The Bible garden in Cobh was a lovely spot, a small garden to gather some head space amongst the hussle and bussle of the busy town of Cobh, and due to Cobhs location it had the now-common sight of tender plants benefiting from the warm soils and beneficial climate - including a magnificent Mimosa tree...
The Fitzgerald Park in park was busy, lots of families out in the playground, folks sitting out in the cafe terrace drinking coffee and enjoying buns....you'd hardly believe its the first week in November!
I'd had Fitzgerald Park on my visiting list when I first knew I was coming to Cork, I wanted to see how the 2011 Chelsea Gold medal winning garden by Diarmuid Gavin was incorporated into the park, and how user-friendly it all was.
The garden was alive with families enjoying all the stainless balls, although I seemed to be the only one interesting in the planting schemes...
Its great to see public money being put to a use that so many families can engage with and get direct benefit from.
Doing lots of visiting here in Cork when I'm down! Today I visited the Ballincollig Gunpowder Trail, which was an interesting example of how industrial heritage can be used as a visitor attraction, with the site now being a popular walking trail and nature park.
Its a good example of how nature reclaims a space. The site was eerie and all I could think was how great a Halloween Trail it would make!
For more details on the Ballincollig Gunpowder trail download a leaflet here
Little did I think at the time that the story of the Celtic Cross planted by the late Liam Emery on Bogay Hill, Newtowncunningham would ignite such interest!
I'd asked Darren Sheaffer to snap some pics of the walled garden at Bogay Walled Garden, so that I could map the Japanese Knotweed before the trial with the pigs commenced, as a throw-away comment I asked Darren to take some pics of the surrounding area to show the garden in context. Darren in turn shared them on social media and almost immediately by phone rang. Gareth Wilkinson from UTV, who coincidentally had been sent some images of the cross from passengers on a commercial flight into City of Derry Airport, who was looking for the location of the cross.
Jacqui Reed, who lives below the cross, was able to put Gareth into contact with the family of the late Liam Emery and after Gareth told the story so sympathetically (see original news piece here) the world then got hold of the story....
Entertainment.ie Mysterious Celtic Cross
TheTimes.co.uk Giant celtic cross takes sir passengers breath away
RT.com Mysterious giant celtic cross
irishcentral.com Amazing origins of a giant celtic cross
irishexaminer.com Mysterious celtic cross pattern
dailyedge.ie Incredible drone footage of a celtic cross
atlasobscura.com A massive celtic cross is secretly growing in an Irish forest
Dailymail.com mystery of a huge celtic cross
9news.com Mysterious celtic cross discovered in Irish forest
Independant.ie Incredible footage unveils one of Irelands hidden treasures
Donegaldaily.com Mystery behind giant celtic cross on Donegal landscape
belfasttelegraph.co.uk Incredible footage shows giant celtic cross
Breakingnews.ie Mysterious celtic cross pattern discovered
Donegalnow.com Breathtaking footage of Donegal celtic cross goes viral
Lovelyplanet.com A giant celtic cross has been discovered growing in an irish forest
Iradio.ie Incredible Donegal celtic cross spotted from the air
Irishpost.co.uk Incredible footage shows giant celtic cross
mnn.com A 'hidden' forest in the shape of a celtic cross
mysteriousuniverse.com Mysterious giant celtic cross discovered
catholicnewsagency.com The irish forest that secretly grew a celtic cross
Accuweather.com WOW! Mysterious celtic cross made from tree in irish forest
foxnews.com Mystery of enormous celtic cross has been solved
derrynow.com Aerial footage of wonderful celtic cross
news.am Stunning drone footage of celtic cross
Cyprus-mail.com Giant celtic cross growing in irish forest
newstv.pk Mysterious giant celtic cross growing in irish forest
There's loads more websites featuring this story too.....
Recent Donegal Daily feature piece on Autumn colour in the garden
Recent feature piece for Firmus Energy can be found here on the benefits of not pruning...
Recent feature piece for Firmus Energy can be found here on Autumn colour, including fab plants like this Spindleberry
Currently I’m down in Cork city, and when here I’m trying to absorb as much of the fabulous Horticulture which exists here. The mild climate here, combined with warm soils, allows for many unusual and tender plants to flourish here which our climate in the North West wouldn’t be as hospitable for them.
Also the light levels here during the year are amongst the highest in Ireland and the Autumn colours are amazing, from the grounds of Blarney to Fitzgerald Park, Fota and down through Cobh the colours on the trees have been amazing!
One tree which is standing out here and which also does very well in our own part of the world if the fabulous Sweetgum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua. In the summer months these Sweetgum tree are nice shaped trees, narrow in growth, so ideal for smaller gardens, although listed as being tall growing in our climate they make a nice Medium sized tree – ideally planted as a specimen in the lawn or as a focal point, but I’ve seen them used in Avenues and they work well too, especially in larger sweeping gardens.
Like any plant you grow for autumn foliage the colourful foliage remains as long as the wind and weather plays ball, so in years when the wind howls you’ll have a shorter period to enjoy, but in years like this when all the stars align the colour is fab!
Once the foliage has fallen the stems have a corky nature to them and the stem has nice colouration, both can be admired well up close in smaller gardens.
Although unusual sounding Sweetgum trees are easily sourced in your local garden centre, and don’t be put off if they look a bit ‘twiggy’ when you buy one, once planted the tree quickly establishes and within a few short seasons you’ll have a tree shaping up nicely! Available here from Johnstown Garden Centre.
Growing Garlic, It couldn’t be easier!
This past week we’ve been buy planting our Garlic bulbs in Ballyholey Farm, our target this year is 3000 bulbs for planting, but I also grow around 70 in the back garden for our use as a family, and recently I was up helping a family in Sligo design and start planting out garlic in their new family vegetable garden.
For years now I’ve been self-sufficient in Garlic, growing as much that our family can eat in a year – and having enough to use as seed for the following year. But commonly when I mention about growing your own garlic I’m met with a puzzled look, almost astonishment from people that you can actually grow Garlic here. Many folks think of Garlic as growing in sunny Italy or like the majority of Supermarket bought Garlic – grown in China.
Garlic is a member of the Onion family, and is ideal for growing in our part of the world, why? – because it needs a cold weather snap to get it to grow properly, this is why it needs to be planted in the Autumn.
But don’t get the garlic bulb grabbed from beside the cooker yet, there is a wee bit of planning first. First and foremost you need to get varieties of Garlic which are suited to our climate, for years I’ve grown the variety Messidor – a good sized Garlic bulb which dries quickly in the Autumn and stores well in my hammock in the shed for many, many months.
Suitable varieties for planting will be available now at your local garden centre, you may come across other varieties such as Valleledo, Morado and the likes. What I’ve had success with over the years is these Softneck varieties.
For planting you’ll need some well worked soil, rich in compost and fertility and soil which doesn’t waterlog, so create ridges, or raised beds, and plant your Garlic raised above any wet soil. It’s a myth that Garlic are low nutrient crops, to get good sized bulbs you will need lots of fertility for the many fibrous roots to gather. So a good handful of chicken manure pellets per m2 is ideal, and then a few waters with liquid comfrey in the late spring.
Take your bulb, split it into Cloves – you should get 8-10 cloves per bulb, and plant these Cloves into your conditioned soil 6-12” apart (the further you plant the bigger the bulbs will get), you only push the clove gently into the soil until its at most 1” below the soil level. Then sit on your hands and let them grow.
Over the winter the shoots will appear and this will continue until early next summer, then these stems will start to turn yellow and fold over- Voila! Your garlic is ready to be lifted and either dried for storage or washed, chopped and used right away as desirable Wet Garlic.
Even if you have no vegetable garden, get some garlic bulbs from your garden centre are plant these through shrub beds, between roses – wherever you have some space and you’ll reap an immensely flavourful harvest!
When I mentioned before about saving seed, when you’re using your bulbs next year just pick out the odd big clove and keep this aside for re-planting next autumn. So you’ll only have to buy your stock bulbs once and the rest of the time you can be replanting from harvested stock!
So, what are you waiting for???
wonderful show of seasonal produce from Ballyholey Farm in Raphoe today at Letterkenny Artisan Market
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond