Thu 23 May 2013
The garden is slowly coming to life and having waited so long, each flower is more exciting than ever.
The colours look more intense this year and I’m sure the greens are greener.
The sound of hungry bees is welcome and if they do their stuff this might be a bumper year for fruit, judging by the amount of blossom.
I’ve been enjoying the BBC’s coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show this week but pleased not to be fighting my way through all those crowds. There are some good pictures of some of the weird and wonderful show gardens here. I’ve been a few times and it is a remarkable event – the sights in the pavillion take your breath away – but you do have to be ready to fight your way around in order to see anything. So following Carol Klein through the tulips and listening to Joe Swift from the comfort of home is perfect. ( I’m finding chubby Titchmarsh a bit too smug this year!)
But however beautiful the gardens and plants may be in London, the sight of newly opened flowers on a sunny day here in West Cork makes me very happy.
Tue 14 May 2013
Garden furniture – ready
New sandals – ready
Roses – ready
Lettuces – getting there
Strawberries – getting there
Tomatoes – ready to go
So come on spring or summer or whatever we’re going to call it when it finally arrives!
Wed 8 May 2013
At their best
I fear that’s it though – we’re awaiting a violent storm tonight.
narcissus poeticus – Pheasant’ s Eye
I grow these to pick so the house is full of their scent.
Mon 29 Apr 2013
It’s May on Wednesday and still there’s hardly anything in flower. The daffodils are over, the storms of 10 days ago burnt off all the newly opening Amelanchier blossoms
and the tulips are only just beginning.
But the primroses are spectacular as they always are here on Bere Island.
They cover grassy banks, fill the hedgerows and brighten the cold, shivering garden.
But although I complain that spring is late and my cosseted and loved plants are late flowering, others are having a much harder time of it. The bees are awakening but there’s no nectar – I’ve left the winter’s kale flowering as it’s about all there is. And the cattle and sheep are starving. Not just hungry, but starving. Those grazing in the fields surrounding our garden peer over the gates, craning their necks to reach our green uncut grass. Cows are dying from hunger and the unseasonal cold and farmers are again bearing the brunt of the weather. The silage has run out and the Irish government is making funds available to buy in hay from the UK. And still it’s no warmer and the grass isn’t growing for next year’s silage. I hear that dead lambs are still being collected.
So thank heavens for the primroses. They may not be of much practical use but they sure cheer us up.
Thu 25 Apr 2013
We went to Gougane Barra the other day. Not far away.
A lake with an ancient monastery and more recent 19c. chapel.
It’s a peaceful, tranquil place
and with no rain or wind but sun and warmth is heavenly.
It was warm walking around the water
- no, it wasn’t warm, it was HOT!
It also has this award winning loo!
When did you last see, or indeed use, an award winning loo?
Sun 21 Apr 2013
A few days in the garden, digging and clearing in SUNSHINE! But there’s still a way to go before we can say that spring has arrived.
The mass planting of Barcelona in the box beds is growing but still not showing any colour
and the Apricot Parrot still look like brussel sprouts
albeit with a splash of pink.
Fruit trees are trying so hard to blossom
and the tomatoes are still shivering in the greenhouse.
So what’s enjoying this weather?
It was happily in the undergrowth where I was digging, chomping its way through all the sleepy slugs. I’m not sure if it’s a frog or a toad. Does anyone out there know?
Wed 17 Apr 2013
Taking Cattapilla Designs to the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate gave us a great excuse to visit Yorkshire. In bright sunshine the Town Hall in Todmorden stood tall and proud;
Bolton Priory, although much gentrified with gift shop and tea rooms since my last visit there over 20 years ago, is still one of my favourite ruins, standing high above a curve in the river Wharfe.
The high snowy passes over the moors reminded me of how I love the place and its most famous authors. I resisted the urge to re-read yet again Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights and bought instead a copy of Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
On to Harrogate, still a microcosm of wealth and affluence, full of grand shops and tea rooms, worldwide cuisine and of course the Pump Rooms.
We stayed at the Old Swan, the place where Agatha Christie ran to when she did her disappearing act in the 1920’s. And I don’t suppose it’s changed much since then.
The floorboards may be a little creakier and the breakfast menu more adventuress but the brass covered revolving doors, the great glass ceiling in the dining room, the painfully slow and often ‘out of use’ lift must all remain much the same.
The town is a foodie heaven and just outside at the Great Yorkshire Showground is Fodder, a great food shop and beautiful building.
I bought some delicious sounding Summer Seed and Nutty Wheat bread flour from the Hutts Mill up the road in Ripon.
There was little in flower at RHS Harlow Carr garden but my goodness it was tidy!
Then down south to visit these two who continue to chatter and laugh and make us smile.
And a few days after we got home the first swallow arrived on a bright sunny spring day.
Mon 1 Apr 2013
It was an amazing trip. And I either write the ‘Diary of …’ or share some reminders. And to be perfectly honest I need a reminder of the heat! So here goes.
We did a lot of train travel. Indian trains are so long …..
The only white man!
Looking down across the Western Ghats towards the Arabian Sea
It was so hot here!
The Nilgiri Hills
Our cookery teachers – they laughed so much
The Blue Mountains
Sunset and Chinese fishing nets in Kerala
I’m feeling warmer! I hope some of that heat finds it’s way through the blogosphere!
Sat 30 Mar 2013
It was a black day here in Ireland yesterday.
There were no national disasters; the island of Ireland didn’t disappear in a cloud, didn’t float away across the Atlantic, didn’t, as far as I know, declare itself bankrupt.
No, the pubs were shut. On Good Friday, and Christmas Day, it is illegal to buy or sell alcoholic drink in the Republic of Ireland. A Black Day.
But don’t worry. It’s back to normal today and we can all – legally – go out and get bladdered again!
Sun 17 Mar 2013
What other colour could it be today, 17 March. All over Ireland today people will dress in green and march in parades to celebrate St Patrick’s day. Here’s my own celebration.
Green Wool Bags available here and here on Etsy
The green flowers of Helleborus argutifolius
The rich green of Camellia sinensis in the tea plantations of southern India
My favourite lamp
Spring must be on it’s way, the larches are sprouting
Too early for the real thing
Extraordinary fruit in India – Jack fruit
My current favourite Vintage Print Summer Bag.
Happy Paddy’s Day.