Garden writing lifts me up.

Six on Saturday – Naked Ladies and How’s-your-father

Monty Don has described Mount Usher as one of his favourite gardens anywhere. I am quoted as having said that it is staggeringly beautiful.

3rd October 2020.

There are thirty-one days until the US presidential election. This week I am attempting to link my Six on Saturday with important wider world events. In other words, I am featuring things that are important in my gardening head ceann and expressing my thoughts about the bigger picture, that rosy world-garden that we all want. I know which candidate is more likely to be a better world-garden caretaker. If you have no interest, I understand.


During the week I visited Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow. It is regarded as one of the finest gardens in this small country. In several locations throughout, there are memorial plaques to the head-gardeners of the past, thanking them for outstanding service. Specific phrases used include love, passion and care. We all tend our gardens in such a manner. We are fulfilled and the world is a better place. We expect no less from our leaders.

Evidence of passionate caretaking


The Maple Walk is beginning to show the beauty of Autumn colours. Americans call this The Fall. In Irish, we say An Fómhar. Countries worldwide have endured an unprecented Covid-Fall. Economies are on the brink, heading towards a winter crash, and many may not Spring Forward for many years. I am thinking particularly of the horrific effects on the less well-off who are suffering more than others.

Nature is adapting


Clean water uisce is the basis of all life. Here, you see a section of the Vartry river. The garden is built around it. I spoke to the assistant gardener who was working on a section of the man-made lake. I was somewhat shocked to find out that there are only two full-time gardeners, and when I asked, she estimated that four more would be needed. However, in these strange times, she smiled and said that they just do their best. Their best is about preserving and improving this world-renowned garden for future generations.
Vartry River


I think someone may be able to identify this. I do not know what it is, but I do know that seeds of future beauty are stored within.

Unknown beauty


I did mention The Fall earlier, so I was shocked to see this. Colchiums are like crocuses and I am learning that they flower right now, as you can see clearly. There is incredible beauty, even at a time when much of the natural world is in seasonal decay. What a wonderful world we live in. Here’s a section of the Wikipedia entry: Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked ladies, is a toxic autumn-blooming flowering plant that resembles the true crocuses. The name “naked ladies” comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long before the leaves appear.

Naked Ladies


This is the fruit if the Cornus kousa tree. Here is an edited excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

Cornus kousa is a small deciduous tree 8–12M tall. Common names include kousa, kousa dogwood, Chinese dogwood and Korean dogwood. Widely cultivated as an ornamental, it is naturalized in New York State. (Bolding is mine.) 
Berries are edible but not recommended

Note from the garden website: Mount Usher is one of Ireland’s greatest gardens and a world-class example of a so-called Robinsonian garden, with relaxed informality and natural layout. Monty Don has described it as one of his favourite gardens anywhere. I am quoted as having said that it is staggeringly beautiful. I can be quoted thus, because it’s true.

On Thursday last, I wrote about my visit to Mount Usher, and I include here again a snippet of my imagined interview with the garden itself:

I've witnessed revolution, war, a fair share of how's-your-father, and latterly, a booming economy... and the latest is the virus that arrived this year. 

I drove back home mid-afternoon, very content. I knew it was one of those important days.

Six Other News Items

  1. My winter bike is cleaned, serviced and ready to ride. New lights installed, and a hooter!
  2. The extra glasshouse shelving is complete.
  3. Meabh has her Racing Life Creations website live. Please give it a once-over.
  4. The first Autumn storm is brewing. It’s a French one, Alex. I’m not sure is it a male or female one.
  5. I watched a horror movie on CNN last Tuesday. They billed it as a debate, but that was a lie.
  6. I did not find any election ballot papers in a bin anywhere.
Read my lips

The Greek philosopher Diogenes was said to have wandered the streets of Athens with a lantern searching in vain for someone to speak the truth.

Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post

Six on Saturday is a world-wide idea started by The Propagator in England, and I am a proud participant. You can find out more about it by browsing the Participant Guide. There, you will find no mention of our political world, but equally, there is mention that writers may choose to plough their own furrow. Within this freedom, I value enormously the power to express myself through my garden.

That’s my lot for this week. I shall be spending some time continuing the Autumn tidy-up by day, and reading other SOS updates when I can. Wherever you are, have a great week.


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0 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Naked Ladies and How’s-your-father”

  1. You were very brave to watch the horror movie. I wasn’t. Colchicum have been glorious here these past few weeks as well. I believe your number quatro is a teasel – Dipsacus.

  2. On such a dystopian week, where one of the candidates for the dying democracy apparently caught Covid, your post is not just a prefect escape, but so very apt with your wordage.
    I think the unidentified plant is a teasle/teazle. My mother used to use them in winter flower arrangements. They’re very structural.

    1. I’vebeen thinking during the week of the Romans. The Empire died. It can and does happen. We got to fight to keep demoacy alive. It doesn’t get passed on in the DNA…
      Teasel? Unidentified no longer! Have a great week, Prue.

    1. Yes, Barbara. I read about the debate. The two ladies were courteous, respectful and een sharing a laugh despite being opponents. Maybe if all the world were female? No, strike that. Hope you have a great week.

  3. I’m reading about the dark ages and how the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings venerated the long departed Romans, their infrastructure and organisation. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
    If Mount Usher was near here I’d sign up as a volunteer but all I’d want to do is wander round and see the world in plants.

  4. Another collection of interesting places, and thoughts Pádraig. The garden must be a very lovely place to visit, perhaps one day I’ll be over in Ireland again and will pay it a visit. I liked the little video clip.

    PS – I could not have sat through the debate you mentioned – even clips streamed the following day were painful to watch.

    1. I feel your pain, Catherine. It always seemed to be a charade down through the years, but it’s way below the belt this time.
      Thankfully there are gardens to visit and our own to tend.

  5. We watch everything covering the elections here and my best advice for this year would be, turn off the TV and never get on the scale! And get outside as much as you can! Hubby is looking at new bikes (Yikes) and an indoor trainer…….we get the cycling channel now and can watch a lot of races when we want (not having to get up in the middle of the wee mornings ) Loved your video over the bridge today and that dogwood bloom is beautiful! Great post as always! You make my day!

  6. Oh my goodness, wasn’t that just the worse? I am so embarrassed. Love the vote mask. I am fortunate, Oregon always votes by mail. Nothing shady goes on either. They really DO check each ballot. My daughter, as silly young woman do (at 18-19) changed her signature, and she had to go to the election office to prove the ballot was hers.

    Such nice Colchicum, so much shorter and waterlily looking than mine. I trade mine without a thought.

    1. I hear that the debate in New Zealand between the two women was the opposite. Courteous & respectful despite policy differences.
      Im rooting for Oregon! Have a great week, Lisa.

    1. Many thanks, Cathy. I do find it interesting to link what’s happening in the garden with outside events. Hopefully when I read back on things in time to come I’ll have a record of some of these important events.

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