LEAVING THE GARDEN FOR TWO WEEKS – WILL IT SURVIVE? – THIRD WEEK IN AUGUST 2011

Looking at Medieval Herb Garden, Tully Castle, Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh

I’m writing this having returned from fantastic holiday put-put-putting along in a hired boat on Upper and Lower Lough Erne between Cavan, Fermanagh and the border with Co. Donegal. From the jollity of the Fleadh Ceoil in Cavan to the spirituality of the monastic ruins on Devenish Islands, the break was so diverse it seems longer than it actually was. The ‘busman’s  holiday’ aspect of the trip included visits to the walled gardens at Tullynally Castle near Castlepollard on the way to Cavan. Then going ashore in Upper Lough Erne to speak to the allotmenteers in the walled garden of Crom Castle. On then to Enniskillen where we cycled about 8 miles south to Florencecourt and another old walled garden where the National Trust in Northern Ireland is developing a community garden. Onward to Belleek and stopped off at Tully Castle where a medicinal and culinary herbal 17th  century garden, complete with box hedging has been re-created to evoke a feeling of travelling back in time about 400 years.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Trevor’s Kichen Garden was fending for itself. I am glad I weeded before I left as the growth in two weeks was impressive enough. Good sign that growth however, as it indicated a fair number of showers fell keeping the legumes, brassicas, spuds, beets alliums and the fruit and herbs watered without a watering can in sight.

Before I left I did of course give all the important plants a good water and liquid feed with comfrey tea. The upturned mineral bottle funnels were filled to the brim from the watering cans. Further to that I pressed in to service those mineral bottle porous lids shaped like a dunce’s hat which dibber-like are shoved in to the soil near container and greenhouse plants with a water filled 2 litre mineral bottle screwed on to each watering dibber lid. The bottle of water is slowly released by this clever device in to the surrounding soil, keeping the tomatoes ( and me!) happy for the 2 weeks absence.

Nice to get back to runner beans, courgettes, chard, french beans, broccolli and cabbage all ready to be picked. I have a recipe to try out this weekend to use up the healthy supply of courgettes. Depending on how I get on making the dish, I may say more. In this case, no news will not be good news!

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