Six-on-Saturday – Snow Moon

It’s been a mixed-up week. There were several beautiful days of spring sunshine, perfect for spending time in the garden. On the other hand, we’ve had two days of high winds, torrential rain and flooding.

27th February 2021.

In normal circumstances at this time of the year, my friend Declan and I would have completed two long 200-kilometre cycling days out. We’d have had plenty coffee, laughs and lunch along the way. So far since the start of the year, I’ve barely covered 200 kilometres in the car, as I go round and round within my 5 kilometre zone. In all of this madness, I’m ever so happy to be able to move unhindered through the garden. There are no Garda checkpoints and I’m not required to wear a mask.

So, here we go again for this week’s end of February Six-on-Saturday. All you got to do is follow this link, read Jon’s update and then look at all the links from everyone in the comments. You’ll likely come across mine there, and simply by tapping on it, you’ll end up back here. By the way, tap is the new click for touchscreens. Tapping on an older screen is very therapeutic but gets you nowhere.

1. Agapanthus

I had left the old seed heads of the Agapanthus rather than cut them for the compost heap. Finally Faoi dheireadh, they got the snip during the week, but I couldn’t bring myself to dump them. For the time being, they’ll do just fine here. I’ll plant Sweet Peas and other annual climbers here in May, and even as they bring colour to this bare wall, the Agapanthus shall remain hidden behind.

2. Polyanthus

Patience is a virtue. So goes the old saying. Well, I’m delighted that the polyanthus plugs I bought from Jersey Plants Direct back in September are beginning to flower. At present, they are all in pots and window boxes. Yes, there are 160 of them. Yes, they arrived by post as tiny babies and yes I grew them on carefully and planted them before Christmas. What I like about these ones is that the flowers bláthanna are held above the plants on a stem.

3. Potting On

In Nora’s Teach Gloine, the top shelves are almost full. In all, there are seventeen trays of seedlings. Now, it’s time to move to the next step of the process. The Dahlias, Sweet Peas and Osteospermums are ready to be potted on to three inch pots, while the five Tomato varieties will be ready in another week or two. I made a start during the week, and as a consequence, space will be at a premium from now until the end of April. Very soon I will need to store plants on the lower shelves, knowing that they will not get as much light there, so a rotation system will need to be started. I have four rows of shelving on each side, and plants will need to be moved up one shelf every four or five days. Plants on the top shelf will then be demoted to the bottom. I have a feeling that I’ll be moving seedlings in my sleep!

4. Paeony

Three Peony roots arrived last November from China, because I ordered them. Logical, really. Having ignored the instructions which advised immediate planting, I got around to it in early January. Last week, my fellow Six-on-Saturday gardener Gill The Gymnist showed her’s peeping above ground. I spent a while walking around practicing swear words as Gaeilge because all I could see here was bare soil. Therefore, when I spotted this on Wednesday, I stopped walking around and put a few bob in the swear jar. (Don’t believe everything you read… I don’t have a few bob to put in the swear jar).

5. Vegetable Beds

There’s a lot going on here. In the foreground, the broad beans are beginning to stretch so I’ve added some bamboo canes and string to support them. There’s a second batch sown just to the right of them and I expect them to pop up any day now. On the extreme right the autumn-sown onions are doing well and I expect to harvest them in May or June.

The second bed at top of picture is empty folamh* at the moment except for cuttings and pelargoniums in the cold frame on the left. I have a half-door placed on top to heat up the section where the early potatoes will be planted very soon. There’s an old saying here that earlies would need to be in the ground by St. Patrick’s Day. Sounds about right to me. Half doors added in late February add flavour to the spuds.

*Note: In Irish, the combination of letters “mh” is sounded as “v”. There are only 18 letters in Irish alphabet. J, k, q, v, w, x, y and z are not used in native words. Thus endeth the lesson.

6. Spinach

Last year, I grew Spinach for the first time. I enjoyed the harvest for many months and resolved to grow plenty again this year, and perhaps a few new varieties too. So, I’m starting with Spinach Perpetual. I’ll be sowing this outside in early April, and in the meantime, I’ll sow it in the heated propagator in the hope of having an earlier harvest. Fine big seeds, so there’s no problem sowing.

Sowing Spinach YouTube link

When it comes to planting these outside in April, I’m going to make sure they are shaded by larger plants because they are less likely to bolt in shade. The cucumbers will be sown beside them. It’s all planned out.

In Other News…

February’s full moon is known as the Snow Moon, and sometimes as the Hunger Moon. Every 29 years there is no full moon in February, known as a Black Moon. The next one is in 2033. I don’t understand how something that doesn’t happen can be named.

Ireland is experiencing the pain of extended Level 5 restrictions. We continue as we were until the first week of April. We are also experiencing extreme helplessness in bringing about change to Government policy of not giving an adequate damm about allowing contaminated inward flights. Quarantining is not effective because it is recommended rather than mandatory.

On the positive side, Mam got her vaccine yesterday, and the second dose is scheduled for next month. Not a bother, she says.

Six-on-Saturday: Who are we?

We are a 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 last June and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away as New Zealand, Tasmania, USA, Canada, Britain and Waterford City. Lest we forget, hundreds more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Could be anything, and frequently is. Do join in.

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading. Have a good week. Stay safe. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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Six on Saturday – Probably The Best Success

Bird nests are overpriced, similar to Irish house prices, and there are several almost-worn-out boots within striking distance.

14th November 2020.

It’s been a very dangerous year and November is the most dangerous month. Since last March I’ve spent a small pension on my little gáirdín, and in the past week I’ve needed to have a man-to-man chat with myself. In the aftermath of several nights watching the US election coverage on Fox CNN I   overcame three urges. Firstly, I didn’t buy the tempting subscription to Kitchen Garden magazine. (*See Note 1). Secondly, I didn’t buy the Mega Spring Bulb Collection and finally, when shopping locally, I put back one of the plants on my wishlist. You see, I attempted to rein myself in by shopping without a trolley and there’s only so many that I could safely carry in two hands and under my oxter. There was a time when plastic pots were sufficiently durable to carry a circle of three in each hand, but times have changed. My first of this week’s Six is a twin purchase carried delicately in my left hand i mo lámh chlé.

Queen of Carpets

Evergreen & berried

Cotoneaster Queen of Carpets will be just what it says on the tin, and I shall decide very soon where to put them. In line with my Winter Policy, I bought two, the first because it is evergreen and the second because it has beautiful red berries dearga. (Linguistic note: in many languages, unlike English, the adjective comes after the noun.) The fact that both are evergreen and berried need not be emphasised.

Sedum

I bought only one Sedum. It is evergreen but does not have winter berries. Again, I’ve yet to decide exactly where to put it. I know it will go on the Rockery Clé (see above, much further above) and I’ll give some further thought to its final position there.

Rosa Just Joey

Just Joey: the best success

Here’s the last flower for the year on my favourite scented rose. I’m including it to remind me of Joe’s election success. It will bloom again next year an bhliain seo chugainn. It’s a tremendous success. Tremendous. Probably the best success.

PiPCamera

The Bird Boot

© Unknown

This is not my boot, nor my nesting site. I came across it while distracting myself from overnight CNN customer messages last week. “Customer messages” is such a lovely catchphrase, as opposed to advertisements. I noted i mo cheann that timber bird nests are overpriced, similar to Irish house prices, and also that there are several almost-worn-out boots within striking distance. I may ask for permission to use one, fully understanding that I would need to provide an artist’s sketch of the final product in order to be allowed proceed. I’m doing it for the birds. I’m torn about whether left or right would suit best. I would also need to confirm that I am daft.

Lest boot. Perfect planning

On a Plate

Birds need food, particularly in November. At the moment, there’s still enough for all of them. Many of the tiny tiny apples on the large tree have fallen. They are not being nibbled yet so I sometimes tidy them up and put them on a plate. Some birds prefer to eat at ground level, some from raised feeders and others directly from the supplier. All the bases are covered.

Úlla beaga

Winter Windows

This year, I’ve had to play smart. I’ll be using these window boxes for my annuals next summer an samhradh seo chugainn, so I planted pots of daffodils and small evergreens inside them for spring.  I’ll simply remove the pots when the time comes. That’s cliste.

A picture tells a lot

Three things you’ve probably already noted:

  • Timber bits under front of boxes
  • Homemade coffee table
  • There’s probably more than three. A picture tells a lot.

Finally, my first extended garden video. Sometimes a video tells more than a photo.

92 seconds of November 2020

Alternately, you may view it on YouTube, together with added notes. You may also subscribe to be notified of future updates. Presently there’s just one subscriber. That’d be me!

All other updates from the Prop Club will provide me with interesting reading again this week. You’re invited to read along. The entire collection will be listed in the comments section of Jon’s six this week.

Here’s a thought…

“A balanced inner calmness radiates from a peaceful centre. It neither craves others’ approval nor rejects others’ presence. It neither pulls towards nor pushes away. It has a reverent attitude towards life and all its inhabitants.” – Donna Goddard

I’d like to think that my garden and my writing about it does bring inner calmness. I hope you all (gardeners & readers) have a great week. Slán go fóill.

Note 1: I have located a free online digital version via Borrow Box at my local library. As yet, the Mega Spring Bulb Collection eludes me.

Pádraig,

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