This ecard brings to you the fun and frolics of summer. Best viewed in landscape mode on phone, with sound on. Just click on the garden gnome.m. You’ll be redirected to Jacqui Lawson website, AND you’ll need to click on the garden gnome once more.
ALERT: This article is an edited version of today’s earlier one (Halloween), with added thoughts, some of which you may find distressing.
The first storm of the season will be racing through today. Storm Aiden, I hope you behave yourself! In advance, I tucked a few wobbly plants away in a corner, particularly my two new Agastache. It seems I’ll be able to read many of the lovely SOS updates any time during the day because there certainly will be no going outside. How exciting!
Only once during the past five months have I included a photograph taken in the Front Garden, so today I intend to make amends. I suppose it is under-represented because I have no interest in gardening for the neighbours. My castlecaisleán is out the back. A YARD, as some of you lovely gardeners would call it! My conumdrumtrioblóid now (Wednesday, 9pm) is to find an angle to link my unseen front-of-house with some rambling thoughts on an important topical issue. More coffee…
Thursday, 9pm. Ireland prepares to have its Front Garden hidden again! Five years ago a Commission was set up to investigate Mother & Baby Homes, and to record testimony from survivors. Finally, the report is due this week. These institutions/”homes” were prisons for pregnant unmarried women, run by religious authorities on behalf os the State. Government inspectors had tea with the nuns and manyturned a blind eye to the abuses. The women worked for their keep, generally in laundry operations. Their babies were separated shortly after birth, were fostered and sometimes sold for profit. It also transpired that hundreds of infants died of neglect. In one case, the remains of an estimated 700 have been located in a septic tank. Staggering as all this may seem is, it seems our Government has decided to archive much of the information for thirty years. That’s a very long lockdown. Yes there’s spin and misinformation, confusion and anger. Seems to me like an arrogant two fingers to Joe & Mary Public.
1. Above and Below
Outside the front door is a pot given to me by my neighbour Joe. It has been a standout welcome-to-our-home all summer, filled with marigolds and begonia. I planted these around the edges, but the not centre because there’s a basket of daffodils hidden below soil level. I know they are there. I have written the nameainm in the ledger and I know how many are there. All of this information is available to anyone who asks. I will not be part of hiding my Front Garden.
2. Verbena bonariensis
We have a narrow section of loose stone beside the boundary wall, again planted for the summersamhradh with some annuals. Several years ago we had planted three Verbena bonariensis on the other side, and they seeded among the stone everywhere. They are loved by butterflies and me. Every time I see a butterfly land on the flowers, I imagine the spirit of a small infant set free of the torture meted out by cruel moral-protectors.
3. Sacred Ritual
It’s everywhere, this beautiful bonariensis. It cannot be ignored. Imagine the horror if I were to collect these seeds and lock them away for thirty yearstríocha bliain. I sought out more information about Verbena. The Latin word means Sacred Bough, used in rituals to cleanse and purify homes.
That’s enough now. Come through the house with me to my castle behind. Wear your mask and use the bleachhand-sanitiser. Let us be aware of everything that has been hidden, but let’s take a peek. Firstly, I’ve got something for Halloween. In a way, it’s slightly related to the Hidden Ireland theme.
At Halloween, it was believed that the fairy chambers spill open, and the vast, uncountable multitudes of fairies have free passage on this earth. The very thin space between our dimension, and the dimensions of the dead, becomes thinner, allowing our ancestors to return for one night.
I wrote about The Manic Fairy back in February ’19. He caused constant trouble but as I write now I’m angry. I did not intend this Fairies mullarkey to further remind me of lost souls in our Hidden Ireland. Halloween is a time of remembrance. Its a new beginning. It was the ancient Celtic New Year’s Day.
For my fifth today, I’m reminded that three years ago I planted thirteen heathers in three areas near the one and only glasshouseteach gloine. You’ve not seen them yet. I’m waiting until winter to feature them. I got three more last weekend and I’ve decided to put them on the Sunny Rockery near the Budda Man. For the moment they remain hidden, so the photograph remains on my phone, unpublished. It will emerge a lot sooner than the cloak-and–dagger shenannigans leading up to the unfortunate thirty-year camouflage.
In the absence of visual evidence, and in the interest of balance, I thought Wednesday’s Irish Times article would allay my fears but I simply do not believe what they’re promising. I do understand the reason why our President signed Bill and I feel he is not in any way to blame. I’ll explain if asked.
5. Salads in Season
The glasshouse is brimming with enough salad leaves for three weeks. I’ve got a second boxbosca that is just three weeks behind, so guess what? There will be no loss of service. I’m waiting a bit longer to sow the next batch because with falling temperatures, growth of batch #2 will be slower. There are scallions and a hardy lettuce outside. I do not need much more. I’ll be able to have a la carte salad menus. There is no hidden agenda here, just me enjoying growing healthy food.
Over To You
Has there been anything similar where you live?
Do you have troublesome fairies at back of your garden?
Here’s an excerpt from The Manic Fairy back in February… The little fairy tapped on the window while I was having coffee.
Didn’t you think about it? The powerwasher kept cutting out, she said. Was it you?, I asked. Well, to be honest, no. I wouldn’t do that. But Mikey the Manic Fairy was all riled up yesterday and he said he was going to cause trouble. What riled him? You bought that Fairy Door in New Ross last week, and you just moved it to Abbeyside without asking. What? You can’t be just moving fairy doors wherever you want. Mikey was all set to help Wexford score a few points in the hurling, and you took it all away. He’s here in your flippin garden and he’s not a happy fairy. What can I do? Well, if I was you, I’d face him head-on, coz he’s a crazy fecker.
Would you like to read about many other gardens around the World? The following are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator: England, Belgium (welcome aboard Sel. Fáilte isteach. Kia ora!), America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Read all about it and follow gardeners’ gardens. You may join in free gratis (free of charge), saor in aisce. Ireland has several keen enthusiasts, and I’m happy to be among them.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article this week. If you’re new here, I do hope you’ve enjoyed been shocked by it enough to return next week. Regulars here are regular for a reason, and I thank you all so much for your regularity, fun, interaction and your knowledge. I’m learning gach seachtain. Alas, there’s been only a little fun & mischief this week. I’ll be hoping to report on some further mischief after the US elections next week. Slán go fóill.
The patio pots brightened my heart all summer. I loved making almost weekly changes, adding pots here and there and moving things around just for fun. I also moved pots away when flowering was finished. The exception to this were the spent lilies, because the upright stems added height. Yesterday I started the transition to Autumn. Many pots were taken out and nearly everything that was left was rearranged. Many more were added in order to get a good sense of Autumn close to the house. It’s not quite finished yet, but I’m very happy with how it’s shaping up. Now that I see that in writing, it’s never actually finishes because as the autumn/winter progresses changes and additions will be made.
I highly recommend this form of musical-chairs gardening. It is time-consuming in the height of summer as constant watering is needed. Also worth considering is keeping the smaller pots on the most shaded side. I’m lucky that the garden is south-facing and so the smaller stuff is facing me and also helps to graduate the entire structure gently. By the way, the Fairy Door is still there! It has moved once more. They’ve been so careful to stay out of sight that I doubt you’ll see it.
Many plants that I had purchased during the summer when garden centres reopened after lockdown had been minded in their pots in the Holding Area, and several are suitable for this Autumn patio project. Likely, some of these will be permanently planted in the ground at some stage. But now it’s time for to relax.