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July wind and rain
A month of sogginess...
Welcome to all the recent subscribers - lovely to have you on board. Hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as I enjoyed writing it! I had a lot to say and show this month, so you may need to click on the link at the bottom of the email to read it all on the sub stack website.
July began with a big event - The Yoga Picnic at Lilliput,Lough Ennel. This event - which only began last year - grew hugely this year, and was truly amazing. There was a wide selection of teachers and topics, something for everyone. I was delighted to be asked to be part of the event, both facilitating two sessions on the day, and decorating the tents with lots of greenery and flowers the day before it started.
We had wind and rain on the day, but in any classes that I attended as a participant, the teachers handled all adversity with grace and humour. There was one fierce downpour while I was talking about sensory gardens, so I had an unexpected influx of participants, who seemed to enjoy the smiling and tasting and feeling that was going on. Speaking of the participants - there was a great energy among all the attendees - you could have happily gone along to this on your own and met up with lots of lovely people there.
I did a flower mandala workshop, in the main tent, just before the Kirtan, and some beautiful creations adorned the tent for a wonderful musical wrap up to the day.
The following weekend I was delighted to be invited to the National Play Day in Athlone - where I facilitated seed saving with some interested people - children and adults. It was an extremely windy day, which made seed saving a bit tricky, but we managed! Also delighted to meet the talented Gosia, who sent me these lovely photos.
I’ve been continuing to collect seed head since then, so I’m hoping to be able to run some more seed saving events over the next 6 months.
I finished up my pottery course in early July also - here are some small pieces that I made to test the slip colours, that are also good to hold one flower - they will be better with dried….
I booked off the second week in July to travel to West Cork . We had several activities planned, and added some additional as we discovered them. We began with a trip to English Market to stock up on food treats - nice cheeses, charcuterie, smoked fish, bread…
We spent our first day in Cork with Alison Ospina, building these beautiful stools. An amazing day, very creatively stimulating, I’d highly recommend it. It was part of my 60th birthday wish to do this, I had been longing to go for ages. So now I have something solid to remember the birthday by.
One day was very rainy, so we took a road trip - ending up in Future Forests, where we found quite a few plants very tempting!
We spent Saturday morning at the wonderful farmers market in Skibbereen, where we managed to acquire yet more plants - it’s a good thing Brian is an expert in packing cars! Later on Saturday we had lunch with some friends living out near Mizen Head - they entertained us splendidly with a lamb stew that was from their own flock - delicious!
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On our final day, we took a boat trip out to sea and saw lots of dolphins - and had a walk around Cape Clear Island - definitely worth revisiting for a longer stay. Nic, our guide was very knowledgeable, which added immensely to the experience.
Back to Mullingar and to work, I taught a an Edible Flowers and Herbs class in the Refill Mill - we had a full house, and several small tasting courses to showcase the seasonal herbs and flowers. Here are some of the lovely creations made by the participants on the night. I had made a palate cleansing peach and thyme sorbet, but that ended up being part 1 of a 3 (4?) part dessert course. And at that point people were more excited to taste than to decorate, so photos sort of petered out! It was a very fun evening, with lots of interaction and craic, thanks to all who came along!
Next up was the Rare Plant Faire in Belvedere - I was there to promote the Flower Farmers of Ireland, and was delighted to meet some prospective flower farmers. Lots of friends stopped by, and I sold a few bouquets, which is always good! All in all a great day inspite of the rain. And a lovely bunch of stand holders - lots of tempting flowers to buy!
Cuige had a summer soiree in Mearscourt- an exclusive (and free) event which was fully booked in a day. Colette led us in some breathing and Chi Gong, I facilitated some Flower Mandala creation in the forest. A beautiful evening - magical - food, entertainment from Marty, draw and sip, lovely chat. Another on the 23th August, can’t wait to see what they will come up with next. And I’d imagine that why will do something during the Fleadh, so keep an eye on their instagram feed.
In the garden, I’m seed saving, planting seeds of biennials like Sweet William and Foxglove, and weeding.
My tomatoes are looking fantastic, I’m feeding them lots of compost tea with comfrey and nettle. However, one variety (Green sausage) has blossom end rot - which is usually a sign of calcium deficiency, and may have been exacerbated by the the hot dry spell (remember that?). I made some water soluble calcium, and I’m hoping that will fix the problem.
Here’s the link if you’d like to try: https://www.microfarmguide.com/water-soluble-calcium/
I’ll be talking about sustainability at the Fleadh - look out for me in the green tent, in the town park. I’ll be there the afternoon of August 10th.
I’m running a Jam Jar Flower workshop on August 24th Aug in the Refill Mill.
I have a Soap making course in Lowe and Co, in Athlone on August 16th - that’s booked out, but get in touch if you’d like to be on the waiting list.
I’m hoping to have a bit of a rest in August, and to enjoy some coastal trips with sunshine, but I’m not sure that will be possible!
I’ll be talking about edible herbs in Mullingar Library on 16th September at 10am. Book your free place here.
Eibhlin will be teaching a Natural Skincare course in Athlone on September 14th - 10-11:30 am.
There’s another soap making course in Mullingar on Sept 13th - that’s also fully booked, but get in touch if you’d like to be on the waiting list.
I’ll be hosting the Flower Farmers of Ireland instagram account, and hosting the winner of my Flower Week competition.
If you are interested in growing veg in a supported way, you might be interested in this Grow Together Farm experience at An Ghrian Glas in Ballymore
I’m still running my subscription scheme - for only €50 you can have 4 weeks of flowers - collection in the Refill mill or at my home on a Thursday. It’s getting into Dahlia season now, so there will be some spectacular blooms in the benches.
To finish, I’m sharing a song by Sinead O Connor. She was very popular when I moved to the US after college, and I was so proud of her - with her amazing voice, her uncompromising appearance and fierce integrity. I proudly owned her albums, and loved every song, played them again and again - her energy and passion coming through. Such a loss.