A Game of Two Halves…and a lookback at the week.

Waterford, southeast Ireland, 21st November 2020

There were moments during the week, moments which gave hope that the gloom, fog, mist, rain and downpours might desist long enough for us to do some gardening. We managed a walk on Wednesday, a full day in the garden on Thursday, and half a morning on Friday. That was it! The lockdown continues, the garden is a quagmire and I trot out bad humour and bad news with perfect ease – one has to excel at something, I suppose!

Sunset on Friday evening.

On a positive note, well, slightly positive; I wouldn’t wish to overdo this happiness thing; it just doesn’t suit me. On that positive note: I finished painting the garden furniture, a bench which needed a coat of cream on the legs; I did a bit of “cutting down”, just at the sides of the drive, working off the hard surface for the ground is squelchy and soft, and I caught up on the shredding of material for the compost bin. There was quite an accumulation but it has now all gone through the blades and has been added to the heap, neatly tucked in under several layers of plastic which sandwich a few cast-off duvets. Given the weather, it will struggle to heat up to any extent but will make good compost in time. Snowdrops are popping up all over the place and the season seems to be a little ahead of normal this year and we should have good displays in time. I’ll try not to bore you too much with photographs of snowdrops but they will be my constant source of interest for several months to come. Anyway, let’s forget lockdown and everything connected and get on with the photographs from the garden.

Let’s begin with mahonias which are in full flower at the moment, as a challenge to the season and a welcome source of pollen and nectar for the late-flying bees etc. Just two shown here, Mahonia japonica and Mahonia ‘Sweet Caress’.

Click the first photograph in each gallery to start a slideshow:

I only posted the photographs of the mahonias so as not to appear to sink completely into depths of misery and to avoid dragging you with me! What I really wished to show was this set of photographs earlier in the week which portray reasonably what conditions have been like here – foggy, misty, cloudy days.

The search for something interesting to make up the “six” of the “Six-on-Saturday” can be challenging on weeks such as this last. I turned to tree bark. Now, I reckon you will all recognise the white bark of Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ but what of the others. Have a look at the photographs and take a guess before clicking on the first to start a slideshow which will reveal the answers in the captions. Treat yourself to a, well a treat, if you have identified them all correctly – and report your success in the comments!

Cyclamen hederifolium continues to be attractive even after it has finished flowering. Some gardeners collect plants with attractive and interesting foliage, and I have bought a few over the years but don’t bother any more. Those I bought have become lost among the many seedlings which appear in the garden and these are interesting enough for me.

The pheasants have come to realise there is better fare on offer in the garden; that the smaller birds are being fed peanuts while I only supply rolled barley for the pheasant. Ditzy, the one which hops around in a giddy manner, flaps her wings vigorously without notice, jumps into the air, runs about like headless chicken (perhaps, not the best metaphor!), the silly one in other words has learned to intercept me on my way to the bird feeders and beg for a few peanuts. The others hang around under the feeders to pick up the small pieces which fall to the ground while the smaller birds are feeding – a reversal of what might be the pecking order in a way.

So as not to be entirely negative, there was an afternoon (Wednesday) of very pleasant sunshine when the garden looked well – if one took the long view and didn’t look too close or in too great detail. A good overall effect!

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributions to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read

The rooks gathering on the ash trees bringing the day to an end.

39 thoughts on “A Game of Two Halves…and a lookback at the week.

  1. I look forward to your articles Paddy. Keep up the good work. Must plant a Mahonia for the bees, and such a cheerful colour at this time of year. Looking forward to the Spring. Some potted daffs already their tips!!

    Helena

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    1. Yes, the mahonias are excellent. One I have failed to plant is M. lomariifolia and I must rectify that as soon as possible. It has a particularly excellent flower. M. ‘Charity’ is yet to flower here.

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  2. Paddy that was a great blog post, your photos of bark are beautiful. I can’t see the answers, probably coz I’m on my phone, will try on PC later. Am trying to get better at IDing trees. Love the sunset, and your garden looks good even in the foggy grey conditions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I save photographs on the laptop I label each one and I discovered that this name appears when you run the photographs as a slideshow – no need to add captions at all. So, I hope they appear for you. Perhaps, I should add the names at the end of the post.

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      1. I don’t understand why you can’t, Hazel. I’ve just had Mary look at them on her laptop and, after starting the slideshow, she can see the captions for each tree and also a “Comment” and “Reblog” option – all at the bottom on the screen.

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      1. Oh I know it, but the mahonias are prickly and rather tall too so they wont come into my garden from that way! My only SIX today would be faux I’m afraid! Maybe I’ll do something on that line next week! Just for fun!

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  3. Your garden is so beautiful Paddy, even on a dull misty day. Mahonia is a great plant isn’t it? So cheerful, if a little spiky. Loving your bark portraits – you could have done a six just on those! Bring on the snowdrops, I say. Early to Rize has flowered for me this week.

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  4. Loved this, especially the bark and lichen photographs (which were mainly of lichen, naughty man!) So lovely to visit, you made my evening. I used to garden in West Cork and you’ve made me ‘homesick’. I have ‘Sweet Caress’, but took it under shelter yesterday evening. Sort of why I miss gardening in Ireland!

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    1. The birch with the whiter bark is Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ and the other is Betula ‘White Light’ which is a cross between B. u. ‘Jacquemontii’ and B. costata – this latter giving the tan colouring.

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  5. Well, I like the misty photos of your garden, Paddy, as much as you like the sunny photos of mine! I was hopeless at identifying the tree bark (except silver birch) but it was an enjoyable exercise. Lovely to have almost tame pheasants in your garden.

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  6. Not bad at all, but please don’t feel obligated to continue showing bark and twigs when there are snowdrops in bloom! We have had some warmer days lately and only just now slipped into the cold and dreary gloom that is common for our Novembers, but fortunately far less misty here. Between you and me I was a little bored with the garden, and I can’t wait until a few witch hazels open and the noses of bulbs start showing. ‘Barnes’ is all that’s in flower right now and the other fall elwesii are only now showing sprouts. Soon things will ramp up!
    Unless we get a real winter again. Then it’s snow and ice and nothing good to see for two months, but at least the cold settles down the garden and spring happens on time rather than in fits and starts throughout January and February.
    All the best

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    1. The G. reginae olgae are over here – glasshouse grown – and there are a few in the garden: ‘Hoggets Narrow’, ‘Barnes’ and ‘Faringdon Double’. Lots of snouts showing.

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  7. Beautiful sunset! We’re having much the same weather conditions as you are, it can get a bit depressing at times, but as long as I can escape into the greenhouse for few hours, it makes my day brighter. The mahonias though, are adding a huge splash of sunshine to your garden.

    Great shots of the tree bark and I love the long shadow shots of your one sunny day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mystery solved Paddy. I normally view your blog from the reminder email and that way of accessing the photos even in the slideshow doesn’t give the information – however, if I go to WordPress and view it from there I can see the details!

    Liked by 1 person

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