From A Wet West Cork

We have a good spell of rain at the moment. I was out slug hunting last night and the ground was so dry, so I’m delighted we have a steady rain fall today and the temperature is still warm so I think we will see another growth spurt over the next couple of day. So it is a morning for blogging I think. Not anything philosophical but what I first intended when I started writing all this down, a record of what’s going on, the highlights of my gardening!

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We have a family of House Sparrows living as you might expect in the house, there is a small hole leading to the roof above the front door and mum and dad must be feeding their brood as we see them sitting on the wire, food in beak just before they flit into the hole. We have some blue tits nesting in the wall of the chicken shed. We were clearing brambles for Jimini’s new “man shed” and you could see these little beaks and hear the chirping coming from the wall. A pair of Great Tits has a nest by the compost heap. I think the Goldfinches are the most colourful of our regular visitors. I don’t know where they nest but you often find them perched on one of the blackthorn trees.

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We have a few butterflies in the garden at the moment. The Speckled Woods are numerous and flying in aerobatic flusters. There are a number of white varieties, the green-veined white and both large and small whites and the earliest we see in the garden is the orange tipped. They all seem to go for the cabbages but the Green Veined also seems partial to the wild watercress growing down by the stream.

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We have an early visit from a Red Admiral, it is looking a bit tatty and I don’t know if it managed to hibernate or if it made its way here like many others who fly up from the Mediterranean, I try to leave plenty of nettles for them to lay their eggs on. I came across a fat hairy caterpillar while weeding in the main field, it’s a Garden Tiger Moth one of my favourite winged bugs, they are so colourful and I am always delighted to find one clinging to the wall, we have plenty of dandelion, dock and plantain for the caterpillars to munch on.

The vegetable beds are showing good growth with garlic, shallots and leeks nearly ready to harvest. The beans and peas are well established and of course the salads will benefit from this rain. My wife’s new strawberry bed looks very productive, she is growing them through black plastic this year and there is plenty of fruit showing.

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The Cherry trees I planted this year are fruiting. I hadn’t expected to see any fruit for a couple of years but they must be liking their new home in the main garden.

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I have some bright yellow Calendula marigolds that self seed themselves around the garden. The Calendula flowers are edible and it can also be used as an ingredient for skin care, they have many listed properties so if you have them growing in the garden it might be worth checking out this very versatile plant.

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I am growing Primula Vialii near the stream in a slightly boggy area. These plants are originally from China I like their unusual shape like little gnome hats.

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I have a few varieties of Dianthus or pinks in the garden. My favourite is a small crimson flowered variety but I also have some much showier larger types.

I am hoping to pick up my lawnmower today but I doubt I’ll get to cut the grass unless this rain finishes soon and it doesn’t look like it will. I have work this afternoon and I might call in to see an old friend on the way home as I won’t be out digging in the rain today. After the initial excitement of my heliotrope seed germinating they seem to have slowed to a crawl, gardening certainly teaches you patience. See you soon.

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