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Six-on-Saturday – Second Thoughts

It’s been mostly an indoor week again, and I’ve been reduced to, among other ridiculous stuff, reading about the difference between the two words normality/normalcy. Both are valid, but anyone using normalcy in conversation does not fit into my version of normality. Anorher example of human normality can be seen in how we react to news items. Despite the appaling prevalence of disease and death, I am flabbergasted that Gordon Elliot was headline news all of last week and this week it’s the turn of the British royal family. You might like to read my thoughts on these matters. Actually, on second thoughts, it’s probably more appropriate for me to stick to my gardening, The world is divided in two by issues of the day, and it’s not my wish to play one side off against the other. Plants and gardening may be the unifying force so badly needed.

With that in mind, I offer another Six-on-Saturday selection from my garden mó gháirdín this week. There’s a mix of things: beer and changed plans (not connected), frost and fun. Grab a coffee, put on your glasses and be open to a bit of mild garden fun.

1. Beertrap

Temptation

Last year, I used saucers and small glass jars of beer to kill slugs. The jars seemed to work better níos fearr. I sank them into the soil and filled them with beer. Seven of them on the vegetable bed. Every few weeks I emptied the beer and ordered more. Hundreds of slugs died a happy death. My choice of beer is Guinness, but slugs aren’t particular. They’d drink anything. This year I’ve upgraded the traps, in an attempt to keep the alcohol pure by keeping rain away. You might think that early March is too early to start drinking beer? Well, start ’em young, I say, before they get a chance to breed. No DrinkAware notices will be posted.

Slugs love these sheebeens located in shady corners, out of sight of predators. I myself wouldn’t mind a visit to a sheebeen, for some illegal consumption, but I’d fear the consequences.

2. Timber, Me Hearties

The timber has arrived, but my plan has changed. Last autumn, we removed the oil-tank from the garden. It was ugly, and no longer functional. I ordered timber to build a pergola in that corner, but now I realise the space available just would not suit. I’ll place a seat there temporarily, and perhaps put some timber behind it for effect. There will be timber left over, so I’ll need to come up with another project.

Summer 2020

3. Well, Hello There

Smile!

On one of our local walks during the week, we came upon this shrub, decorated with furry toys and ornaments, likely put there to amuse children páistí. I must admit to smiling a lot. In these times, when so many people are clinging by a slender thread, anything which brings a smile is most welcome. I may add a few similar items to my garden to accompany the eternal Christmas baubles.

4. Reliable Donors

Every Little Helps

I put out a request on BookFace looking for baskets. Specifically, I wanted six. It’s not related in any way to Six-on-Saturday but it has sneaked in at number four ceathrar. Delighted I was to have four delivered to my front door within 48 hours, and I collected a fifth later. The Amazon man was a bit surprised when he delivered the beertraps. Thus far, the Tesco ones seem to be of a superior quality, and in the end, Every Little Helps. People are very good.

I will use these for growing lettuces, annuals and a few small herbs. In return, I have offered some tomato plants and broad beans. The beans have deen delivered and are being reared by a foster-mother, while the toms are not yet ready to move out.

5. Viburnum

Seeing as it’s Spring, and Mother’s Day is tomorrow, I’d better include something by way of colour. Flowering, preferably. Let me have a look around…

Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus featured here a few weeks ago, yet here it is again. This time, it’s in full bloom. The shrub is small, having been planted only six months ago. It’s clear that it has settled in very well.

Coming Soon

Do watch out for my April request. You could be the proud owner of three Dahlias. By then, they can no longer be called seedlings. Teenagers, more like. Unfortunately, I can only export as far as Kilbrien or Kilmacthomas. I use DPD. Drop Plants Directly.

6. Heavy Frost

Monday night was very cold here, and the temperature inside the glasshouse dipped to 1.4°C. Everything survived, however, because I had used fleece to protect the little seedlings. Not willing to put my plants at future risk, I put an electric heater on a timer inside the following day, and I’ll turn it on whenever the weather forecaster tells me to. The film/movie Clear And Present Danger comes to mind.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I hope you have a great week. Slán go fóill.

In Other News

Alpe d’Huez July 2006.
  • My friend passed away last Sunday. We had great times, on and off the bike during our campaigns together. The 600km trip from Mizen to Malin in 1999 was memorable for many reasons, while our trip to the Alpe d’Huez in 2006 was cut short on the first day. I broke a finger and Justin his shoulder, so we had to drink beer for two days waiting for our colleagues to return to base. Back here the garden, Justin roofed the “Seomra”, the name given to Marion’s craft-room. Rest easy, my friend. No more hills.
  • On our local walks this week, we came across three people who admired my garden. To be exact, they’ve never seen my garden, except here. Each explained that they read regularly, but do not comment. That’s 100% OK, for sure. ‘Tis better than a kick up the arse.

Pádraig.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. I can never bring myself to share my beer with the slugs. Or more precisely, there’s never any beer left to share with the slugs!

    The Viburnum looks great – those flower buds look really interesting close up 🙂

    1. Pádraig

      Oh, do reconsider, please. Your slugs will thank you.
      Reminds me of the fella who was looking at some product in the garden centre and asked: “Is this any good for wasps?”.
      No sir, It kills them. I’m sorry.

  2. Agree with Kind Hearts and Corydalis that the viburnum looks great. Those plant decorations look fun! My Pilates teacher said to me today ‘oh I love all your flower pictures!’ and then three of us had a discussion about dahlias…blog life!

    1. Pádraig

      Isn’t that just lovely! Our digital footprint influences others.

  3. I love the decorated shrub, made me smile too. I do believe that people are inherently good, they just need to be allowed to be so. If that makes sense. Sorry to hear about your friend, it sounds like you had some great times together and will remember him often and with affection. Have a great week x

    1. Pádraig

      It makes good sense, a chara! Kindness is catching.

  4. Sel Calderbank

    That’s a clever idea to use shopping baskets for veg! As for beer traps, can you really bear to leave them out for several weeks?! It’s a murky, messy business, an effective trap for sure but, well, gross! But we do have beer to use up, good Belgian beer, but nobody drinks it in our house so it will probably go to the slugs. I know that’s a sacrilege, but waste not, want not!

    Very sorry to hear about your friend, that’s a super photo of you both in the Alps, sounds like you’ve got good memories to treasure.

    1. Pádraig

      I am debating buying a strip of copper. I’m told it’s very effective.
      We had a super day in the Alps, until we both came crashing down. In A&E my limited French returned to me! Caissé means broken.

      1. Sel Calderbank

        Copper works well around the rim of pots of Dahlias, but it’s hard to copper up a whole garden 😉

        1. Pádraig

          Added to that, apparently copper along the roof ridge tiles kills moss. I’ll need to prioritise!

  5. Using shopping baskets for veg is a great idea. I think the slugs in my garden went teetotal last year, unless they really objected to the ‘basics’ Morrisons lager. So sorry to hear about your friend.

    1. Pádraig

      Apparently, lining the basket with plenty newspaper will be sufficient.
      Also, I’m going to plant Spinach… apparently it grows better out of direct sunshine.

  6. fredgardener

    Slugs are alcoholics .. keep us updated if plastic bags are better.
    Very sorry for the loss of your friend … Alpe d’Huez is a great place in the Alps for cyclists and the Tour de France

    1. Pádraig

      Bags are certainly easier to pick up and toss into the bin. In just a few days, there are about a half donen in each.

  7. Just wondering how and where you dispose of the drunken slugs. Can you strain the beer and re-use it? So sorry to hear about your friend, it sounds like you have some great memories of your exploits together.
    Spare wood? Last night’s Gardeners World roundup featured an auricula theatre. If it’s a shady spot how about a vertical fernery (it that a word?)

    1. Pádraig

      Previously, it was a messy task to empty contents into refuse bin but the plastic will be easier. Just pick and throw it in.
      I’ve a feeling that an arch shall appear somewhere…

  8. grannysgarden

    Do your traps only attract slugs? After the first 24 hours of using the traps, I found one baby newt and a worm, plus a very small slug. I used some “old” milk, perhaps beer would be better. Sorry to hear about your friend but you clearly have many happy memories.

    1. Pádraig

      Never seen anything but slugs. Irish worms are v intelligent.

  9. Roguegarden

    Clever use of the green plastic baskets. I love when the online free exchange works. I can relate to the changing of plans in the garden, which occurs all too frequently hereabouts, but it’s wonderful to have some nice materials freed up for another creative venture.

    1. Pádraig

      Indeed, I like to look on the positive side. Some little project will present itself.

  10. theshrubqueen

    Hmm, had to look up Gordon Elliott and Broad Beans! I need to find some of those beans, they are not common here. One benefit of sand in the garden is no slugs. Whatsoever. I have grown spinach in part shade this winter in pots, it does very well. Still eating it. Love the decorated tree, a little cheer for the passerby. Sorry to hear about your friend. Difficult to lose friends these days.

    1. Pádraig

      My first time growing broad beans, so I’ll keep you updated.

  11. The animal heads in the bush made me laugh. IT’s nice to find something unexpected while out for walks. We certainly do need to find smiles … I also use crates for growing salad crops. Spring onions, radish, an ongoing crop of mixed lettuce – I only pock the leaves not the whole lettuce, spinach, watercress onions. I’ve also tried garlic this year but not sure if the tubs are deep enough. We will see.

    Hmmmm… it has been a strange week in the news and with the departure of ‘Marmite Man’ I will no longer be watching Good Morning Britain. Onwards!

    1. Pádraig

      What did you use to prevent soil falling out? I’m thinking maybe newspaper or cardboard.

  12. Chloris

    I grow salads in crates near the house because my chef is too lazy to walk down the garden to the veg garden. I line them with cheap weed membrane.
    I’m all for cruelty to slugs so I’ll try some beer traps. I’m sick of shredded hostas.

    1. Pádraig

      Weed membrane… Good idea. Yes, I think I’ve got some of that hiding somewhere in the shed.

  13. CadyLuck Leedy

    Pádraig so sorry it has taken me soooooooo long to read your post this week! I have been out and about all weekend WITHOUT MY MASK and WITHOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING! TRULY, I feel like a new woman! I look forward to seeing what you do with all that lumber! I am so sorry to hear about your friend! It looked like you shared a lot of fun times together and that is the important thing! Something special for you on Wednesday! Cady!

    1. Pádraig

      Hey, it usually takes me until following Friday to get round to reading most of the SOS posts. You’re doing quite well actually.
      No social distancing? Is the area virus free?
      Wednesday? Could you do it Tuesday?

  14. n20gardener

    Loving the beer traps, like Sel we have some old beer hanging around a little past sell by date, perhaps I can smuggle it out in to the garden/ghiardin. Sending you kind thoughts for the loss of your friend.

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, a chara.
      Surely better to use up old beer rather than let it go to waste.

  15. The new beer traps look interesting and are a great idea to prevent dilution of the alcohol! The cheery tree is a great idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you come up with! Hope you keep us posted on how the crates work out for your vegetables. I’m also very sorry to hear that you have lost your friend, but it seems you had some great times o remember him by.

    1. Pádraig

      Already, they are dead by the dozen. Today was the best day of the year so far and I think I may have got sunburned. Hope you have a great week in the garden.

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