Six on Saturday – The Living Dead

The first storm of the season will be racing through today. Storm Aiden, I hope you behave yourself! In advance, I tucked a few wobbly plants away in a corner, particularly my two new Agastache. It seems I’ll be able to read many of the lovely SOS updates any time during the day because there certainly will be no going outside. How exciting!

Only once during the past five months have I included a photograph taken in the Front Garden, so today I intend to make amends. I suppose it is under-represented because I have no interest in gardening for the neighbours. My castle caisleán is out the back. A YARD, as some of you lovely gardeners would call it! My conumdrum trioblóid now (Wednesday, 9pm) is to find an angle to link my unseen front-of-house with some rambling thoughts on an important topical issue. More coffee…

Thursday, 9pm. Ireland prepares to have its Front Garden hidden again! Five years ago a Commission was set up to investigate Mother & Baby Homes, and to record testimony from survivors. Finally, the report is due this week. These institutions/”homes” were prisons for pregnant unmarried women, run by religious authorities on behalf os the State. Government inspectors had tea with the nuns and manyturned a blind eye to the abuses. The women worked for their keep, generally in laundry operations. Their babies were separated shortly after birth, were fostered and sometimes sold for profit. It also transpired that hundreds of infants died of neglect. In one case, the remains of an estimated 700 have been located in a septic tank. Staggering as all this may seem is, it seems our Government has decided to archive much of the information for thirty years. That’s a very long lockdown. Yes there’s spin and misinformation, confusion and anger. Seems to me like an arrogant two fingers to Joe & Mary Public.

1. Above and Below

Outside the front door is a pot given to me by my neighbour Joe. It has been a standout welcome-to-our-home all summer, filled with marigolds and begonia. I planted these around the edges, but the not centre because there’s a basket of daffodils hidden below soil level. I know they are there. I have written the name ainm in the ledger and I know how many are there. All of this information is available to anyone who asks. I will not be part of hiding my Front Garden.

2. Verbena bonariensis

We have a narrow section of loose stone beside the boundary wall, again planted for the summer samhradh with some annuals. Several years ago we had planted three Verbena bonariensis on the other side, and they seeded among the stone everywhere. They are loved by butterflies and me. Every time I see a butterfly land on the flowers, I imagine the spirit of a small infant set free of the torture meted out by cruel moral-protectors.

3. Sacred Ritual

It’s everywhere, this beautiful bonariensis. It cannot be ignored. Imagine the horror if I were to collect these seeds and lock them away for thirty years tríocha bliain. I sought out more information about Verbena. The Latin word means Sacred Bough, used in rituals to cleanse and purify homes.

4. Halloween

That’s enough now. Come through the house with me to my castle behind. Wear your mask and use the bleach hand-sanitiser. Let us be aware of everything that has been hidden, but let’s take a peek. Firstly, I’ve got something for Halloween. In a way, it’s slightly related to the Hidden Ireland theme.

At Halloween, it was believed that the fairy chambers spill open, and the vast, uncountable multitudes of fairies have free passage on this earth. The very thin space between our dimension, and the dimensions of the dead, becomes thinner, allowing our ancestors to return for one night.

Ask About Ireland (loads of info here)

I wrote about The Manic Fairy back in February ’19. He caused constant trouble but as I write now I’m angry. I did not intend this Fairies mullarkey to further remind me of lost souls in our Hidden Ireland. Halloween is a time of remembrance. Its a new beginning. It was the ancient Celtic New Year’s Day.

5. Heathers

For my fifth today, I’m reminded that three years ago I planted thirteen heathers in three areas near the one and only glasshouse teach gloine. You’ve not seen them yet. I’m waiting until winter to feature them. I got three more last weekend and I’ve decided to put them on the Sunny Rockery near the Budda Man. For the moment they remain hidden, so the photograph remains on my phone, unpublished. It will emerge a lot sooner than the cloak-and–dagger shenannigans leading up to the unfortunate thirty-year camouflage.

I can see clearly now.

In the absence of visual evidence, and in the interest of balance, I thought Wednesday’s Irish Times article would allay my fears but I simply do not believe what they’re promising. I do understand the reason why our President signed Bill and I feel he is not in any way to blame. I’ll explain if asked.

5. Salads in Season

The glasshouse is brimming with enough salad leaves for three weeks. I’ve got a second box bosca that is just three weeks behind, so guess what? There will be no loss of service. I’m waiting a bit longer to sow the next batch because with falling temperatures, growth of batch #2 will be slower. There are scallions and a hardy lettuce outside. I do not need much more. I’ll be able to have a la carte salad menus. There is no hidden agenda here, just me enjoying growing healthy food.

Over To You

  • Has there been anything similar where you live?
  • Do you have troublesome fairies at back of your garden?

Personal Mullarkey

Here’s an excerpt from The Manic Fairy back in February… The little fairy tapped on the window while I was having coffee.

Didn’t you think about it? The powerwasher kept cutting out, she said.
Was it you?, I asked.
Well, to be honest, no. I wouldn’t do that. But Mikey the Manic Fairy was all riled up yesterday and he said he was going to cause trouble.
What riled him?
You bought that Fairy Door in New Ross last week, and you just moved it to Abbeyside without asking.
What?
You can’t be just moving fairy doors wherever you want. Mikey was all set to help Wexford score a few points in the hurling, and you took it all away. He’s here in your flippin garden and he’s not a happy fairy.
What can I do?
Well, if I was you, I’d face him head-on, coz he’s a crazy fecker.


Would you like to read about many other gardens around the World? The following are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator: England, Belgium (welcome aboard Sel. Fáilte isteach. Kia ora!), America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Read all about it and follow gardeners’ gardens. You may join in free gratis (free of charge), saor in aisce. Ireland has several keen enthusiasts, and I’m happy to be among them.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article this week. If you’re new here, I do hope you’ve enjoyed been shocked by it enough to return next week. Regulars here are regular for a reason, and I thank you all so much for your regularity, fun, interaction and your knowledge. I’m learning gach seachtain. Alas, there’s been only a little fun & mischief this week. I’ll be hoping to report on some further mischief after the US elections next week. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

31st October 2020.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. So sad. The length and depth and width of this tragedy it is hard to comprehend. I’m not sure if tragedy is the right word. What to think of the perpetrators is easier. Those poor women, those poor, poor babies. So sad.

    1. Pádraig

      Strange to hit the like button, I think I’ll unlike. Yes, lives wrecked. That many went on to live ood lives is a testament to the strength of human spirit, but many suffered for entire lives.

  2. Catherine

    So much has been written about this horrific period – it’s impossible to comprehend the mindset of those who would carry out such atrocities. It’s a tragedy that won’t be buried along with the tiny helpless victims, I doubt if there will ever be an end to it. The pain the mothers must have felt is immeasurable.

    1. Pádraig

      I’m with you Cathering. I was reading the minute book of a Belfast home last night. Frightful stories of very young girls, and no societal punishment for men who abused them.

  3. That was very sobering. Nice to see your front garden though. Verbena b runs rampant in my front garden. Such a good plant.

    1. Pádraig

      I like it very much! Seeds itself in surprising places.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, Barbara. I’ve got the measure of them!

  4. A chilling and incredibly sad tale. I like the way you have woven thoughts of the lost soles and the manic fairy in through your garden tour.

    1. Pádraig

      Sad indeed. I do like to mix the garden writing with some topical issues. Happy that you like it, a chara.

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