Garden writing lifts me up.

Six-on-Saturday – Front And Back

Much has been happening out back. The potatoes blighted, Sweet Peas just keeled over quietly and the begonias sulked for overwatering. On a positive note, everything else is doing really well, and I’m content to overlook the disappointments.

The wasp stung me. It was a deliberate act of thuggery self-defence and I learned to keep well away. Now fully recovered, I spent many an hour this week getting the new front garden in place, and I’m nearly finished.

Meanwhile much has been happening out back. The potatoes blighted, Sweet Peas just keeled over quietly and the begonias sulked for overwatering. On a positive note, everything else is doing really well, and I’m content to overlook the disappointments.

That said, please read along as I write about another revamp of my patio. The task rose to the top of my Do List, and was finished in a very short time. I’m now happy to present it to you as six paragraphs of the same story. Herein, as with any half-decent story, there’s excitement (yes I know… one man’s meat and all that.), learning and even an Ikea-like puzzle that rattled me. Let me start, as always, at Number 1 the start…

Thinking A Thought

There’s a time to pull, a time to drag, and a time for hoovering. On Wednesday it was time a time to tackle a little task I’ve come to like. I regard doing a re-jig here as embracing my creative side, a cool way to pass an hour or thereabouts and light exercise all rolled into one.

Humble Beginnings 2020

This is what it looked like in July last year. The photograph is taken pretty much from the same spot, at a time when the appeal of a clustered group of plants (my cycling mentor calls it a garden centre!) formed during the long first lockdown. I continued minor alterations and by the autumn it looked really well.

What do I notice when I compare this image with the first one? Three things jump out at me:

  • There was more colour.
  • There was a defined structure.
  • I like this one better.

With that in mind, a revamp was in order. For the past two weeks I’ve been doing a big job on the front garden. It’s almost finished. My left calf bears the telltale mark of a wasp sting. My knees are buckled and by Tuesday last, I’d broken the handle of the shovel. I was brought to my senses when the boss suggested a three-day rest. It wasn’t so much a suggestion as a pointed instruction.

“How on earth can you do the hoovering housework if you’re not able? Take a few days off, a stór!”


Having both photographs above for comparison, I could not fail, and having many many more plants would surely give me more options. The fun started on Wednesday morning.

Deconstruction was the first step, and involved moving everything except the large central containers.

One Hour Later

I didn’t have the stopwatch going, nor did I check the Fitbit step count. But this I know… one hour later it was done, and I like the fresh new look. It’s like changing bedsheets.

Full Circle

Like an Ikea assembly, you know something’s messed up when there’s a pot left over!

The following day, having had sufficient thinking time, I removed some of the taller plants at the back and brought in gladioli and a little Salix Flamingo. It is finished.

That done, I can view the section beyond looking down the garden beyone the seat.

The Magic Of Five

Here’s a close-up of a large planter that sits at the front. I’ve hidden the planter as best I could so that only the plants are visible. Within this planter I’ve got five pots that are double-potted. Using this method I can interchange plants easily. I simply take out a pot, leaving an empty pot beneath and then put in a replacement. The reason for the pot within the pot is to prevent soil disturbance. I think I’ve explained that very badly.

In this way I can take away plants that are past their best, introduce plants that are coming into flower and balance colour and foliage items. In order to do this, I’ve realised how important it is to have all pots the same. I’ve got fifty, given to me by a kind Dublin lady. She was involved in a community project to plant roses around her locality and offered the pots in a great FB gardening group I’m in. (I’m shocked that I’ve mentioned FB and great in the same sentence. Twice consecutively even! )

One final thought: I like to learn something new every day week, so I used DuckDuckGo to answer this question: How many combinations of five plants can be had from a total of twenty-five? Answer: 53,130. Not that I’d ever think readers might not believe this result, go have a look. You’ll get same answer with other calculator sites, as I’m sure you’ll understand I’d not want to mislead myself! I also learned again the difference between combinations and permutations, long forgotten since first year college maths. Did you know? :

  1. There’s no such thing as a combination lock.
  2. My fruit salad is a combination of apples, grapes and bananas” We don’t care what order the fruits are in, they could also be “bananas, grapes and apples” or “grapes, apples and bananas”, it’s the same fruit salad.
  3. “The combination to the safe is 472”. Now we do care about the order. “724” won’t work, nor will “247”. It has to be exactly 4-7-2.

Back to the garden pot combinations, I’m thinking tá mé ag smaoineamh that a short gallery might give a better presentation of this of rotating display:

What’s it all about?

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with my front garden Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading, and to Jon for getting us all together every week. Have a good week. Stay safe. Slán go fóill.

The Week That Was

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

  • Tour de France: Incredibly, Mark Cavendish has equalled the record held by Eddie for the most career stages won. Both now have 34.
  • I’ll be vaccinated today and Marion tomorrow.
  • Four large sacks of moss have been gathered after the roofer finished the job. I’d like to turn them into loaves and fishes something useful rather than putting them in the bin.
  • I met a friend I hadn’t seen for nearly 10 years, seconded from County Louth to run the temporary local Covid Test Centre.
  • Our Garden Open Day is on the 24th.
  • I haven’t been on my bike for three weeks. It’s a long time, but we’ll be friends yet!


0 thoughts on “Six-on-Saturday – Front And Back”

  1. So, it wasn’t you! I’ve taken to having a close look at men of a certain age, men in lycra on bicycles on the roads of Co. Waterford, for I’m sure I’ll see you one day and I reckoned one man might have passed for you – at a distance – but on closer approach I realised it wasn’t you at all. One day a fellow will stick his head out the car window and give you a shout. You’ll wonder who that cracked eejit might be and then you’ll think of me!

    1. The chain is nearly rusty, Paddy! I’ll be rusty myself if we get much more of this rain.
      Cracked eejit? Here’s the thing… Cyclists would confirm that if surprised by a barking/attacking dog, there’s a liklihood to imagine dogs around every corner/gateway.
      Youll be everywhere! 😜

  2. The whole set is very successful, the flowers are tastefully arranged and it’s very colorful. I had said it before but the wooden logs circling all around is a very good idea.

  3. Rude wasp, lovely makeover! Is that deep blue flower an agastache? It’s beautiful. Must be the week for keeling over, my sunflowers went the same way as your sweet peas but none too quietly in a gale. Ah, ’tis life in the garden, I suppose. 😉

    1. I’d did have two Agastache. One died overwinter, the second is barely alive after the harsh late spring. Almost keeled over, one might say.
      What you’re seeing is Salvia Mystic Spires. I bought two, and I’ll be hoping to divide and try cuttings to increase. This one is just 30cm so unlikely to be affected by gales. Have a great week, a chara.

  4. Hope the wasp sting wasn’t too painful (did you put vinegar on it?). There comes a time in life where putting pots on those little wheely things might aid with the re-shuffling (I’m fast approaching that time :-D) The new arrangement looks lovely.

  5. Hope the Missus is happy now, that is a brilliant way to make a garden on a patio. The logs really give it the ‘designer’ effect. Get back on your bike as soon as you have vacuumed up. I’ve persuaded hubby that he can go for a ride on his own, I am leading a few ladies only tomorrow morning. It is great to see their confidence growing.

    1. Yes, the bike awaits! I got my jab this afternoon, so Monday all going well I’ll roll out.
      The Missus also captains one of our club groups and she loves nothing better than bringing on new riders.
      Chapeau to you, Noelle!

  6. Very creative. I like your groups of five plants idea. Your new arrangement looks fantastic, but I’d have a hard time picking a favorite. You have a real eye for arrangement combinations that are pleasing to the senses. Well done!

    1. I’m happy you like it, Cindie. I’ve taken to swapping things around every few days, and I’m off to the garden centre to get some replacements. More options at my fingertips.
      Hope you have a great week there in Wisconsin. Does it get very hot in summer?

      1. Thank you! I love your swaps and look forward to seeing what you choose at the garden centre. Yes, it can get hot here in Wisconsin. We’ve had some 90 degree weather (32C) already and usually don’t experience that until late July and into August. We’re also not getting a lot of rain and are experiencing drought conditions. Once the rain does arrive, then the hot weather turns humid, making it feel even more stifling hot.
        You have a great week too!

  7. You made my day. 🙂 Having taught Maths for longer than I care to admit, it’s good to see it being used in the garden. How many combinations do you intend try? 🤭 What beautiful, healthy potted plants. Hope the sting is better now, it’s not a nice experience.

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