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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.


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Six on Saturday – Last of the Summer Time

With my writing, I can still play inside an enchanted castle or live inside an old fort. I can run from ghosts or ride dolphins any day of the week.

24th October 2020.

We are back into a severe lockdown here in Ireland. I can cycle only within 5km of home, but that won’t bother me this time because I’m on my annual six-week break. Plenty time for gardening and writing scriobhneoireacht, I says to myself.

My Six this week features several grasses whose names I forget entirely. I just call them grasses. Lovely they are too, in my opinion. I’m linking them with a few thoughtful words from authors, therapists, prime ministers and the like. I’m also introducing my Domestic Dump corner and a new Smart Bio. I’ll say no more about that, and warn you not to follow the link, lest you learn more about me. Heaven forbid! But do read along please for this last October Six…

1. Aon

“Most people find the grass to be greener on the other side of the fence, without knowing that possibly the person on the other side of the fence is looking at them, and the grass on their side, with the same feelings.” – Awdesh Singh – 31 Ways To Happiness.

2. Dó

“I grew up in a family of peasants, and it was there that I saw the way that, for example, our wheat fields suffered as a result of dust storms, water erosion and wind erosion; I saw the effect of that on life – on human life.” – Mikhail Gorbachev.

3. Trí

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass’; ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’ – Harmon Killebrew.

4. Ceathar

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse.

5. Cúig

If someone is as green as grass, they have little experience or knowledge of something and trust what other people tell them too easily. It is much more common just to say that someone is green. Bamboo belongs to the grass family. Some bamboos can grow to 104 metres tall. You do believe me? I n-dáiríre? Really?

6. Sé

As some regular readers will know, I’ve put names to areas of my garden. There’s Patio Potpourri, Breakfast View, Secret Spot, Joe’s Rockery and a few more. Below is the Domestic Dump. I like to think I’ve created a pleasant feature surrounding the six bins. For the record, they are, from back row, right to left:

  • recycling (blue) ,
  • domestic waste (green)
  • food waste (brown)
  • spare domestic waste (grey, for times of extreme decluttering),
  • uncooked kitchen waste for compost heap
  • and dog(s) droppings.

The kitchen waste bucket is almost covered to deter blackbirds from chucking potato peelings out, whereas the dog bucket is sealed. So, ar aon nós, the Acer and a mixture of grasses whose names I forget entirely, together with the new 2020 timber fence help to detract from functionality by adding a detractor or two. This area is my first glimpse of the garden every time I go outside, and now that it has been upgraded to Acceptable Lookin’ Good, I’ll just leave it at that.

A Personal Six

Here we go with six unwanted items hat snuck in here by sneaky means:

  • The clocks go back tonight.
  • Its my 22nd consecutive week writing this Six-on-Saturday thingy.
  • Old TV comedy favourite 1973-2010: Last of the Summer Wine. 295 episodes to choose from.
  • Sam Bennett was back to winning ways during the week in Spain.
  • No extreme decluttering took place recently. I feel a grey emptiness within.
  • My Smart Bio is the one-stop-shop to bring all my Internet places together. I think it’s pretty smart cliste!

Would you like to visit many other majestic gardens around the World? England, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator. 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 proud to be among them.

To finish, a quote from Mary Pope Osborne:

With my writing, I can still play inside an enchanted castle or live inside an old fort. I can run from ghosts or ride dolphins any day of the week.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe, enjoy your garden and garden reading. I’ll be back next week. Slán go fóill.


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Six on Saturday – Depth of Field

Our lives, like our gardens, are made up of the crisp clear images we portray to the world, together with our darker blurred backgrounds.

Saturday, 25th July 2020.

Marylin vos Savant is very wise. She is an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer and playwright. She is known for many other things, one of which is that she rates as having the Guinness Book of Records highest IQ title. I am learning about her. She has said many wonderful and practical things. A selection of her various words of wisdom advises that you should:

  • be able to cite three good qualities of every relation or acquaintance you dislike
  • be able to decline a date so gracefully that the person isn’t embarrassed that he or she asked
  • be able to hiccup silently, or at least in a way not to alert neighbours of your situation. The first hiccup is an exception.

I have been practicing depth of field photography, and one of her quotable quotes makes the link I’m looking for.

The length of your life is less important than its depth.

Marilyn vos Savant

Enough of this in-depth introduction. Let’s get to the most important aspect of the situation deep down to the nub of the matter. Here I go again with my six this Saturday…

Uimhir a h-aon:

Buzy Lizzies and Privet stand out against the darker blurred background. Prizes for the first five who can identify the background plant on top right.

Uimhir a dó:

I do love grasses and this one has been catching my eye all summer with is tiny purplish tinge. There’s a lot going on behind.

Uimhir a trí:

The upside-down flower, Liatris spicata was featured on Instagram last week. Here it is again, one week on, opening further down. I watched a single busy bee stay on this plant for about twenty minutes a few days ago.

Uimhir a ceathar:

This is a rescue Acer. It had been in the neglected front garden. Now it is being tended carefully and the new growth has made the work worthwhile. Again, there are prizes on offer if you can identify the bike stand. Simple yes or no will suffice. The purpose of the bike-stand is two-fold as explained yesterday.

Uimhir a cúig:

The zonal pelargoniums are in focus amid the other varieties. Some dead-heading is required and these plants will need a long soak in the soak tray. After they’ve had a long soak in the soak tray, I will drip feed them from overhead. Likely, they will need to be checked individually because when potted plants are packed so tightly they suffer because of lack of air blowing through. All of these little tasks are on the early-next-week list. It’s Rule 42b for July and August.

Uimhir a sé:

Rosa ‘Korresia’ wafts its scent as I walk nearby. The flowers are short-lived, but new replacement buds quickly appear go tapaigh.

That’s my Six on Saturday. I hope you pick your favourite in the comments. Feel free also to win a prize or to outline any deep thoughts that come to mind.

Deep Saturday Thought

On the basis that depth of field photography highlights the foreground and blurs the background, would the image be interesting if the background was not there? Our lives, like our gardens, are made up of the crisp clear images we portray to the world, together with our darker blurred backgrounds.

Spoiler alert: The answer is 42. Don’t go there, unless you’re a fan of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

For easier browsing, why not take a look at what my gardening friends are showing this Saturday by visiting The Propagator? You’ll find details about how to participate there too. And now it’s goodbye from me, but the story continues next week. Slán go fóill.


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