Thursday, 6 May 2021

A Self Watering Greenhouse For Free.


Do you like my new greenhouse? 'Portugal'  my polytunnel is full to the brim with plants.  So I decided to make a new greenhouse for free or "nowt" or "nuffink".  It reminds me of how I use to propagate plants when I didn't have my polytunnel friend.

J  had gone shopping and I had run out of potting compost and I remembered I had a pile of well rotted fym which resembles soil.  It's also got a few stones in it.

Regular readers will know people collect plastic plant pots for me.  It's also stopping the plant pots ending up in the landfill sites.  So I half filled some plant pots with my homemade potting fym/soil  and split some of my perennials.  Then I topped them up.

You can see them in the picture above.  They look like they need a drink.  Don't we all.  Is it "tish" time yet? You know it is when you open a can of beer and it goes "tish".

You don't need a greenhouse or polytunnel to propagate new plants.  You can have an imaginary one for free like mine!




Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Overgrown Hedges.


Dictionary Definition of an hedge: A hedge is a living fence made of closely planted bushes, which, as they grow and get trimmed and shaped, form a wall of green.

I only gave them an haircut in March.  Look how unruly they have become already.  

Talking of haircuts.  You can take your dog to be groomed and clipped but you can't  go in a barbers to get an haircut at the moment.  It could only happen in Ireland.😊

I USUALLY trim my hedges five times a year.  Living on the Gulf stream they (who are "they?") say we get ten months of growth.  I have decided to ask what you think on the matter folks.

The birds are currently nesting in outbuildings, nest boxes, trees and hedges.  I once found a Robin's nest in an old kettle that had no lid.  Do you think birds would nest in a roadside hedge?  I 'm not so sure.  

Do you think I should leave my unruly hedges until June or should I get out the petrol hedge trimmer and give them a trim?

I live in the countryside next to the sea.  Is it so important to have your garden manicured like a bowling green or a billiard table?  

Where do you stop?  Do we really need to mow the lawns every week? 












Tuesday, 4 May 2021

(Butcher Counter Only)?


 Call me stupid but?  I was reading the above supermarket advertising leaflet this morning and I noticed (Butcher Counter Only).  Where else would you get meat from?

I asked the wife and she explained that it means it's not pre packed.  

Like a lot of men in Ireland I don't  do 'food' shopping very often.  If I go in Aldi or Lidl I dart to the middle aisle for walking, gardening and DIY stuff or maybe have a mosey at the drinky poohs section.  The wife meanwhile will go round EVERY aisle pushing her shopping trolley.  I sometimes wonder if she is programmed to shop?

At least she understands what (Butcher Counter Only) means?



Monday, 3 May 2021

Posh House Revisited.

Yorkshire Pudding  mentioned Chatsworth House on his blog the other week. This rang a bell and reminded me of an anecdote I posted about the posh house on here in 2012:
 I once helped build half a golf course (the other nine holes already existed) close to the moorland overlooking Manchester and the Cheshire Plain in 1993 .
 I remember  saying one morning to a digger driver:
 “Did you have a good weekend Bill?” 
He replied:
 “Not really.  Me and the missus went to that posh house,  Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.   It was a Bank Holiday Monday and the world and his wife had decided to visit.  The traffic tail-backs went back for miles.  
We eventually got inside and it was full of snobs.  The house was full of old furniture and paintings.  She likes that kind of crap!  I wouldn’t mind there wasn’t even an effing bar to get a pint!” 
I just laughed and Bill said: "What are you laughing at?"
" I'm laughing at what you just said."
Then he started laughing.  It was a good start to a working day.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Things Are Looking Verdant At The End Of April.

Polytunnel  potatoes nearly ready to flower and produce spudatoes.

Portugal my polytunnel is full to the brim with rooted plant cuttings and vegetables.  It's amazing how much difference a piece of plastic difference in creating a micro climate.

The baths are sown with vegetables.



Beetroot and Brassicas growing in an old polystyrene welder packaging container. 


My ever increasing plant nursery.



The plant pot garden seems to be a success.  Who needs raised beds when you have got plant pots and containers?  

Potatoes coming through in the veg plot.  I can prove I am not a ghost because I have caught my own shadow in my photograph.


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Stone Picking.



 Dave the soil slave went stone picking for two days this week for a farmer friend.  

 Four acres  were reclaimed and lots and lots of stone awaited us to pick: 



We had the Manitou telescopic loader to help us. 


Stone picked and ready to be set with grass seed, fertilizer and rolled.

I'm stiff as a board tonight but it was good hard graft and there's still life in the old dog yet.

I looked at some drystone walls and thought to myself the farmers long ago must of ploughed their fields and picked the boulders and stones and use them for dividing fields and building walls for livestock to shelter from the prevailing wind and rain.  Weren't they  resourceful?





Sunday, 25 April 2021

The Game With The Sticks.

"The game with the sticks" is what Domino calls Snooker.   Like myself he goes snooker loopy at this time of year.  Especially when the World Snooker tournament is being played at the Crucible in Sheffield at the moment. Here he is in action:


Domino can't understand where the snooker balls go when they are potted.  

I attempted to explain the etymology of Snooker to him.  Domino just yawned.   I told him that the word Snooker is a British army term.  Billiards it's predecessor was originally designed to be played outside in the sun in India.  That's why the green felt or baize is supposed to look like grass.  

Any road or anyway.  The Monsoon season began and they carried the table inside and the the game of Snooker was invented.  Mulligatawny soup, Indian Pale Ale and Snooker all products of the British Empire in India.  Not many people know that.

Unfortunately Domino's snooker hero and mine Ronnie " Rocket" O'Sullivan  lost on Friday night.  So we are pinning our hopes on Judd Trump now.  He plays with an attacking style like Ronnie, Jimmy White and Alex Higgins.  The true entertainers.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Make Do And Mend.

 We often HAVE to watch The Repair Shop.  Especially watching Suzie the leathersmith.   I think it inspired J (Mrs Northsider) to have a go at repairing a ripped leather car seat.   

It belongs to one of number one son's friends.  He said he would give her eight cans of the 'black stuff' or Guinness if she stitched it for him.  I will sup it if she doesn't want the cans of Guinness🤗.

Like yours truly.  Barter is also the currency my wife will use.  Here's some pics for your perusal:


Before.



After.


Didn't she do well?
















Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Total Eclipse Of The Heart.

Another one of my Rock N Roll heroes Jim Steinman passed away yesterday.  He'll be composing some great new songs and singing at some fabulous Rock concert in Heaven.

There are lots of songs and records you will know especially Bat Out Of Hell with Meatloaf.  It's a best selling single an album and one of those records that you know every word when it's playing.  Especially if you all sing along to it on a car journey.

Jim also wrote this classic for Welsh Rock Goddess Bonnie Tyler.







Thanks Jim for writing and singing such great and memorable songs.




Monday, 19 April 2021

Spring Time Flowers And Potatoes Growing In Our Irish Garden and Polytunnel.

 I thought I would take some photos of plants and vegetables in flower and growing in the garden at the moment for your perusal:

A Paris Daisy in flower.  I also have Shasta and African  (Osteospermums) Daisies in my garden.
A Bergenia or "Elephants Ears" or "Pig Squeak" finishing flowering.  They are very robust and originate in Siberia and China.
Wild Primroses with their tender yellow flowers.
An Azalea in flower.  Notice how close it's planted next to a field.  I have a constant battle with the ever encroaching weeds like nettles and grass.
A Pieris "Forest Flame" next to Geraniums and Shasta Daisies. 


Periwinkle or "Vinca" in flower in pots.  It's a very invasive plant but I like it because it comes back every year.
Some of my potatoes growing  inside "Portugal" my  polytunnel in an old fish box.  I don't think it will be long before they are flowering and we will be eating our very own "new" potatoes.

Why not show us your plants and vegetables in your gardens or allotments blog friends?


A perfumed fragrant Geranium flowering in an old soil filled  tractor tyre.  You can also see onions growing in containers and plant pots.

Friday, 16 April 2021

An Old Irish Pub In Clonakilty.

 

I saw this idyllic looking pub in Clonakilty today.  

I love the whitewashed walls the wooden stable door, the old bike with plants in the carrier basket and the old barrel and bench.   If those walls could talk? I wonder which famous people had a pint or four of the black stuff in there?

Perhaps one day the pubs will be open again this year and we can go in gaze at the myriads of rural artefacts on the walls.

Perhaps we could have a pint too?

We went in Dealz(Poundland) andI bought myself a two Euros T shirt and the wife a striped jumper and a pair of secateurs for yours truly.  It's amazing to be able to go further than five Kilometres again.




Tuesday, 13 April 2021

A Car Ride And A Walk To A Wedge Tomb.

We went in the car  on a new woodland walk we've never visited before the other day.  
Lesser Celandine in flower.
 
A lovely river and somebody went for a swim.  Golden Retrievers can't resist water.


A clever way of painting trees to point the way to the wedge tomb.

A sign post about the wedge tomb.
Sheep wire on bridges give good grip.  Very duck board like.  The type you see in first world war trenches.

Not very suitable foot attire for walking through muddy paths and woods.  I bought them in the Algarve two years ago and they are so comfortable.
Wedge tomb.  About 4000 years old.  A thousand years before the pyramids in Egypt were constructed.
An appropiate appropriate picture that reminds us of Easter: an empty tomb.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Ransoms In Flower In Our Garden.


 Ransoms or wild garlic in flower under one of our hedges.  I noticed on my blog search it was flowering in March last year.

I like it's for it's white flowers but it can be ate.  It's has been used in herbal medicine for years and like all the Allium family is very good for colds and lung conditions.  Apparently during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 people carried it around in their pockets to sniff.

It use to be traditional to decorate churches with Ransoms on Saint Alphege day.  I would imagine the church gave off a wonderful aroma and warned off any vampires or evil spirits.

In Ireland rural dwellers mixed it in with the thatch on their roofs and it was said to keep the 'little people' away.  

I have also read that farmers planted it in pasture for cattle and sheep to graze and it would prevent them getting ringworm.  The only downside was the cows milk tasted of garlic. 

I think there are many of of our wild plants that are attractive to the bees, edible and have herbal remedies.  Many of which we have forgotten about.






Sunday, 11 April 2021

A Plant Invader From Over The Atlantic.



Gunnera Tinctoria.  Or Giant rhubarb or even Chilean rhubarb or even Dinosaur food.   It originates in the Andes.

It's become quite common in the west of Ireland with it's very wet and mild winters.  The funicular umbrella like shape leaves are perfect water gatherers.  They die back in the winter and wither to nothing when there's a dry hot summer.  They soon recover when the Autumn rains arrive.  I believe they are pretty common in Scotland too.

Rather like Japanese knotweed and Rhododendrons.   A lot of these plants have escaped from large country estates.  They were often planted for game cover.  They could also have been washed up on Irish shores from the Gulf Stream.  

It's also got a more pedigree garden cousin called Gunnera Manicata.  This is sold in garden centres but it's also considered invasive like Gunnera Tinctoria by the EU.  

Do you have Gunnera growing in your garden or near you?  I remember JayCee  and P having a fine specimen or specimens in their Isle of Man garden.

I like them for their architectural shape and the look like something out of Jurassic Park.




 

Friday, 9 April 2021

One Of My Fuchsia Shrubs In Flower In April.


 I made over twenty Fuchsia shrub cuttings last year.  I was topping them up with compost and removing any grass, weeds or moss yesterday morning.  I noticed one of them is flowering already. They usually flower from June onwards.

Fuschia hedges are very common in the West of Ireland.  They originate in Chile.  The shrub fuschia in my garden looks like its Fuschia Alba.  They have salmon pink/white flowers.  

They do really well down here on the Gulf stream  and they are rarely damaged by frosts like they are in the Midlands and the North of the country.

Fuschia is a relatively easy plant to propagate by cuttings.  They make good hedges and ornamental shrubs.  You save lots of money taking your own cuttings and propagating your own plants.

The bees love climbing inside the flowers and getting drunk on the nectar.  

Have you had success making Fuschia cuttings?


A native fuschia hedge for Debby.  On the right hand side is some of my fuschia Alba hedging.  







Wednesday, 7 April 2021

My Osteospermums Decided To Bloom Today.

It's  a bit overcast today and it keeps trying to rain.  Typical April showers weather.

It's also quite hot at times and I went to see my plants and vegetables in the polytunnel this morning and my Osteospermums had decided to spread their flowers and put on a show:



Aren't they Bobby Dazzlers.   They love the micro climate that is "Portugal" my plastic and galvanized tube polytunnel.

I grew them from cuttings late summer/autumn last year.  Mother Nature helped too.

To quote A-Team Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith: "I love it when a plan comes together."






Monday, 5 April 2021

Even My Osteospermums Have A Lie In On Bank Holiday Monday.


 It's half past ten on a Bank holiday Monday and I thought I would take of my new Osteospermums plants in flower like yesterday..  They how ever had a different idea.  

They originate in South Africa and are all called  Cape Daisies.  I lost many of them in the cold snow in 2010.   Two weeks of freezing snow and ice and not a salt gritter to be seen on our rural roads.

Last Autumn I took some cuttings and potted them up in the polytunnel and overwintered them.  They grew roots and I am very pleased with the new plants.

They go to sleep and close up their flowers when it's going dark or if it's a lot cooler like today.

Do you have flowers that go to sleep?






Saturday, 3 April 2021

New Elephant Ears Plants For Free.

 It must be April because I have been tidying up the dead leaves on the Bergenias and cutting them in half and making new plants for free.

A Bergenia plant in the middle of the picture about to be cut in half with my trusty tree saw.

A dozen or so new plants settling in the polytunnel.  I will let them stay there for a week or until the rain next Friday and they are on their own.  They are tough beggars and originate in China and Siberia.   All for free.  Just a little bit of bought compost and an operation by Dr Northsider the new plant maker.

Happy Easter.



Thursday, 1 April 2021

The Flowerpot Vegetable Garden Experiment.


 It's been a very wet winter in Costa West Cork and I've been toying for a while about making some raised beds to improve the drainage.  I am not going to get out some filthy lucre (beer tokens) and buy wood, nails or screws and a new saw to make them.  Oh no!

One of my ever collecting hobbies is plant pot collecting and I have my contacts who very kindly give them to me for free.    So I am going to have my very own plant pot, old tyre and fish box garden.  Or 'Plant Pot Garden' for short.

You can see my 'Japanese' winter onions are flying it in the fish boxes at the top left of the photograph.  They said the McDonald's catchphrase to me: "I'm loving it".

So Dave the soil slave was busy yesterday with his trusty four prong pike digging and filling plant pots with garden soil and I've planted them up with onions that I planted in compost in 'Portugal ' my polytunnel.

Yes it's a lot of work.  But they seem to like the drainage and most of all it confirms what I am always saying that you don't need even a garden to grow things.  You could have a flagged back yard but you could still fill it with plant pots and grow things.  I once grew potatoes on an a upstairs window sill in a big plot in a flat.





Tuesday, 30 March 2021

The Ever Bustling Plant Nursery.

 

My old part of the veg plot runneth over with plants.

They are mainly perennials and shrubs that I have grown from division and cuttings.  I have hundreds of plants in plastic plant pots ready to be sold at carboot sales.  I have heard of there being a baby boom.  Well Lockdown Ireland means there is a plant boom on the banks of Bantry Bay.

Want to buy some perennials and shrubs?  Lots of pretty flowers for your garden?

Oh for carboot sales to return.  





Sunday, 28 March 2021

A Gypsy Goth Rock Goddess From Coventry.

 I haven't  featured any of my favourite Rock lasses for a while.  Today I would like to feature Julianne Regan the lead singer of All About Eve.  She's  half Irish and half English like yours truly.

I first saw her and her band at Manchester Apollo in 1988.  Then me and my mates saw them again at Glastonbury festival in 1989.  It only cost 28 Pounds for a ticket and the weather was fabulous.

I remember a Rastafarian gentlemen stood in  the road next to the stands shouting: "Rocky, Rocky, Rocky.."  Me in my ever nieve manner thought he was shouting for his dog that he'd lost.  Someone told me " Rocky" was the street slang name for Moroccan or Pot!

It was a great weekend and the highlight for me was seeing The Pixies and All About About Eve.  

I often look up concerts I could have been to on You Tube.  Sure enough I found All About Eve singing on a video " In The Clouds".  At the beginning you hear two lads shouting: "In The Clouds".  I am sure it's me and my pal shouting the song title enjoy.



The long haired guitarist is called Tim and comes from Huddersfield  YP.




Friday, 26 March 2021

Restoration Of An Overgrown Veg Plot.

I visited a garden the other day.  My task was to rescue a veg plot and get it ready for this years vegetable production.  This is how it looked:


All overgrown with grass and a leaning garden fork waits forlornly for someone to cultivate the veg plot again.  I took this photograph. 

This is how it looked after Dave the soil slave spent four hours toiling and forking over the veg plot:


Here I am with my new yellow wellybobs.   I am using my four prong pike.  My Azada hoe is lay down having a rest.  It said: "I'm knackered".  You can also see my two weeding buckets, the fork from the top photo, my stainless steel handled shovel that came from Blighty and the white plastic carrier bag contained my work gloves, two bottles of water and a can of coca cola.  The wife took the photo.

Not a bad job.  If I say so myself.  A Robin perched on my shovel and said: 

"Tiz a grand job boy. "


A Self Watering Greenhouse For Free.

Do you like my new greenhouse? 'Portugal'  my polytunnel is full to the brim with plants.  So I decided to make a new greenhouse for...