Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fantastic Gardens to visit in Limerick

Beautiful new feature at Knockpatrick
Lads while the weather is good get yourself off to see some of the loveliest gardens our fair county has to offer and find inspiration for your own garden (or work for your other half for the winter). In the last few weeks I have taken students to two of the best in County Limerick at Terra Nova near Dromin, Bruff and to Knockpatrick gardens near Shanagolden. Both very different but with a few crucial things in common, warm welcomes, a great passion for plants and stunning gardens to see.Here are some recent photos from both.

Super tall Sue poses with the Rhododendrons
Tim and Helen impart wisdom in the woodland garden
lush cherry blossom in the arboretum
stunning views from the deck of the terraced garden
Check out last years blog post here for more information on the garden and the fabulous pair who own it. Tim and Helen use the money raised on garden visits for the Cystic Fibrosis unit at the Regional Hospital in Limerick so all visitors are contributing to a great cause.

Terra Nova
one of the many lovely peonies
looking across the pond to the Thai hut
Deborah takes the tour to the newest part of the garden
Gorgeous arbour in the front garden
beautiful specimen plants including golden bamboo
Check out last years blog post here on Martin and Deborah and the fab garden at Terra Nova. This year they are doing a whole series of garden events as well as open days and guided tours including; picnic Saturdays, treasure hunts, and a twilight garden party in August! check it all out here

The Longest Days and the shortest nights

Outstanding laundry and gardening weather
How do they do it in San Francisco?
Day after day of belting sunshine and blue skies.. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm physically a wreck! Short hours of sleep, long days of "two workdays" during the day (the one you do away from home and the one you do in the garden) that finishes only when the last ray of light disappears as you nod off standing upright with the hose in your hand watering the vegetable garden for the 155 time that week!! So I'm burning it at both ends and this morning I am beginning to feel like an arthritic old lady as I bet you all are too!

Yesterday I saw my first field of hay in Herbertstown. It brought on a right burst of memories which of course led to a pang of nostalgia for home. Memories of raking stray bits of hay in the evening sun after the tractor had collected it into piles and my mother teaching us the special knots she used to secure the cocks of hay. I wonder will all those skills be lost now that everyone seems to be making silage? There was great craic in making hay too along with the hard work and on a quite evening across the field you would often hear our neighbour roaring "get off the fecking cocks!!!!" when he spotted the kids climbing on them and jumping off them! Silage is handy but it's not half the craic!!!

Cows Parsley on our back road
And if agricultural nostalgia is your thing this season could not have a better romantic /nostalgic image than fields of flowers. Everywhere you look there is an astonishing display of wildflowers on a scale I have never seen. In the hedgerows and field boundaries, in the field behind the house, Hawthorn are covered crown to root in creamy white flowers. Cows parsley is high and massively abundant lending clouds of whiteness to both sides of the road and the fields are literally bursting with seas of yellow buttercups. I know the weather was rubbish in March and April but whatever it did to the grass it suited the wildflowers. They are so beautiful this year.

Hawthorn, cows parsley and fields of buttercups
In the Garden the burst of heat has triggered lovely growth especially from plants like the potatoes and peas that seemed to be in a holding pattern for weeks. I'm not sowing all the potatoes I had planned as I didn't get round to it and stopped worrying about it when I realised there are a number of new crops this year looking for a home that have to be catered for. I'm outdoor trialling asparagus peas, cucumbers, tomatillos,  musk melons, and Hopi blue sweetcorn along with the usual trialling of different types of pumpkins and squash and the ridiculous but somehow necessary growing of many many types of courgette, lettuces and salad crops! The idea is to broaden what we grow. To grow strange and weird stuff and see if its worth growing again.

Endless rounds of transplanting and running out of pots
In the glasshouse this includes golden berry pineapples, cucamelons, achocha, vampire chillies, *naga bhut jolokia (*worlds hottest chili and most frustrating fecker to grow), Spanish sweet Ramiro peppers, miniature chocolate peppers, and several types of cucumber, melon and tomato. Everything is growing great so far, fingers crossed we will get them all to fruit and better yet get to eat them all, though I'm not eating that bhut jolokia. "Burns on the way in ,burns on the way out"-that my philosophy! Seamus and the chili nuts can have at it. He is throwing a Chill con Carnival in September for Johnny who gave us the glasshouse, Dace who helps out in the garden, and Manie who feeds and boards us in Malahide. Collectively I am calling them the chili nuts as they all love chilli's- the hotter the better! I plan to take the videos and photos of them trying to eat the naga jolokia! If you want to see what it does to people click here for a hilarious, disturbing video of a crazy person eating a whole one.

watering late into the evening

Weather update; According to met Eireann the glorious sunshine will last up until Tuesday,after that temperatures return to "normal" (thats insulting! surely sunshine and 22 degrees should be normal for June?)and rain arrives, so make the most of it!!!