Garden writing lifts me up.

Six-on-Saturday – Back Left Corner

I think it’s very strange that the name of certain plants just keep getting forgotten, lost in that back left corner of my brain. That corner must be nearly full by now, and refuses to give up its secrets!

Here on the south-eastern coast of Ireland, we’ve had a stunningly beautiful week. Bringing warm sunshine and dry with light winds, it was the complete opposite of what I’ve come to know as Paddy’s Parade Weather. Trillions of insects are circling, the Ash tree is about to burst, and I can smell the wild garlic on my walks. Likely, there will be summer weeks ahead that will not match this one! In fact, after two long days in the garden on Tuesday and Wednesday I was searching for the after-sun cream. Paddy was a cute fella to have worn that pointy cardboard hat!

Here we go again for round two hundred and forty something of the ever-spreading Six-on-Saturday, an oasis of peace and calm for gardeners and others alike. Started by The Instigator back in 2017, it’s a great place to share what’s happening and what’s not happening, what’s working and what’s not.

It’s a very important time for me in the garden. Much of the preparation for the year ahead is done, but growth is slow and it would be easy éasca to become impatient. I’d like growth to be quicker but realise that living in the moment is the only thing we’ve got. Here’s the current state of affairs this week, a blend of the beautiful, the hopeful and the downright ugly. It’s called life.

It’s a Success

Many of the cuttings taken last September have rooted. My guess is that about half of them are still alive beo. I made a start during the week planting them in the little nursery section where they’ll grow on until the autumn. I’m freeing up space in the cold frame because in a few weeks time I’ll start the process of hardening off much of what’s growing in the glasshouse. It’s a horticultural musical chairs.

Yes, It’s a…. Umm?

This is unidentified as yet, but falls into the beautiful category for sure!

I think it’s very strange ait that the name of certain plants just keep getting forgotten. I planted these two rockery plants back in 2016. I know where they were bought, and I even remember that it was Michael who served me on the day. A few months ago, someone here filled in the blank for me, but again the name is lost in that back left corner of my brain. That corner must be nearly full by now, and refuses to give up its secrets! Anyway, it has a nice flower and the plant looks healthy. I suppose I should give it a decent clip when flowering is finished, and find out how and when to propagate it. A few more at the other end of the rockery would be good.

Hold up… I’ve used PlantNet to help me with my memory loss. It thinks that the mystery plant is Iberis sempervirens. Also, I reached out to the Garden Tags community and, sure as spring follows winter, the identity is confirmed. Following on from my advice last Wednesday, I’ll be printing out a label.

Begonia Trouble

Many of the Begonias that I overwintered have developed some sort of disease. They are soft and spongy, and it seems they will not survive. I’ve dumped those that seem to be worst affected. Maybe I just did not dry them off completely before packing them away?

A good one

I’m determined to figure out what’s going wrong. I’ve read about overwintering, but clearly I’m missing something. Also, to add to my confusion, there is conflicting advice. When I see how dry new corms are, I’m sure I need to work a lot more on the drying process, and maybe cleaning off soil. Would washing soil off and then drying them be a good idea? I’d be grateful for any advice. On a positive note, the latest batch arrived from Holland on Tuesday. Packed and inspected by Julia.

Thank you Julia.

Julia has given me a discount voucher and anyone wanting it just needs to ask. Beidh fáilte romhat.

Home Guard

Too many shoots

The first early potatoes, Home Guard, are in the ground. As you probably know, they’ve been sitting in egg cartons in the glasshouse for the past few weeks and growth has started. I’m advised to plant them with two or three shoots only. Any extra ones will be gently broken off. This is to ensure that the stalks that do grow will be stronger. That’s the theory anyway.

I have enough space only for nine plants, and the crop will be ready to harvest in the first half of June. Meanwhile, the main crop potatoes will be planted in early April. Again, I’ve only enough space for nine, but I’ve also got a few grow-bags and I’ll plant them up with a few more. It’s been about ten years since I grew potatoes, and I’m hoping that I know what I’m doing this time! Time for that back left to release its secrets.


We celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day during the week in a most unusual fashion for the second year in a row. Our national holiday, known worldwide, marks the arrival of Christianity to the island. The shamrock is one of the symbols of Ireland, so I bought a small piece to mark the occasion. Celebrations will be virtual again this year. I wonder will we be back jigging about and drinking Guinness publicly this time next year?

Hellebores Pink Lady

I’ll not forget this one! In fact there are three, bought in Blackwater in 2016, as recommended by Michael for a tricky spot near the glasshouse. I’ll not forget the name of this one because I like Pink Lady apples. They have seeded liberally among the gravel and I’ve got several little seedlings. It seems to me it would be good to put in another variety and see what sort of offspring would develop. Can you recommend a variety you like?

In keeping with my likeness for renaming a plant in memory of a person, I’m doing just that for Sarah Everard.

Spring Equnox

The Spring Eqinox occurs today at 9.37am. Day and night are supposedly equal. Strangely, time from sunrise until sunset here today is actually 12h 11m, so it seems we are a little bit ahead of ourselves. There’s even better news next week as we’ll have an extra 28 minutes. Finally, the icing on the cake will be when the clocks move forward  next Saturday. In total, an extra hour and a half. There will be after dinner gardening and cycling too. So much for living in the moment!

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.


0 thoughts on “Six-on-Saturday – Back Left Corner”

  1. So kind of Julia to pack your begonias so lovingly. I do love Farmer Gracey’s commitment to pretending to be a small friendly nursery (not that they’re not friendly, but they’re a pretty huge company)!

    I’m not sure if I can offer much help with the Begonias – I know several people who do it quite differently but still manage to succeed. Personally I’ve had good results with just letting them dry out in pots in an unheated greenhouse. They get quite cold but stay bone dry til the spring.

  2. Good Lord – those “Home Guard” bring back memories of a summer picking spuds in Ballinacourty – at Morrisey’s, I think it was! Ten shillings a week! Great fun with other lads from Caseyville. I recall Mrs. Morrissey was a bit squeamish and I was taken from the picking twice each week so as to clean and fillet the mackerel for dinner!

    1. Small world, Paddy! I was across the roads at Jimmy’s. Six pounds a week, and when two of us asked for more he threw a hoe at us. I went round the corner to Michael Kiely and got twenty four! I didn’t tell my mother until two weeks later!
      So you’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades?

  3. The colour of the Hellebore is gorgeous…….and now I’m tempted to take up this weeks online offer of reduced prices for Hellebores and buy a couple! The Iberis is beautiful and I can understand why you want more of those plants. Such a pity about the Begonia rotting. We are spoiled here as I our plants can just be left in situ; no lifting or storage required.

  4. I often use the Plantnet app, very handy when you lose memory as you say.
    My first potatoes are ready and I will plant them in the ground tomorrow. They will be in my next Six.
    I have about 30 ‘ Jazzy’ and also a dozen ‘ Charlotte’ that will be planted in a large plastic bin (the one I already filled with compost , the # 5 from my Six this week): it will be a test

  5. I also find that naming plants for friends and family helps keep their names out of the ‘back left corner’. Trouble is that back left corner expands as time goes by…mine is cavernous by now!

  6. I only grow the annual candytuft, I ought to look into the perennial like yours. Make things easier! I tried growing potatoes once. Just once. Got a few tiny spuds, but more giant slugs!

    1. Annual candy tuft is nice, yet any plant that flowers now gets bonus points.
      You’ll not be tempted to try the potatoes again? Certainly not good idea to be feeding the slugs!

  7. Always exciting when cuttings produce healthy roots. Very sad about the begonias. My limited efforts to grow them indoors have invariably ended in tears. In particular, the question of how much moisture to provide has puzzled me greatly. Have never tried growing potatoes, so interested in the details of your preparations and planting. Do you cut the sprouted potato into pieces, then plant or plant as a whole after removing all but 3 shoots?

    1. We lament our begonia difficulties! Potatoes can be cut before planting but I’ve only a small section so I’ve got plenty, and some left over.

  8. A lovely varied six Padraig and I’m delighted that you got an ID on that Iberis because it’s a stunning plant and I now feel my rockery is crying out for one. I can’t help on the Begonias I’m afraid. I just leave mine in pots in the greenhouse and usually they come back but not always. At least you have some more arrived!

  9. Happy (belated) St Patrick’s Day. In previous years I would be well aware of the day from all the celebrations (mainly drinking I have to say) taking place in our local town, but this year it had passed me by. The Pink Lady Hellebore is lovely and how poignant to re-name it in memory of that poor young woman.
    Last year I started a new note book (yet another one!) to write down the names of everything I plant in the garden in the hope that I will be able to properly identify them all. Wish me luck!

    1. Yes, wishing you luck with your notebook recording of garden plants. I’ve discovered it takes lots of discipline.
      Patrick’s Day was very strange everywhere. Strangest of all here was the beautiful weather. 😁

  10. Hopefully next year a black and tan can be had with friends. (I like them) til then your Iberis looks wonderful and I think you are in a good spot for potato growing (I got three one Year)

  11. Glad to see that I’m not the only one to have fallen under the spell of Farmer Gracy. The carded packer name is a new idea I think. At least, I don’t remember seeing them before. Love that upright Pink Lady, her flowers seem to be less shy than normal. Enjoy your spring sunshine!

    1. That hellebore is wonderful at this time of year! I love it. Have about eight or nine seedlings and am growing them on. Going to try some of them in pots.

  12. I’m rather late this week, sorry. Funnily enough though, this afternoon I just potted up the three begonia tubers I received from Farmer Gracy a few weeks back. I can’t remember if it was Julia who packed them, or another obliging worker: they are very nice and friendly. Before planting, I looked up a video on how to do it on Youtube, and was directed to a nice girl, also from Farmer Gracy, who did mention removing soil from the tubers before storing them in a light and airy place.

    1. Yes, the video is very good, except that it’s the winter storage that’s not going well for me. I’ll be planting mine this week in order to have 5bem ready for plant g out mid May.

        1. I’ve seen complete opposite advice too, though. Paper bag in frost-free… Indoors in cupboard… It’s a bit like doctors differ & patients die!

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