Discover more from Big Sky Flowers Newsletter
Things are starting...
Hello everyone! So, the big news this month is that Eiblin and I got some funding from Creative Westmeath! So we can now run some of our workshops at a much reduced rate. Click here for details, this page will be updated as we firm up more dates.
Last month we ran a survey to see what courses you’d like us to run next. Here’s what you said:
So a clear vote for the Intro to sourdough course! And we are running this course under the Creative Westmeath program, so only €5 to participant. Click here to book your place.
I attended the graduation for my horticulture course in An T-ionad Glas. It was lovely to see my fellow students and catch up with them. And discuss some possible joint ventures!
The potatoes that were just peeping through last time in my previous April newsletter are now huge! Here’s a link to it in case you want to go back and look!
Here are the first earlies now - planted sometime in March, and a Latah tomato in front of them. They have really grown!
The chaff from Bell Lane that I’m using a mulch (experimentally) has suppressed all the weeds - of which there are many in my home made compost. There are a lot of wood lice enjoying the chaff, I don’t think that will be a problem for the potatoes. We’ll see! There’s a little damage on the leaves - I think caused by a very hot day. But mostly they are doing great. They are planted in recycled styrofoam boxes - the kind used to ship broccoli - with a few holes poked in the bottom. The tomato plant is in a recycled container from the Refill Mill. So apart from the seed potatoes, everything here is free.
The last of the main crop potatoes were planted out in Coole last week - we had very little mushroom compost left so we improvised - lots of cardboard laid on freshly mown grass, a handful of compost on each potato, and then loads of rotted hay laid on top. The hay was from the meadow cutting last September, left outside and unprotected, and there are a lot of docks in the field, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on weed seeds germinating there. However, some hay that we put down a month ago hasn’t started to germinate, so it may be OK.
At this point, I have nearly caught up on seed planting - most are in the tunnel now, with only a few tender things like the courgettes and pumpkins germinating inside. My chilli plants are still being well minded inside too.
There are lots of herbs coming on : basil, coriander, borage, dill. The flowers that are doing well are Cosmos, French Marigold, Strawflower. Dahlias are in crates - I lost a lot of tubers last autumn, but I have a few coming on, and I’m taking cuttings and making more plants.
On return from my graduation (busy day, yeah!), I hopped onto instagram to do my first ‘remote’ live with Katy Harrison. We had a wide ranging discussion on a variety of topics elated to Earth Day. It was really fun, she is a fabulous interviewer! Click here to watch it. I’m really looking forward to running a mandala workshop at the Yoga Picnic in July, and talking about mindful gardening and biodiversity.
I’m trying to do better at documenting the flowers that are in season - here’s what was growing in early April. With thanks to my son who has a better camera than I have.
There’s still a lot of ranunculus to come, so if you’d like to have this kind of beauty in your home on a weekly basis, consider a subscription. It’s only €50 for 4 weeks of flowers, that you’ll collect weekly - click here for more details.
I’m really enjoying the ceramics/pottery class in Athlone - haven’t gotten as far as firing anything yet, but here’s a little vase that will be used to test decoration. We’ll be using slips instead of coloured glazes. I was used to working with porcelain clay, so getting used to stoneware again, and to building thicker pieces. I’m making all kinds of flower frogs and vases, I’m looking forward to when I’ll be able to test them with flowers.
I’m also looking forward to some events that I’m not running, just attending - it’s important to keep learning, and to schedule fun!
This weekend: Composting course, at Gerry Deegans farm in Mullingar - Johnson Su Bioreactor.
And speaking of composting, if you’d like to join me for a day long composting course in Ballymore (Free! With a lovely Lunch!) click here. If you have been making compost, and it’s ready, now would be a good time to move some of it under your fruit trees and fruit bushes, to suppress grass and weeds, and give the plants a good feed. That mulch will also conserve water if we have a dry summer.
I’ll also be running some Biodiversity days with the PPN network and the heritage officer for Biodiversity week in late May - I’ll send out a short interim newsletter when they come online.
Also, I’m going to the Irish Architecture Foundation summer school in early May. They are exploring the creative reuse of materials. (Right up my alley!) I’ll have to load up my car with some coffee sacks. And maybe some of the plastic containers from the Refill Mill. This has the potential to be really fun, and looking forward to meeting new people!
As always finishing up with a song - the one is very atmospheric. Audio honey, uplifting, delightful. Listen all the way to the end.