Thursday, October 28, 2010

Limerick

Thank you all for your good wishes on the previous post, I promised this post on my weekend in Limerick and have finally gotten around to uploading it no thanks to Google as I had to upload each photo 3 times!!
The Treaty Stone is symbolic of Limerick and is situated near the Thomond bridge.The treaty was reputedly signed on a stone in sight of the two warring armies at each side of the bridge in 1691, surrendering the city to William of Orange.
St John's Castle with the Thomond bridge over the river Shannon, note the 2 dogs going for a paddle! The river frontage all along the city is beautifully restored and maintained with walkways.
The Thomond bridge
I found another Masonic Lodge!
An iron footbridge linking the old potato market.
The Hunt Museum, one of two museums of which the city can boast.A lovely lady on the reception desk told us admisson was free on a Sunday or 2 for 1 on a monday and a photographic exhibition which was running at the time was free.
It was the weekend of the Heineken rugby between Munster and Toulouse,Thomond park is the home of Munster Rugby.This street was decorated with goalposts and flags
The restored Milk market in the centre of the city.The dome in the background is a recent addition to cover in the market.The market spills out onto the surrounding streets
Selling fresh veg on the street, these streets are still cobbled.
Cheese stall in the market.
Under the dome which covers a large courtyard, this was uncovered the last time I visited
The Shannon has locks and a canal is just visible here running along side the road
All roads lead to Thomond park for the rugby, red shirts are Munster.
A thatched pub in Killoscully outside Limerick

The beautiful Shannon near Killaloe.Boating on the Shannon is big business where cruising boats can be hired to navigate the scenic waters.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RDS Allotment Awards 2010



Some months ago Zwena encouraged us to enter for the inaugural RDS allotment awards, I did eventually enter probably on the last date for posting entries! I am not sure if any or how many of the other plotters entered. I received an email to invite me to attend the awards ceremony held in the RDS in Dublin yesterday.I was dubious about going but then thought I had not been to Dublin for quite a while and booked my train ticket and set off spending some time in the city centre shopping etc before heading out to the RDS showgrounds to the Presidents chamber in the members Club!
I watched the various categories being presented and nearly did a double take when my name appeared on the screen with photos of our plot and my name was called out to go and receive a prize!
I have been awarded the Experienced Gardener Award 2010 with a beautiful silver RDS medal and a cheque for e500. I was absolutely stunned as I seemed to be the only one there who was not aware that everyone present was shortlisted! I had taken my camera with me but with all of the excitement took no photos. There was a press photographer there and we will get photos and they will also be sent out with press releases to the various national newspapers.
I would have to say, as most prizewinners do that the award may have been collected by me but it is recognition for all of the hard work put in by Kathryn,Stephen,Gemma, Sinead,Aoife and not forgetting my chief gardener Kevin so we will have to think of a suitable award ceremony for all concerned.
I had intended doing a post on my Limerick visit but this has over taken that as I am still gobsmacked!!!
You can read about the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) and the allotment awards here

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Week Catch Up!!

I wonder where those 2 weeks went to?! I know the birthday celebrations went on a bit, I have been away for a few days (will do a post on my trip to Limerick ).
I had a chest infection and have been off the cigarettes now for 7 days (who is counting?), not being able to breathe is as good a reason as any to give 'em up! Sitting at the computer has been curtailed as I would automatically reach for a cigarette.
I did not go to the allotment last week as I did not feel up to it so this morning I did remember to take the camera and also do some winter tidying up. The harvest is winter warming veg, carrots, parsnips and cabbage, most of which have now been added to a big pot of soup which is cooling before blitzing with the blender.
Would Pirates of the Caribbean like some real life veg from Davy Jones locker? These are what grew of our Celeriac plants, the photo makes them look quite large but they are less than golf ball size in reality!I added one of them to my pot of soup just to make them feel wanted.
I just liked the look of these late flowering plants, the late bees are hovering around them.There is blue Borage in the front, yellow Calendula and swiss Chard.
The strawberry plants are still producing?! They are not as sweet as the sun ripened ones of summer but are tasty anyway.I had tidied up the plants for winter so do I now repeat this process again...cutting back brown foliage etc?
I removed the netting from the fruit bed and cut back this years raspberry canes, I also cut out any canes that were spindly or growing too closely together.They need to be tied now to withstand winter gales.The whole bed will be weeded and covered with a mulch of manure for the winter months
The autumn fruiting raspberries continue to surprise.There are two bushes of Blissy Autumn Bliss, one is producing fruit and the other is not even though both were bought and planted at the same time.
I pruned back the blackcurrant bush also, taking about 1 third of the old growth and opening up the centre of the bush.
The brussel sprouts will not last until Christmas I think, I wonder if they are an early harvesting variety or has it been the mild weather this year. I will have to poke out the seed packets to check.
Snapdragons are still blooming around the plot and at home. I wanted to get a snap of the colours of this particular one as it is beautiful.

I was driving out the laneway from the allotments when I came across 3 pheasants strolling down in front of me, they ignored me for a few minutes until I got out the camera then they bolted so I only caught 2 of them on camera.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn Harvesting

I only seem to get out to the plot on Tues mornings lately, or else forget the camera.The sun shone this morning and it was a crisp autumn day, quite windy but a big improvement on last year when we were almost submerged.Our pumpkin is growing slower and slower! The first large one rotted away underneath and this is the next biggest one, I don't think it will become any record size over the next few weeks!
View of the plot in the sunshine,I removed most of the supports and netting from the beds where it is no longer needed so the plot looks quite bare. The fruit cage is the next one to be taken down and packed away for next year.
Harvest for today which I think is quite good for Oct! Carrots, tomatoes,leeks,beetroot,lettuce and globe artichokes, I pulled 2 of our biggest leeks which are fine as they will stay in the ground until next year, to be used as needed over the winter.Tomatoes are still ripening on the vine if a little slower as time goes on but I am not complaining.
The kids windmills and gnomes in the shelter of the shed to sit out the winter.
The tomatoes in the greenhouse.Kathryn is climbing somewhere on the Yorkshire dales and I cannot get out as often so we are inclined to forget the greenhouse still needs watering even when it is raining outside.One cucumber plant is sending out a single fruit, it may be too late for it to grow very large but we still have a few hours of sunshine every day. I am not in any hurry to pull up the plants if anything is still on them so we will wait and see what develops.

I put some Lollo Rosso plants into one of the grow bags after removing the spent tomato plants. They seem to be doing OK in the greenhouse.
I put in 2 autumn raspberry bushes during the summer, not expecting to have any fruit this year.One of the bushes has a handful of ripe fruit each time I go out and the other one is bare.
More strawberries?! I tidied up the foliage some weeks ago cutting back runners and this years leaves. The plants took off again and 4 plants are producing berries again.
I know I bought 6 plants in Aldi last year, 2 early,2 mid season and 2 late season.I cannot remember having late fruit last year but they are still going into Oct this year.Is it the warm weather we have had? They are being nibbled by slugs who are still on the prowl.



This is outside my front door one morning last week, the spiders are out in force, I wonder is this why they are associated with Hallo'een and pumpkins?!