Could Do Better

It is too wet to be out in the garden today. I tried, it was only a drizzle at 6am when the Chough family were up and about but it steadily grew worse and by 9am it really was too wet to do anything without it all turning to mud. So it is time to reflect on the state of the garden. It’s June but it doesn’t feel like it, I was hoping for more colour but it looks like all the bulbs I put in are only going to be in flower in July.


I had a good deal of Sparaxis tricolor (harlequin flower) bulbs for the first time in the ground this year especially for an early summer display, but I have discovered that we have a vole or may be a family of voles that have a particular penchant for this South African delicacy, out of 40 bulbs I think I may have rescued about 6 by digging them out and putting them into pots.

I have a couple of cardinal lobelia, a plant that appears to be like cat nip to slugs. I know some particular plants attract slugs more than others well you can take it from me you can add cardinal lobelia to that ever growing list. I have done a few Slug Patrols with my head light and bucket over the last week or so and there now appear to be fewer about, the organic slug pellets I bought seem next to useless, I’m sure I saw a few slugs taking a snack on the actual pellets the other night, I hope they got indigestion, do slugs even get indigestion?

The very strong westerly wind from yesterday has gone on its way and thankfully the hedging did the job but I have noticed there are a couple of cold corridors that might need some attention, I appear to have planted one of the cherry trees right beside one of these gaps and I’m sure it won’t like the very cold and strong winds later in the year.

My God this is depressing I seem to be listing out all the things that are going wrong with the garden when actually over all I am very pleased with it. There is a lot on the verge of blooming like the blue Iris down by the stream and loads of foxgloves all over the place.



The purple columbines are already in full flower and I have a number of different types of dianthus adding colour clashing delightfully with some orange geums in the square bed in the main garden.




That square bed was my first real flower bed here. We had cultivated the whole front field when we were growing veg as a business but I hadn’t tried growing flowers just for fun, we had a hard enough time trying to make a living out of organic veg before anyone really understood what “organic” was. In the mid 90’s life had changed and I was working in the music industry away from home a lot and we had a small plot for growing stuff for ourselves.


The Garden in 1996

I found it hard to get motivated to do anything in the garden and the square bed was my psychological motivation to get out there and do something. I built it right in the middle of the field, right outside the window, small enough to be easily manageable, so every day it was the first thing I would see. This had the right effect as I would think I’ll do just a little bit more today. The square bed was the epicentre of the garden and still is to some extent.


A wet day in June

The square bed is at its best during the winter as that is when the heather flowers, it is flanked by evergreens like hebes, cotoneaster and a variegated phormium. I cleared out the front part to try and add some summer colour and that’s where my bulbs were supposed to provide their dazzling display. I still have great hopes for an old fashioned rose given to Suki, it was half dead from neglect in a pot out the front but seems to have recovered after I replanted it in the square bed last year. It had just one bud last summer and today there are at least 5 on it.


Square Bed in January

I found out that I’ve been accepted onto the horticulture course yesterday. I am quite excited about it and I am looking forward to challenging myself but there is also a part of me that is thinking “why am I planning to put myself through this!”

It is exam time in Ireland at the moment; thankfully none of mine are doing either their junior cert or the more important leaving cert this year. Mair will be doing her main exam next year that leads onto college. I don’t remember being under the same amount of pressure as kids are these days but maybe I should have been, I never rose to the heady heights of academic acclaim, I got mostly B grades and my school reports all read could do better if he tried harder but isn’t that always true. However hard you try you probably could have done better, but I don’t know what “better” would have led to? I have had a varied career and have ended up doing a strange variety of interesting jobs. I am living in a beautiful part of the world, I am quite impressed with what my kids manage to get up to and when it stops bloody raining I will be happy out in my garden! If I had done better I might be living somewhere like London, working my arse off in the same job for 30 years, divorced and with my kids all doing drugs.


Well I think that is more than enough navel gazing for today even if it is pelting down outside I can still go to the shed and pot on my Echinops Blue Glow and I bought a wisteria from Lidl’s for €3.99 yesterday that needs a bigger pot, I bought one last year that died over the winter it was too exposed to the wind. I love wisteria with its blue hanging flowers and I’ve always wanted to grow one successfully maybe if I try harder this time it will turn out better.


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