This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

'the munch' of March

I'm occasionally tempted to buy magazines with seed pack offers; however, my latest mag purchase was linked to a free pack of 'incredicrop' that says it can result in 400% more fruit and veg if this slow-release plant food is used. I instantly pictured my apple tree laden with apples... well I do like reading the magazine articles and the seeds I can share with my gardening group. (I'm trying not to purchase as many magazines).

One of the best articles in the magazine was a feature on Mark's Veg Plot - on page 42 - a great article. Well done Mark.
Above and below: I did a good clearing of the debris (leaves etc) in my large pot containing mint. And what did I find... a few green caterpillar creatures. I've seen a few around the garden. I suspect they over winter. They munch through quite the plants, and seem to keeping coming. I will have to do regular checks and try to get rid of them. Last year I sprayed garlic water on plants and that seemed to help. 
This one has nicely fattened up... on my plants.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring has sprung

It's feeling a bit more Spring-like with the daylight hours getting longer, the weather feeling a bit warmer and lots of Spring colour in the garden.


Narcissus Tete-a-Tete -

these miniature daffodils are more 'lady' like than the larger bulbs, and withstand windy conditions much better. I prefer these as the larger varieties generally end of broken over due to our weather conditions this time of year.

Above and below: Crocus Botanical Mixed - these little bulbs were planted in the Autumn and have made a great little show of colour in their first year, planted in a red pot along with a purple Weigela.

Jobs in the garden this week have included sowing seed, planting seed potatoes, and planting stuttgarter onions.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Beauty of Old Ireland on St Paddys

It's St Patrick's week and a great time of the year to remember the beauty of Ireland / Northern Ireland, with its rolling green hills, traditional farming background, and rural  countryside cottages. 

These photos reflect the traditional dwellings and beauty of our landscape. Ireland / Northern Ireland is a great place to visit, with lots to see and do. Highly recommended!

Left: Fisherman's Cottage.
Above: Corradreenan Farm - cottage circa 1802, a simple two-roomed house with a kitchen and a bedroom.
Above: Coshkib Hill Farm - a hill farm circa 1850 from Glenballyemon, one of the nine glens of County Antrim, comprised mostly of moorland and mountain grazing (sheep and cattle) and hay, oats, and potatoes grown.
Above: Ballydugan Linen Weaver's House. This is a replica of a mid-19th century traditional dwelling.
Above and below: Peat fires with its distinctive smell were and still are a common way to stay warm on cold days. The cutting of peat (called 'turf' when cut) for fuel began in the 17th century; more on this can be read by clicking here.

Above: The Old Rectory Cottage - This thatched-roofed house is an example of English rather than Irish building traditions; the skills and techniques to build this style were brought into Ireland by English settlers. Through studies of the roof timbers, the house is thought to have been  built in 1717. Original location: Lismacloskey townland, Toomebridge, County Antrim.
Above and Below: Inside the Old Rectory Cottage it's furnished as the home of an established clergyman, and represents the rural or small-town home of the period 1890-1910.
Above: 1800s McCusker’s Pub - public houses were, and still are, a centre of social life in many Irish towns.
Above: Basket Maker's Workshop - a traditional countryside skill of willow tree basketry.
Above: Sheep and Spring lambs abound in Ireland this time of year. Photo taken on the North Antrim Coast.
Most of the photos of cottages and farms above are part of the historic display at Northern Ireland’s Folk Museum, which was created to preserve the rural way of life and keep it from disappearing all together with increasing urbanisation and industrialisation. The 170 acre Folk Museum and its cottages / dwellings have been collected from various parts of Ireland / Northern Ireland and rebuilt, brick by brick, in the grounds of the museum. If visiting Belfast this is a fantastic museum to spend a day ‘going back in time’ and experiencing life from around 100 years ago. 

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Monday, 9 March 2015

My itsy bitsy harvest

We've had mixed weather over the past week - snow, hail stones, sun, rain and gales. I'm ready to sow seed but, it's soooo windy that I have put it off until things settle a bit more.

Over the weekend, and in between rain showers, I picked some chard, parsley and three types of kale to go into a pot of chili. Once cooked, I thought to myself, 'it's amazing how much the veg shrinks when cooked'. However it's nice to have a little home grown veg. I  also managed to make a salad from over wintered 'Corn Salad Cavallo' (not pictured) which went great with fish pie!

With my ity-bity harvest, I'm joining Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Spring has sprung with snow

A cold start to March; and a cold start to Spring. 

Spring started on 1st March, based on the meteorological calendar. The seasons are defined as Spring (March, April, May), Summer (June, July, August), Autumn (September, October, November) and Winter (December, January, February).

It's feeling way too cold to be Spring, with snow falling this morning. 
Above: crocus covered in a dusting of fresh snow. 
Above: Dogwood/cornus looks really vibrant with a snowy backdrop! A great Winter shrub-framework with brightly coloured stems.
Above: Carex grass, I think this one is called 'frosted curls'.
Above: Carex buchananii bronze coloured grass.
I think I prefer the 20th March for the official beginning of Spring (astronomical calendar)!
Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.