Work can be busy and I find myself juggling various tasks, but get out in the garden, even just to water the greenhouse plants, and I feel calm restoring. Without a doubt it is one of my places in the world.
I thought I was behind in my gardening jobs but reading back over my garden notebook I see that I have been here before.
24th May 2009
Still very little done outside. May has continues wet and windy. Planted some main-crop potatoes today (golden wonder), Robinta still to go in
12th May 2013
A wet spring and now May continues wet and windy….Lots of things germinated but still very small and too cold to put out. Outside I have planted some broadbeans which are getting battered by the wind………….
I keep a notebook mainly to have a visual plan of my garden beds so that I can rotate my crops each year. Things don’t always work out the way I planned them but it is still good practice.
I have been working at clearing weeds from the vegetable plots, as the wet autumn and winter meant that these were left pretty much untouched since last September! So now I am struggling to remove well-rooted grasses and creeping buttercup.
We have garlic and onions growing in a part of the chicken field and I had enough space to add some parsnip and carrot though there is not much sign of seedlings yet. Some, but not all the potatoes are in too.
In the greenhouse, plants such as beetroot, cabbages, beans and squashes are growing and will hopefully be ready for planting out in a few weeks. We are harvesting salad crops, spinach and leaf-beet from the greenhouse and outside we have a small enough crop of sprouting broccoli.
The blue fence around the flower garden has been repainted and we are half way through treatment the wood on the greenhouse.
There are always jobs in the garden, but they are jobs I don’t mind doing!
The primroses in the hedgerow bank near our house are flowering in prolific profusion.
There are always primroses here. The dappled shade from the hawthorn trees is just the kind of habitat they thrive in. The primroses are one of the few spring flowers that got off to an early start this year, despite our cold spring. So it may be that the surrounding grass isn’t as high as it would normally be.
So the flowers can be seen in all their gorgeous glory. I only wish I could share with you the beautiful, rich scent they were exuding as I took photographs of them this evening.
Bumblebee queens are waking up for the spring. Everything is late this year, as it had been a cold spring, so it’s good to see the bees emerging.
You will notice this lady has some passengers. These phoretic mites (Parasitellus) do not harm the bee. They will fall off when she sets up a nest and will act as nest cleaners.
Early Bumblebee queen
Via this week’s photo challenge – Awakening
This week’s photo challenge is Favourite Place. There are too many of them. In County Mayo alone I could list half a dozen. So I decided to stay close to home – my own garden. I would happily spend all day pottering, planting, weeding. Here are some glimpses of the garden in it’s glory – summer time. A nice reminder of things to look forward to on a cold wet March day.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
So what is the story?
Well, the frogs are back in our garden pond. They actually first arrived over a week ago. But then the temperatures dropped and we had all that snow and they vanished. But yesterday they returned! I counted 99. Today, they are in such a mating frenzy I cannot count them! Trouble is as soon as you go out to take a photograph most of them disappear under water, so I cannot show you what it really looks like. Luckily, some are braver and not so photo shy – or perhaps they just have their mind on something more import, like producing the next generation!
Hare Hare is the most beloved toy in our house. He is much more than a toy, he is a member of the family. He pretty much comes everywhere we go. The photo above shows him looking out the porthole on the passenger ferry that goes from the mainland to Clare Island. Hare Hare has been my youngest’s companion since birth! He is however loved by us all. He is well worn now after nearly seven years constant use, his feet have been replaced once and his ears are due for renewal. We’ve tried doing a nose job, but it was unsuccessful.
Over the years Hare Hare has developed his very own character. He is exceptionally kind, is the best hugger in the house and is a first responder to all medical emergencies. He will eat pretty much everything but carrots are his absolute favourite.
In his earlier years, he was known to go missing for a few hours at a time, but thankfully with just one exception, he has always been found at bedtime (when he really comes into his own)! My youngest used to have the habitat of hiding him in things, on that occasion he was missing overnight, he was found (by some miracle) outside, stuffed into the end of an unused 4″ water pipe!
There is no doubt in my mind that he has magical qualities. He is our knight is shining armor. Our hero. Our Beloved Hare Hare.
This week’s weekly photo challenge is Variations on a theme. So I felt it was a perfect excuse to show some bumblebee photos. As many of you will know I have a soft spot for this amazing creatures. The queen’s are currently hibernating and it will be another six weeks before we see them (usually around Saint Patrick’s Day – 17th March – here in the west of Ireland).
Heath Bumblebee (Bombus jonellus)
Carder bee on looestrife
Foest Cuckoo bumbebee
Bumblebee drone sharing Allium
Bombus lucorum agg. Male
Buff tailed bumblebee
White tailed bumblebee, Bombus Lucorum
Garden Bumblebee on runner bean
Buff Tailed Bumblebee
When the queens emerge from their winter sleep they need to find food. Early spring flowers and shrubs like dandelions, willow catkins, crocuses and flowering brassicas are good source of pollen for them. A simple way to help bees in your garden is to allow dandelions to bloom before you start cutting the lawn.
The gallery above shows a variety of queens, workers and drones from a number of different bumblebee species.