Garden writing lifts me up.

Six-on-Saturday – Birthday In A Bubble

Wintergreen is dioecious, meaning that the male reproductive organs are on one plant, and female on another. I get that, yet it is not normally the way of doing things in the plant world. It has too many vowels for my liking.

Today is Marion’s birthday. Born in 19-somethingy-something, I didn’t know about it until the mid eighties. Last year was a roundy one, celebrated here with family ár gclann and friends, but there’ll be only a small celebration today with Shepherds Pie, ice-cream and crinkled Hunky Dory crisps, following all guidelines and preferences.

Upgraded Shelter

In honour of the day, I built a woodpile. It’s not what she wanted this year, but as many of the shops are closed, I beavered away to complete this on time and within budget.

Woodpile for shelter

Insects and other garden creatures will be beaming with joy to have shelter on cold days laethanta fuara. The upturned pot had been in place for many years but with an open entrance, the BER rating was very far below the required standard.


Neither myself nor the birthday-girl are happy sásta about the lemon plant. The creatures from the woodpile are eating merrily, and have left telltale marks.

Lemon with holes


The Christmas tree was also put up to mark the occasion. Usually appearing on the 8th, I surprised her this year. In another change to house tradition it was moved to the conservatory-cum-blogspace. Finally, a touch of magic was added outside the kitchen window, as I planted some Gaultheria procumbens, known as Wintergreen, in some window boxes.


Apart from being very birthday-Christmasy, it is dioecious, meaning that the male reproductive organs are on one plant, and female on another. I get that, yet it is not normally the way of doing things in the plant world. It has too many vowels gutaí for my liking.

In addition to that-way-of-doing-things, extract from the plant is used to soothe sore muscles (especially after doing things), and for mouthwash, toothpaste, chewing gum and American root beer. What a versatile birthday present it makes!

Liatris Spicata

I don’t know why I include this on the 5th of December. It has no birthday connection. It flowers in mid-summer, yet I think there’s merit in keeping the spent stalk even after seeding is complete críochnaithe.

Liatris spicata

Rosa Just Joey

In Marion’s honour, I worked hard to get one final bloom on my favourite rose. Actually, I tell a Trump. Nature did all the hard work.

Breithlá sona duit, a stór

End of November Ramble

Taken last Monday, the last day of November.

Pre-birthday round up

Here’s the YouTube version.

Head over to The Propagator’s blog for more accounts of early December garden favourites. You’ll find plenty garden writers linking their Six on Saturday rambles in the comments section.

Personal Remember-the-week Six

  • Waterford Port Láirge beat Kilkenny 2-27 to 2-23 to reach the All-Ireland Hurling Final.
  • Ireland has returned to Level 3 with extra concessions for Christmas. We have the lowest infection rate in Europe, but not yet a reason to get social.
  • Very cold but not like December 2010.
  • As you know, our first ever November Christmas tree is up.
  • I ran shuffled slowly for 5km, but my time will only improve.
  • Breaking news! Today is Marion’s birthday. If you’re reading this, I love you, a stór. And if you’re not, well… you’ll know when I share my hidden stash of Hunky Dory crisps.

To finish, here’s a look back to the snow sneachta of 2010. I hope everyone has a great week, and that there may even be gardening or perhaps a special celebration. Slán go fóill.

Nollaig 2010


0 thoughts on “Six-on-Saturday – Birthday In A Bubble”

  1. Happy birthday wishes to Marion! That is a lovely collage featuring the birthday lady!
    I think the woodpile idea is a great one, especially the half pot. I think I will dedicate a small section of my garden to one as well, for the lizards and insects that visit the garden. The picture of your garden in the snow looks very cold – something we could do with at the moment as it is a scorcher outside! Happy gardening week to you!

    1. I shall pass on your good wishes, a chara. Procumbens is a lovely little thing. I bought a small six-pack in October. I’ll need to check final height but I feel its about 50-60cm.

  2. This wood pile with the terracotta pot ansd stone are a great hiding place for animals and insects! Well done .
    My Gaulteria has not given berries this year … too young maybe.
    And a “Happy birthday to Marion!”

  3. The woodpile will be a welcome gift to your garden creatures. Whoever is nibbling your lemon balm may be ennjoying the calming benefits, works well for humans too in a fresh herbal tea. Happy birthday to Marion!

  4. You’ve managed to lure the nibblers away from your lettuce with the Lemon Balm, I’d be very happy to have a crop looking like that. And Happy Birthday to Marion too!

  5. Love the snow, happy birthday to your wife and Just Joey here in Australia is what can only be described as a cantaloupe orange with deep orange tones.

  6. Hi Padraig – so lovely to see your family pictures and I’m sure Marion was delighted at the bug house. Just Joey was a rose my late father liked to grow so it’s nice to see it in your post. A very pretty rose!

  7. Happy birthday to Marion and you even found her a rose. I like words too and dioecious is a good one, although I agree it is a little profligate with its vowels.

  8. Is Shepherd’s pie a birthday tradition? Hope that it was delicious and Marion enjoyed her day. I didn’t know about the male/female separation for Wintergreens. Did your pack of six contain all females? Sorry about the lemon balm problem. Do you know what is eating it? Bit late for caterpillars even though it looks like it.

    1. It was such a cold day that Shepherd’s Pie seemed like a good idea… and it was! Good question about the six. Likely a mix. I do hope so.
      No caterpillars. Whatever is munching the lemon balm, I don’t actually mind too much. I hope you have a lovely gardening week,a chara.

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