Monthly Archives: June 2015

Marsh Marigolds – Different views

Just a couple of images of marsh marigolds growing in the drain in the wood which I took a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been experimenting with them for photo101. The first image I just liked the contrast of the yellow against the blue sky reflected in the water. The images were not as sharp as I hoped and I even returned the following day to try and get a clearer shot but the water level had gone up and it wasn’t possible.

Photo101-Day Eleven, Pop and Colour

Photo101-Day Eleven, Pop and Colour

The second image again could be sharper but I like the idea architecture in plants and was originally thinking something tall, but then saw this photo and felt it would work too. I do like monochrome and should experiment more!

Photo101-Day Twelve, Architecture & Monochrome

Photo101-Day Twelve, Architecture & Monochrome

 

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Happy Summer Solstice

The 21st June – summer solstice. A cool, cloudy day here in Western Ireland, more reminiscent of early May. Still I often think of this day as half way through the year and with each year time seems to fly.

The new flower garden is progressing but I think will take a couple of years to fill out – still we are enjoying the first of the lupins and one or two delphiniums. I’m cheating by just giving some closeups as the overall effect is still far off.

It’s been a busy few days in the vegetable garden. Nearly all the brassicas are planted out now – cauliflowers, cabbages, spouting and perennial broccoli. We’ve covered most with netting to discourage the white butterflies, though amazingly you can still watch them try and get their way though the netting.

Brassicas under netting

Brassicas under netting

The first squash I planted out did not fair well due to cold temperatures and slug damage – so these have been replace and surround by a circle of crushed egg-shells and an organic shop-bought slug gel that is supposed to deter the wee beasties. So far so good. I have surrounded some of the brassicas with the same ‘fairy circles’ as I am calling them. In the photo below you can see some pebbles that my four year old daughter decided to add for good measure.

Fairy ring of egg shells

Fairy ring of egg shells

In the greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are all planted out but slow enough to get going. In the polytunnel the early Charlotte potatoes are awaiting harvesting while the outside ones are growing slowly and still being earthed up. We’re enjoying the first broad beans from the tunnel and they are flowering outside . We’ve had a couple of courgettes from the plant in the greenhouse, while the ones in the tunnel and outside are still small. The greenhouse one has also benefited from a big helping of compost!

The runner beans are out too and could do with a rest from this year’s relentless cold wind. Still they are growing as are the mangetout. We’re harvesting those in the polytunnel and the first are just appearing outside too.

Runner beans

Runner beans

Wishing you all a good solstice, and productive and happy gardening.

 

Wildflower drives and robins

A wet and cold May has been followed by a dry and cool spell here in Ireland. Unusually we are having stiff cool breezes which have been keeping temperatures in the low teens (degrees Celsius) and also drying out the soil. You would think that would be a good thing but it is hard for seeds to germinate when the top surface of the soil is being blown dry.

One of the advantages of the wet May is that our gravel drive is looking particularly colourful with wildflowers as they are probably benefiting from the extra moisture. I thought this photo would work well for the street theme of last week’s day two of the photo101 course. You can see clover (red and white), daisies, buttercups, but there are also wild strawberries and ox-eyed daisies not in view.

Wildflower 'street'

Wildflower ‘street’

Meanwhile, in the vegetable plot, I have made a little friend. He seems to have a particular fondness of leatherjackets (larva of the cranefly/daddy-long-legs) and for the last ten days has come whenever I go into the garden and start digging. There is nothing like getting close to wild animals and both the kids have also enjoyed the experience of him coming within a foot of them. For kids and adults alike connecting with nature is in my opinion vital for our own well being and that of mother earth (Day six theme photo101-Connect)

Robin

Robin

 

Green pond!

I am almost ashamed to show you these pictures of our pond (partly in response to today photo101 theme – water). It has gone green. We have never had a green algae outbreak like this and obviously it is not happy! When the weather was wet, we took some of the algae out and laid it along the edges to allow any creatures we may have accidentally taken with it make their way back to the pond if. But now with warm sunshine, we are leaving it be – but intend to invest in a solar pump to try and get more oxygen into the water and hopefully improve the situation.

 

 

Home – A Place

In a moment of optimism, and perhaps madness, I signed up to the Photo 101 WordPress course. I love taking photos and at times can be disappointed with the results so thought this may be a way of focusing a little and learning some new techniques. Today is the first day and the theme is Home & Getting Orientated.

View from my Kitchen

View from my Kitchen

So Home is, to use the cliche, ‘where the heart is‘. Not a house, but to me the place I live with all that it encompasses. House, garden, surrounding landscape, family and friends. My blog, which is just over a year old, focuses primarily on my garden and the landscape in which I am immersed. And my photos reflect this. I am happiest working in the garden or wandering through the countryside.

Home is the West of Ireland. I love it. I grew up here, left when I was 18 and returned ten years ago to bring up my family. I wanted my kids to enjoy the freedom I had as a kid: playing in the stream at the bottom of the road, wandering through fields, basically growing up surrounded by nature. You can learn so much just observing the natural world around you and eating the things you have grown from seed.

 

 

Wood in early summer

June has started cool, wet and windy, just like May. So progress is slow in the garden. The wood (conifer and ash plantation in reality) is at it’s best now, as despite the weather, all is lush and green around the edges. All the harder to think that much of it will be felled in the next few months. I’m continuing to try and document it in photographs. There are two oak trees in one corner of some planted larch. I hope they can be saved.

Oak leaf

Oak leaf

The fern was marking a great shadow on the fallen larch stem. The ash is still coming into full leaf. These trees will remain. Where once the ground flora was dominated by brambles other species such as Herb Robert, hedge woundworth and elder are coming in now.

This is a thrush anvil. A convenient stone that a thrush will come to and use to smash open snail shells. This one must be in use for some time as there was a whole graveyard of snail shells scattered around it.

Yesterday’s wind knocked off some of the delicate branch tips of the pine trees. I love the way they are bunched so tight together. The bright yellow marsh marigolds are growing in one of the drains, a splash of colour in an otherwise dark corner of the wood.