St. Patrick’s Day & Garden Work.

Detail from Celtic Cross in Kilronan Graveyard.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all, may it be a good one whatever you do. Here we are having a stay at home day, will probably watch the Dublin parade on the telly. St. Patrick’s Day parades were actually started in America and then the idea was imported into Ireland. The first parade was organized by the “Charitable Society of Boston,” New York held it’s first parade in 1766. Now it has grown to a day that is celebrated all over the world. In Chicago the river is dyed green. This began 40 years ago when water pollution controls were being put in place. Green dye was used to track waste leakage into the river and some bright spark thought what a good idea for Paddy’s Day! I wonder what the environmental damage is from this practice?

Chalet behind the house built by Andy from timber harvested on site.

Here in Arigna work continues, planting, pruning, mulching and making new flower and shrub borders. A border between the chalet and the house has just been finished. The chalet itself Andy built about 5 years ago from large trees which had to be cut as they had grown very high and were quite near the house. After the trees were felled we got a mobile sawmill on site to cut up the timber. It was then seasoned for a year before being used. The new bit on the front is a little kitchen extension which was added recently. The door is the old one from Arigna Post Office rescued from the skip. It will be painted a brighter colour when the weather is drier. The window panels are recycled too. They were removed from the house windows when we got the double glazing panels last Spring.

Area for new border.

The first job to be done in making the new border was the turning of the sod. Andy did this, some jobs are man’s work! He just lifted the grass sod in sections and turned it over, this helps to kill the grass and weeds. This will eventually break down to a nice loam.

Turn bad news into good news, use old newspapers as mulch!

Next job was to mulch the area with newspapers and cardboard, this keeps weeds and grass down and eventually breaks down to add to the topsoil. We don’t buy many newspapers here but the local shop is always happy to get rid of the ones that don’t sell.

Looking good!

The plants were inserted as the work progressed and mulched around with newspaper. The whole lot was then covered with mushroom compost which can be obtained free from our local mushroom farm in Keadue just a few miles away.

Finished border.

Many of the plants used here are divisions or cuttings brought on over the Winter so the financial input was nil! The area is north-facing but does get sun for part of the day so we used lots of shade-loving plants such as foxgloves, hostas, lady’s mantle and primulas. I did a similar border last year and that has worked well. The mushroom compost has broken down to make lovely black topsoil full of earthworms. If this one does as good we’ll be well pleased!

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