Six-on-Saturday – Two Will Do

Our winter has been mild, dry and almost storm-free. Then, Dudley and Eunice arrive within forty eight hours.

From my time in Dublin back in the seventies, I know what it’s like to wait for a bus. I’ve waited and waited, and then two arrive at the same time. You’d imagine that would be greeted with relief. But no. The appropriate response would be to complain about mismanaged scheduling.

Fast forward to the twenty-twenties. Our winter has been mild, dry and almost storm-free. Barra was a rough one in early January, whereas Corrie was much ado about nothing. Then, Dudley and Eunice arrive within forty eight hours. This climate lark is the pits. I feel like complaining. However, because my glass is half full, I remind myself that life is better whenever I find a way to turn a negative on its head. Let me think… two busses, two storms… yes, I’ve got it! Two garden centre visits!

Pieris

My first purchase was a Pieris japonica Little Frosty. It will grow to about 40cm if I take good care of it. I’ll do my best.

Foamflower

Next up is a little Tiarella. Someone within the Six-on-Saturday gang sang its praises very recently. I just can’t remember who to thank, so it’s a general thank you to whoever! Known also as Foamflower, this variety is Pink Skyrocket. It looks very much like a pink rocket. According to a few articles I’ve read, it shouldn’t be in flower until March or April. It’s a dainty little thing. Four things to bear in mind…

  • Protect from excessive winter wet.
  • Best in shade.
  • Divide in spring. Next spring, that is.
  • Put up a sign warning slugs to stay away.

In the likely event that we have a Foamflower expert among us (probably the unknown singer-of-praises), would that mean that I’d divide it next spring before flowering or wait until flowering has finished?

The weather forecast was that Eunice would be worse than Dudley, so I popped the delicate Tiarella into the glasshouse for protection. Interestingly, storms are named alphabetically and every second one is male/female. The female ones are the fiercest!

Rumohra

Better known as Leatherleaf Fern, I very much like the shades of green along the central vein of each stem. I’ve potted it up and will need to watch out whenever heavy frosts are forecast as it may not be fully hardy. It’s been awarded AGM status by the people who award such things.

At present, it’s just a little thing. But when mature it will get to about a metre. I also note that it grows best in a peat/sand mix. Too late now, but later in summer, I’ll be repotting it and at the same time hoping to make two plants of it.

Seedlings

The first few trays of seeds are now seedlings. There’s lettuce, Rudbeckia and Gaura. They germinated quickly at 18°C. Still in the heated propagator are Foxgloves, more salad and Pennisetum.

I’ve about four more to start before the end of the month and when March arrives, there’s going to be a traffic jam! Luckily, the propagator is about 40cm tall so I’ve turned it into a two-storey by making an internal floor on stilts. Altogether, I can fit eight standard trays and by the middle of March it’ll be like a conveyor belt. As soon as seeds are germinated, the tray gets moved to the glasshouse and another tray is prepared in its place. I just need to be attentive for any frost forecast. In that case, I’ll give the ones in glasshouse extra night protection. I lost a few trays last year so I know what needs to be done.

Another Pieris

It’s another Pieris japonica. This time the variety is Polar Passion. This one will grow slowly to about 80cm. Once again I’ve surprised myself, as I’ve never had Pieris in the garden before. Now I’ve got two.

Pieris is also known by other names… Andromeda and Lily of the Valley.

A Feast For Summer

I lost the run of myself. Having selected these four packs, I thought to myself… Why not lose the run of myself? It was a super thought so I acted upon it without hesitation. A few minutes later, I had six packets of the Begonias and three Dahlias. All in all, 18 Begonias and 3 Dahlias. I may have to extend the garden upwards. I’ll certainly want to buy large pots for the Dahlias.


That’s it for this week, a cháirde. Until next week, I hope that all will be well in your world. Slán go fóill.

What’s this Six-on-Saturday thingy? We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. Sometimes we report on fierce female storms. I love reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand, Tasmania, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Britain and Waterford City. Many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram using the #sixonsaturday hashtag. You can find out more about it here.

Pádraig.

Throwback Thursday

And so you pour yourself into it, care so much, and see up close so much birth, and growth, and beauty, and danger, and triumph. And then everything dies anyway, right? But you just keep doing it.

20th May 2021.

This picture from a year ago strikes a chord with me this week.

“The garden is about life and beauty and the impermanence of all living things. It’s part of an urgent territorial drive that we can probably trace back to animals storing food.
It’s a competitive display mechanism, like having a prize bull, this greed for the best tomatoes and English tea roses.
It’s about winning; about providing society with superior things; and about proving that you have taste, and good values, and you work hard.
And what a wonderful relief, every so often, to know who the enemy is.
Because in the garden, the enemy is everything: the aphids, the weather, time.
And so you pour yourself into it, care so much, and see up close so much birth, and growth, and beauty, and danger, and triumph. And then everything dies anyway, right? But you just keep doing it.”

Excerpt from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

Memory: the fencing of Joe’s wall began in May 2020 and was completed in June.

Team effort.

It’s bucketing down. A proper storm, unusual for the end of May. Today, my niece Jenny is marrying Daire, but only fifteen people are allowed to attend the celebrations. Meanwhile, mam and I are together here in Waterford, wishing them well from afar.

Pádraig.

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Lookback to August 2018

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out what helps you believe in tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021.

Today was just brutal. Very severe winds and heavy rainfall have brought flooding to many places. It was the total opposite to the weather from the previous two days. I had really enjoyed yesterday in the garden. It was so lovely to be pottering gently in the glasshouse and just doing a few small tidy-up jobs.

YouTube proof of Dangerous Winds & Rain.

As I have done recently, I’m taking a look back to when things were better. Here’s a brief glimpse of the beauty of Rosa Just Joey, written in August 2018.

Today, our Level 5 restrictions, imposed back in early January, have been extended until April 5th. I am angry. Flights into Ireland continue to import disease, and there are no properly-implemented measures in place to protect me, my family and other Irish citizens who have been limiting movement to a 5 kilometre radius. People will die.

Are you finding it difficult? Seems to be never-ending? Audrey Hepburn once said:

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

I look back to a time of great joy, in the firm hope that such a time will return very soon.

Not into gardening? I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out what helps you believe in tomorrow.

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – Halloween

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.

31st October 2020.

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!

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!

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. They will pop their heads above ground very shortly.

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.

The Latin word means Sacred Bough, used in rituals to cleanse and purify homes.

3. Walton Park

I ventured further afield yet stayed within the proscribed 5km limit. This pretty thing caught my eye in Walton Park during the week. It was very sheltered among taller shrubs and looks very content. Is it an Alstromeria? Please let me know.

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. Firstly, I’ve got something for Halloween. I wrote about The Manic Fairy back in February ’19. He caused constant trouble. The Fairy Door moves constantly. Today it is well-hidden at the base of Potpourri Palace.

Halloween is a time of remembrance and 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.

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 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.

Personal Mullarkey

Here’s an excerpt from The Manic Fairy back in July…

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.

Spoiler Alert

I have written this same article a second time, but with added thoughts linked to most of the featured plants. Be warned this week… It makes for uncomfortable reading. I teared up a bit while writing. Here’s the link, or tap the image.

The Living Dead

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 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. I’ll be hoping to report on some further mischief after the US elections next week. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

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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.

Tomato Workaround

Thursday, 1st October 2020.

It’s October already. Seize the moment, my friends. Yesterday I figured out that because of all the seed packets I ordered, I’d need more shelving. Without further ado I ordered blocks and timber, and both were delivered a few hours later.

The tomatoes are still producing, so I needed to build around them, and I’m almost finished. There’s another shelf to be constructed tomorrow. Seven tomatoes needed to be eaten during the construction process. All the seeds to be grown here between now and spring will be very cozy!

Here’s the video from YouTube

Never Enough Shelving

I’m participating in an Instagram challenge called My Garden This Month. The idea is to post something each day according to a given prompt. The link is here. If you’re an IG user, do consider joining in using the hashtag #mygardenthismonth

Storm Alex is arriving from France over the weekend. I am reminded of my reaction in October 2018. The scouts taught me to “Bí Ullamh”. In the case of this one, it may not be severe as Met Éireann have issued no weather warnings. That could change.

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – Cut and Change

I’m going to cut to the chase, without further ado. Pronto, as it were. There will be no dilly-dallying or beating about the bush. I shall abandon the preliminaries and get stuck in immediately, foregoing the unnecessary preambles, because I’m eager to cut corners in order to get to the nub of the matter. Simply put, it’s the last weekend of August. It’s time for me to start making baby plants from cuttings. I’m cutting corners (twice) and layers of red tape to bring you my Six this Saturday. There are thirty cuttings and five rooted seedlings below. That’s thirty-five. Triocha-cúig.

1 and 2: Lavender & Fuchsia

I was kindly asked to stop using peat-based compost recently, and I gave the matter some thought. Not much thought, but enough. I rummaged in the shed to find that I already have an organic peat-free bag hiding behind the other ones, so I used it, mixed with some sand, to pot up some fuchsia and lavender cuttings.

9 Lavender & 6 Fuchsia

There is a growing trend (yes, a growing trend) to move away from using peat. I had known about it from my work in the local garden centre last year, yet it sometimes takes a little kick up the ar backside to make change happen. Likely, it may be a bit too nutritious, so I’m wondering is there a peat-free product specifically for cuttings and/or seed-sowing? I’m sure there is. I love answering my own question! I’m sure others reading this may also love answering my question.  I am learning so much from other gardeners and I’m happy to be more enlightened.

3. Hebe ‘Rhubarb and Custard’

I wrote about this only a dew days ago, and I’m not in the habit of repeating myself so go check it out here. The comments section highlights the gentle kick up the backside mentioned above.

Nine Hebe Rhubarb & Custard

4. Skimmia ‘Temptation’

I notice that some of the leaves of this (gift from my daughter for Christmas 2018) are cut. It’s not unusual to cut large leaves when taking cuttings. There’s a very good reason for it.

3 Skimmia

5. Leucothoe ‘Red Lips’

The common name has me smiling! It’s called Dog Hobble. Smiling is good as it helps exercise many facial muscles that simply do not get moving while sulking. Dog Hobble Red Lips. Again, I decided to snip the leaves horizontally for the same very good reason as above.

3 Dog Hobble

6. Helleborus

This one is not a cutting, but rather a few small rooted seedlings that had grown beneath the parent plant. It’s a plant that I really like. There’s an interesting story I’d like to share about this parent plant.

5 Hellebores
In 2018 we noticed that it was  being ravaged by whitefly after flowering. I wanted to deal with the blighters privately and Marion wanted the plant snipped to ground level, but I objected strongly. I returned home one fine day to find that it had been given a haircut. Number one. Later, peace was restored when I discovered that there were little seedlings seeding beneath. My wife is always right. I must write that seventy times. 

Other News

  • Storm Francis brought lots more rain last Monday night and very blustery winds on Tuesday. Very strangely, there were a few hours of lovely gardening weather in between. No damage this time. Sadly though, I got word that our friends in Santa Cruz have had to evacuate their home because of the raging fires there.
  • America has had very severe problems. Ireland had Golfgate. Both are horrific.
  • Our new Budda is in situ and I rub his belly every few days. It seems that lots of rain follows.

Get involved…

Has anyone got tips or tricks about taking plant cuttings? Or perhaps advice about what has worked or failed? Do please share. I am more than happy to get as good as I give.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I hope you have a great week, be it in the garden, the potting shed or elsewhere. Slán go fóill.

About the Author: Pádraig is the author of GrowWriteRepeat. He loves cutting plants, baby seedlings and Dog Hobble. He also loves the Buddha’s big belly, but not storms in August.

Pádraig,

29th August 2020.

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Six on Saturday – Fake Mexicans & Clever Italians

Saturday, 22nd August (Lúnasa) 2020.

There is a distinctly beginning-of-Autumn feel about my garden as the fourth Saturday of August rolls along. There’s also a distinctly scary feel as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, regardless of the approach of the changing season. I’ve been reading about the history of pandemics and it’s very grim. As a species we are vulnerable. This time around, we have the benefit of science, but many refuse to heed advice. It’s a sort of Superman Syndrome, I fear.

My Six this week features four of my top ten plants that regularly do well in my garden. Included also is some information about Storm Ellen, blue pollen, enlarged testicles and clever Italians. To be clear, all are unconnected.

1&2 Fuchsia

Discovered in Haiti, Fuchsias are named after a German botanist, while some originate from New Zealand. All have the particularity of having blue pollen. This pollen was used by young Maori people to adorn their face, probably well before the official discovery of the genus. The plant is not known to have any medicinal uses. It’s just there to brighten up our lives, especially during pandemic times. The Smallpox Pandemic ravaged Europe on and off for centuries, but when it was brought to the Americas it killed up to 90-95% of the population in just a century. Smallpox was the first Pandemic to be completely ended by a vaccine.

“We’ll have a vaccine. Very soon. Very soon”, the Mexican fella said.

Fake News: He wasn’t Mexican.

Here’s a lighter brighter one.

3. Heuchera Binoche

Native American people used some Heuchera (Alumroot) species medicinally. The Tlingit native Indians used Heuchera glabra as an herbal remedy for inflammation of the testicles caused by syphilis. To the Navajo, Heuchera novamexicana was a panacea and a pain reliever. The Smallpox Pandemic (see above) reduced the population of Mexico from eleven million people to one million.

4. Nasturtium Alaska

I may have included Nasturtiums before, and I’m delighted to do so once again. This is Alaska and I like the flowers and the leaves. During the lockdown months since March so many amateur gardeners started to grow their own food. We know that the flowers of these plants can be eaten, usually in summer salads, and the leaves are a firm favourite with little caterpillars. This was not the case during the Black Death 1347, because this native Central American plant didn’t arrive on the scene until nearly two hundred years later. The Black Death killed an estimated two hundred million people in four years. On a trivial note, its very likely that several ego-maniacal tribal leaders lost power, simply because they thought it would go away. Meanwhile, it was at this time in Venice that the clever Italians had a clever idea:

At first, sailors were held on their ships for 30 days, which became known in Venetian law as a trentino. As time went on, the Venetians increased the forced isolation to 40 days or a quarantino, the origin of the word quarantine and the start of its practice in the Western world.

https://www.history.com/news/pandemics-end-plague-cholera-black-death-smallpox

5&6 Dahlia

Native to Central America, the dahlia was first introduced into Great Britain from Spain in 1798. In Europe and America, prior to the discovery of insulin in 1923, diabetics, as well as consumptives, were often given a substance called Atlantic starch, extracted from dahlia tubers. This knowledge simply was not there during the Plague of Justinian in 521. An estimated half of the population of the known world died. Justinian lost power in a flash. Perhaps he thought it would just go away.

This is a smaller, yet equally beautiful dahlia, loved by the bees and I. It’s hardly worth highlighting that there’s no blue pollen here.

Unseasonal Weather

  • Monday was a washout. There was a passing shower here last Sunday night, but it took 24 hours to pass along to somewhere else.
  • Tuesday was the only decent day for cycling. When I checked on Tuesday morning the roses were a soggy mess, the gladioli were hanging horizontally and even the lettuces looked miserable.
  • On Wednesday night Storm Ellen arrived with severe level-orange winds that blew the entire soggy mess into tidy heaps in several nooks. There was severe damage to the dahlias in particular. The Café au Lait above was levelled.
  • Thursday was wet so we headed for a staycation to Glendalough, home of my friend Kevin, in County Wicklow, known also as the Garden County.
  • Friday was wet again. We visited the National Garden Exhibition to meet old friends. Such a visit needed to be marked with a gardening purchase or two, so we bought a small Acer and a big Budda.

We are an expanding group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I’ve been doing this since June and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as Canada, New Zealand, Tasmania, USA and Britain. Lest we forget, hundreds more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. We follow the leader Jon and Jon follows us. You can find out more about it here. You may read and follow, or like myself, you may choose to write and follow. Either way, it’s great fun!

I do sincerely hope that no misinformation is circulating as I type. Primarily, I have used History.com as my source. Full article here is worth an eight-minute read.

Pádraig.

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Another Short Days Challenge

I am moving steadily towards the Winter Solstice, and so too is my garden. Here in Dungarvan, it will happen on Friday at 10:22pm. I know because I use timeanddate.com to know things like that, and I know about it because my brother told me about it. Equal day and night occurs, and thereafter the days will get longer. However, I admit that I was perplexed by another set of data. Yesterday at approx 5pm the distance between the Sun and my garden in Dungarvan stood at 147,193,000km. By midnight it had reduced to 147,189,000km. The garden was 4,000km nearer to the source of all life! I was perplexed, as I’ve already mentioned. In fact, as I’ve mentioned it twice now, my level of perplexity is doubled. I needed to go back to some of my school science lessons. This did not help at all. I needed the help of my brother Micheál.

How come the earth is getting closer to the sun, and it’s WINTER?, I asked.

Winter is caused by the tilt of the earth away from the sun, not by the distance from it. Simple science, really, says he.

Today, as I write at 6pm, the distance is reduced by a further 9,000km to 147,180,000km, and most of this movement towards the sun happened while I slept.

It’s now time for my weekly Short Days Challenge summary since last week:
Thursday, December 13th: Today’s winter garden: WET. Continuing #shortdayschallenge as I briefly log winter here in Waterford, Ireland. Time to focus on the little things, such as 38.6mm of rain.

Heavy rain, then more heavy rain

Friday, December 14th: Incredibly, its the front garden. This is its’ debut photo. A winter scene including narcissus tete-a-tete, polyanthus, viola and an ivy. The narcissus is almost in flower. I think it is a display model intended for an indoor window-sill. But I’m not having any of that sort of thing (As Ted & Dougal would say: Down with that sort of thing.)

Front garden debut photo

Saturday, December 15th: Oh the weather outside is frightful, and #stormdeirdre is is on the way, bringing bucketloads of wind and rain. These pretty #kalanchoe (K. blossfeldiana), commonly known as Flaming Katy, are safely tucked up on the kitchen windowsill, and brighten this miserable day.
Continuing #shortdayschallenge as I briefly log winter here in Waterford, Ireland. Time to focus on the little things. The big thing is due after 3pm.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Sunday, December 16th: A trapped leaf among the pebbles. It has been there for the past week, standing erect despite the buffeting winds of Storm Deirdre. Also, a single rose petal.

Storm Deirdre couldn’t move this stubborn leaf

Monday, December 17th: The apples are under water. There’s been over 48 hours of constant rain, and the saucer is flooded despite having three small drainage holes. No doubt they are clogged with leaf debris or something other. I’ll have to get the Council out to clear it.

Apples: drowned by Deirdre

Tuesday, December 18th: Since red is the colour of blood, it has historically been associated with sacrifice, danger and courage. Modern surveys in Europe and the United States show red is also the color most commonly associated with heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy. In China, India and many other Asian countries, it is the color of symbolizing happiness and good fortune. (from Wikipedia)
Have you any thoughts on red in the garden? You will, no doubt, be aware of red and green being the traditional colours of Christmas. Note: not white!

Traditional colours of Christmas

Wednesday, December 19th: How is today’s winter garden affected by sunlight? How is it affected by distance from the sun? A close look at both screenshots shows that in 7 hours the distance between the sun and my garden has decreased by approx 4000 kilometres. Thankfully winter solstice is very close and the garden will start to get warmer as the distance narrows further.
Continuing #shortdayschallenge as I briefly log winter here in Waterford, Ireland. Time to focus on the little things. Actually they are huge things, yet the small daily changes may not always be noticed.

147.193 million km just before 5pm
The earth is a fast mover!

Would you like to join in? Simply use the hashtag #shortdayschallenge either on your blog, Facebook or Instagram to connect with many others noticing the little winter things that bring delight to these short days.

Páraig (also known as Pat) is the author of Petals by Paraig. He loves his roses, winter solstice and small plants such as Flaming Katy. He also likes Timeanddate.com and watching the rain from the kitchen, but not when there’s a bucketful (like maybe 36.4mm) during a storm called Deirdre.

Until next week, enjoy the Christmas season.
Paraig

Storm Barbara

The storm has arrived. It’s only our second storm of the winter, and it’s called Storm Barbara. I’ve waited for it. Normally, I’ve attempted to get the latest article online by Wednesday each week. This week is different, though. I’m extra busy, but now that the wind and rain are all around, just two days before Christmas, I’ve taken time out from the busyness to sit and write. Time out from wrapping gifts, endless cycling, tidying my room and preparing sherry trifle while trying out the Baileys cream. There are thirty-seven other jobs that need doing, but right now I want to write during the storm.

No gardening today, but it’s nice to be inside looking out.
Happy Christmas from Dungarvan,
Pádraig, 23rd December 2016.