Friday 31 July 2020

You Couldn't Make It Up.

The powers that be in Blighty Tweeted last night that people in Greater Manchester,  parts of Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire can not visit their neighbours houses but you can meet them in the Mosque, Church , Restaurant or even the old rub a dub.  You could even go out of your county and meet them there.

Call me stupid.  But am I missing something?  I think I will go back to 'Portugal'my polytunnel and pot up some perennials.

Thursday 30 July 2020

The Joy Of Cotoneaster Cuttings.

I checked on my Cotoneaster cuttings today.  This fellow had decided  to grow roots.  I could have just left it with it's other comrades to over winter and root.  But I always like to check them and pot them on.

Have you had any success recently making plant cuttings?

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Sowing Phormium Seeds.

I noticed one of my Phormiums had seed pods on it yesterday.  So I picked them and sowed two trays of it's black seeds.  I usually divide my Phormiums in Spring.  But I thought why not grow some from seed.  Then I Googled sowing Phormiums and discovered that they can take from ten days to six months to germinate.  We'll see.  Any one on here ever grown Phormiums from seed?

Monday 27 July 2020

Lighting The Range In July.

It's  turning into a strange but predictable Summer.  May and some of June was fabulous weather.  But since then it's  been very very mixed.  So mixed that we lit the solid fuel range today.  

We will be warm and we won't  need to turn on the Immersion Heater in the 'hot press' or 'Airing Cupboard'  for some hot water.  I wouldn't like to be holidaying in a tent at the moment, would you?

The range lit in July.

I saw a council workman sweeping leaves with a leaf blower this morning.  The leaves on the trees are turning yellow and the must think it's Autumn.

Saturday 25 July 2020

I Think I Am A Plantaholic.

You know when you are a plantaholic when you find yourself in your polytunnel at ten to seven in the morning checking cuttings  for roots.

Yep.  That was me this very morn.  Here's a photo of two newly rooted cuttings:

Hypericum on the left and Cotoneaster on the right.

Isn't Mother Nature amazing?  

Friday 24 July 2020

Inside The Sedums Cuttings Shade Garden And Sedum Factory/Polytunnel.

The shade garden nursery.  Home under the hedge for some young Sedum plants.
More shade garden photos.  I water them every second day at least.
Sedums plants ready to go.  Do you want to buy any?  I will sell  you them cheap or we can barter?
Even more trays of Sedum plants.

Sedum cuttings in trays starting/waiting to root in trays.
New Sedum cuttings made yesterday in "Portugal" my polytunnel.

Sedums will soon be in flower and they attract the Butterflies and the working Bees.  They have reddish pink flower and a sign that Winter is on it's way.

They are very easy to propagate by division or cuttings.  They are one of my perennial favourites.  No wonder they are called: *Autumn Joy".

Thursday 23 July 2020

The Bomb Site Butterfly Bush.

My Buddleias seem to be late flowering this year.  It's probably because most of my gardens are North (Northsider) facing.   I brought one plant with me to Ireland that I had  took from a cutting about twenty years ago.

Some people say they are invasive and that's why they called the bomb site bush.  I saw some wonderful self seeded specimens growing at Temple Mead Station in Bristol in 2018 on my way to Hardy country.

You can grow them from seed but I like to make cuttings of them and over winter them in pots in "Portugal" my polytunnel or until they are rooted anyway.

I must look for some different colours.  Have you any red ones?  Mine are bluey purple.  I am not female and can't do shades.  If I went in a paint shop I would ask for a tin of "red" paint.  If they asked me what shade I wanted?  I would reply: "Red".  I know what Azure is.  It's  blue!  See what I mean?

My Buddleia bushes.  If you want to attract butterflies and bees to your garden.  Plant a Buddleia Bush.  Sedums attract them too.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Some Garden Photos.

The back garden overlooking the bay.  The Shastas are putting on a mighty show this year.

The Myrtle tree I bought from a church fete in Durrus 18 years ago.  It only cost 1,50 for a small plant in a pot.  Walter Raleigh introduced the Myrtle to England and Ireland.  He also brought potatoes, tobacco and I think bicycles.  Not sure?🤔
A small herbaceous border in flower.  The yellow rose (of Texas) came from our local German garden centre this week.  I potted it up.  Hope you like the pictures?

Tuesday 21 July 2020

The Pub Says See You Soon.

I saw this sign in County Kerry last week:

This pub can not yet open because it doesn't sell food.

In a pub that serves food you must  pay at least 9 Euros for a meal so that  you may purchase a pint also.  But you're only supposed to stay for an hour and half .

From Monday shoppers are required to wear masks.  But you don't need to wear gloves.  How odd?

If you go in a cafe for a "nice" cup of tea or in a pub you are not required to wear a mask.

It's all very odd here in Ireland.  Oh to go back to a time when the only problem was that the pub had no beer:

Monday 20 July 2020

Nose Twist Flowers.

Yes I am talking about Nasturtiums.  Apparently the Latin translation means "nose twist".  I let them self seed and since I top dressed the veg plot with fym, they have gone mad with the weeds.  If you want good weeds and big flowers and veg top dress with cow muck.

Nasturtiums originate in Peru like the potatoes.  They where  first introduced to Europe in the Seventeenth century.  They are also a members of the Brassica family and they are Legumes.  So they extract nitrogen from the air and release it through root nodules.  Legumes actually put something back into the soil

They are edible and contain vitamins C and D.  They mix up the crop rotation self seeding everywhere.  But I like them and nasty insects don't like their peppery smell.

Anyone else like Nassies?  Do you have any good recipes?    I am sure Sol does?

Sunday 19 July 2020

Homemade Beef Pittas.

We have quite a mixed diet and we eat spicy food at least a couple of times a week:  Mexican, Chinese and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes are all on our menu.

Recently we have been eating beef pittas.  If you look online there are many recipes for them.  I love kebabs because it's a full wholesome  meal in a pitta.

I like to make the chilli sauce really hot and the other members of the family prefer them quite mild.  In Northern England you could order a mild, medium or hot kebab.  In Ireland they just serve mild donners.  She's a right one that Donna kebab and she's HOT!😊

Saturday 18 July 2020

Shastas, Dog Rose, Loosestrife in Flower And More Curious Cloud Formations.

It could be America but it's dear old Ireland on Thursday.

Visitors use to comment to my Grandmother on the spectacular scenery from the back of her house.  She would often reply:

"The view won't feed you".

It is a knock out view looking over to Hungry Hill over on Beara.

I look at the view over the bay every day.  Sometimes we can't even see the bay or Beara.  But on Thursday.  God was in his Heaven and Mother Nature painted a lovely picture and vista.

I told you we live on the Irish  Riviera.

Friday 17 July 2020

A Mystical Picture.

Cumulus Nimbus  Floats Byee!

Ireland or "The Kettle " looked rather mystical yesterday.  Beara Peninsula looks how I would imagine Heaven to look like.  The temperature  begin to rise and Ireland-the Kettle begins to steam.

The Cumulus Nimbus made me think of Sweden by The Stranglers.  It's from the Black and White LP.  A record I have played more times than I have had hot dinners.  I have told you a million times don't exaggerate Dave!

Any road have a listen and sing a long and marvel at those guitars, keyboards  and sensationally imaginative lyrics.   It's  like Pink Floyd plays Punk. Enjoy:

Thursday 16 July 2020

Tess Cottage.

I have been looking through some more of our snaps and this one is when I went to Dorset in 2018.

This is Tess Cottage.  We talked to the owners who were keen gardeners.  They said Thomas Hardy arrived one Summers day in a pony and trap and announced:

"This is Tess's Cottage."

 It must have been after Tess had paid for the new roof.

Dorset is full of chocolate box cottages like this.  I often dream of winning the Euro Lottery and buying a place like the one fictional character Tess lived in.  It's  like a chocolate box picture.  Made with traditional  materials and so aesthetically pleasing on the eye.

A better photo for Mr Pudding and everybody of Tess Cottage.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Two Euros Pizza.

We made( I helped, well kind of)  some homemade pizza last night for the grand total of two Euros.  I know!  But you have got to be extravagant sometimes haven't you?

One bought pizza base for 1 Euros, half tube of tomato puree =20 Cents,  half a pouch of chopped cheese = 45 Cents, chopped onions (home grown  on veg plot), sprinkle of dried garlic and oregano.  Total= One Euros and sixty five Cents.  Plus twenty minutes electricity to cook it.  So we'll call it TWO Euros.

If you put pizza in my blog search you will find a few posts about pizza.

Do you remember this:

Tuesday 14 July 2020

When We Visited Warsaw Zoo.

I was looking through old photos the other day and found this one from Warsaw Zoo:

My wife took the picture of a Siberian Tiger eating Elder Berries.  It's  a fabulous photo and it was taken back in 2013 when we visited Warsaw.

The Tiger looks so wise and thoughtful.

Monday 13 July 2020

Blog Post 1000.

Well it's  only took me ten years to get here.  A lot of things have happened in that time.  Some good like finally seeing Kansas live in 2014 and some bad like when my mam and dad went to Heaven in 2012.

My blog is like a Chronicle of living in Ireland, visiting Poland, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Spain, Bratislava and some of the islands next to Ireland.

I have made internet friends like Cumbrian and I have made some good blog friends over the years.

Thanks for your continual support and comments and I will enjoy reading and commenting on your blogs.

I feel like a fanfare for finally writing my one thousand blog.  What could be better than some Prog by probably England's most talented band: ELP.  I was lucky enough to see them in about 1989 at Manchester  Apollo.  What a concert.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Wild Montbretia In Flower In The Herbaceous Borders.

One plant that spreads like wildfire here on the Gulf Stream is Montbretia.  It's something  of a pernicious wild flower or weed but I don't  mind some of it mixed in the herbaceous borders. :
Montbretia is the orange lad in the middle.

Montbretia is named after Coquebert de Montbret.  He was a French Botanist who accompanied Napoleon when France invaded Egypt.  I think he must have played the lead guitar or shovel?

Montbretia originates in South Africa and like the Fuchsia it is a none native.  Perhaps it was washed up on Ireland's beaches?  I say it gets it's rusty colour from all the rain we get.  

There is a Montbretia Crocosmia garden cultivar called 'Lucifer'  and it flowers in our garden around August.  Its deep red blooms attract butterflies and it looks rather spectacular when in bloom.

What pernicious weeds (wildflowers) do you allow or tolerate  in your garden?

Saturday 11 July 2020

Homemade Pork Mince Pies And Some Pickles.

Another thing that we miss from Blighty is pork pies.  We can get them in Mark's and Sparks in Cork or Killarney and Iceland sell them also.  Fifty miles or more is a long way to go for a delicacy

Yesterday the wife made some homemade pork mince pies.   We had them with some bought pickles and some Red Hot Cayenne Pepper  Sauce.  Here's  a picture:

They are very nice.  All I need is something to wash them down with.  Hmm....?

What's your favourite homemade pie?  Are you like Desperate Dan:  "A cowpie a day.  Keeps the hunger away"?

Friday 10 July 2020

Harvesting The Kelvedon Wonder.

We harvested the peas yesterday:

The wet weather and the top dressing of fym gave us a decent crop of Kelvedon Wonder peas.  They weighed three pounds when we had podded them.  What a job  that is.  It's like shelling peas.  They weighed three Pounds.

Peas originate in the middle east and  they are grown and ate all over the world.

Kelvedon  Wonder came  from Essex.  They are the  Essex girl  of the vegetable world.   "Shut up".

I will probably sow another crop this week.  They can be prone to mildew growing peas from July onwards.

I asked the wife to go to town and ask them in the local hardware shop if they have a mushy pea variety?   She told me to ask them myself!

A woman knocked on a recently widowed friends kitchen door:

"Oh Ethel it was terrible to hear about your Bert having that fatal heart attack.  What ever happened Ethel?"

Widow: "Bert went down the garden to cut a cabbage for our tea and he dropped dead right on top of the cabbage."

Woman : " What ever did you do?"

Ethel:  " I   went to the kitchen cupboard  and  opened a tin of  peas instead!"

Thursday 9 July 2020

A Successful Hydrangea Cutting.

"Oh what joy." Comedy sitcom  Miranda's  mother would exclaim.

A Hydrangea cutting I made last Summer decided to flower this week.  I am very pleased with it.

Hydrangeas originate in China and Japan.  They particular like wet soil and so Ireland is perfect for them.  The acid  peaty soil helps too.

There are an old herbaceous garden favourite and they have a profusion of flowers when established.

July is a good month to take soft cuttings.  They also take well in Spring.

Have you had success with Hydrangea cuttings?

Wednesday 8 July 2020

A Freshly Baked Loaf Straight From The Oven.

Can you get Odlums soda bread mix over the water?  I was busy yesterday morning making Cotoneaster plant cuttings and potting on in 'Portugal' my plastic pal and polytunnel.  It was persisting it down and rather windy and it wasn't a bad day for November.  It's  a pity it's July.

After a few hours I came inside and smelled fresh bread being cooked.  The wife had only been baking a loaf in the stove.  One of those Soda bread mixes that you buy in a paper flour bag from a supermarket like Supervalu.  My German garden centre and supermarket and beer retailer don't seem to stock it.  It costs about four Euros and you get three loaves from a bread mix.

It's wonderful and took me back to my Irish grandmother's kitchen and the waft of freshly made bread.  Go on bake some fresh bread.  It will be devoured ,  I promise!

Tuesday 7 July 2020

The Shasta Daisies Have Started To Flower.

Another favourite garden perennial  are the Shasta Daisies.  In a week or so the gardens will be a sea of white Daisies.  They are named after the snow capped Shasta mountains in California.

It's  wet and miserable here today on the Irish Riviera.  Another day of it tomorrow and hopefully back to the sunshine on Thursday.

Shasta Daisies are easy to propagate by division and by cuttings.  I started off with two bought ones and now I have over fifty in the garden and a also some ready to go in plant pots.  They look good in a vase too.

Here's  some photos:

Monday 6 July 2020

Filling Up The Garden Path With Nepeta Plants.

Regular readers will know I have an hobby nay obsession of propagating perennials by division and by cuttings.

I have run out of room for them in the veg plot so now I have filled up one of the garden paths.

The plants in the photo are Nepeta.  These are this years cuttings.  You can also pull the plant apart and plant the shoots with roots.

Nepeta attracts insects, birds and cats,  it's also very drought tolerant and bee friendly.

Sunday 5 July 2020

Tanacetum Parthenium Or Feverfew Even!

The Feverfew self seeds in the veg plot and in the herbaceous borders.  It is a member of the Daisy family and originates in Asia.  It's also a garden escapee and grows in the wild.

Feverfew is used for migraines and headaches and many other medicinal uses.  It should not be ate by pregnant women because it can cause contractions.

It's one of those plants that you plant and it well self seed rather like forget me nots and Aquilega (Grandmas bonnets) do.  It attracts welcome garden visitors like butterflies.

It's  good to see it back in flower.

Saturday 4 July 2020

Rural Shish Kebabs.

Growing up in Northwest England we grew up on bitter and a staple after the pub diet of chippies (chipoyles) and kebab houses.

Well we did when you would go to town have eight pints and a kebab on the way home and still have 1p left out of a ten pound note.  Those were the days.

I love Shish kebabs and it's  sister Donna (Doner) kebabs.  Sometimes we make our own Shish kebabs.  It's hard to get fresh spices and the one's in jars are far too mild.

The wife made me these for us tea (why do I sound like I'm from to'ther side of Pennines?) yesterday.  She makes 'mild' one's for herself and 'atomic' fiery one's for yours truly.

The minced meat cost 3 Euros forty nine for organic steak mince. One tomato, one of my homegrown Japanese onions, some yoghurt, garlic and some minced Easy chillies in vinegar out of a jar from the German garden centre and  supermarket and beer providers.  So say five Euros for the two of us.

Take on the takeaway and make your own:

Onions (homegrown), Tom's (Lidl), yoghurt and jar of pickled chillies.
Torpedo kebabs are my spicy one's.   Flat burger shape kebabs are hers and incredibly mild.
The meal is served.  They are hot, hot, hot!
 What did I say about them  jars of spices being too mild?

Here's a classic Les Dawson sketch.  He was a comic genius.  One of my comic heroes.  They must be some great laughter in Heaven?

Friday 3 July 2020

A Yellow Perennial And Garden Favourite

The yellow Loosestrife is magnificent in all it's glory at the moment.  It's one of the perennials we brought over in a wheely bin in the back of a Luton van with our belongings when we emigrated to Ireland all those years ago.

I have made hundreds nay thousands of plants from this particular perennial favourite.  I don't  even know which or where the original plant is.  It's a bit like grandad's axe: it's had seven new handles and 6 new new heads.  But it's still my grandad's axe!

This plant doesn't mind damp ground or even the edge of a pond.  I have grown it from cuttings and divide it up Spring and Autumn and even in Summer when it's a wet one like this weekend is supposed to be.  I call it my 'garden buttercup'.

Loosestrife was tied to Oxen's necks to deter insects like flies and other biting insects when ploughing and working in the fields.  It could also be burned in the smallholding  dwelling to eradicate house flies.

Like most plants it's got herbal uses.  Herbal ointments can be made from the perennial.

The best thing about perennials is they come back every year and you are mad at dividing them like me.  You will have lots of new plants.

Thursday 2 July 2020

Trimming Hedges.

That's  a picture of one of the hedges that I planted when we moved here nineteen years ago.  I cut them with my petrol hedge trimmer for the third time this year, yesterday.

Someone once wrote the definition of an hedge: A statement of man's arrogance against nature.

It's  so very true.  Especially living on the Gulf Stream here in Southern Ireland.   I usually cut them at least five times a year.  I have heard that we have ten months of growth.  I am not surprised with all the rain we get.

Hedges define boundaries and offer privacy, shade and shelter and help to create a micro climate in the gardens.

They are also somewhat of a chore.  Every year I leave the first trim a bit later in case there are birds nesting.

How often do you trim your hedges?  Do you use hedge clippers or an electric or petrol hedge trimmer?

Apparently  if you want to sell your house you should trim your Bush!

Wednesday 1 July 2020

A Cornwall Painting Bought At A Carboot Sale.

Regular readers of this blog will know one of my hobbies is carboot sales.  Not so much selling more browsing and buying stuff:

" 0ne mans rubbish is another man's treasure!"

Any way I am a collector nay Womble.  If there is a carboot sale I have to have a look.

Here's  a Cornish scene I purchased from a carboot sale in Cheshire about twenty three years ago.  It's a picture of a pumping station.  Pumping out water from a tin mine:

I only paid five Pounds for the painting.  It's signed Collins.  I have found a Roland Collins who painted Cornish landscapes.  He always seemed to sign his pictures Roland Collins.  His paintings are worth three thousand Pounds.  There are lots of painters called Collins.

Not that I want to sell it.  I would just like to know the provenance of the painting.

Do you love carboot sales?  What's the best piece of treasure have you found?

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...