Just give me the broad general gist of your novel and I’ll start you off with a half decent forty-nine-word scene-setting passage.

It’s been a stunningly beautiful warm week here in Abbeyside, the sort of stunning that we rarely have. These times are uplifting without being too hot. So, apart from sitting outside, dining outside and paragraphing before the early birds, I took myself off over the border into the Rebel County to visit Blarney Castle & Gardens. My chief-of-staff dear Marion guided me to the best parking spot with just one mishap, caused by road-workers.

Edited with PipCamera

We did not venture within twenty-two feet of the castle because we’d done that back in the day. Yes, we kissed the stone but in my case I must not have given it my best attempt. The words just would not flow naturally.

Follow along for some views of this lovely estate garden. In doing so, I’m saving readers a fortune because the entry fee is exorbitant, even for senior citizens. It’s my nature to broadcast such alerts.

The river is very interesting. Why is that, you ask? There was a time when a second smaller tributary joined, but when a mill was being built nearby, the smaller river was channelled underneath. Both intersect at right angles and continue on their separate ways.

I liked the various sections of the garden but the Seven Sisters area is the most beautiful, in my opinion. There are beautiful sculptures with links to Irish heritage blended in beautifully. I also love mixture of perennials and grasses.

Sionnach

The Irish word for fox is sionnach.

Seven Sisters

The legend states that around the year 1200AD, the local clan chieftain needed to do battle against his rivals. He had seven daughters and two sons, just about right for an obedient Catholic Irishman. Ar aon nós, his sons died fighting for the boss man. On his victorious return journey to the castle, the army passed the druidic nine-stone stone circle. Invoking his Catholic permission to purge pagan influences, he instructed his super-strong soldiers to knock over two stones. I stood in mourning for a minute. It’s a sad story.

Rather than dwell on the sadness, I moved off to admire the borders. This is one of my favourites.

And this…

I do recommend a visit to Blarney Castle & Gardens, but spend some time saving up your money, and bring a picnic because both cafes charge an arm and a leg. Indeed there are several beautiful places throughout the gardens to enjoy a relaxing picnic.

Find more Six-on-Saturday’s:

That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Get yourselves over to The Propagator to find many many more weekly gardening stories, and until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.


This Time Last Year

Excerpt from August 2020:

“I’m going to cut to the chase, without further ado. Pronto, as it were. There will be no dilly-dallying or beating about the bush. I shall abandon the preliminaries and get stuck in immediately, foregoing the unnecessary preambles, because I’m eager to cut corners in order to get to the nub of the matter. Simply put, it’s the last weekend of August. It’s time for me to start making baby plants from cuttings.”

It seems that the gift bestowed upon me by a half-hearted kissing of the Blarney Stone has worked wonders!

Here’s the full article: Cut and Change

The Week That Was

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

  • Phone calls to broadband providers are best made on rainy days. I wasted just short of two hours of my life. Can’t get them back.
  • Shortly, I’ll be abandoning this blog and moving to a new blog-home.
  • I’ve given the bike a decent rest this week. The saddle looked a bit worn.
  • Joe Duffy is back on radio after a short holiday. I’d rather he took an extended break.
  • Crystal Palace have played three matches this season but have not yet scored a goal.
  • I’m looking forward to my ninth year of retirement. More and more, I look forward to back-to-school days.

Pádraig.

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Garden Open Day for Samaritans

Tuesday, 27th July 2021.

Marion & I held to our first Garden Open Day last Saturday, July 24th. Many in the West Waterford area and some from beyond were welcomed to enjoy tea/coffee and nibbles. Donations for Samaritans (Waterford & South East Branch) were accepted gratefully.

What a wonderful day! Marion and I were privelaged to welcome you to the garden. We thank you all so very much for attending and for your very kind donations for Samaritans (Waterford and South East branch).

  • Weather: warm sunshine. 23°C
  • Visitors: approx 100
  • Donations received: tbc
  • Donations sent online: €359

Special thanks to:

  • Judit & David McNally (Caifé & Teach Ormonde
  • Ann O’Loughlin
  • Geraldine Fennell
  • Ann Moloney
  • Joe Reilly
  • Gerardine Shine
  • Geraldine Power
  • Ann Barron
  • Sharon Devereux
  • Méabh de Búrca
  • Samaritans volunteers (Waterford & South East)
  • All who donated online/in person
  • All who helped by sharing this event
  • Family, friends and neighbours
  • Last but not least, our thanks to anyone omitted in error.

We are overwhelmed.

Full details regarding funds raised will follow shortly on social media, in association with Samaritans Waterford & South East.

Update, 5th August: Our recent Garden Open Day was most successful. A total of €1300 was raised on the day, and a further €359 was donated online via FB and Revolut. Pictured is Sharon Devereux accepting the proceeds. Sharon is the Director of Samaritans Waterford & South East. We sincerely thank everyone who contributed. The garden continues, as does the important work of Samaritans.

Details here of coverage in both local newspapers, Dungarvan Leader and Dungarvan Observer

Marion & Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Oh Happy Day!

26th June 2021

It started with a few Guinness last weekend. Offers were made and accepted. A table and chairs set would change ownership and be delivered without delay. And so that’s exactly what happened. Thus begins the tale of my first of Six on Saturday.

1. The Throne

Regular readers will know that the oil-tank was in this corner until last Autumn. It had spent thirty uneventful years there. Now, the transformation is almost complete. Bit by bit, I’ve added trellis and planters, a fountain and climbers. Recently, when plied with drink, I agreed to accept a generous gift of this chair, together with another and matching table. I painted it duck-egg blue, and used Hazard Yellow for the comrade. My sister loves the yellow, but it’s more like mustard. This Duckegg will be my throne, as it is positioned to view the garden from a height, but being mindful of keeping myself well-grounded, I repeat this quote daily:

On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.

Michel de Montaigne
Hazard Yellow

To add to the scent of sweet peas and Jasmine, I have the sound of running water, but I’m thinking a bit of red carpet on the ground would give me something to be looking at!

2. Sweet Pea

Finally! I’d noticed recently that the Sweet Peas were beginning to make up lost ground. Many of them were damaged by frost in early May, but they survived. The first of the flowers are bottled in the kitchen. Oh happy day!

When sitting on my throne, I am unable to see these beautiful flowers bacause they are bottled in the kitchen. Prior to that, they had been behind the seat. I could only see them with difficulty, but the scent reminded me that they were there!

3. Home Guard Earlies

Oh happy day! The early potatoes are in my belly and I am satisfied. Planted on 11th of March, they are now being harvested regularly and they taste great with a bit of butter.

There’s a downside, however. I have only nine plants, so I’ll savour every last potato right to the very end. My main crop potatoes are coming along well and they’ll be ready for buttering in mid-August.

4. Broad Beans

Aquadulce Broad Beans were sown in four batches, the first last October and again on 1st of February, then on 12th and 29th of March. The reason I’m able to rattle off the dates is because all my records are on my phone and online. We have harvested a few meals since mid-June. Twenty pods is about right to accompany the potatoes as a meal for two. The Autumn ones ripened first, and I’ll be waiting a short while for the rest of them. Apparently, the tips can be prone to blackfly attack, particularly on the more tender Spring plants, but I’ve figured out how to starve them. Quite simply, a clean secateurs cut near the top prevents an infestation. Oh happy day for me!

As an aside, it’s not every garden that has the clothes line in among the vegetables or rather above the vegetables to be more accurate, but I spent sleepless nights worrying about the eventual height of the broad beans.

My eureka bean-snip moment has had a second benefit. We can now hang towels, t-shirts and thongs on the clothes line without they touching the tall bean plants. Shirts, shorts and smalls can swing freely. Oh happy days indeed!

Query: Could anyone advise me? Most of the pods are upright and some have turned down. Is it a case that the downward ones are ripe, or can I harvest all the large ones?

5. Ash

The berries of the ash tree are very interesting. Many of the smaller branches are weighed down, yet the flower head faces upwards for ripening.

6. Peachy

I’ve got lots of begonias again this year. This one is a Blurred Begonia, a variety unknown to me. Most were over-wintered and will provide me with colour and satisfaction next month, but as a measure of my impatience, I bought these last week. I’m wondering are they peach or salmon? Whatever the colour, I just love it!

I’ve noticed that annual flowers look a bit wretched until they start to fill the space. Likely, in a few weeks these will look better, they will grow together to become one, and watering will be easier when they begin to keep the heat of the sun from the soil beneath.

As per usual, I am joining in with The Propagator and his “troupe of horticultural devotees” to show six things in our gardens this weekend. The quote is from Ciar at Carrots and Calendula. Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. In the short meantime, I shall be spending some time continuing the Summer watering and reading other SOS updates when I can. Wherever you are, have a great week. Slán go fóill.

Review Gallery


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 older and unable to remember. 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…

Written in June 2020, here’s a short excerpt:

On June 20-21st 2019 I cycled 400km with my friend Declan, along with support from the local cycling community for sections of the journey. We cycled for 16 and a half hours, 3pm on Friday until 3pm on Saturday with a dinner break, a chipper/pizza delivery at 2am, a breakfast break, a lunch break (in that order), and a two hour snooze, through The Longest Day, helping raise funds for Waterford Samaritans.

The Longest Day is our symbol of constant struggle. The new day does not always bring comfort. Keep a close eye on your struggling plants. Value them as you would the scented rose. Keep a close watch on friends or acquaintances and be there for them with a listening ear. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

Click/tap the picture or the link below.

Here’s the full article: Plants That Struggle

The Week That Was

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

  • There’s an outbreak of the Delta variant locally.
  • We headed to Tramore for a stroll on the promenade and I visited Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens. I’ll be writing about it.
  • Mam was with us for Father’s Day, but her garden weeding days are over.
  • Baking porridge bread is becoming a habit.
  • We’ve tried various options to stop flies coming in. Nothing has worked. I think I’ll have to put up a sign.
  • Biking week of rest & recovery. Club activities postponed because of Delta. Marion & I got a 50km and coffee. Oh happy day!

Pádraig

Hyssop and Cavendish

Wednesday, 14th October 2020.

Agastache is also known as Hyssop and has many medicinal, herbal and culinary uses.

Marion’s cycling group are known as G5. I’m going to suggest some hyssup oil for them. In the coffee! Hyssop is known also as Ysup, Herbe de Joseph, and Herbe Sacré. Great for cyclists in appropriate doses.

Lismore Castle is owned by the Duke of Devonshire. No connection to the Hyssop family. Due to other commitments, I was unable to meet him. The current 12th Duke is Peregrine Cavendish. The family seat is at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and the heir is Lord Burlington (William Cavendish), who is regularly in Lismore. According to regulations the heir must be male. There’s also the important matter of legitimacy.

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – Naked Ladies and How’s-your-father

Monty Don has described Mount Usher as one of his favourite gardens anywhere. I am quoted as having said that it is staggeringly beautiful.

3rd October 2020.

There are thirty-one days until the US presidential election. This week I am attempting to link my Six on Saturday with important wider world events. In other words, I am featuring things that are important in my gardening head ceann and expressing my thoughts about the bigger picture, that rosy world-garden that we all want. I know which candidate is more likely to be a better world-garden caretaker. If you have no interest, I understand.

Uno:

During the week I visited Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow. It is regarded as one of the finest gardens in this small country. In several locations throughout, there are memorial plaques to the head-gardeners of the past, thanking them for outstanding service. Specific phrases used include love, passion and care. We all tend our gardens in such a manner. We are fulfilled and the world is a better place. We expect no less from our leaders.

Evidence of passionate caretaking

Dos:

The Maple Walk is beginning to show the beauty of Autumn colours. Americans call this The Fall. In Irish, we say An Fómhar. Countries worldwide have endured an unprecented Covid-Fall. Economies are on the brink, heading towards a winter crash, and many may not Spring Forward for many years. I am thinking particularly of the horrific effects on the less well-off who are suffering more than others.

Nature is adapting

Tres:

Clean water uisce is the basis of all life. Here, you see a section of the Vartry river. The garden is built around it. I spoke to the assistant gardener who was working on a section of the man-made lake. I was somewhat shocked to find out that there are only two full-time gardeners, and when I asked, she estimated that four more would be needed. However, in these strange times, she smiled and said that they just do their best. Their best is about preserving and improving this world-renowned garden for future generations.

Vartry River

Quatro:

I think someone may be able to identify this. I do not know what it is, but I do know that seeds of future beauty are stored within.

Unknown beauty

Cinco:

I did mention The Fall earlier, so I was shocked to see this. Colchiums are like crocuses and I am learning that they flower right now, as you can see clearly. There is incredible beauty, even at a time when much of the natural world is in seasonal decay. What a wonderful world we live in. Here’s a section of the Wikipedia entry: Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked ladies, is a toxic autumn-blooming flowering plant that resembles the true crocuses. The name “naked ladies” comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long before the leaves appear.

Naked Ladies

Seis:

This is the fruit if the Cornus kousa tree. Here is an edited excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

Cornus kousa is a small deciduous tree 8–12M tall. Common names include kousa, kousa dogwood, Chinese dogwood and Korean dogwood. Widely cultivated as an ornamental, it is naturalized in New York State. (Bolding is mine.) 
Berries are edible but not recommended

Note from the garden website: Mount Usher is one of Ireland’s greatest gardens and a world-class example of a so-called Robinsonian garden, with relaxed informality and natural layout. Monty Don has described it as one of his favourite gardens anywhere. I am quoted as having said that it is staggeringly beautiful. I can be quoted thus, because it’s true.

On Thursday last, I wrote about my visit to Mount Usher, and I include here again a snippet of my imagined interview with the garden itself:

I've witnessed revolution, war, a fair share of how's-your-father, and latterly, a booming economy... and the latest is the virus that arrived this year. 

I drove back home mid-afternoon, very content. I knew it was one of those important days.

Six Other News Items

  1. My winter bike is cleaned, serviced and ready to ride. New lights installed, and a hooter!
  2. The extra glasshouse shelving is complete.
  3. Meabh has her Racing Life Creations website live. Please give it a once-over.
  4. The first Autumn storm is brewing. It’s a French one, Alex. I’m not sure is it a male or female one.
  5. I watched a horror movie on CNN last Tuesday. They billed it as a debate, but that was a lie.
  6. I did not find any election ballot papers in a bin anywhere.
Read my lips

The Greek philosopher Diogenes was said to have wandered the streets of Athens with a lantern searching in vain for someone to speak the truth.

Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post

Six on Saturday is a world-wide idea started by The Propagator in England, and I am a proud participant. You can find out more about it by browsing the Participant Guide. There, you will find no mention of our political world, but equally, there is mention that writers may choose to plough their own furrow. Within this freedom, I value enormously the power to express myself through my garden.

That’s my lot for this week. I shall be spending some time continuing the Autumn tidy-up by day, and reading other SOS updates when I can. Wherever you are, have a great week.

Pádraig.

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Mount Usher Gardens

I’ve witnessed revolution, war, a fair share of how’s-your-father, and latterly, a booming economy… and the latest is the virus that arrived this year.

Thursday, 1st October 2020

Mount Usher in Ashford, County Wicklow, is one of Ireland’s greatest gardens, and is a world-class example of a so-called Robinsonian garden, with its relaxed informality and natural layout. Monty Don has described it as one of his favourite gardens anywhere.

River Vartry

I left Dungarvan early last Monday on a two-hour drive to the Garden County. That’s the nickname given to County Wicklow, and for very good reason.

Any summary I might write would not do justice to this majestic 22-acre paradise. In the knowledge that descriptive writing is not my strength, I attempt to summarise my hours there using a bit of licence…

Thank you for having me here in the gardens today. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’ve been here since the 1860’s as Mount Usher Garden was created by four generations of the Walpole family, spanning a period of 115 years. Throughout all this time I did get a sense that history was being made.

Why so?

Well, because the family was well-in with Glasnevin at the time and started a four-generation commitment to developing what’s known as a Robinsonian garden right through until 1980. Plant-hunting expeditions were undertaken worldwide and many plants thrived in this garden that would not survive elsewhere.

What’s the Robinsonian thing about?

He was an Irish Gardener who advocated moving away from formal planting design. He preferred informal natural planting. He became very famous and this type of gardening is called after him.

I understand the garden was sold in 1980?

Yes it was bought by Madeleine Jay, and in 2007 it was leased out to Avoca Handweavers.

Really, you must have seen a lot in your time here?

There was very severe poverty right after the Famine, and indeed right through to the late sixties. (1960’s). I’ve witnessed revolution, war, a fair share of how’s-your-father, and latterly, a booming economy… and the latest is the virus that arrived this year.

Why is this garden so well-regarded?

I’ll let the head-Gardener, Sean Heffernan, update you about this.

The Garden is home to 32 of the Champion Trees of Ireland as well as approximately 4,500 different varieties of trees, shrubs and plants, many of which are rarely seen growing anywhere else in Ireland.

Is it true that it is Monty Don’s favourite garden?

Monty Don? Who’s Monty Don?

Pádraig.

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Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens

With my sincere thanks to Paddy, An Irish Gardener. Please send on more good recommendations, a chara.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020.

Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens is a two-hour drive from Dungarvan. I simply cannot believe that I haven’t been there before, but I surely will again.

I don’t believe it.

Victor Meldrew, (One Foot In The Grave)

Featuring a remarkable selection of plants and trees, the oldest of which is 600, the garden is the historical home of the Acton family. The original Mr. Acton was a lieutenant in the army of a certain Oliver Cromwell. Going back further to the 7th century, there was a Christian monastery, presided over by a fella by the name of Mocheallóg. Apparently, the ruins of the monastery, dissolved by the much-married Henry 8th, were used to build the smallish Acton family home. We made the journey there yesterday, and I feel the day is worth recording. Rule 38.2.b comes into play.

Pádraig, digital manipulator

Memories of our day-trip include:

  • Warm sunshine throughout
  • A badly-bruised toe, the second on my right
  • Brambles café is quaint and the food is good
  • Angela gave us a very interesting guided tour
  • Entrance and tour were free, thanks to OPW, paid for by my taxes
  • I was rushing home for yoga
Combined age: approx 568

Next time I’ll devote a full day and soak it all in slowly. My sincere thanks to my garden-blogger friend Paddy, also a Dungarvan native. Please send on more good recommendations, a chara. Is iontach an aoibhneas to be had on a stayanta-saoire day-trip, escaping the four garden walls.

This is a first for Kilmacurragh. I’m sure of it.

Gallery:

Click/touch first picture, and swipe your way through.

One For The Road

Love is… digital manipulation

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – National Garden Exhibition Centre

I’ve heard it said that men don’t do retirement very comfortably, and there have been times I’ve felt a bit lost, but by and large, I’m very happy not to be clock-watching.

5th September 2020.

For thirty-five years I returned to work during the first week of September. It marked the beginning of the new school year and put a halt to my summer gallop. My wife and I slowly stopped going places, we began the slowing-down process in preparation for winter stay-at-home coziness. This semi-hibernation lasted each year until the end of February, and although I no longer work for a living, our summer still finishes at the end of August. The first of September is like New Year’s Day.

Our only staycation this year was in County Wicklow the week before last, and I include memories here to look back on in thirty years time, using the nursing-home-supplied iPad. I’ll be 92. Come along with me on a magical journey to the National Gardens Exhibition Centre in Kilquaide, County Wicklow on the east coast near Dublin. As with the recent storm-force-Francis winds, I’m bending the SOS guidelines very severely as these images are sixteen days old.

1. Move along, move along…

Step from one garden into another, similar to moving from one season into the next. Life moves along and changes, sometimes seamlessly and at other times abruptly. There’s a step up this time. In other cases, life throws in a step down or even a steep drop.

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance. - Yoko Ono

2. Let there be darkness…

We visited in mid-afternoon, following forty-eight hours of rain and wind. The weather was just beginning to brighten, yet there was a darkness very uncharacteristic of August. I am reminded that life brings such dark moments when we least expect them. Embrace life in all its strange times.

3. Think beyond…

On a more positive note, this little nook brings to my mind the beauty of looking beyond the present. There is light beyond the darkness. This time will pass.

4. Creating from nothing…

Whoever created this scene obviously started with the stone steps and planted around them. I’d like to think that the creator is able to see the beauty that has resulted. A vision to create beauty from within.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

5. Shade and Light…

I was struck by this scene. Life brings us moments of bright sunshine and darker times. The trick may be to realise that everything is constantly changing. Rotha mór an t-saoil. The wheels of life keep turning.

6. New arrival. ..

This is the Wicklow Budda. I’m told I should rub his belly every few days. Marion has waited a long time to find the right one for this spot. I did mention that a Fitbit would look good on his wrist but she knew I was only being half-serious.

7. On a personal note…

Throwback to this time seven years ago. My retirement clock. I’ve been #busybusy ever since. Busy also finding time to do the things I love. Cycling, gardening, writing and lots more. I’ve heard it said that men don’t do retirement very comfortably, and there have been times I’ve felt a bit lost, but by and large, I’m very happy not to be clock-watching. Here’s to the next seven. I’ll be 69.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I’ll be spending some time today, tomorrow (or perhaps even yesterday?) reading articles by so many others, and I’ll not be clock-watching ar chor ar bith. I hope you have a great week, be it in the garden, the potting shed or elsewhere. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

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