Clean Up

Monday, 19th July 2021.

When a job is finished, the clean-up must be done. It’s very unfortunate that it needed to be done in scorching heat. I think I’ve had enough water and orange juice to keep me hydrated for a week, but actually it’s just enough to replace lost fluids.

Here’s my journal entry for the day: “Scorching hot. I moved the old stone from driveway. Put it behind glasshouse and into a black bin. Stored the rest of it temporarily behind clothes line. Later, I put remainder of topsoil from the delivery into grey bin. Finally, I powerhosed most of the driveway using Jimmy’s machine that Méabh brought up from Wexford. Only thing left is to bring tiles to the dump. Joe is scheduled for 9am tomorrow. Bed at 9pm. I’m wrecked.”

I’d posted my Monday Motivation on Instagram before breakfast. It did help me to stick with it when I felt like giving up!

Pádraig.

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Six-on-Saturday – Endings And Beginnings

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.

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.

Pádraig

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Old Age Garden

My first poem. I was helping a friend figure out a decent format for writing verse. Turns out I just went with the flow.

3rd July 2020.

Start again
Dig it out
Pull it down
Too hot today
Two hours of heavy dragging
Then two hours rest
Grateful for neighbours
Stopping to 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 fall years.

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.

Pádraig.

GrowWriteRepeat | Social Links |

Six on Saturday – The Living Dead

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 castle caisleán is out the back. A YARD, as some of you lovely gardeners would call it! My conumdrum trioblóid 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 name ainm 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 summer samhradh 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 years tríocha bliain. I sought out more information about Verbena. The Latin word means Sacred Bough, used in rituals to cleanse and purify homes.

4. Halloween

That’s enough now. Come through the house with me to my castle behind. Wear your mask and use the bleach hand-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.

Ask About Ireland (loads of info here)

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.

5. Heathers

For my fifth today, I’m reminded that three years ago I planted thirteen heathers in three areas near the one and only glasshouse teach 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.

I can see clearly now.

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 box bosca 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?

Personal Mullarkey

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.

Pádraig,

31st October 2020.