Monday, 1 June 2020

Moving From Here To There

1st June 2020
I returned to a small bit of writing here last week, and I am happy that I did. I like using Blogger to get my garden thoughts out of my head. However, I spent some time during the week trying to understand why I stopped writing for such a long time. There are several reasons, one of which relates to Blogger itself. It is out-of-date software and is no longer being updated. So I moved all my garden furniture and tools over to Wordpress. While I was at it, I rebranded myself once again.

Of course, I will be leaving my garden memories here. I will not delete them, but going forward my little stories will be over at Grow Write Repeat and I hope you might like to join me there. If you have been following my blog here and getting my updates via email, you might like to do the same there. Simply find the "Follow" link and Bob's-your-uncle.

One of my first posts there explains in some more detail why I moved, and the meaning of why I chose Grow Write Repeat for my new writing.

So, it's goodbye from here. I'll be travelling over to the other side of the street, where the grass is greener. See you there!


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Sorbus Acuparia

Last week my local garden centre opened for the first time since late March, and I was anxious to join the queue. I bought two trees, and managed to get them home safely in the little Toyota. They are both Sorbus apucaria, commonly known as Rowan or Mountain Ash. One is planted to break the view of the gable end of Marion's "Seomra". It's not a good time to plant a tree, but I will watch it very carefully to give it the care it will need until winter.

The following two days gave the tree its first test. There was a Met Éireann Wind Warning in place and it proved to be remarkably accurate. The tree was buffeted over the entire two days, but survived. I had staked it correctly, yet I was amazed to notice that even though the tree was being blown to about 45 degrees, it was not damaged.

I am reminded of how strong human beings can be when they are being tested by traumatic life events. What gives us this strength?  In some cases, it may be in the genes, but I would think that much of our inner strength comes from the support of others. 

There's an old Irish saying that goes: "Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine." A rough translation  is  that we live and thrive by sheltering on the shadow (support) of others. 

Finally, I do love a good quote. Someone who said something which others found to be worth writing down to pass on to others, that I in turn want to pass on to others. I normally use Goodreads as my source, so I searched for "tree". My favourite one is:

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. 

The likely origin of the proverb is from a volume of moral writing by a quaker in 1951. There are several variations of the same idea. 

I hope to care for these lovely trees for quite a while, and leave it to someone else to sit in their shade some fine day long in the future. He or she might even write about it.

Added few hours later:
I dedicate this tree to Romina Ashrafi, a young Iranian girl killed by her father, apparently by decapitation. Romina had run away from home due to threats and abuse from her father, and she was returned to her home by the authorities.

According to the neighbors, Romina knew that if she returned home, her life would be in danger. She had warned the police and judicial authorities and she was unwilling to go back, but the police returned her to her home anyway.

Romina had fallen in love with a boy in their city. Her father was arrested for honor killing and the investigations into her murder are ongoing.

According to the Sharia law, only the “blood owners” (the immediate family members) are allowed to demand execution for the murder of their loved one, therefore most honor killings go unpunished or with little punishment since the family will not demand the death sentence for another family member.

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About the author: Páraig (also known as Pat) is the author of Petals by Páraig. He loves trees, Goodreads quotes and old Irish proverbs. Furthermore and also, he likes Met Eireann forecasts, writing again after a long rest and natural justice, but not sharia law hohour killings.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

The Early Bee

Yesterday was another very mild day. Mild enough for this large bee to be out and about, checking out all my glasshouse seedlings. Anyway, ar aon nós, she had wandered into the glasshouse and for a short while was unable to locate the emergency exits. 
At the time I was checking last year's geraniums for water and greenfly when I noticed her, silently resting against the frame. Her, not me.
The geranium needed water added and whitefly removed. Happy again now. I moved two of the large geranium pots outdoors but I'll need to be alert to low night temperatures for another 6-8 weeks or thereabouts. They will grow better outside in a sunny spot, and I'll put them back inside if necessary.

The story had a happy ending when the bee buzzed off somewhere else.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Primrose Lore

Garden centres are gearing up for the mad rush and gardeners are gearing up for visits to garden centre. Its a win-win situation.
Before the mad rush, I visited my local Country Life yesterday and came away with nineteen plants for a tenner. A single Aubretia Kitte Blue, a container of twelve cauliflowers and six beautiful promroses. The variety is unknown. While primroses are generally known to be yellow, it’s not always the case: there are so many varieties and colours available now.
I chose the stunningly vibrant lilac/pink ones standing erect on tall stems. The petals are so precisely formed, and right in the centre is a contrasting yellow. Within an hour, I had planted them into larger pots and they look great among the other spring plants.
Later, during the course of several gun battles on television, I elected to open up my Irish Wild Plants book. Primroses are given a chapter to themselves. Here are some items of information relating to them:
  • Long ago in Ireland, people used to hang a string of primroses over the door at the start of May. It was said that the primroses would protect the house as the fairies were not able to pass.
  • In many places primroses given as a gift should be a very full bunch or else misfortune would ensue, and a single primrose brought into a house was an omen of death.
  • In herbal medicine primroses were considered useful to treat jaundice, insomnia, tuberculosis, toothache and anxiety.
  • Coughs in horses were cured using crushed primrose roots strained in breast milk and put into the horses’ nose frequently!
  • In Irish it’s name is sabhaircín (pronounced sour-keen)
  • Finally, the Druids often carried primroses during their Celtic rituals as a protection from evil. Fragrant primrose oils were used to purify and anoint during these ancient rites.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Caterpillar Hell

For the past number of years, I have grown some vegetables. In 2015 I had created two raised beds in order to make things easier for myself. Most raised beds are constructed using wood to a height of about 30 centimetres, but I decided to use concrete, and I raised the beds much higher.
One of my favourite vegetables is Brussels Sprouts. The interesting thing about sprouts is that they are also favoured by caterpillars and slugs. Back in 2017, I selected three plants from the row of seeds I had planted and set them about 60 centimetres apart. As the butterfly season approached I covered two of the plants with netting and left the third uncovered. The result was that the butterflies colonised this plant, while the others were saved for our use.
This year I intend growing vegetables again and I put a permanent netting in place. Nothing will be planted here until mid-April but I like the idea of being able to keep all the home-grown food for ourselves rather than feeding the invaders. I will need to do some further adjusting during the summer because the sprouts will rise higher than this netting. How will I stop the slugs? I think I’ve got it sorted.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019


The rain began at lunchtime yesterday and it’s still at it. There was a very brief respite for about two hours after dusk. I had intended doing my usual bit of cycling this morning, but I opted instead for some recovery time. Time to put other jobs on the long finger too, such as powerhosing the front driveway, getting pallets to make a composting area behind the glasshouse or starting the cold frame that will be needed in April.
It’s not even the right weather to go taking some photographs so I am taking a look back through some shots taken since last summer. It’s a cheat day, really. Happy to reminisce.

Wordless Wednesday