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 30 June 2015

30 Days Wild Overview

Pictured: Discovery Walks.
During the month of June I took part in The Wildlife Trust's '30 Days Wild' Campaign which aims to get as many people as possible outdoors and appreciating nature /  our natural environment. 

Its been a great month and I’ve really enjoyed discovering  new walks, and some beautiful areas that I hadn’t known existed. I made an effort to appreciate wildflowers and wildlife and to take time out to listen to the birds and enjoy the sights and sounds around me whether at the house, or out walking in a meadow or along the beach. Here's a little summary of some of the highlights....
This month I was captivated by the beauty of weeds. Many of our weeds have valuable attributes. Dandelion leaves can be used in salads and add a bit of zing, and, of course, dandelion tea is popular. Nettles can be used to make soup, tea, or feed for the garden. Daisies - I'm not sure if they have any benefit apart from being pretty. However, sticky weed can make a refreshing summer's drink; simply put into water, and it tastes similar to cucumber water.

I enjoyed beach walks this month - looking for shells, watching the birds, and seeing some jelly fish.

I enjoyed watching bees and insects on foxglove and chives. The hawthorn trees were in flower and looked fab this month, and in my walks I enjoyed seeing orchids and other wildflowers.

I really love trees and I took lots of forest walks this month to enjoy birds singing, creatures crawling and simply appreciating being outdoors.

The good news is that we can enjoy getting outdoors all year long, but for some inspiration you might have a look at Random Acts of Wildness ideas.

Of course I didn’t quite get through all my plans  for the month. However, I will continue getting ‘wild’ with nature over the rest of the Summer and beyond. 

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

Saturday 27 June 2015

June in the Garden

This month is flying by....

June is a great time of year for gardeners.... no more frost and its been much warmer in Northern Ireland (approx 65F / 18C). Plants in the garden seem to be thriving. I've lots of lettuces and have been eating salad every day for lunch (have lost 9 pounds). However, I keep forgetting to photograph my veg!

Here's a little snapshot of bits I've managed to photograph...
Above: A few weeks ago I planted up a small Borage plant for the bees and butterflies to enjoy. It's now 4 times the size and just about to flower
Above: Photograph of Borage in flower last year - the insects really love this plant and the flowers are edible. They look great frozen in ice cubes.
Above and Below: Other plants currently in flower.

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

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Upcycling Wood for the Garden

Garden Bench made from wood pallets.
There seems to be a bit of a craze for upcycling items for the home and garden! And its such a great idea.

Upcycling is really about finding a way to reuse items or materials that would otherwise be thrown out. Here are some items I've recently come across from an organisation called 'Grow it Yourself'. These items are made from wood pallets, which are usually available at no cost.
This vertical planting wall is made from wood of three pallets. It's a great idea for herbs or alpine plants that don't need much water.
These benches look quite easy to make from a few pallets. This low cost idea is great and I've shared this idea with a local community gardening project, and we're hoping to make some of these next month. Of course they can be painted and decorated with cushions.

This table was made by a member of a Men's Shed Project, which is a group of men who stay active after retirement by taking part in lots of hands on activities such as woodwork and gardening. This table is used at the gardening project I volunteer with, and it only cost £15 ($23 US) which covers the cost of the materials. Its sturdy and great for planting, etc.

Instructions, and 
demonstration videos, on how to make items from wood pallets can be found simply by doing a search on the internet.

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

Monday 8 June 2015

30 Days Wild and Around the Garden

Beach walk included admiring a jellyfish, shells and seaweed.
From the 1st of June I've been taking part in The Wildlife Trust's '30 Days Wild' Campaign which involves getting outdoors every day and enjoying nature /  the natural environment. 

I've been taking walks in the evening, listening to birds sing at lunch time, and I've enjoyed taking time out for beach walks and noticing the beauty of wildflowers/ weeds in bloom this month.
Evening walks have been amazing. I discovered this wonderful forest walk is only a 10-15 minute walk from the house. Funny how it took over a year to discover what was on my doorstep. All it takes is trying a new route rather than taking the same path all the time.

Meanwhile, in the garden....
The flowers are bringing in bees and insects. From chives to wild floxglove, the pinks are looking lovely this month!

And lots of things to come, including strawberries, onions, apples and potatoes!

The foliage around the garden is looking fab too!

If you're interested in going '30 Days Wild for nature' for the rest of June, check out the Random Acts of Wildness ideas.

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

Monday 1 June 2015

30 days wild with nature

This month I’m taking part in a 30 day challenge to connect with nature. From bird watching to walks along river paths, I’m looking forward to getting out daily in the good ol’ outdoors to appreciate the little things that can make a big impact on our lives.

The idea of the challenge is to enjoy our natural environment and simply to notice more of it around you. It’s about taking time to see all things wild and wonderful for 30 days — and enjoy some outdoorsy fun with family, friends or simply for a little ‘me’ time.

What will I be doing? This month my ‘random acts of wildness’ will include...

  • Bird watching and bug house building
  • Insect, butterfly, weed and wildflower searches
  • Looking at ways to attract more pollinating insects into the garden
  • Volunteering to help build a community garden that attracts wildlife and insects
  • Regular nature and beach walks, taking in the sights and sounds
  • Exercising in the wild each week
  • Photographing my discoveries

Research tells us that spending time in wild places can help us feel happier and healthier. Glasgow University showed that people who walked, biked, or ran in nature had less risk or poor mental health. Other studies show that getting out in nature helps us to improve our concentration, strengthens our immunity, and reduces feelings of stress. Simply spending time in a garden can help lower blood pressure (Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens)!

Feel free to join in and do something wild every day for the month of June. To find about the campaign - click here.

More on Irish wildlife – click here.
More on Ulster wildlife – click here.
More on Wildlife Trusts – click here.

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