Winding down...or not? Certainly more leaves.
With the windy and wet weather in October, my flowers have come to an end. I have sufficient to treat myself and a few friends (and one subscriber), but not enough to supply bunches to the shops. It’s sad that they are all slowing down, but it’s the way of the seasons, and we must pay heed to these changes.
The wind has also been shaking my pears off the tree, which is a good indication that they are ready to pick. So a big haul today, and we’ll leave them to ripen for a bit before eating. Any damaged ones are peeled, sliced and frozen for later cake/tart/dessert making.
There’s still plenty to do in the garden - we have collected some leaves and they will remain in a dark corner until they are well broken down. These were leaves that were on the paths, and would possibly constitute a danger in the future. Any leaves that are on soil remain there as a special treat for the worms, and provide shelter for other critters to overwinter. . And speaking of worms and leaves, here’s a post that you might enjoy.
I have been labelling my dahlias - while they are still in flower. Soon the frost will come and they will die back, and then I’ll dig out the tubers, divide and store them for next year. I ended up growing a lot of dahlias this year that were not wonderful cut flowers. So I need to give away those tubers to someone who grows for the colour, and propagate more of the cut flower varieties for next year.
I’ve also been soaking sweet pea seeds and planting them in toilet rolls - they are very hardy, and will overwinter happily in my tunnel or even outside, and will have a good head start on spring sown plants. They don’t like having their roots disturbed, so planting them in the toilet rolls or root trainers means that they can be planted out easily next spring with minimal disturbance.
I also did a little gallivanting - I had a wonderful trip to the west - which included an unexpected hike up Diamond Hill, a few ocean dips at a variety of beaches, and lunch at the Misunderstood Heron, which was definitely a bucket list item for me. All in the company of some awesome women who are always up for dancing and dipping, eating good food, and having the craic.
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Together with The Refill Mill, we ran some lovely courses, this month - Soapmaking and Dried Flower Wreaths. We will most likely run these again in 2023, so keep an eye out if you missed them and are interested.
I’ve also finished planting out my biennials - it’s a bit late, to be planting them out - ideally they would be well established at this stage, but hopefully the unseasonably warm weather will encourage them to produce strong growth under the soil, at least.
Over the past 6 months I have been collecting plants for a green and white garden. We mulched with cardboard in summer, and all the grass and weeds have died back, so I got started with the planting this month also. I’m excited about the while alliums, the buddleias, and the white hydrangea. We will be putting in a few birch trees too, and a Magnolia Stellata, I look forward to sharing photos here when it gets established.
So it’s looking like a busy November and December, with lots of workshops planned. I’ll be doing some (free) winter arrangement workshops with Westmeath library - the Mullingar session was fully booked within hours of going live. There are still places in Moate and Athlone, but Castlepollard is also fully booked.
I’m running 3 workshops in November in The Refill Mill - 2 Christmas Wreath workshops - where we use Irish grown foliage to make a beautiful wreath for your front door. Or maybe, like me, you will make one for the grave of a loved one. As usual there will be tea and cake, and good conversation, as well as plenty of crafty creativity. Click here to book your place.
The third workshop is a new concept that I’m very excited about. We are all familiar with Advent calendars, but I’d like to introduce you to the concept of an advent branch. The objective is to create something sustaining for the last days of the year before the solstice, and the return of the light. So not an excuse to eat chocolate (who needs an excuse?).
On the night we will sit and make notes of self care - proper nourishing self care - that will provide us with a few moments of joy when we open those notes at a later date. We will tie these notes up, and combine them with some dried botanicals to hang on a branch. I’m really looking forward to the sharing in the making of the notes, and I would anticipate that we might like to create some notes to give to other participants, as well as creating them for ourselves. And yes, of course, there will be tea and homemade cake. Click here to book.
Finally, as always, I’ll leave you with a song. I’d also like to recommend an Instagram account where you will find beautiful short films - definitely worth following! And I send you Samhain greetings - the time of the year when the veil between here and the afterlife is thin. I’ll listen for my mother and make a barmbrack in her memory.
Please feel free to share this newsletter with someone who might enjoy it. And I’d love to read your comments!