Monday, April 29, 2013

clare garden festival 2013

 We attended the Clare Garden Festival on sunday last, our first time to attend and the festivals second year in existence. The festival was much extended from last year and at a more suitable time of year for us. Great work by Carmen in getting exhibitors and attracting visitors. We had a busy day meeting new customers and telling them about ourselves. We also sold some plants, always welcome. Many thanks to Patrick & Eric helping with the set-up. Looking forward to next year..

it was a challenge gathering together plants in colour after the cold spring

interesting willow weaving

very cool stand

air plants

also a lot of artisan food & crafts present

eric stand

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 I spotted this sparrowhawk on a telephone line the other evening and grabbing my camera tried to zoom in as much as I could. The image is a bit dark, but it's the first photo I've managed to get of this cool bird. I've seen it quite a bit around about, but it's usually far too fast for me. This one was obviously distracted enough with a bit of grooming to be concerned with me. Just as I was checking the photos I had got, and ready to change settings, I looked up and it was gone...

Monday, April 15, 2013

onions and potatoes

Today I planted some onion sets(Setton and Red Baron)  and some potatoes (Sarpo Mira and British Queens).
The location is the driest in the garden, and had some mushroom compost spread over it last year. Re-digging and cleaning of the adjacent stream over the years has left some subsoil mixed through this area, something not quite ideal. The mushroom compost certainly did seem to improve the soil noticeably.
The onion variety Setton has a reputation for being a good storer. The Red Baron sets were quite strong so I'm hopeful of a good performance. By covering with weedblock fabric, I hope to warm the soil a bit and keep down the weeds.
The Sparo Mira potato is fairly blight resistant while British Queens are at the other end of the scale. Sarpo Mira are robust, vigorous and high yielding, but a bit on the waxy side. The Queens are an early variety (although being sowed late) and are the most popular early potato in these parts. I decided to weedblock the Queens just to see how that would work out.
Good to get a start, a few more beds to prepare now over the next two weeks..

this bed was roughly dug over and covered with light weedblock

I've planted onions through small holes in the weedblock

red baron and setton were the varieties planted

the soil was enriched with chicken manure pellets and calcified seaweed

the sarpo mira were left unmulched while I weedblocked the british queens

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

pine yamadori

I found a great spot to collect these practically along the side of the road, just about 10 miles away, on a section of old Coillte forest. These had all self seeded (I think Pinus contorta) into the shallow peat which sits on top of the mountain rock. I literally just had to only peel them off bringing a wide mat of fine roots intact. I potted them up keeping as much roots as I could and think most will take (fingers crossed). There are so many more, but if I can keep these few alive, actually get them to grow and eventually figure out the mysterious process of back budding, then I've a lifetime of raw material close at hand.

smallest but well branched
about 2' tall
twin stemmed, 3' tall
about 4' tall, well weathered
old wound on the main stem
some good clusters of branches