Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Summer's late arrival.

At last summer is here, the last few days have been warmer than the rest of the summer and today it made 21c, it felt positively hot.
Sunday was also a beautiful day, just right for the Harvest Festival and Annual Apple day at the Organic centre in Rossinver. It attracted a huge crowd, with workshops going on for most of the day. We were particularly interested in the apple pruning demonstration. Pruning has always been a weak point for me with the exception of blackcurrant pruning, I never prune my roses as much as I know I should, and larger fruit trees have largely remained a mystery to me, but now I've got it! and I now know how to identity a leaf bud from a flower bud. The apples will get pruned when winter arrives, the plums will be done next summer.
Juicing the apples.
I had hoped that there would be apples for sale but like most of the apple trees in this part of Ireland it has been a very  poor harvest, however the juicing apples were ready for the day, not only was there a demonstration of apple pressing we could buy fresh apple juice, it was beautiful, and very different from the stuff that you buy in shops.
Michaelmas Daisy with a resting Tortoiseshell butterfly. 
The flower gardens around the centre are now if full autumn colour,
but it was frustrating to see Watsonia happily growing away.
Shades of yellow.
I bought several plants of this when we first moved here but they failed to thrive. I assumed that we were just too cold or wet for them to grow. Well it is a lot colder and wetter in Co. Leitrim.
Watsonia at the coast.
To add insult to injury, on our trip to the coast on Monday we found that Watsonia was growing in abundance on the NW coast.
 There were quite a few stalls, selling all types of great Organic goodies.
Trevor, with a wonderful selection of cheeses as ever.
 An old customer of ours was also there selling a wonderful selection of cheeses, one in particular took our fancy, Castlebellingham blue cheese, it is very similar to my all time favourite cheese, Dorset Blue Vinny.
Mary from Bluebell Organic farm with her eggs, jams and pickles.
There were of course plants for sale, but I was good, I only bought two, but I made up for that on seeds for next years flowers.
It was a great day out and very well organised, and it was good to see so many people there.
Yet another ruined castle.
One the way back we had a quick look at the castle in Manorhamilton, we have past it many times but never had to time to have a look round. It is another short lived castle, built in 1634/38 by a Scott Frederick Hamilton, it was destroyed in 1652.
It would have been a beautiful place in it heyday.
Monday was another lovely summers day, so we combined taking Zara our Persian cat to the vet,( she needed dental work done under anaesthetic,) with a trip to the coast.
This trip in fact had been planned as I wanted wool and a good Aran pattern to knit a jumper for my O.H's Christmas present. It is hard to buy pure wool in this part of Ireland, or to even find a shop that sells patterns and knitting needles so a trip to 'The Crafters Basket' was called for. What a wonderful shop, everything from knitting and rug making to edible food dyes. I could have spent hours there, and a lot of money but we wanted to get seaweed for the garden and we knew the tide was right.
I got the pure Aran wool and pattern that I wanted.
Continuing down to the coast we got eight large sacks of seaweed,
Harbour slipway and the mountains of Sligo.
a nice lunch in Mullaghmore , and a very happy cat now that her teeth have been dealt with.
Tiger Flowers, you can eat the bulbs if you are so minded, I'd rather have the flowers.
I had a pleasant surprise from some of the plants that I bought from the local online nursery, on offer were Tiger flowers, reduced to 99 cents as they had already flowered this year, this warm weather has clearly confused them as they have now decided to bloom again.

 I had left them in their pots as they are not fully hardy, with the intention of moving them into the greenhouse for the winter, I'm glad I left them outside, another lovey splash of colour.
Kissing carrots. This is what happens if you don't thin them out enough.
Fishing boat at Mullaghmore.


  1. Such a lovely post and plenty going on to keep you amused. The landscape is so beautiful BUT i had to giggle. Hot at 21???? We are at the start of spring and expecting 28-33 over the next week. Flowers gorgeous as always and its good to note that you are not always successful (arent i mean) because then i dont feel so stupid.

    1. I think everyone has week points when it comes to gardening, mine are pruning, pricking out and buying too many plants! I also have a week point when it comes to tomatoes, I just have to plant all the side shoots that I remove, end result an over crowded tunnel.
      Regarding the weather, I don't like it too hot, anything over 23c has me in hibernation, don't really know why I wanted to live in Spain as it was shire hell for me eight months of the year.

  2. I like weird veg. Good luck with your pattern, and I hope you enjoyed the seaweed

    1. Yes I love weird veg as well, I often name them we had a weird potato last year it looked just like David Cameron, I called it Dave. The seaweed is for the garden, especially for the fruit trees.

  3. You've certainly made the most of the weather, you have to at this time of year, who knows how long it will last. We've started off with a mist over the last few days which hasn't cleared until the afternoon. That cheese stall looks amazing, cheese is a bit of a weakness for me, though I'm not so keen on blue cheeses, just plain things like Cheddar and Wensleydale for me. Glad Zara feels better after her dental work, it's always a worry when they're having a general anaesthetic.

    1. The weather has been great Jo, the best we have had all summer. We also have a real weakness for cheese, unfortunately we have to drive 56k round trip to Tesco to get real Cheddar, but we love most blue cheeses, in fact most soft ones as well.
      Zara feels so much better now she has had her teeth done, she's only seven and is a biscuit eater so we were surprised that she needed such invasive work done, but she's fine now and eating very well.

  4. I have never really liked the cheese here in Ireland. Are you going to show us on your blog the secret of winter apple pruning Anne?

    1. I would agree with you Dave with the hard cheeses, every so often we go to Tesco as we can buy real Cheddar cheese, but some of the blue cheeses are good and we love blue cheese.
      I will try to post some pictures when we do the winter pruning, but basically you want to keep the tree open, wine glass shape, cut above a leaf bud that is pointing in the direction you want a new branch, a leaf bud is sort of triangular, a flower bud is rounded. We have also collected seaweed to mulch around all our fruit trees, do you have seaweed washed up in your area Dave?

    2. Thanks for the pruning advice Anne.

      Yes we are very close (5 minutes) from beaches for seaweed. I have collected it in the past. You can also buy calcified seaweed from garden centres and on-line. I never heard of using seaweed to mulch apple trees. I usually mulch mine with well rotted cow manure.

    3. Seaweed has so many trace element's Dave, far more than cow manure, I also use liquid seaweed. We have found in the past that it also helps to protect potatoes from blight.

  5. Hi Anne, is the seaweed just for the fruit trees or do you use it on other things? Do you just plonk it on the top. As we are surrounded by the stuff it would be ideal for me to use.

    1. Lucky you, I wish we were closer to the coast, seaweed contains 58 beneficial trace elements, there is no need to wash it the amount of salt on it will not harm plants. We use it on everything, from building new beds to winter mulch. We experimented with it many years ago on potatoes, dug a trench plated the spuds, another layer of seaweed then the soil, we earthed up with seaweed , it was the one year we had no blight on the spuds. We also use dried seaweed meal as a dressing, available from good gardening shops, we pay 18euro for 25 kg. I also use liquid seaweed, it is good as a foliar feed. I think the law is the same in the UK as here, you can gather washed up seaweed but you cant cut it without a licence.

  6. Hi Anne, thanks for commenting on my blog. This post of yours is so full of interest - and subjects that I am interested in too, so I shall be following you from now on. Gardening, food, history, cats - all things dear to my heart!

  7. Looks like you had another lovely day at the organic centre at the harvest festival. Beautiful pics. I really like the tiger flowers, very pretty x

  8. The Tiger Lily came from the Organic Centre, I don't know if you noticed but they have it growing in the flower tunnel..