Sunday 28 April 2019

Spanish And Oriental Mature Planting In The Garden.

Here's a picture of part of the garden.  There is quite a lot of Bamboo and a Myrtle tree.  

I brought a couple of small bamboo plants in a wheelie bin full of herbaceous perennials eighteen years a go when we moved here.  I bought the Myrtle tree from a church fete in Durrus the same summer.  It was only about a foot high in a pot and we paid 1.50 for it.  Its now fifteen feet high.  The Bamboo is quite invasive and it makes a great screen.  You can't see the poly-tunnel can you?

Apparently Sir Walter Raleigh brought to England and Ireland in 1586.  Along with tobacco, oranges, potatoes and not forgetting his bicycle factory in Nottingham?  

He even named his house Myrtle Grove in Youghal. Regular readers will remember when we visited there and the Almshouses.

Myrtle is only half hardy but seems to survive in coastal gardens on the Gulf stream.  I like it for its white blossom and its gnarling and peeling bark.  Myrtle is often seen at Hebrew weddings.  

Bamboo and Myrtle give a mature look to the garden.  There also foxgloves and forget me nots growing among the perennials.  My garden has an eclectic approach to planting: Oriental, Spanish, Natural, Cottage garden?  A bit of everything!

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Looking For Antiques On The Car Boot Sale.

Hope you had a good weekend?  

We went to a car boot sale on Sunday morning.  Didn't see any car boots for sale though.

I did spot an old tarnished brass kettle.  It looks Victorian or Edwardian.  Made before we got the leccy connected and when the lady of the house would say:

"More tea vicar?  You've ate all the bloody cake!"

I blame my dear dad.  He got me into collecting old stuff and even now I am like somebody looking at a puppy with those adorable "puppy dog" eyes saying:

"Please take me home!"

So I gave the man the money and he put the kettle in a plastic bag and here it is before and after its clean:

Do you remember this song from the nineteen nineties?  It's always playing on my mental jukebox, sadly!

You got any car-boot bargains/treasure lately?  Are you a collector?  What do you collect?

Wednesday 17 April 2019


I chanced among these Bluebells growing under trees on some land the other day.  They are magnificent specimens and the leaves from the old trees seems to be feeding them and giving them some love leaf mould compost.

Here's a poem by Anne Bronte:  

She was only 29 when she died.  My mother would take us every year to visit Anne's grave when we stayed in Scarborough on our holidays. I often think what beautiful people they must have been to write such beautiful poetry.


Sunday 14 April 2019

Power To The Allotment Cats.

Have you heard of Robert the allotment cat?  I hadn't until yesterday.  Did you see the superb BBC 4 documentary: "Last Orders" on Friday night?  It was about the legendary pub rock band Chas and Dave,  They even supported Led Zeppelin at Knebworth.

Any way I read that Chas had an allotment and he wrote a book about it.  Sounds like my kind of book: rocknroll and growing stuff.  While I was Googling this I started reading about a cat who lived with seven other feral cats in Birmingham.

Apparently the local council wanted to build a carpark for the Commonwealth Stadium.  Robert and his friends the allotment holders started a campaign and thanks to public reaction the local council have had a change of heart.  The allotments will not be being tar-maced over.  

I looked at the excellent website of the Walsall road allotments.  It's very good and the allotment holders originate from all over the world.  I bet they could show me how to grow some weird and wonderful vegetables?

Any way.  Well done Robert and the gang.  The paw is mightier than the council pen.  Perhaps you played this song when you heard the council chief was coming to see you?

Friday 12 April 2019

Argentinian Japanese Gardens?

Yep.  The wife's sister who lives in England.  Recently went on holiday to Argentina.  The wife gave her the usual request:: 

 "Dave says will you tek (that's how I say it) some photos of any gardens."

Regular readers will remember her trip to Japan and the stunning photos.  Especially Hiroshima Peace Park.  I love Japanese gardens do you?  Did you see the excellent Monty Don's Japanese Gardens recently?  There's a clip of the CD on You Tube.  

Apparently the Chinese first originally designed these Oriental style gardens.  They were designed for people to take tea in.  It sound so quintessentially English doesn't it?
Jean's sister said the Buenos Aires gardens had not yet reached their Spring best.  But the feeling of peace was amazing.  The best time to visit Japanese gardens are in the spring and autumn. 

Every time I think of Japanese gardens.  I think of family holidays to Scarborough and the Japannese themed Peasholm Park.  There are two Japanese gardens I would like to visit in Ireland.  There are Several in the UK.  

Here's some photos.  I know a lot of you like looking at gardens. Thanks B.

Why not visit a Japanese garden near you?  Anybody thought of making one?  We have mountain and water (the bay) and bamboo and Azaleas and Hydrangeas.. So I suppose all we need is a little billy goat gruff style of bridge and a tea room.  Not that I drink tea, except for herbal one's like Turmeric and my own homemade nettle tea. I like black coffee in a cafetiere.  

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Our Kitchen Windowsill Allotment And Utility Room Seed Growing Areas And Domino Does A Bit Of Gardening.

Things are getting busy on the old growing front.  The kitchen windowsill is now a temporary home for some Peppers and a tray of Capsicums. Courtersy of Lidl who give you a free Veg pot seed box for every twenty Euros you spend.  The Goodness Garden Gang is encouraging everybody to get growing.  I don't get paid from Lidl for keep mentioning them.  I just like them.

We had some amazing crops from them last year. Especially tomatoes and cucumbers.  I just fed them with my garden nettle and cow poo tea.  Who needs commercial products full of chemicals?

 The old Utility room or Boot room if your posh?  More trays on top of the work tops over the washer, dishwasher, fridge and tumble dryer.  I can wash my clothes in 14 minutes on one of the washes!  Guess who recently tried to put dirty dishes and cutlery in the fridge?  The sign on the wall reads: "I Should Be Managing United".  Don't suppose I'll ever play for them now?  Not even in a brass band.  Gosh those players annoy me when they ask for pay rises.  I'd play for them for nothing.  

It just goes to show you can start your veg and seeds off anywhere.  When we lived in a flat twenty years or more ago.  I grew potatoes in a plant pot in the front bedroom window.  I have heard of people growing Cannabis and wild bird seed ("Bush") in pots in their windows.  They got 'stomed' and we had some nice spuds for tea!

I decided to weed the flowerpots on Sunday Morning.  Must get rid of those plastic ones or  use them on the plot.  Domino decided to help weed.  Or  was he getting high on the Cat-mint  or Nepeta again?  "It's all too much man!"

Saturday 6 April 2019

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Spring Is On The Way.

 Things are hotting up in ye olde polytunnel or 'Portugal', it's other name.  I bought the vegetable grow bags for six Euros each,  Dunno if they have chemical fertilizers in them.  We bought some cucumbers and tomato plants from our German garden centre (Lidl) 4 for 5 Euros.  I have planted potatoes in the plant pots and lettuces.  I prefer flat lettuces to Iceberg curly ones!

My 'Japs' or Winter onions.  They are planted in September every year.  I am mulching with grass clippings this year.  It suppresses the weeds and feeds the onions.  They seem to be loving it.  Don't know why I always composted the grass.  I am using it in different areas of the veg plot this year.  But I never apply it when its freshly mown.  Theres always a danger it could burn the plants.  Do you use grass clippings in your veg plot?  I have also put some in my barrel of 'garden tea' along with the fresh nettles and cow plop in a pillow case.  It smells horrible but you never need to buy a liquid feed again.  You just have to dilute it 10-1.

Below I took this picture through the mesh at the back of the polytunnel.  We only have one mesh front door.  Domino was busy eating grass.  A sure sign of rain.  Sure enough while I write this its raining.  Who needs to watch the weather forecast?  Just get yourself a dog or a cat. 

 The potatoes are stretching their arms in the polystrene packaging I planted in compost last month.
 The garlic and herbs seem happy enough in the old wheelbarrow that we grew carrots in last year.  There's a lot to be said for raised bed gardening.  Why dif God put the ground down there?
Parsnips sown yesterday.  I got my small crow bar and made holes in the soil after forking it over.  Then filled the holes with compost and sowed 3 Parsnips seeds per hole.  I will discard the weakes ones.  They take a long time to germinate.  I use to grow Parsnips and Beetroot for my parents.  It's silly how thinking of certain vegetables make you sad isn't it?  Notice the grass mulch around the compost filled holes?  What are you up to in your garden?

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Planting Praeties Time.

Yes its that time of the year folks.  We bought six small net bags of seed potatoes  from our local German (Lidl) garden centre for fifteen Euros.  That's about twelve Pounds fifty if you live in Blighty.  We are growing Sharpes Express and British Queens this year.  My Irish grandfather always grew the British Queens.  We only grow a few rows of early potatoes.  

Here's some pictures for you:
 Its been lovely weather (until last night and today) and we managed to plant the seed potatoes.  You can see the bay in the distance and my two cold frames.  I showed you the brick made construction last week.  The one furthest way is made from old 3x2 lengths of woods.  There are approximately 300 rooted cuttings in there and to use McDonald's theme: "I'm (their) loving it!"  

I was reading that commercially bought potting composts could have chemical fertilizers in them.  Anybody know?  Do you make your own potting compost mix?  Any compost recipes most gratefully welcome!

We always plant sticks at the end of the rows for markers.  I plant Dogwood or Cornus because they root and you get a new shrub or ten for nothing.  See the plastic baths?  I use to grow veg in them but now I put my perennials in pots in them.
I always plant in a north to south direction.  My trusty Azada hoe dug the trenches for me.  I helped a bit though.  Then we covered them up with the Azada and the four prong pike.  
I am going to mulch the potatoes with grass cuttings.  Not fresh though because it could burn the stalks.  I mulched my Japanese onions recently with grass clippings and they love the grass.  It works like a natural fertilizer and mulch and keeps the weeds at bay.  Does anybody else use grass for a mulch?  

I put some grass clippings in my garden tea barrel last week along with the nettles and pillow of cow poo.  I needed no tomato fertilizer last year when I used my magic garden brew.  You have to dilute it 10-1 though.

Have you planted your spudatoes yet?  What varieties are you growing?  The potatoes we planted in the polystyrene box in the polytunnel have pushed their stalks through the soil.  

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...