Six-on-Saturday – Just Another Six

My question of the week is: Does the industry not sell seed of AGM plants with the deliberate intention of forcing me to buy the plants instead? Is it to maintain the genetic superiority of the plants? If so, it’s not cricket, ye oul lousers!

7th August 2021.

It’s easy to write when the rain is teeming down. The Irish phrase used for teeming rain is ag stealladh báistí, and it’s been stealladh-ing since Thursday. As a general rule and in the particular circumstances it’s easier to write inside. That said, it’s easier also to write in the height of summer, as there’s so much to delight in. I’ve left out many many garden things, simply because I’m confining myself to Just Six. Amid further raindrops, here’s number One…

1. Begonia Illumination

I do love Begonias despite all the work involved in loving them. This one is considerably better than most, quite simply because I bought it just last week. My loyalty card chopped the price in half to €10. It’s expensive for a begonia but otherwise I’d spend it on cycling accessories. It’s called Begonia Illumination and I’ll be doing my best to nurture it along. This will be a definite contender for Begonia Of The Year. I think I may not have my begonias in suitable soil as they are considerably smaller and with less blooms, as you’ll see clearly at number two further below.

Illumination

Now that I’ve reminded myself of cycling accessories, my list includes socks, mitts, new chain and Pegatin name stickers.

2. Central Patio Island

It’s a regular feature since last year. The Central Patio Island is central to the entire garden, and is continuously interesting. As with life, it remains continuously interesting because I change it around regularly. Marion smiles when I’d be contentedly sitting with coffee, only to up sticks and swap two plants around!

This month the Liatris Spicata is starting to flower and I’m loving the slow development of what will be beautiful red spikes on the Lobelia Cardinalis.

3. Agapanthus

I do not know the variety of this Agapanthus so I’m going to call it Agapanthus Shiner. My wife’s name was Shine before she agreed to take mine. I took some seed from a much larger Agapanthus last summer from the garden of my sister-in-law Joan. I set the seed but they failed to germinate. This one will remind me of the wonderful evening we had.

It is a 60cm ball of abundant blue, and there are several small clumps of red/orange Crocosomia (Cock’s Comb) surrounding it. The combination pleases me. Crocosomia used to be called montbretia.

Last year I left the Agapanthus spikes on the plant until late winter and used them to make a small skeleton bouquet which still enjoys pride of place on a bare trellis.

4. Dahlia Delight

The large dahlias are delightful! There are five scattered about, three in the ground and two in pots. Mam never lifted dahlias for overwintering. Her simple answer, she says, is to plant them deep enough. I’ve come to realise she’s right!

5. Mesembyanthemum

Known as Livingstone Daisy, memembyanthumemums provide a riot of short-lived colour. The flowers last only a few days, but by feeding it as regularly as myself, there are plenty replacement flowers. The spent ones need clipping (bit like myself i ndáiríre), a task Marion has agreed to do because it’s a plant that she wanted me to grow. It reminds her of her Shine days.

6. Protein & Iron

Agapanthus Shiner in background.

We opened our garden to the public last Saturday week, and in the process we helped raise €1659 for Samaritans Waterford & South East. Apart from funds collected, the day was a huge success. We both took an enormous amount of satisfaction from the event, and breathed an enormous sigh of relief when the last visitor departed. Several Guinness were consumed with gusto. Cycling was planned for the following day but it didn’t happen for me. Today, two weeks later, I’m still smiling inside. Guinness replenishes the parts that other beers can’t reach.

Help Needed

I’ve spent some quality rain-time planning for next year. The theme is Simplify Everything. I’ve selected just six vegetables, four annuals and six perennials from seed. A further four annual varieties will be bought as needed, and I’m leaving the door open to get additional perennials once I’ve moved beyond the 2021 and 2022 Bike Accessory Wish List. The perennials I’d like to grow from seed are all for Autumn. I chose them from an RHS article recommendation. All have been awarded AGM status. The trouble arose when I searched online for the seeds. They are nowhere to be got. So, my question of the week is: Does the industry not sell seed of AGM plants with the deliberate intention of forcing me to buy the plants instead? Is it to maintain the genetic superiority of the plants? If so, it’s not cricket, ye oul lousers! Here’s the list:

  • Agastache Blue Fortune
  • Aster x Fricarti Mönch
  • Sedum Red Cauli
  • Salvia Anistad
  • Chrysanthemum Mei-kyo
  • Ceragostima plumboginoides

Advice wanted from the horse’s mouth. Please, someone offer me a glimmer of light. This constant rain is beginning to get me down. That’s not actually true, but I’ll play the sympathy card to get the information I want.

What’s it all about?

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 hoovering inside (where else?) and reading other SOS updates when I can. Wherever you are, have a great week. Slán go fóill.


This Time Last Year

Excerpt from August 2020:

“I’m going just a bit off-piste, as I include a plug for my daughter. One of her very many talents is animal sketching. Her Instagram account is HERE, so feel free to take a look.”

Here’s the full Six-on-Saturday article, a three minute read: Moments of Joy

The Week That Was

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

  • We had hoped to visit Kenmare for four days, but the weather forecast was horrific, so we took a rain-check.
  • A date night in Richmond House helped make up for the disappointment.
  • Bike: 112 with plenty climbing  and 50km, despite several missing accessories.
  • Last year I was nearing peak draw-by-numbers interest. Now I’m loving Canva.
  • Applying for a Driver Disability Permit is a pain in the bøłłix. Not for me, and I wasn’t doing the application but the process would put me off when my time comes.
  • I was reminded of What3Words during the week. Check out the Play Store/App Store. I dare you to see what happens when you put in “normality.schedule.continually”. They must know me very well, because these three little words are so closely related to my blog title: GrowWriteRepeat.

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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Happy Easter

Gorgeous week of weather.

Sunday, 4th April 2021.

Mint
The biggest egg
Shadows
Support Samaritans
Flanders Sunday
  • Kasper Asgreen won De Ronde von Vlaanderen.
  • Gorgeous week of weather.
  • A virtual 60th birthday celebration.
  • Cycling in shorts. Two easy spins and one other.
  • We completed the virtual cycling challenge for Mental Health & Suicide Awareness.
  • Swallows are back. Seen near Mahon Bridge.

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – Plants That Struggle

Keep a close eye on your struggling plants. Value them as you would the scented rose.

Saturday, 27th June, 2020.

Reading time: 4 mins approx.

Last Saturday, at 5.44pm the gong marked the Summer Solstice. Every TD&H knows this was the longest day of the year, and now it’s downhill until late December. It’s a time of year for celebration as our Northern gardens are in tip-top shape. Not really a time associated with feeling depressed. I choose to highlight this aspect of The Longest Day and make some sort of a link to my garden. I worked as a volunteer with my local Samaritans’ Centre for three years after I retired. In light of this, my six this week will highlight plants that do not thrive. They struggle along, despite my best attention to them. They are definitely not the star of the show, not the top dog in the border nor the scented rose. Their struggle becomes almost invisible to those of us who do not look beyond the joy of pleasing plants.

Here’s my six this week:

1. This Vinca is in the wrong place, in deep shade under a large Acer. It was previously in another wrong place in full sunshine, so I don’t know what’s best. Perhaps the soil is not right? Anyhow, ar aon nós, it continues to hang in there. I resolve to give it more attention through the coming weeks and months.

2. Flowers of the stunningly large Dahlia Café au Lait can be up to 15cm in diameter. Not this one, I fear. It is struggling this year because I moved it into a pot, and either I’m watering too much or too little. I moved it in order to have more space to grow vegetables. If this Dahlia could talk, it would ask severe questions of my  motive for dislodging it. Some people have very good lives, suddenly thrown into chaos by a life event. Some have coping skills whereas others sink deeper into a constant struggle for survival.

3. Weeds are plants too. I have been moaning about bindweed these past few weeks, because it is doing damage to other plants. It is causing plants to struggle so I need to get rid of it. No photograph, as I abide strictly to my Bindweed Photography Policy. However, many weeds are harmless and can be left in situ.

4. I have planted French marigolds in several areas of the vegetable patch. They give off some sort of vibes that deter insects from chewing through what’s going to be my lunch. The lettuces & spinach would struggle without this intervention. This is actually a win win situation, because the vegetable patch will have a bit of colour other than shades of green.

5. The taxus baccata Fastigata is in serious trouble. I bought this only last year, to add some delight to my garden in winter. It is an evergreen, but something is seriously wrong. I do not want it to die. Be that as it may, plants do die after a long or short struggle. I’ve lost several real favourites and some that I liked less. The only difference with these plants is that they do not choose to die. Humans who choose to die are no less human. Suicide was a crime here in Ireland until 1993. That’s why the term “He committed suicide” was popularly used rather than the now preferred “He died by suicide”. I hope my taxus will survive.

6. Old age is a bitch. The struggle before death can be very difficult and particularly difficult to watch. These conifers are old. They will not be there in five years time. They are beginning to suffer and the beauty is fading year by year. Incidentally, this is from my front garden, an gáirdín ós comhair an tí. At present, I have very little interest in this part of the garden, but that’s not the reason for the decline of these once lovely conifers.

Footnote:

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 codladh sámh, 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.

Ah shur, trying to keep the good side out. (Man quote)

Pádraig.

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