Buíochan An Fhómhair

Welcome to Autumn.  The days are noticeably shorter, there's a chill in the air and occasionally I get the wonderful smell of people lighting their fires. Tá sé iontach ar fad.  The Irish word for harvest is "fómhar", which also lends itself to the names of the months of September (Meán Fómhair - middle of the harvest) and October (Deireadh Fómhair - end of the harvest).

By the looks of it, beidh sé fómhar fairsing.  The late cold snap in Spring and drought in Summer might have delayed the growing season, but we're definitely making up for it now.

The autumn veg and perennials are doing particularly well.  Summer veg (such as peas) didn't have a great year but a late planting produced a good crop of fresh snacks throughout late July and early August.  The drought did favour some crops - the tomatoes have been growing like the clappers, I've never seen anything like it.  Its the first week in September and they're still flowering.  The temperature has dr…

Lúnasa 2018 - Autumn is coming

This has been one of the best summers of my life.  Not only has my daughter had a great time with loads of friends in various summer camps (watersports, sailing & cooking) but she and I travelled together for a city break to London to see Hamilton and my brother arrived the day after we got back for a 2+ week holiday in Ireland.  Its been so much fun that last night I feel asleep early and slept for 12 hours.

Walking around my neighbourhood today was the first time I could smell a hit of autumn in the air.  Many years ago the first day of Autumn in Ireland was 1 August.  Now its 1 September which makes sense but I'm with the olden times...Spring starts 1 Feb (Imbolc); Summer, 1 May (Bealtaine); Autumn, 1 August (Lúnasa) and Winter, 1 November (Samhain).

The evenings are definitely starting to close in and there's a chill in the air.  We're still in a drought caused by the high (for us) temperatures we've had since late May.  I'm not watering the garden as much…

Cúpla focail me

I'm just after finishing guest-curating the @Motherfocloir twitter account for the last week and have had SUCH a great time.

If you haven't read Darach Ó Séaghdha's 'Motherfoclóir: Dispatches from a not so dead language', you are in for a treat! Especially if you like "words, Irish, Irish words" etymology, history and are a bit of a word nerd.  Along with PopUpGaeltacht it is part of a new Gaeilge movement that is sweeping out of the cobwebs of our dysfunctional relationship with the Irish language.  You can also listen to the podcast. So I was delighted when Darach asked me to curate the account for a week and also a little nervous as I am not a fluent Irish speaker.  I had to remind myself that that's not what its about.  I had great fun and got to interact with so many cool people.  If anyone asks you to guest-curate a twitter account...DO IT!

Here's a taste of what I was posting during the week...

The last tweet is the Old Irish poem by a 9th…

The garden at Midsummer 2018: apples, ants & aphids

This season has been one of many tears in the garden.  Despite my best organic efforts, the slug colony is a worthy foe and keeping their numbers in check quite difficult.  This year alone I'm using copper tape, eggshells, juice traps and will soon add nematodes to the mix. They have completely eaten all the artichokes, the first planting of lettuce, butternut squash, sunflowers and I suspect they are the reason only one black eyed susan has sprouted.  Slugs *love* young growth so not only veg but many perennials are also on the menu.

In addition to the losses because of slugs, I've also lost every lily in the garden which I suspect is a product of the late cold weather we had.  I don't bring any bulbs up during the winter so I realise this is a risk I take and reluctantly admit that hardy plants are probably the only way to go.

The chinese lanterns I planted with great joy in 2017 have yet to make an appearance and at this point I've nearly given up hope.  Although …


It's sunny! Finally! After a late winter cold snap followed by a couple weeks of grey and rain....we have sun and blue skies in Dublin and it is absolutely majestic.  There is no place like Ireland when the sun's out.  Costa del Dublin and all that.

Due to the late freezing weather, the garden is a couple weeks behind.  The white cherry blossom tree in the back garden has just exploded into full blossom and it is glorious.  The pink sakura in the front garden is nearly there.

The first and second tulips are out, the final tulips getting ready to bloom.  I didn't do it intentionally, but if you can stagger the bloom time of the tulips in your garden, it definitely prolongs the season.  They don't last very long once they've opened.

I don't bring up the bulbs every year and replant, the tulips stay in the ground all year round and I've had a very good experience with this.

I have seeded all the veg beds and the weather has been brilliant so hopefully the fi…