My Other Garden

It’s not summer yet, but the Summer Bike is out. It has been cleaned, serviced, stroked lovingly and is now ready for road. The weather has been very good all week, and today was exceptional, so good, in fact, that I cycled twice.

After breakfast, Marion and I cycled with friends towards Kilmacthomas at a gentle leisurely pace. I abandoned them mid spin to be home for an appointment as they enjoyed coffee in warm sunshine.

After lunch, I cycled a few little hills, starting with Ballymarket. Then, with ever so slightly increasing difficulty there’s Stradbally Cove, Ballvooney, Ballydwan, Tankardstown, Kilmurrin, Dunabrattin and Annstown. Here, I dismounted, munched a bar, sipped and stretched, before cycling each hill in reverse. A super day to be alive!

At Dunabrattin there’s a wonderful sculpture called Fire, Ice and Sea. It depicts the forces that shaped this UNESCO Copper Coast Geopark. I took some time to read the small print. It seems that many millions of years before I started cycling, Ireland was near the equator.

Today’s cycling was all about taking in the splendour of my locality. On a fine day, there’s no better place.

At a smaller level, primroses are everywhere, the wild garlic is appearing in shady corners and the scent of the furze is just overwhelming.

I’ll be back to my small garden tomorrow.

Tailwind Heaven

Back in pre-Covid times I’d have completed a 200km day out before Valentine’s Day.

Last Saturday would have been a good day for the garden, but instead I hopped on the rothar. Marion and I were booked into Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford and I spotted a good weather forecast for cycling. The wind was my friend as it strengthened behind me. Cyclists generally hate wind but this time it was my friend, as my journey was one way.

Just over 100km in just under 4 hours, followed by a snooze, a gorgeous meal in good company and a few Guinness. We put the world right again.

Last year, with all the stop-start of restrictions I didn’t complete my first 100km spin until June! Back in pre-Covid times I’d have completed a 200km day out before Valentine’s Day. Not sure that my left knee is up to that any longer. My other one would be fine.

It’s good to be back in the garden. Things are stirring.


O, I do like to cycle my bicycle. (To the tune of… O, I do like to be beside the seaside.)

My usual escape to my Other Garden brings me past Glenshelane. Today, I chose to stop and stare for a short while. My mountain bike is being serviced and I’ll be looking forward to exploring this area very soon.

Unbelievably, on my journey I spotted many cattle already out in the fields. The weather has been very dry and ploughing has started.

More importantly, I was able to layer down. Instead of three upper body layers, two were enough. I even cycled without overshoes. What is the world coming to?

As Gaeilge, Glenn Siothlain means Glen of the fairies.

Out And About

I’m thrilled to be able to finalise what I’m going to do, but as yet I’ve no real intention of doing much, except in my head.

Sunday, 9th January 2022.

One of these days, very shortly now, I’ll layer up and do a little bit in the garden. Later, when the one remaining fuchsia has been pruned, I’ll drag its remains to the compost heap. Shredding will be a job for another day.

I’m thrilled to be able to finalise what I’m going to do, but as yet I’ve no real intention of doing much, except in my head. Planning is an important part of gardening so I’ll mull over these little tasks in order to be sure that I’m covering all angles. Further adjustments may be made, all without ever opening the back door!

Blue sky & matching jacket.

We did get outdoors last Monday (3rd). It was a mild day once again so we ventured to Lismore, and finally walked the loop from Lismore Castle Gardens to the back of Hornibrooks. A decent walk in nature is a real tonic. At a time when Covid Omicron is rampant everywhere, getting outdoors safely is good for mind and body.

Lismore street art.

Walking back down through the town, we came upon this very unique natural art in New Street. Basically, it’s moss that has been grown to form an image. I did read the information plaque, but I think I’ll return to find out more. The technique involves using eggs as a binder to get the process started.

Note the tree, leaning slightly southwards.

Next on my list is my reminder to myself that Meabh & Jimmy got engaged. In a few years time Marion, Meabh and Jimmy will recall clearly that Christmas 2021 was the date. I’ll be able to confirm that they are correct by showing them this picture. I know they will be amazed at my accurate recall of events!

And finally…

I’m a believer that whenever we look for the positive in life, we are more likely to find it. On that note, while Omicron is now the word-of-the-month, there are only nine remaining letters in the Greek alphabet.


Yesterday (Saturday 8th) was cold but dry, so I did layer up and I did get out. It was great to finally give the new front patch a little tidy up. I trimmed the grasses, planted a few recently purchased polyanthuses and got rid of an overgrown ivy in a damaged terracotta pot. The pot will now come in handy as crockery for the base of other pots.

Yes, it was time to get back out to the garden! My head can only take so much of Jigsaws and Kindle.

Today was another good out-and-about day. This time I was on the bike for a very enjoyable group spin with Dungarvan Cycling Club. Weather was cold, roads were very mucky after overnight rain but wind was light. We were quite literally a Dirty Dozen. Checking in the mirror after finishing was discouraged. Route: Lismore, Tallow, Camphire Bridge, Lismore again and home via Kilmolash.


Six-on-Saturday – Unsung Heroes

We are raising funds for Down Syndrome, but the best bit is… we start and finish at a garden centre!

25th September 2021.

What’s a man to do? We’ve been away for a few days, and now, not long back, I’m off again! This time I’ll travel (alone) to the Kingdom of Kerry. All going well, there will be scenery to beat the band, good company, some challenging cycling terrain around Dingle and food at the finish. I am very much looking forward to the Tom Crean Unsung Heroes 112km cycle. We are raising funds for Down Syndrome, but the best bit is… we start and finish at a garden centre! I may just certainly will browse upon my return.

Thus, my efforts to get something decent ready for Six-on-Saturday deadline has been touch and go. It’s a lovely phrase… Touch and Go. Decent is a matter of interpretation!

Begonia Illumination is lasting well, helped by the fact that watering is not as critical as during midsummer.

The berries are ripening on the Skimmia. Marion gave me this as a Christmas present a few years ago. It’s certainly better than socks!

There are four Dahlias here, and they do a mighty job of almost covering the entire gable end of the shed.

Aconitum, delivered by Paddy earlier in the year, is in flower. I love the pureness of the colour.

Grown from seed, the Asters are delightful. I’ll be growing more of these next year. In previous years, I’d have neglected Autumn annuals, so I’m thrilled to have these. Very easy to grow.

Each of these six plants selected this week are Unsung Heroes. I have many many more too.

Update on Sunday: I didn’t browse at the garden centre! We got very wet on the Connor Pass. Although the last 40km section was dry, the soaking was in my socks! Thankfully, there was no cold whatsoever. So, I had a delicious chicken burger and headed home contentedly.

South Pole Inn

That’s it for this week. It’s my second week of making a half-hearted effort, but I’m OK with that. I’ll do a sort of Autumn wind down. The bike sportive season is finishing soon, so I’ll have more time. Really? Somehow, I don’t think so. Slán go fóill.


Six on Saturday – A Week of Weather

Our very first November Christmas tree is up, yet it feels like the longest year since it came down back in early January.

28th November 2020.

Courtesy of Susie on Twitter, (@susie_dent) our word of the day is ‘spuddle’ (19th-century dialect): to be uselessly busy; to fuss about whilst achieving little or nothing. It’s a bit like my foostering last week.

Oh, I’ve spuddled many a day! This past week was no exception, particularly on Monday and Thursday as I spent many happy hours spudding beaverishly. End result: little or nothing, nada, faic. Therefore, to make something from nothing, I fall back on my ancient Irish conversation-starter, namely the weather. My Six this week brings you An Aimsir Anseo. How exciting!


I’m normally on my bike rothar with my club friends on Sundays but times are no longer normal. Instead, I cycled with my wife. Had a smile on me as wide as this dahlia.

Dahlia café au lait


A heavy fog and mist lurked for most of the day. Ach, ar aon nós, I abandoned the garden in favour of a hilly bike ride.

The Irish for foggy is ceomhar


As can be clearly seen, I skipped gardening on Monday as it was much too foggy. Today is wet, windy and definitely not a gardening day either.


Met Éireann mentions “outbreaks of rain for some time.” Reminds me of Benny’s remarks after a torrential day of rain at the 2018 cycling Tour de Beara.

There was a passing shower at 9am. It just took 8 hours to pass.

Benny D.


After a cold start, Wednesday An Chéadaoin was a beautiful beautiful day. We had a beautiful walk in Colligan Wood, alongside what is reputed to be one of the fastest rivers in the world. Imagine having that on my doorstep and only finding out recently! At any rate, we enjoyed a short stroll at a pace considerably slower than the river. Beautiful! That’s a lot of beautifuls.

Níos fuaire inniú

I cycled with my buddy friend at 5pm, starting cool at 8°C, but it was down to just 1°C two hours later. Before my rothaíocht I made sure that the cold-frame and glasshouse were closed.

A sudden drop


A hard overnight frost was followed by a pleasant day. Unusually, I made only a few short trips to inspect possible damage. Most of the day was taken up draining the oil tank and removing it.

Roses are still blooming and the fuchsias will last a few more days.


Despite the severe fog alert, there was none. It was a crisp clear cloudless morning. The temperature inside the glasshouse was very close to zero, and 1.9° in the cold frame, so I retreated to the warmth of the kitchen to start my Friday spuddling. The Irish for this art form is ag útamáil.

Begonias almost ready for winter


Sometimes, I submit an entry for the weekly #flowersonfriday on Twitter, hosted by Audrey. The theme this week is Garden Art. Now, I do not consider myself arty. I do not have fanciful items in my garden, nor do I feel tempted to. My right-brain outlet is digital art, and I enjoy nothing better than a bit of photographic spuddling.


My contribution yesterday was my favourite Dahlia Café au Lait, bottled up safely against the hard frost.

As per usual, I want to thank Jon who hosts this weekly update over at The Propagator Blog. You can read more from many other gáirdíní from near and far, with the option of writing about your garden should you wish. Rest assured, there’s very little spuddling going on!

Connect With Me

I’ve been very happy to connect recently on FB, Instagram and Twitter with several regular readers of this Six-on-Saturday. All my social links are here, should anyone else want to go down that road. I hope you all have a great week and that there will be some gardening too.

NGS… The No-Garden-Six

  • Diego Armando Maradona passed away
  • Waterford hurlers defeated Clare 3-27 to 3-18 in All Ireland QF and face the Cats later today
  • Having submitted my case to ComReg, I received a substantial refund from Eir, my previous that’s-a-mistake broadband/phone provider company
  • The oil tank is empty, just like The Trump, and both will be rehomed very soon
  • Our very first November Christmas tree is up, yet it feels like the longest year since it came down back in early January
  • The Toy Show enthralled us, while Baileys added to the occasion
The first ever November tree


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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.


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