Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Some Interesting Plants On The Smallholding.

 This is a picture of one of our plant pots outside our little cottage (cosy dwelling) here in beautiful West Cork.  The pink flower is Saxifraga Umbrosa ("London Pride").  This traditional perennial rapidly took over (colonized) the Blitz bomb sites in London during the second world war.  Noel Coward wrote 'London Pride' celebrating London and this wonderful flower.  It was seen to be a symbol of resilience and the futility of the Germans thinking they could bomb Londoners into submission.  I love perennials and they are so easy to divide over an over again.

You can also see the red (pink?) Valerian poking its head into the picture.  They are said to attract rats and cats.  Apparently its the Actinidine in the oil of the flowers that attract the rats and cats.  It's traditionally a seaside plant and it self seeds every where.  The one in the pictures is growing from a crack in the mortar in the paving.  The other flower is a fragrant geranium.  I think its called geranium mandaresa?  No doubt you will tell me.
The wellingtons are no longer in smallholding service because they have holes in the toe part.  So I placed them in between the plant pots and I think they make a nice garden feature.  The milk thistle in the paving was planted by the weed gods in front of the terracotta (real plastic) plant pots.  Even milk thistle is useful for liver complaints.  There seems to be a use for most plants, wild and domesticated.  Do you love herbaceous perennials? When do you make cuttings or do you just divide them?


  1. Quite ashamed to admit I can't name most of the flowers in our garden.

    However, I can identify all the plants I don't want like ragwort, nettles, docks, dandelions, brambles. They all seem to spring from nowhere and take over.

  2. Hi Cumbrian, Thanks for the comment. Been mad busy today. So many of the weeds (a wild flower in the wrong place) have uses. Just found a recipe for Japanese Knotweed wine and Japanese Knotweed ale.

    Beautiful day today. Lots of silage being cut around Cork. We will get ours cut in a couple of weeks. Thanks!

  3. Yes, the fields here (the ones not full of sheep) are looking very green, can't be long until silage time.

    The Japanese Knotweed is taking over a few areas here, notably near the river, never had the bottle to try and make anything from it. Did see a programme where somebody had stewed it like rhubarb and was eating it.

  4. A lot of the farmers here have been getting 3 silage crops a year. It's slurry, bag manure, cut, slurry, bag manure, cut.... We saved 7 round bales from lasy year and we have 20 round bales of straw. Hoping to cut 3 fields of bale silage in about a fortnight.

    Japanese Knotweed is getting bad over here. I believe a lot of people planted it for an ornamental feature in their gardens and it escaped. A lot came with Rhododendrons which were planted on the large country estates for game cover.

    Wonder if there is an organic method of killing Japanese Knotweed? I have heard of mulching it but most people who get J K seem to have the problem for life.

  5. Hi, london pride takes me back to being a kid! (I'm 43) I was brought up by my grandparents after being born illegimately in an unmarried mothers home. (the shame!) My nan got me back. Never any money but the garden of the small terraced house was immaculate. The neighbour grew this. It grew like wildfire and spread. I remember a community spirit I wish we still had, talking over the fence etc. Wow, what memories are evoked from a plant! Louise

  6. Hi, Thanks for telling us about your memories spent at your nan's house. I can picture the London Pride growing in their immaculate garden. The smell of turf (Peat) burning or fresh hay takes me back to when I use to stay on my grandparents farm here in Ireland. Thanks Louise!


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