recently I had the privilidge of being a guest of President of Ireland Michael D Higgins in Aras an Uachtarain with Youth Action Northern Ireland for special garden party...here's some pics from around the garden...
B&Q were having a massive clearance on summer flowering bulbs they had left, these were in packs so we just potted them all...we used some multi purpose compost enriched with some extra fertiliser, and a wee dusting of mycorrhizal fungii when we were planting.Have ended up with a serious selection of lillies, dahlias, anemone, freesie, liatris, gladiola, crocosmia spider lilly, begonia and other perennials such as anemone, echinops, hosta, geum, grannys bonnet and more, all ideal for growing in pots now for transplanting next springI should be able to create some serious planted areas in the north west regional college next year...something great to look forward too.
I have some garlic from last years harvest just starting to sprout so I've set these in some multi purpose compost in some plant trays for transplanting outside in a month or two....when space becomes available!!
Wee Connie has a 'Princess Flower Bed' in the garden, and in this we planted a small wigwam of Sweet Pea Parfumiere Mix, these were sown in Autumn and planted out in early Spring. These have the most gorgeous of scents and Connie enjoys cutting flowers for the vase in the kitchen, she's in charge of this vase and loves filling up every week with fresh cut flowers
She feeds her bed every fortnight or so with 'Daddys smelly water'...which is Comfrey liquid...
Picked up this great wee bug magnifier in Sainsburys, and Gracie was keen to put it to some use...on a bug hunt in the back garden we found some Cinnebar Moth Larvae
The Magnifier is great for Gracie to get an 'up close' look at the bugs without squishing them accidentally...a really handy bit of kit
It's Blackcurrant jam harvesting time in Cassa Austin, bumper crops - 3.7kg per bush means there's lots of fruit for me and the garden birds to enjoy...
I try to pick the fruits before they fully ripen, and harvest a good few 'greenies' too, as including these underipen fruit makes the jam set better (well I was taught this at a Church group when I gave a talk one night and who am I to argue with ladies of far more experience than me!)
Blackcurrants are super easy to grow, and some would say a SuperFood with lots of health benefits (see the Blackcurrant Foundation of the UK website)
Remember that once you have a few good plants you can propagate more by taking cuttings
For the jam I follow this recipe for Blackcurrant Jam
I pick all the fruit and put it in the pot, follow the recipe and then skim the stalks and things off the top as the mixture boils (this I give to the hens...they love it!!)
We then did the pectin test on a saucer and proceeded to fill the jars (note my fancy smancy home made funnel lol)
and the end result is loads of pots of tasty jam like this!!
Harvest time in Cassa Austin for the Red Gooseberry, I grow a variety Hinnonmaeki Red, which is a super variety...good high cropping and high disease resistance...down side is that it's a thorny auld fella!!
The Red Gooseberry I have are 4 years old are well. On the one plant I have I harvested just under 2kg of gooseberries
I decided to make some Gooseberry curd and followed this super recipe for Gooseberry Curd. Also Wholesome Ireland has a super recipe for Gooseberry curd too.
I topped and tailed the fruit, and then proceeded to follow the recipe...and got some amazing curd as a result...a good few pots likes these...
Further to this first set of pictures from the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin here's some more of things and plants that caught my eye on my recent visit there.
hope you enjoy them....everything looks better in glorious sunshine!!
Our Broad beans that we sowed in the soil last October are now harvesting steadily, we noted that they were coming into flower early part of June, well we've now had two good harvests so far from them.
There's something satisfying about snapping and podding Broad Beans...they're furry pods always feel kinda luxurious. Now the secret to Broad Beans is to pick them when the beans are about as big as your fingertip, thus you avoid having to shell them. (As the beans get bigger they form a thicker shell and this has to be removed before eating...a fierce tedious job), so if you pick em young you can throw them by the handful in with pasta and the likes and in 4 mins they're cooked...and my kids love 'em!
A super easy plant to grow from seed is the Cornflower. Either direct sow into prepared soil or sow into small cells then either pot up or plant out, these were sown at the end of March and then potted up in mid April, and planted out in early May
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