The Green, Green Grass… and Weeds… of Home

My garden is in a sorry state.

I worked hard on it at the beginning of summer, as always, but I’m afraid it’s a bit of a lost cause now. So all the composting, digging, weeding, and planting (and replanting, and replanting – thank you cats-next-door) has unfortunatley not paid off as I would have liked.

I sort of wince each day as I walk up the path to our front door and notice that the weeds and vines are much larger than the lavendar I put there. All the plants in the window boxes and pots have died or are barely limping along.  My poor roses! Even after multiple sprayings and pruning, the leaves are yellowed and falling off and some of the branches have blackened and died — the bumper crop of blooms that I had in June and July has long since called it quits. And don’t even get me started on the back yard! The grass is tall enough to hide most of Georgie’s toys (and has claimed many a lost clothespin), and all the nasty stinging nettles that I chopped down have, of course, come back with a flourish and once again dominate all the corners, beds and borders. Yes, it’s true – if you peeked into this Irish back yard, you would probably think it is quite pathetic!!!

BUT! I have to give my garden some credit, as well. Even with minimum TLC from yours truly, we have still gotten a great harvest of lettuce, potatoes and courgettes (zucchini), along with a few more stubby carrots and a couple pumpkins which I’m watching carefully until it freezes. Not to mention all the blackberries that appeared on their own! So it wasn’t completely hit and miss.

Blackberries, Courgettes, Potatoes, Carrots!

Plants are really quite amazing – what a battle they must fight to live, and grow and reproduce!  All to live a season or two and then be dug up and started again.

I also have to tip my hat to “real” gardeners. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years here is that I do NOT have a green thumb! I really enjoy getting into the soil and messing around with seeds and sprouts and all that, but I am finding that I have the most success with plants that do not need my help… and often the ones I try to help the most are the ones that croak! Haha!

So, now it is autumn and I’m thinking ahead to the next few months, stocking up for the holidays and getting the fireplace ready for a little one who might soon be crawling…  and I am thinking very little about gardening. Makes me wonder what I’ll attempt next summer, if anything at all?  I love the feeling of harvesting veggies and flowers that came from the work of my own hands… and I’ve even spied Frank peeking around under leaves to look for fresh produce, so he must enjoy it as well… not to mention how great it feels to cook up something completely 100% bonafide organice for my baby! But it can also be frustrating and disappointing. I guess only time will tell what I get up to next year.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep patronizing and singing the praises of my local fruit and veg market stalls!

By Frank Kelly

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2 thoughts on “The Green, Green Grass… and Weeds… of Home

  1. I’m afraid my own herb garden is a tad scorched itself. No rain for a month and no TLC from me. Fortunately, most herbs do well in dryer situations, so I still have a few hangers-on. And it’s hard to feel too depressed about it because, as you said, the holidays are on their way! It’s fall!!!

  2. Stinging nettle leaves are actually quite edible (when cooked! your mouth would regret eating them raw for obvious reasons) and tasty as a soup or vaguely-spinach-like vegetable. The also make a relaxing tea.

    They also attract certain pretty butterflies (whose caterpillars preferentially eat them).

    Yes, nettles sting and might be considered a weed if they’re growing where you don’t want them, but irish gardens often deliberately have a bit of a nettle patch, and (at least rural) irish kids usually learn when young how to pick stinging nettles. You just have to grab them firmly in a certain way to break the stinging hairs (which essentially act like tiny syringes of poison) – trying to pick them gently and carefully will get you badly stung.

    It’s also very important not to eat nettles that have ever been sprayed with weedkiller, of course.

    Randomly googled recipe for nettle soup here:
    http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Beltane.html

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