Six-on-Saturday – Secateurs And Shovels

My local library is embracing digital tech and I’m happy to be part of it. I generally read on a device, and I get books and audio books regularly. In these times I’m delighted to have reading come to me rather than visit in person. Furthermore agus freisin, I get all the magazines I could wish for, including many cycling, gardening and just one chess publication. On a lighter note, I like nothing more than a weekly dose of Dennis the Menace, but comics are not available yet.

At this time of year, it is not easy to photograph the garden. The sun is at its lowest and there are shadows everywhere i ngach áit. No such problem with the professionally-taken shots in Gardens Illustrated. It is classed as the Vogue of the garden world, free from my local library.

Gardens Illustrated

Magazines, in my view, i mo thuairimse, are for light reading and one of my favourites is Amateur Gardening. I sometimes like to buy a print copy of this, and catch up on other issues online. Strangely, when I enquired about an annual print/digital subscription, I was shocked to find that the free seeds normally attached are not available to Irish subscribers. If truth be told, unless Boris and Ursula do a proper tango this week, there’ll be more to bother us than unavailable seeds.

Amateur Gardening

The market leader since its launch in 1991, BBC Gardeners’ World is a wonderful publication, filled with information and articles that inspire. Filled also with so many full-page photographs griangrafanna, especially of Monty, Alan and Carol. They seem to like smiling a lot. They smile while digging, lifting and even weeding. They look lovingly at shrubs, secateurs and shovels. Brilliant stuff indeed from the British Broadcasting Corporation smiles department.

Gifts for Christmas

I’ve got a shelf-ful of books relating to plants, soil, bugs, projects, how-to-do-everything, and a few encyclopedia-type volumes. My current deep reading is Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet, recommended by Eileen of Tiny Welsh Garden fame. I’m a convert, and I’ve got it on my finger méar to do a Saturday post at some point.

Thank you, a chara

Another of the books on my shelf is The Writer’s Garden: How gardens inspired our best-loved authors, by Jackie Bennett. It features 19 well-known authors and the influence that a specific garden had on their career. So, rather than start at the beginning, I started with a favourite author, Charles Dickens.
Receiving this book touched me because I have centred my writing around my small, humble garden. In many respects I am my own much-loved author, as I find opportunities for gratitude in my garden and in my writing of it.

Featuring Charles Dickens

There’s a wonderful health shop in Dungarvan called Blasta. I had a great laugh during the week when getting hair colour for mam. There were two young ladies behind the counter and I said:
“I’ve come for my hair colour”. They looked at me with a smirk. One was very quick and she asked:
“And do you know your colour code?”
“Yes. I always get 2N”, I replied.
She looked at the other lady and then back at me.
“I hope you don’t mind me saying, but 2N wouldn’t really be the best option for you”.
So I checked the text my sister deirfiúr had sent me.
“What about 9N?”, I asked.
“Yes, a much better choice, sir”, says she.
So, I got 9N. What a lovely highlight to my day! Pun intended.

Hair in 2018. Fashions change

For more accounts of December garden activity from near and far timpeall an domhan, tap this link to visit The Propagator’s blog or check out @cavershamjj on Twitter. You’ll find plenty writers linking their Six on Saturday garden selection in the comments section.

On a personal note, I want to express my thanks to Jon. I have participated in his wonderful idea every week since June, and it truly is an amazing community. As I finish this article (Friday evening), I’m thinking that so many others around the world are doing the same. I look forward to reading your contributions later with coffee and a mince pie.

My Week of Sixes

  • Mam celebrated her 89th birthday.
  • Ursula and Boris continue to tango, but the music isn’t in sync.
  • 582 Covid cases yesterday. January is going to be longer than usual.
  • We are looking forward very much to having Marion’s brother with us for Christmas, as we haven’t seen him since last year.
  • Méabh has completed delivery of all her Christmas art pieces.
  • I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Great Conjunction, the closest visible since 1226. There was a close one in 1623 but it was not visible. At any rate, I didn’t see it.

Sin a bhfuil for this week. I wish all readers a very Happy Christmas. May your sock be filled with gardening accessories! Slán go fóill.

Pádraig.

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  1. Prue Batten

    I love Garden Illustrated despite it being about the wrong hemisphere and when I want to spoil myself will buy a copy. I’ve also got The Writer’s Garden – husband gave it to me for Christmas last year – a super book about writing heavyweights. Stay safe and I hope you have a good Christmas despite the constraints of this year. Cheers from #writerwhogardens

    1. Pádraig

      Dear #writerwhogardens, It’s a small world! My wife bought it for me last Christmas.
      Nollaig faoi shéan agau faoi mhaide dhuit. 🌲🤶🎁

  2. Sel Calderbank

    An amusing post as always Padraig! Those books both look good. I had a GW magazine subscription for a year, it always arrived about a month late (even before the above-mentioned Tango dances really got going) and I found it a bit of a celebrity mag but for TV gardeners rather than Love Island contestants. But I did like the back-end of the mag, with jobs to do now and the advice sections. Merry Christmas to you, from another relatively new SOS-er.

    1. Pádraig

      I’ve moved on… I get advice for the specific plants in my garden as a notification on my phone. Have an inexpensive subscription to “Garden Tags” app. I highly recommend it, and BTW, the advice comes exactly on time.
      Nollaig shona dhuit, Sel. 🎅🌲🤶🎁

  3. The Garden News is my regular magazine. They are great for tips, inspiration and introducing you to new plants you never knew you needed!

    1. Pádraig

      Garden News? That might be one I never knew I needed!

  4. Paddy Tobin

    I must look into the online magazines from the library though I am very inclined to the book in hand and have often refused advanced digital copies of books from publishers, preferring to wait for the hard copy.

    1. Pádraig

      I understand. You’re old stock! 😅 I’m betwixt and between.

      1. Paddy Tobin

        I’ve logged in to view magazines which was easy going. They are unreasonably priced so reading online is good value.

          1. Paddy Tobin

            UNreasonably. I feel magazine prices are dreadfully high and very poor value

          2. Pádraig

            Tuigim. Print versions unreasonably priced. Tuigim anois.

    1. Pádraig

      Yes, it’s great. Not forgetting your square foot template! I can’t believe just how much more I can grow in a small space. How on earth did rowing vegetables in rows ever catch on?

      1. Probably because back gardens were long and narrow, and the old gardeners said that was how you did it – so you did!

  5. Love your wreath halo, it suits you! Another grin-worthy post, thank you, we need it. 🙂

    1. Pádraig

      All hail. Let there be grinning aplenty.

  6. I like the look of All You Can Eat in Three Square Feet – may need to get this as (another) Christmas present to myself. There seem to be quite a few of those this year!
    My space mad 10 year old and I are also hoping to catch a glimpse of the Great Conjunction – fingers crossed for clear skies at dusk. Appparently it will be to the south west and low on the horizon which means we might need to climb a hill to see it here in the South Downs.

    1. Pádraig

      It’ll be worth it… The book & the hill climb! Happy Christmas, a chara.

  7. Linda Casper

    We need cheering up just now and you nailed it! Have a good one.

    1. Pádraig

      Hear hear! Cheers! Right back at ya.

  8. fredgardener

    I’m also a subscriber here but to French magazines … The result is the same: feast for the eyes as a feast for the mind ! …while waiting for spring.
    Have a great Christmas Padraig with the family

  9. Katharine

    The photography in Gardens Illustrated is indeed beautiful. I understand the photographers are up early for the best light but I’ve never quite managed that – even in my own garden! Happy Christmas Padraig!

    1. Pádraig

      Like the early bird & the worm? Mmm… Nollaig shona dhuit, Katharine.

  10. janesmudgeegarden

    Lots to smile about in your post and I’m very impressed with the photos of baubles and jars with Christmas scenes inside them. Very clever. I fear those magazines would make me hanker after plants that shouldn’t really be grown here. I’m in the wrong hemisphere!

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, Jane. Are there not magazines written for down under gardens?

      1. janesmudgeegarden

        Yes, of course. But I like reading about Northern Hemisphere gardens as well (and reading NH blogs) and then I hanker after gorgeous plants I can’t grow here! Don’t all gardeners do that?!

        1. Pádraig

          I do that with bikes as well. N+1 syndrome.

  11. Cathy

    I need to look into what online magazines I can access for free, Padraig, as I certainly don’t need any more print copies (which I religiously leave to the correct month before I open them) – but it would be nice to dip into others if I have a spare moment on a rainy day… Thanks for suggesting this option – and I fancy The Writer’s Garden too

    1. Pádraig

      I joined the RHS this year and the complementary magazine alone is worth the subscription.
      Your library should be able to guide you towards online browsing…

      1. Cathy

        And as well as this the membership supports many RHS services – and provides free entrance to a number of gardens (although not many in Ireland I suppose)

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