As the other daffs open I'll add to this post.
I was on BBC Radio Ulster this morning talking about the John Lewis decision to stock artificial daffodils for the first time ever...and it got me more thinking about me own daffodills, which are very slow this year. To be honest i've had no real snow at the house, apart from being wet its been a good winter for me, but for many out there its a terible time at the moment, who would have thought RAF dropping food for farmers in March??....well on a lighter note here's a few daffodils and naricissus from my own wee patch to lighten the mood...all be it 2-4 weeks behind normal...
Now I know my own garden is about 2-4 weeks behind its normal growth. I normally have some early narcissus the 1st of March and this time last year I had all the Tulips opening, and this year they're all still all in leaf, barely 6inches out of the ground. Thsi is because the ground is so wet that little heat builds up in it and it takes longer for it warm up each day. The soil temperature is low and this has a knock-on effect on plant growth. Only way to speed up the growth is my garden is for the ground to dry out and warm up. Indeed in april 2011 I had a Japanse Maple nearly in full leaf...whereas this year...so far the buds have barely even swelled up....
As the other daffs open I'll add to this post.
heres a few updated pics, some more daffodils just opening....3 weeks odd behind last year
the derry walls are on the go 400 years....and are home to many different types of flora, so although to the eye they may just look like weeds, some are edible, some are not found in many other places away from the walls....
heres a selection of the plants that can commonly be seen on the walls of derry
It is a widespread and common species, occurring almost worldwide in a variety of rocky habitats
for more information check out the Walls 400 website here
Built by Sir Edward Doddington in 1611 the ruin of Brackfield Bawn is located in Killaloo (just off the Glenshane Rd) and beside the Prestbyterian Church. its easy to find, just follow the brown marker signs for BrackField Bawn and Ness Country Park.
Brackfield bawn was built on land granted to the Skinners Company
a picture from the map showing the original bawn layout, with the fortified yard and house, the layout of the yard and the split with the house and the chimney of the house can be seen in the ruins that still remain..
Further pics and information can be seen here on Brian McElherrons website
A garden around a school can produce interest and colour all year round, the garden in Groarty is unveiling some of its array of spring flowers now, from Tulips, Muscari to Forsythia and Pansys, the kids have planted them all, and maintained them brilliantly. Heres a few pics of some of the flowers from around the school...
The call came in from Connor in Youth Action NI 'Gareth we need a tree'....eh, okay...what for? 'President Higgins is coming to meet us on Saturday and we want to make a Tree of Positive Solutions'....eh.... no problem!
Thankfully I had the great kids from St Patricks Primary to help me on this one.
I explained the project to the kids and then we went for a dander looking for a tree suitable for a President!
I explained that it was to be about 2m high...and have a load of branches to hand paper leaves on. So we discounted Silver Birch as being too weak so we settled on this Rowan tree. (we had previously did a tree audit around the school grounds with the kids so they're more than familiar with the trees on offer!)
and this is it in situ in St Columbs House, the leaves are words that young people from Youth Action have added to the tree, words which cover a positive action they've taken in their own lives. President Higgins then added to the tree after his meeting.
I hope to have a permanent home for this tree in a high profile location in the City of Culture....
(lots of fancy pictures were taken from the day...so I'll add to this as I get some more from the photgraphers on the day)
From bags to pots, from buckets to tubs we planted early potatoes in them this week in Fountain primary....
We were using Epicure, an early potato. If your growing in pots the earlies to much better than the bigger Main Crop types as they are ready to harvest quicker and don't need as much space.
We filled the pots with Multi-Compost, added some leaf mould at the bottom and mixed in a few handfuls of chicken manure to the tubs... hopefully get soem nice, small, early potatoes last week of school term!
For a continual harvest try to sow a small amount of salad leaves every few weeks, this gives you then a continal supply of fresh salad leaves. Now by a small amount I mean a dozen or so, not 500 at a go! This week we were doing just this, sowing salad leaves from At The Garden Gate .
We have a £3.50 bag of mixed salads which will last give us enough salad for the school all growing season.
Sowing Parsley is a traditional job for Good Friday...long story, and there is as many 'old wives tales' about this...but one of the 'tales' is about how growing Parsley wards off evil spirits and how only the male head of the house can plant it, another 'tale' says that a Virgin who dares sow the seeds looses her virginity to the devil!! (see here for a great piece on Parsley folklore)
Parsley is different from most other herbs in that its best grown fresh every year, so treat it like a cabbage or lettuce and work a good bit of ground and plant it as part of your vegie garden or in big pots of rich compost. At the end of the year dig it all up, eat it all...and I mean all...roots and all and then grow some fresh every year.
We sourced some seeds from At the Garden Gate, see here. and for £2 you'd grow enough parsley to be self-sufficient in this glorious herb!
Parsley takes a good time to germinate, maybe 4 weeks or more so don't be fazed if after a week or two nothing has happened. But they will come....and will be delicious!
Also, see this great idea from GreenSideUpVeg here, parsley seeds and all you need for making Parsley wine...
A welcome sight at any breakfast table! Defo one of the benefits of having a garden, you get loads of vases of fresh flowers all year round..... No better way of building up brownie points!!
Bay Road Nature Reserve, or to many folks 'the dump' is a pocket of tranquillity along the Foyle banks.... see here for more from the Biodiversity NI website, as the name suggests this area was once the city dump, closed in the 70's and been under the care of Derry City Council since.....this week we had the (very cold) job of planting a Biodiversity Hedge, under the guidance of Landscaper Rory McIntrye and Derry City Council Biodiversity Christine Doherty. We planted a mix hedgerow of beech, thorn, dogwood and rose, hopefully in the years to come this will bring an extra habitat to the Nature Reserve...
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond