Bluebells and Orchids

April 25, 2011

Photographs of bluebells and orchids
Katy and Warwick took some photographs whilst they were walking today. I thought that it would be good to have a record of their discoveries.

Bluebells growing in a clearing in woods.

Bluebells in a clearing

The native bluebell

The native bluebell

Orchid in front of bracken.

Orchid in front of bracken.







Photographs of early apple blossom

April has been a very busy month. Our time has been divided between working in the house getting ready for guests and getting the garden into shape. Particularly planting main crop potatoes, french and runner bean seeds, etc., etc.
I read that we cannot expect a good crop of vegetables unless seeds are in before the end of April.
The good weather has helped although the lack of rain has been of concern; strange as that may seem in Ireland.

All purpose Apples

This tree fell down about 20 years ago and yet we have saved part of the tree by judicious pruning.In 2010 it was laden with fruit. Much of which has been used for chutneys, apple pies and some were given to Holly, Molly, and Noddy as ‘treats’.

This morning our donkeys received a ‘treat’ of carrot sticks from Warwick. We don’t want them to develop laminitis so we limit their access to new grass; particularly after the recent improvement in growth.
Donkeys getting a treat of a handful of carrots

Red currants

We need to protect our redcurrants from blackbirds and other birds who given ‘half a chance’ will eat the fruit. So we watch carefully as the fruit begins to develop. It is a balance between allowing the birds in to eat the caterpillars which would otherwise eat the We then put up the netting to prevent the birds eating the currants! We make a red currant conserve to serve as a garnish or accompaniment. See recipe below.

Red Currant Conserve

1 cup (6oz) Granulated Sugar
4 fl oz cup Water
650gms (1½ lbs) Red currants

1. Pick over fruit and remove leaves and stalks.
2. Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil.
3. Add fruit and bring to simmering point.
4. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until fruit begins to burst.
5. Allow to cool.
6. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator

perennial plants

Drumhead polyanthus in full flower. I grew these from seeds 5 years ago. They can and will be divided and shared with friends.

Katy and Warwick have gone for a walk through the bluebell wood. Look at the brief blog Bluebells and Orchids to view the pictures of Katy took.

Broad beans and beer

April 2, 2011

John moving donkey dung

Potatoes and ground being prepared for potato planting

It is amazing how much was accomplished in an hour with two fit young men doing all the heavy work.

The potatoes had been in a dark room and allowed to develop sprouts so that they were ready for planting, whilst the broad beans had been planted some in peat pots and others in small plastic pots in the greenhouse. In each case root growth had started, hopefully allowing plants to crop earlier. Warwick remembers Jack Orme sitting beside the face of the potato clamp in the garden sorting out potatoes suitable for ‘chitting’ and subsequent planting.

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Broad bean ready for planting

Old mushroom boxes make useful trays to hold small pots.

Broad beans

Broad bean seedling

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Patrick and John planting some broad beans.

There always needs to be time to stand and chat!

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After the beans have been planted

Tubs of tulips ready to be set out

Tubs of tulips ready to be set out

Today we had a typical April day, sunshine and showers.

Each autumn we plant lots of late flowering tulips into tubs for display in front of the house. This all started after the pheasants from a neighbouring shoot decided to develop a taste for our tulips. Having planted over 300 in November, less than 20 were left by the ‘peskie’ pheasants to bloom. This year one of the tubs became waterlogged and hadn’t drained sufficiently before the frost hit last autumn. Other bulbs which have been planted and have overwintered successfully in the past have not survived. So the soil/compost mix has been returned to the raised beds.