Last Post 1327 days 14 hours ago
30 September 2009 15:26:53
Polyanthus in bloom 30/09/09
While waiting for a phone call made use of the time to dead head the Gertrude Jekell rose along the terrace and see how everything is doing. Geraniums in the pots by the french doors from the dining and siting rooms in full flight. The hydrangeas haven't flowered but very healthy learnt my lesson on to remove spent flowers as I did last year, hope they perform next year. The campanula Elizabeth that I split in 3 before I planted it seems to be growing well and even looks as though it will flower possibly, around it I sowed anemones white I think and they also have produced leaves thought it would be next year before I saw anything from them. In the bed on the east there is some Lysichiton just blooming thought it was past and there in the front of the bed is some polyanthus that has just come into flower. Looking around I can see tips of leaves emerging from spring bulbs. So what season are we in is the question?
30 September 2009 00:44:00
Some of the blackberries went into the remainder of my apples, more apple and blackberry crumble on the menu, 2 more packets gone to the freezer for winter desserts. The bulk of the blackberries went into Bramble jelly, now joined jars of Spiced Damson, Damson and a Raspberry and Blackberry given to me by my friend Kate. Building up quite a store no jam buying for quite a while. A trip to the top of the hill is on the cards again hopefully in the next day or so would be a pity to let all the blackberries go to waste or feed the birds. More french beans to pick yet for the freezer. Leeks are now in Leek and Potato soup, things definitely taste even better when you've grown yourself, swedes coming on well and purple srouting brocolli, carrots coming on nicely even the thinnings as recommended by Chillipepper and I even have a few cherry tomatoes to use. Need to make plans for the Kitchen garden next year so as it's even more productive, lost most of my cauliflower so need to work out how to keep the pests off. Some more photos in kitchen garden album.
30 September 2009 00:01:50
Kitchen Garden Produce
Tried to post journal Sunday evening and then disgust the whole lot closed down another journal gone to cyberspace- so off I went to bed frustrated, haven't had time since with one thing another,
Saturday night was my daughter Caroline's 30th birthday party, night was rocked by my youngest Conor's band MGRB. Seems no time since Caroline was a little bundle of joy, how time flies, sister Rosemary turned 31 on Monday makes me feel my age. Anyway back to my childhood memories, Sunday morning after spending time in the kitchen garden picking french beans, carrots, leeks and the few remaining peas I headed off up the hills with my two springers Connie and Grouse in hot pursuit. Feeling my age and my knees so went in the jeep, well the view and the breeze certainly blew any cob webs out of my head. What a difference a week made to the blackberries, lots more ready and I continued on along another head, put some photos in hips,haws and berries. Digital camera godsend and saves a fortune on developing, should have had one sooner. As I picked blackberries I got to thinking about childhood and growing up on a farm, all the things we did from helping with all the farm chores to the wonderful baking that my mother would produce inclding blackberry and apple pies - mmm just delicious.It also got me thinking about how much things have changed and life for our kids, we're all striving so hard to give them more but are they growing up into young adults who are going to find it hard to deal with this economic hardship that is hitting us all. Enough of the "R" thoughts, bringing up children has many similarities to gardening, lots of hard work, disappointment, frustration and also lots of joy, amazing how all are given the same growing conditions and they're all different.
Well 2nd time lucky it's up.
23 September 2009 23:59:23
Elderberries for jelly
This recipe comes from Darina Allen's book Irish Traditional Cooking.
3lbs(1.35 Kg) crab apples or cooking apples
4 pints( 2.3 litres) elderberries ( remove berries from stalks with prongs of a fork)
2 pints ( 1,1 litres) water
peeled rind 1 orange
half stick cinnamon
Wash apples remove any blemishes, cut into pieces put into pan with elderberries, add water cover and simmer to a pulp. Pour into a jelly bag or muslin cloth and leave to drip. Measure the juice and add 1lb (450g) of sugar to each pint (600ml). Put sugar and juice into pan and disolve over a moderate heat. Tie orange peel and cinnamon together and add to pan boil for 15 minutes, then test for setting. Put a teaspoonful on a cold plate, jelly should wrinkle when pressed with a finger. If it doesn't then cook for a bit longer and test again. Remove cinnamon and orange rind and pour into sterilised jars and cover. This jelly should be soft rather than too firm a consistency. There is also a recipe for crab apple jelly in this book.
23 September 2009 10:40:37
Blackberries and elderberries have now been processed. Monday I headed off to the crab apple trees on the far side of the farm as the tree beside the yard has been cleared by the birds. There are still quite a few crab apples left yet but I think they will feed the birds as well in some ways it's a shame not to turn them into jelly, perhaps I'll take another trip out at the weekend. The blackberries were added to apples that came from the garden, the apples were very sharp and I decided that they would be used in cooking. The resulting apple and blackberry crumble was delicious. My friend Kate had suggested cooking the apple and adding the blackberries and freezing so I followed her suggestion and there are 5 more pack in the freezer for use through the winter. Will go out again and pick some more as I now know where the best bushes are on the farm.
There is definitely something very satisfying in eating produce that has come from the wild or the garden, the leek and potato soup made using leeks and onions from the kitchen garden was delicious, I doubt if the veg will take over from my love of flowers but certainly they won't be the only thing I grow anymore.
21 September 2009 00:31:08
Sambucas & Lythrum
Gardening was minimal today working this morning then cooking lunch, by the time I got round to it I decided instead to go picking blackberries and elderberries. The elderberries are rapidly being striped from the hedges and if I didn't move now there would be none left. Finding juicy blackberries was also quite a job lots in the hedges but not either ready to pick or a bit wizened, Went up the fields should have taken the camera too as the view over the countryside is wonderful from on top of the hill, collected the best berries there as well. Picked more peas although they are coming to an end, french beans still yielding, hopefully still more to come. Left kitchen garden with peas,beans,a swede and leeks which I plan to use for potato and leek soup. Need to try and spend some time digging the raised beds and as I'm not probably going to sow anything more add some of our rotted manure and then not sure how to stop the weeds taking over. Should I sow a green manure crop or cover it to stop weed seeds germinating? Any tips from the veg men?Hoping the weather stays reasonable so as I can plant up daffs etc. and try to gather more elderberries and blackberries.
20 September 2009 00:58:15
Watching and on the hunt
While out taking photos I was accompanied by Connie and Grouse my springers. Connie was on the scent of something but Grouse who is now an elderly gentleman stood watching me. The leaves are turning colour and have started to fall a sure sign that autumn is on it's way here cool nights and yes glorious the last few days.
PS. Don't know why but Grouse is chopped off except for his head in the photo will post up tomorrow in Sept album.
20 September 2009 00:49:40
Gertrude Jekell and Snapdragon I think
Cracking day to be out and about but by the time I finished teaching I was mentally and physically drained couldn't get it together to start into the garden. Then my sister arrived and really that ended any chance of gardening, I did however manage to escape for a short time, deadheaded the roses and removed a few weeds in the bed along the terrace. It was just so warm and the door from the kitchen was open to the terrace it just seemed to draw me out to check on what's happened in the last few days. I certainly felt better for my wander around with the camera, more photos including this one of David Austin rose Gertrude Jekell and hiding beneath it is I think a Snapdragon, I had sown seeds earlier a mix of the poppies and perrenials. I really should lift out the various perennials and try and see what has appeared and then decide where to plant them. The poppies and love in a mist have certainly filled the bed around the roses with colour, I will miss the poppies especially when they die back as they are just outside the kitchen,such a splash of colour blowing in the breeze,
17 September 2009 18:44:47
Sparkling in the dew
What a fantastic autumn day, started cold and ver foggy here and gradually the sun burnt through to produce the most gorgeous day, not overly hot but sunny the sun is slowly dropping to the south west producing a glowing light. I had no garden time but Caroline cut the grass again and it certainly looks a lot better - cut twice in a week. Not too much damage from the horses gallop around last week but then it's a country lawn not a bowling green. Took this photo of a web sparkling in the sunlight breaking through this morning. Uploading photos of the poppies also with a liberal sprinkling of dew into the September album. Still envious of anyone who's out and about in the garden this weather.
16 September 2009 23:15:51
Reading through all the journal entries it's amazing how much work is being done, I'm finding it really hard not to spend time in the garden but I have other things to keep me busy. I managed to pick peas and beans for the freezer and removed caterpllars from the brocolli trying to make sure it doesn't go the same way as the cauliflower. Other than that it's been just watering pots and plants in waiting as everything is so dry, jasmine in pot has just come into flower.Have put up few new photos in the September album including one of this lone calendula has appeared in the in the bed on the NW side of the house. In 2007 I sowed a packet if seeds and this little fellow must be a descendant of these. Hope the weather holds till after the weekend so as I manage to plant up the daffodils and alliums.
11 September 2009 10:02:21
Heron doing less damage
Woken up this morning by the sound of galloping hooves. Lept out of bed to discover that the horses were using the garden as a race track.The garden opens from the car park yard all around the house and also onto the lane. It's not that any of them would ever grace the hallowed turf but they had their sites set on giving it a try. The sound of thundering hooves was so loud that son no 3 James was also up to see what was going on. Hastily threw on clothes and Johnny and I went to catch them. This is the 2nd time this has happened this year and I had requested gates from the car park yard on the lane and into the garden but like many things it was put on the long finger, definitely needs to be sorted now. James had spent the early evening yesterday cutting the grass and had mowed in front of the house and the section in front of the kitchen garden, he commented on how wet the ground was so you can only imagine what state our country type lawns are in. Luckily no plants seem to have been damaged and the crators not just diverts will have to be repaired. We're very lucky that the grass is all that's damaged it's extremely foggy here and that the horses didn't continue down the lane onto the road, the poor soles are so badly in need of fresh grass that they broke the electrified fencing on the field. Can see them be put into starvation for a while if they want to pursue a career in racing. Along with cutting the grass yesterday James had scuffled off the weeds around the NW bed, saves me a lot of backache and hopefully it will stay dry enough to spray the gravel to prevent them appearing again.My only gardening was to pick more beans and peas which are now in the freezer. At the moment it's very foggy here visability about 500m but think the sun is trying to come through. Won't get much time if any today in the garden due to shopping and teaching - not garden shopping by the way.
10 September 2009 00:39:31
Red Dahalia shows it's face
Just spent the last hour or so reading up on activity quite jealous at how much has been done on this summery day. Managed to get about a hour before teaching, time was spent dead heading roses, removing spent flowers on the geraniums by the front door. Took a few photos and my red dahalia has finally decided to show it's face need to be moved so that will happen later once the flowers are gone. Cut back the lupins in the NW corner bed seem to have developed a bad case of aphids - out came the bug spray. I have 2 clumps of Michaelmas daisys but they are sort of mildewed anyone any tips as to what to do. Lifted 3 self seeded foxgloves from the gravel potted them up now in plants in waiting. Most of the lavender that I sowed back in June is doing well it's going to hopefully be a lavender hedge along the edge of the terrace. Hope this fine weather stays so as I manage to get some more of the plants in waiting safely into the ground. James son number 3 came home from Dublin this evening has to cut the grass to morrow and I'll need to find my other spade so as he can also scuffle off the weeds and then hopefully I'll manage to get around to spraying it to curtail it coming back. Needs to do something for us with all the money it costs for him to be at college in Dublin.
08 September 2009 00:21:12
Astrantia Buckwood & Beaujolais Bonnets
To round off a day in the garden any weed seedlings were removed from the south bed, lupins and other plants were deadheaded and then I set to moving the Lily that had been brilliant pink during August to a spot further back in the bed, it's no longer in flower. Some of the blue Campanula also got moved slightly as it has also gone out of flower along with a purple veronica. The space left then became home to the Scabious Beaujolais Bonnets and the soft pink of the Astrantia Major Buckwood. These blend in with the other planting in the bed which is now really coming together. The other day my husband Johnny commented on how good everything looked and asked was I happy with the result. It really is a compliment as he doesn't really notice things that much although he now will go and visit gardens having been to Altamont and Kylemore Abbey he was really quite interested in theboth these gardens perhaps he will become addicted yet.
Still some more plants in waiting Campanula Elizabeth, a peony rose and Aconitum along with lots of Verbena Bonsaris, lupins, Aqulegia and a few other transplanted seedlings but they will have to wait until i have more time. There are a number of plants going to be repositioned as well and the Mallow on the NE corner gable is going to have a serious pruning come later in September as it's gone a bit tatty.
On the whole a good day although the automatic watering system seems to back on again but hopefully if the weather men are right Wednesday will see a change for the better.
07 September 2009 23:01:28
Viburnum snowball in east gable bed
Well after having disruption for a whole day to the automatic watering system it began to return intermitently around 7pm, luckily I managed to get my washing in otherwise it would have been rinsed again. Luckily the rain didn't stop me teaching as I have a roof over my head. The afternoon was taken up with planting up east gable border with my Viburnum burkwoodii Snowball and the replanted shrub Osmanthus x burkwoodii which alsohas white flowers and is evergreen as well. The rose bush got deadheaded now that I could get to the back of it. Any weeds were removed the lupins deadheaded and then into the bed I planted one of my Campanula Elizabeth, I divided the plant in 3 as it had lots of healthy growth hope that they will spread. I also planted 5 aquilegia that I had sown from seed, some of the Sweet William I also sowed earlier. In between the plants I planted both white and purple anenomes and some of the mixed crocus. The whole corner was watered in and then mulched over. My Dicentra was looking a bit jaded so it was also cut back. I need to get some daffodils etc to plant under the shrubs to add some spring colour but that's another days work.
New album up for the East gable bed
07 September 2009 19:08:32
It's D Day for the Mallow
Well a day of sun especially this morning, decided it was D day and the poor delapidated mallow in the east bed was going. Now although the branches were broken by the wind it was fairly staying put by the roots. Decided I needed a big strong man to do the necessary digging and chopping, so James son number 3 put all his effort into loosening it's hold it certainly didn't want to go. All the branches had been amputated before he started and while trying to loosen it's grip snap went the handle on the spade, hope I can get a new handle so the garden fork was used to further loosen it and then it was a case of chopping the main root. There was another shrub in the bed which had been hidden by the mallow so it was duely lifted to along with 2 wallflowers that need to have cutting taken from them. Job done everything removed son retreated before he got another job.
Down to the kitchen garden and peas and beans picked, weeded leeks and removed the mini tunnel of the swedes I had sown about 10 days ago, thinned them out and planted thinnings up hope they will take appears to have worked on the carrot thinnings. I'm not sure that I'm going to have much luck with the cauliflower as something is certainly enjoying them. Back to the kitchen to prepare lunch, last of the home grown spuds used and some of the french beans. The remainder of the beans blanched and into the freezer with the peas. Have to say french beans straight from the garden are delicious compared to those from the supermarket. Fed and watered it was back to the garden had clouded over a bit but ideal for working as I'm not a real sun worshipper.
06 September 2009 01:16:16
Plants in waiting Sept 09
Friday I had to go to near Portadown to collect rosettes for jumping on Sunday so decided to call to Mahon Garden centre nearby, I had bought my last selection of plants there. I had decided to follow Chillipeppers suggestion of sowing potatoes for Christmas and also on the list were over winter onion sets - no luck need to go through mail order for the potatoes and onion sets on order there were no other veg plants that I wanted for the kitchen garden in stock One other item on my list was a shrub that could withstand the winds here, the mallow on the SE corner of the bed along the East gable of the house has just disintegrated in the strong winds we've had over the last few weeks. It really surprises me how the clematis Comtesse de Bouchard is coping out in the open in much the same area. I explained to the assistant what I was looking for preferably an evergreen flowering shrub that would tolerate the wind and provide shelter to other plants in the bed. He showed me a Viburnum Buckwoodii Snowball and some others such as Eleganus but they didn't flower so Viburnum it was. The shrub was taken back to the shop for me and I wandered round adding 3 of each of the following to my shopping Astrania Major Buckland,Aconitum,Campanula Elizabeth a soft pink flower and Scabious Beaujolais Bonnet which is a deep lilac purple. They also had a half price sale on lots of plants but I decided to give them a miss on this trip but perhaps they will still have it on my next trip. I still had some time to spare before heading to collect the rosettes so I made a detour to B&Q, I wasn't prepared for the scent from the Viburnum I had been informed it was scented but I thought that was the pinky white flowers but it was intoxicating filling the car. B&Q was a bit frustrating in that they've now changed to a scan your own checkout and not much help available to explain how to do it. Could be a problem if you had a lot to put through as everything scanned has to go on a scale, I might be a bit old fashioned but it's a bit impersonable. Purchase in B&Q included white and purple anenomes, early crocus , Allium Purple Sensation and Allium Drumstick. These and my other perennial purchases will be planted into the South bed below the terrace which is mainly shades of pink, purple and white. Roll on Monday hope it's a reasonable day then it'll be goodbye mallow and the Viburnum into it's place. One thing I couldn't get in bulk in B&Q was a simple daffodil to naturalise around the trees and shrubs beside the entrance off the lane they only had mixed bulk bags so that's another shopping trip to look forward to.
05 September 2009 18:45:29
Comtesse de Bouchard
One of the plants which has continued to flower in sunshine (limited) and through gails to provide summer colour and still going strong is the clematis Comtesse de Bouchard. I planted it in June on the arch and am amazed that it still is flowering strongly despite the open site it is on. The other clematis on the arch Elsa Spath has performed well but definitely the Comtesse is one to own as it has produced flowers for over 2 months and still has so many buds to open.
03 September 2009 00:39:33
Elderberries nearly ready
Just had a look at the endless list of activity but being disciplined not going to start into it now otherwise I'll be up all night. Great changes bound to encourage more members and activity.
02 September 2009 11:51:28
Looking Through My Window Pane
Just cut off some stems of Sea Holly that had become damaged in the wind, put them into an old earthenware jar on the utility room window and with the purple of the buddliea it brings outside in.
WHO's been sleeping in my bed?
On a different note something has decided to sleep on the aquilegia and the snowflake gypsophila as well as scuffling up other plants and bulbs am going to move the sonic animal scarer to it later once the dogs aren't out and about to see if that stops the problem . Not sure what else I can try although it may just mean whatever it is moves to another place.
02 September 2009 11:39:17
Well verdict on the potatoes from Caroline not good, I thought that the ones that I had given her were okay but the first one must have been a slug dinner as well. I asked her what the others were like or had she brought them back but no found they had gone to the bin as she was a bit parinoid after finding a slug in the first- children aren't used to things not being perfect. A couple of the ones I dug up this morning had severe slug damage and the soil they were in was quite damp. It did recommend to lift potatoes in Irish gardens to prevent slug damage so all my spuds are now lifted, I had left them in the ground thinking they would be okay as they hadn't got blight, another lesson learned. This week will definitely be the last of home grown spuds although I think I will follow Chillipepper's advice and try some Christmas ones - better get a move on, going to head to the local garden centre to see if they have seed potatoes and over winter onion sets. On onions took a look at the ones lifted a couple of weeks ago, I moved them to one of the sheds on the farm there all strung over a rope along a beam, appear to be drying out well so keeping my fingers crossed they will all be okay as they weren't doing too well in all the rain.
01 September 2009 19:14:25
Very changeable day weatherwise with rain travelling northwards. Afternoon turned out well lots of much wanted sun, had a few minutes to spare so out came the camera to take some photos of hips, berries and haws and some photos of the maples but a number the leaves were already gone. Took a number of other photos of flowers and this beautiful butterfly. Pulled out a few weeds on my stroll around then it was off to work. When I'd finished Caroline asked me if I had any new potatoes so off we went to investigate the bed by the house, I had lifted some back at the end of June but not touched them since. They seemed to escape the blight and instead of what Caroline thought would be small potatoes out came decent sized ones. I wonder what Caroline's verdict will be when she come in to work tomorrow. I cooked some for tea and the only problem was that one or two seemed to be bored by some little bug into but rest were fine. They cooked well were quite floury, will have to dig up rest in the next day or so then it's back to buying them.
Well off to teach more SUN SHINING at the moment, will put up more photos later