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Six-on-Saturday – Demolition

It’s been a very warm week here in Dungarvan. Not exactly the type of weather to demolish the overgrown front garden, but that’s what we started. I’m so lucky that Marion is not afraid of hard heavy work! We spent three hours cutting shrubs, prising roots out and removing a 5cm layer of loose stone. Loose stone is a misnomer, and the result was aches and pains from toe to top. On Wednesday I took a break to rest and recover and we will set our sights on finishing the job next week. Such was my excitement, after an extended nap, that I wrote a POEM: Old Age Garden.

Matching t-shirts!

But heavy work and perspiration won’t get the Six-on-Saturday deed done. Indeed no. I’d have been tempted to subcontract an RHS magazine writer, yet even at a time of deadlines and blisters, I’ve set my mind on the usual six updates. To be truthful, finding six items is very easy as we move to the beginning of the second half of the year, but as I tap on my phone using only my left index finger, I’m aware of an overall body tiredness. That said, it’s time to get on with it, and what better way than to relax into it. But first… my favourite flowery quote from this month’s RHS magazine:

Spiky blue flower heads of Eryngium phlanum create a wash of blue throughout the meadow, punctuated by frothy pink and cream Achillea Summer Pastels Group. Towering Stipa gigantea form shimmering golden clouds above.

Bunny Guinness, page 69. (see featured image)

1. And Relax…

Popular corner

The Duck-Egg seat is very popular. It has been admired, checked for any missed bits of paint, handled lovingly, droned from above (you guessed right… from above!) and tested for load-bearing. Then Méabh sat there awhile and it seemed that Goldilocks had found true comfort at last!

I’ve noticed that whenever I take a photograph here, the water fountain  is off. It’s set on a fifteen-minute timer between 9am and 6pm. I’ll put it on my list next week to catch the flowing water.

2. Cape Daisy

Osteospermum ecklonis

I have several Cape Daisies (Osteospermum) in the garden and they’re not there just to take up space! In sunny weather there’s nothing nicer than seeing the flower open. With that in mind I sowed a packet of Lidl seeds back in early February. In fact, from eighteen seeds I now have ten plants. Most are this almost-white with a tiny hint of mauve.

3. Starting Over #3

After 17 years.

Until 2004, this was green grass. I did not like it, and I did not like mowing it. So, we put in some kerbing, shrubs and heathers. The entire area was membraned and stone was added. For many years it was tidy and needed no work. In recent years, I discovered three things. Firstly, the no-maintenance garden is a myth. I should have attended to simple pruning, but I didn’t do so because of the second reason, namely a prolonged lack of interest in the front garden. Honestly, you could count on the front left toe of a doe the number of times I’ve selected anything from here for my Six-on-Saturday. The last problem, in third place with just one point, is that moss has been falling from the roof on the lovely stone. I mean a lot of moss, and we delayed doing anything until that got sorted. This third excuse reason contributed largely to the second.

The Socks!

And so began makeover number three, following a year of dithering. Marion wanted it done more than I did, and she’s a professional prodder! So, on Monday and Tuesday, in record-breaking heat, we removed most of the shrubs and about half of the stone. The roofer worked on Thursday and Friday to clean and treat the tiles while I continued the preparation work for what will be our Old Age Garden. There’s lots to do, but my plan is to feature the finished article next week. There will be sweat and many aches. There will be some swearing, no doubt, and it’s likely that the entire operation will be conducted in record temperatures. If anyone comes along afterwards and says “That’s nice.” I may not be responsible for my actions. At the minute, there’s fat chance of such a delicate compliment! Watch this empty space.

Butchered.

4. Covid Dining

Dining outside

We have two very old stone troughs in the garden, brought from Marion’s home at Cappagh. I’ve got a small conifer of some sort growing happily in this one. Last summer, it became our practice to stick lollipop sticks around the edge. It’s a strange thing to do, but we enjoyed every single Magnum, and it’s a bit like a prisoner marking the passing of time on a wall.

This year I’ve upgraded from lollipops to cutlery, symbol of Covid dining take-aways. Anyway, who’s counting?

I had asked for FB feedback, and it arrived in spades! I’m not going to make a meal of it, but it has to be said this is cutting edge gardening at its finest. The grave of the unknown gourmet.

5. Brunch

YouTube Version

I buy apples, yet I don’t eat most of them. They end up in the compost bucket. This apple has been put on a raised saucer and the blackbirds is enjoying it. I am enjoying watching and capturing the moment so that you might it enjoy too. An apple is a feast that can last all day.

6. Banana fight

YouTube version

On the other hand an over-ripe banana is a different matter. The starlings are jostling for position and the pecking order seems to be organised on the basis of pure aggression. The entire episode continued for about thirty minutes, at which point they sought out food elsewhere. Bananas are a great source of carbohydrate and minerals for cyclists, so I’m thinking these starlings will be flying it for days to come. “Flying it” is a compliment given to a cyclist who is clearly very fit. Another phrase used is “going well”. Sounds understated, but equally complimentary. Both phrases are never used to describe oneself.

I’ve been watching professional cyclists going well on the roads of Brittany this week. I’m reminded of the starlings jostling for position. Many cyclists have crashed hard and have severe road rash as a result. Bananas are of absolutely no use in this situation.


We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I’ve been doing this since June last year and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from as far away. Lest we forget, many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Could be anything, and frequently is. Do join in. Hashtag #sixonsaturday.

The Week That Was

Not garden-related, this is merely to keep a record of events for future reminiscing.

  • 18-34 year olds have inundated pharmacies for vaccination
  • Marion and I made a good start at the complete revamp of the overgrown front garden.
  • I made a return visit to Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens with my brother.
  • Day-trips are the in thing this summer. Spike Island was the largest prison in the world, a legacy of British rule in Ireland. Brutality at its worst.
  • Marion and I are having our very first Garden Open Day. We are excited. Details next week.
  • I’ve been watching the Tour de France. Who’d be a bike racer? It’s pure carnage.

Pádraig

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  1. Michele Burke

    Love your Cape daisies, the bird eating the apple, your socks, and your humour. Thanks for another great six on Saturday 👍👌😉 😘

    1. Pádraig

      I find that socks can be an attractive feature… Actually sometimes they definitely aren’t.

  2. Paddy Tobin

    That’s a big job you have started but you seem to be going well, flying it even!
    and the socks!

    1. Pádraig

      So good of you… I’m reluctant to attribute “flying it” to myself! Just not the thing at all.
      In times gone by I’d have got clip on the ear for wearing best Sunday socks for felling trees! 😜

  3. Blimey, you’ve been very busy. I’m looking forward to seeing how the “Old Age Garden” develops. I really like those dried allium flowers and stems on the wall.

    1. Pádraig

      Too early for thinking… I had to go check the Alliums on the wall…. Agapanthus, actually.
      My project timetable may be unrealistic.

  4. fredgardener

    If only there was only a banana peel that would knock down cyclists… There are often fools a little too close to the athletes. I really liked this week the pot of osteospermums and smiled to the Covid dining

    1. Pádraig

      It’s an unparalleled sporting event, as fans get to see athletes up close. Remarkable also that almost everyone I behaves responsibly, but there will always be the occasional bad apple.
      Covid dining… Important for us to be able to laugh amid tough times.

  5. Good luck with the front garden project – by the magazine article I assume you’re going for no-mow wildflower meadow, all wispy grasses, native wildflowers and humming with bees?

    1. Pádraig

      The lovely quote… well, that’s meant to clarify that I was so wrecked from felling trees that I’d not have time to be embellishing my article with smooth-talking wordage.
      I do have a bit of a plan… it’ll be like your top secret project, and likely I’ll be supervised lest I get sidetracked! 😁

        1. Pádraig

          Would that need to be the first step? Could it be devised along the way?

          1. Pádraig

            I do have a drawing. First draft. But it has too many plants. So, the second thinking cap will be needed. I do have garden planning software I could use, though.

          2. Is there such a thing as too many plants? Too many varieties perhaps. I remember Monty Don’s Big Dreams Small Spaces series (Episode 4, series 2) – two women neighbours opened up their front gardens into a shared space – he said a maximum of seven plant varieties, planted in threes or fives, in drifts and interspersed with grasses.

  6. n20gardener

    Oh My! So impressed by the front garden project. Congrats to Marion, I can’t want all I like but the non-gardener is rarely moved! Yes I wondered – like TWG – if that was the look you will be going for, I await the reveal of your top secret plan!

    1. Pádraig

      Don’t say “That’s nice” just yet, a chara!
      Re The Wild Meadow Look: There was such heavy work that my clarity left me. Ye are an assumptive lot!

  7. Sel Calderbank

    How exciting, a whole new garden to plant up! Will we be reading all about the make-over in a future issue of the RHS magazine? Will Bunny Guinness come round to interview you? Love the osteospermums, and great use of the throne to soak up some sunshine.

      1. Sel Calderbank

        Wonderful, love that poem. Now you’ll have to think hard about which plant to name after yourself!

        1. Pádraig

          An evergreen perennial, frost-Hardy, loving a shady corner. Mmm… 🤔 Choices, choices.

  8. theshrubqueen

    Wishing you a lovely rest from your demolition success. I had to go back and find the socks, I actually have some similar socks – from Aldi!

    1. Pádraig

      I was lucky to have a matching pair! The foreman was aghast.

      1. theshrubqueen

        My husband would have been aghast if I wore my Aldi socks!

        1. Pádraig

          Quite rightly so! You’ve got Aldi in Florida?

          1. theshrubqueen

            I love Aldi and shop there weekly. it’s curbside pick up here..different in the UK.

          2. Pádraig

            Unfortunately not! Bag & drive away. 😜

  9. grannysgarden

    Looking forward to many progress reports from the garden. Have a quiet week. 🙂

    1. Pádraig

      Quiet? I’ll be lucky! My mantra is: Bend from the knees.

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