Archives for category: Big Garden

One of the very best features of the Big Garden is… I won’t spoil it with words that will only fail. See for yourself.

and now for my close up

And now for my close up… Snowdrops at their best in the Big Garden

And more snow

And more snow

... and more snow.

… and more snow.

The show will be ending soon at the Big Garden, but the daffs are coming up for the next spectacle, and will hopefully be around for the Hunter Trials (horses, horses and more horses) in April. I must take a photo one day of the best manure heap in Ireland — if only I could get to it without having to risk my life getting sucked into the mud equivalent of quicksand.

Back at the Little Garden. We all know Ireland is famous for its rain…

Moat, in Galway not Westmeath

Inside the new porch, aka moat.

…but this is ridiculous. I can pretend like I have a moat around my little castle (thankfully corrected this week with one of those new-fangled inventions called a GUTTER).

Gardening undercover? My tunnel, which I usually call ‘Spain’ (as in “I’ll be right back; I’m going to Spain.”), has been redubbed ‘Venezia’ (I thought Venice was too obvious). If I was any good at graphics I would have made a little man in a boat singing ‘O Sole Mio’ and stuck him in the centre pathway of the tunnel.

will it ever stop raining?


But this was a few weeks ago and hope springs eternal. Buds are fattening, even bursting in some case (like the weirdly early willow I have at the very back of our place — the bees love it). As you drive along the motorway (which I unfortunately have to do twice a day), you can see big swathes of trees turning lovely shades of spring as if an artist has come overnight and dotted reds here, whites blushed with pink there. Remember to keep your eyes on the road or this could be detrimental to your health.

And just when you think you can’t take it anymore (the weather, that is), you can go into Venezia and pretend like you’re in South Africa…

One can always pretend...

South Africa! Well, that’s where Osteospermum grows like a weed.

Next time… Sow what?


Sometimes I feel like I spend more of my weeding time on paths than I do on beds. But then again, sometimes you get the nicest of surprises that sprout up on paths, especially if you have gravel paths which seem to be the perfect seed incubation site. Here’s a nice little Sedum seedling. I have a few around the place. I’ll remove this one from the gravel and pot it up to be re-homed most likely next spring.

Sedum seedling

Sedum seedling

My best self-sower is Verbena bonariensis. It could almost be called a weed if it weren’t so nice and so share-able. Every year I give away pots of the stuff. It creates a veritable forest and is covered with butterflies on sunny days.

Verbena bonariensis forest

Verbena bonariensis forest

Another nice little surprise I often find is Knautia macedonica. It is the favourite colour of course and fills a space nicely. It can get a bit floppy but, then again, can’t we all?

Knautia macedonica seedling

Knautia macedonica seedling

I worked a bit at the Big Garden last weekend. The rose beds were edged (three and a half hours later and with a gimped back). They look ok. I had to prune out most of the colour as the petals were dropping, but happily the dahlias (which were planted in the red bed to make up for the fact that the red roses were so pathetic) look absolutely fabulous. I don’t know the variety but they are ace. See for yourself.


Dahlias in the red rose bed

The big flower border needs edging (again) and general weeding and cutting back needs to happen. Hopefully I will be able to do a couple of hours tomorrow. The Little Garden really needs my attention but I’ll have to try and spread the love.

Here’s a nice way to end. Finally, a summer that has allowed for a pumpkin to grow outside in the west of Ireland. Here’s the progress so far:


Pumpkin at the Little Garden

Next time… a few new plants to show off, plus lots and lots of bees and flying varmints.


An oriental poppy in the Little Garden earlier this summer

You might think that the writer of this blog has been lazing around, doing not much of anything for the last couple of months. Au contraire. I have been desperately trying to catch up on weeding, garden work and general household chores that have fallen by the wayside since I went back to work full-time. Let me tell you, it ain’t easy.

Buddleja & Butterfly

No cabbages this year, so I’m actually enjoying the Lg Cabbage White butterfly on the Buddleja

By all rights I should have completely lost heart by now but I have decided not to give up. I worked too hard on the garden to let it all go back to rough field. There are pockets of loveliness and little crops of veg and fruit that are really keeping my spirits up. You can see some of the nice plants here and I’ve been harvesting loads of tomatoes and courgettes (surprisingly…) and the French beans are just kicking in. I’m just between harvesting my earlier blackcurrants (‘Ben Sarek’) and the later variety (‘Ben Connon’). The blackbirds have eaten all the redcurrants. I’m not too bothered because the freezer is full up anyway and I’m never quite sure what to do with pounds and pounds of redcurrants. So all is not lost.

Helenium 'Moorheim Beauty'

A bit of loveliness that keeps me weeding, Helenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’

The Big Garden has also been a bit neglected by me due to my severe lack of time. I have just done a serious weeding and pruning session of the rose beds but there is a fair bit more to do including edging the rose beds and the big beds, deadheading the standard roses (tedious and never-ending). I also need to cut back the Alchemilla and Geranium that would, without a doubt, take over the entire big perennial bed given half the chance. I need to get at the Alchemilla before it seeds everywhere. I have enough weeds to contend with, never mind having to pull out Lady’s Mantle seedlings (which become frightfully well-rooted little buggers given a month or so of growth).

View of the front of the Big Garden taken from the Big Perennial Border

View of the front of the Big Garden taken from the Big Perennial Border

Speaking of self-seeding, my next blog will be about lovely little plants self-seeding around the garden. You might just be surprised by the things I find around the place that I never planted… Until then, keep on weeding!

White-tailed bumble bee on Echinops

Lots of bees at the Little Garden, here’s a pair of white-tailed bumble bees on Globe Thistle