Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too darned hot!

I've lost the label from this rose, it's one of the David Austen roses.
Is climate change just a myth, if you listen to the ginger incumbent in the White House and believe what he says, then yes, it is a myth. Never mind what the thermometer might say, he is right, he knows he's right. God save us all if we listen to him or his appointees. I however will believe what I can see and feel, it's now seven pm, the sun has disappeared but the temperature is still 22.6 or 72+ in old money. It's been yet another scorcher of a day, not what I signed up for when we moved back from Spain to escape the summers, maybe Iceland would have been a better choice. I might hate it, but the garden loves all the heat,
Much easier to pick of the berries if you're sitting down.
we have given up picking the blackcurrants, the last bush to be done gave us 7kg from just two thirds of the bush. We have made around eighteen lt. of Ribena, hopefully we wont run out this year. Only four of the blackcurrant bushes got picked, three have been left, the birds are welcome to them, for years we have always cheated,
we prune the bushes and then pick off the fruits at our leisure, although all the books tell you this is the wrong time to prune , it's always worked for us, maybe too well. Simon is experimenting with drying blackcurrants in the de-hydrator, it will be interesting to see how they turn out.
The last seven pounds, or 3.5kg.
The redcurrants also cropped very well, we have had ten kg. from four bushes, fortunately I have a good sale for redcurrants and sold the lot, we didn't need any for ourselves this year.
The first three.
The newest Peach tree has now been picked, the nursery said not to expect any fruit this year,
well it gave us thirty five beautiful peaches, we have saved some for eating, the rest are now boiling away in kilner jars for winter deserts. The older tree is in the old tunnel and about a week behind, this tree seems to have about the same number of fruits.
The flower gardens have also been enjoying this new Mediterranean climate, in fact everything enjoys it except me.
Gertrude Jekyll.
The roses started early and are still going strong,
the Bergamot looks wonderful,
I moved the Inula to give it more breathing room and it has responded well to the transfer.
Lucifer and Linaria look lovely together,
and I have never seen so many flowers on the Hypericums, they also started early and have kept going.
The Hydrangeas are also looking really good.
 Yesterday for me was a very special day,
Common lizard, not so common for me.
I saw my first ever lizard in Ireland, it stayed where it was for some time, allowing me time to get the camera, although the photo's not great, I took it through the shut French doors, I didn't want to disturb it. It's one of several things I do miss about Spain, we had so many different types of lizards, frogs, toads and Salamanders.
I can never resist  brightly coloured flowers, this lovey dense red Achillea was a must, it looks good in the newest bed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer abundance.

The soft fruit harvest has been very good this year despite the Gooseberry sawfly  stripping the gooseberries and redcurrant bushes leafs,
the gooseberries gave us around twenty kg of lovely fruit, we have sold around half ,
Last of the Gooseberries.
the rest has been made into jam or just frozen for winter deserts. The Red currants have given us around six kg so far with around another four remaining to be picked, most of these have been sold to a friend who will eat red currant jelly with everything, even with a salad. We don't need any of the fruit this year as we still have several pots of jelly left from last year.
The raspberries keep on coming.
We have lost count on the raspberries, there has been two big pickings one of six kg and the other one weighed in at seven kg, plus what we have picked just to eat for desert, this is one fruit that we keep mainly for ourselves, we have sold a couple of kgs' but it is just about our most favourite fruit so lots of jam has been made plus bags of frozen  berries for the winter month. Next to be harvested will be the black currants, some will be made into jam but mostly they will be used to make Ribena, vitamin C  in a bottle.
The peaches should be ready in about a week,  they are looking very good, what we can't eat fresh will be bottled. The winter store cupboard is filing up.
First of the Sweetpeas.
Both Sweet Peas
First Dahlias of the year.
and Dahlias are now flowering so lots of flowers for the house, and we have had our first picking of garden peas, the French beans are flowering, so they wont be long. So far the potatoes seem to be doing well, no sign so far of slug damage so maybe the nematodes have done their thing, I shouldn't speak too soon but so far there has been no sign of the dreaded blight although there have been plenty of warnings on the local radio station.
I survived the coronary angiogram and it appears that all is well with my heart, nice to know that something is working as it should, however the angiogram is the most unpleasant procedure I have ever had, if I ever have to have another one they will have to sedate me or knock me on the head.
Hopefully I can now stay away from hospitals until my next check up in October.
The last few days have been spent re-making the rockery, it had become very overgrown with silver weed and the dreaded mares tail, we re-discovered the water pump, so once again the pond has trickling water,
Misty is fascinated with the water.
Misty, Freddie's sister is totally fascinated with this trickle of water, and for some reason prefers to drink from it rather than her own bowl of water. The work on the rockery is not quite finished yet, but Simon has incorporated stepping stones into the rockery so it should be easier to weed without stepping on plants.
There is now lots of Ladies bedstraw growing in the hedgerows.
Golden Rubus, now in flower.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Start of the havests.

A vase of perfume.
The last year seems to have flown by, it seems that it was only a few weeks ago that we were harvesting our fruits and veg for winter storage, but here we are again.
 We have had the first big pick  raspberries, just over three kg,
these have been turned into jam, fourteen pots in total.
The first big pick of strawberries gave us nine pots of strawberry jam.

The onions and garlic has also been harvested. This year we will try dehydrating them, we have invested in a dehydrator which hopefully will be here tomorrow, we decided to go for a dehydrator as it seems as though we will have a bumper crop of apples, some will be eaten fresh but the rest will need storage, we could freeze them,
Three of the chicks at three weeks old.
but we have twenty two table birds which will take up quite a lot of space, plus half a lamb which we bought today, buying this way works out at just four euros a kg. We are also hoping to have half a pig a bit later on from  a friend, although it's  not organic it is at least truly free range.
The flower gardens are still surprising us with new things coming into flower, often things that we have forgotten where we had planted them,

and the window boxes are looking lovely.
Wild orchids seemed to be late this year, maybe because it was such a dry spring but they are making up  for it now, this week we spotted
lesser butterfly orchids
and twayblades.
View from the lane.
One thing we have always been interested in is archaeological sights, Ireland abounds with them, especially in this area. We had been told about a large Ring Fort fairly close by, but despite several attempts to find it over the last two years we had failed. Earlier in the week we went for a drive around the local country lanes, and low and behold we found the elusive Ring Fort. Although I couldn't get to it, it was clearly visible from the lane way and Simon, armed  with the camera traipsed across the field  to get the photos.
It is certainly impressive, with nearly ten foot high walls
 you enter the ring via the tunnel entrance,
there are V steps which give access to the parapet.
There are two chambers which align to the sun at Imbolc and Samhain . The ringfort also has souterrains ,
and there are two piles of stones which are believed to be the remains of houses .

The outer walls are sixteen feet thick and the circle measures around ninety feet across It has been dated to possible three thousand B.C. No doubt we will discover more archaeological sights on our trips out.
Newly erected information board installed by the village pump for our little hamlet. Although it's not completely accurate. We don't have Corn Crakes but we do have Red Squirrel.
Thank you Jo, Coco , Lozabeth and Cherie K for your comments, for some reason Blogger is not allowing me to leave a reply. Yes, we do intend to try Bananas. Simon was in charge of widow boxes this year, I think he did a good job. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Seasons out of kilter.

Everything in the garden seems early this year,
1st of the Raspberries. 8th June.
I'm sure we have never had raspberries ready at the beginning of June, redcurrants and blackcurrants are also ready for picking, the exception seems to be the strawberries which I'm sure were a month later than normal. We've even had our first courgettes. The vegetable garden is producing an abundance, probally due to the very hot weather that we have had. We have now however had some rain, nothing like normal but enough to keep the garden looking good and to keep the slugs happy, the main damage has been to the carrots, Simon has now sown two lots of carrots, only to have them raised to the ground overnight as soon as they have appeared. We have always been reluctant to use nematodes, it has always seemed odd to us to introduce an alien species to the garden, however after speaking to people who have used them we are now conceding defeat and I have ordered them. Last year we lost over 75% of our potatoes due to slugs and ended up having to buy sacks of potatoes from our Organic meat supplier, we know that he also does carrots as he offered us some last year, but nothing can beat a freshly pulled carrot, so a third planting will be done and the soil watered with the nematodes. I have also been given a sack of wool shoddy so this can be used around susceptible plants. Maybe I shouldn't speak too soon but there are two plants which normally suffer slug damage, Lupins and Delphiniums, yet our slugs have left these plants completely alone.
Day old chicks.
We now have this years supply of chickens on the ground, bought three weeks ago as day olds they are now coming up for three weeks old, today was the day to introduce them to the outside world, they have had a great time pecking at grass, they will still have heat at night-time for the next week, then they will get moved to their big house and run where they will stay until they are ready for slaughter.
A selection of David Austin roses.
The roses have been fantastic this year, again probally due to the warmer weather that we have had,

I had forgotten how many different roses we have, most of them being David Austin roses,

so beautifully scented,
 the poppies
and dianthus are looking great,
and we now have Turks cap lilies flowering. We had forgotten where these had been planted so it was a lovely surprise to find them in full bloom, the perfume from them is lovely.
Arum lilies struggling under a clematis.
We had a trip out exploring the local lanes looking for a wild flower that we had not seen for years, Mountain Everlasting, it comes in two colours, pink and white,
Female Mountain everlasting.
the pink ones are the female plants
Male flowers.
and the white are the male plants. After having been told where to see them we went in search , since then we keep seeing them everywhere, maybe I'm not as observant as I used to be.

Last projects.
The pottery classes have slowed down a bit as my teacher does a lot of Viking re-enactments during the summer months so it's working out to one Friday in three at the moment, this week there is a class but unfortunately I will be in hospital  for the day having a Coronary Angiogram which I'm not looking forward to. My last three peices worked out fine, I'm not too sure what my next project will be, it needs a little thought.
Love this Clematis.
A medley of colour.
Albertine, always reliable.