Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years and has completed a course in horticulture and worked in garden centres, wholesale nurseries, and private gardens. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.
Pictured above: Stachyurus praecox – my mid spring jewel
What a hive of activity it has been here these past few weeks with the wonderful stretch of delightful weather. I do hope you all had a chance to enjoy it and get some much-needed sunshine vitamin D we certainly did.
We have been so busy planting, feeding and weeding with loads of large dinner plate dahlias in tunnels and loads more tucked in under cloches out side. It’s hard to believe six weeks ago we had no plastic on tunnel one, a fifteen-foot huge tear in tunnel two and so many tears in tunnel three that nothing was growing it was so cold. Now the roses are ready to burst, the anemones, ranunculus etc planted five weeks ago are filling in beautifully at this rate we will be harvesting early to mid June perfect timing with the autumn planted crops just finishing, bliss when it works. I’m so pleased with myself, all the hard work and time spent on planting plans are coming together, I think we will have smooth runs. We’re not there yet but we are well on the way and it feels good.
We are frequently asked how we construct our cloches so we have written a blog about it, with the aid of some photos, which help explain our methods, but I’ll give a brief overview here. We use reinforcing bars cut to length and these are driven in at regular intervals, then water pipe is cut to length and pushed in on the re-bars, tunnel plastic is used as cover and there you go. We would be lost with out them, it really gets things going and we are harvesting at least a month and six weeks earlier in some cases but the main reason is getting in crops like dahlias up to two months earlier and having a saleable crop outside from mid June.
We will be making the first cut of roses this week. The Poppies are a riot of colour — I love their vibrancy and papery texture of the blooms.
Our edible flowers are really cranking up and we have some delicious new additions to add to our ever-growing list. Lots happening on this front but I’m keeping ‘mum’ for a little bit longer.
Our chickens are enjoying the fine weather too; we have three on eggs. Amelia ran Momma off her eggs and commandeered them for herself so poor Momma has had to start again. She is now under my bedroom window, which used to be one of our cat’s beds but they are quite comfortable sharing and hopefully these strange sharing will help if the fox pays a visit. I’ve wrestled with moving her but she would only nest somewhere else at least this way I know where she is and I hear any disturbance.
Swallows, willow warblers, and my own personnel favourite, the grasshopper warblers, are all back and serenading me again. I heard the Cuckoo on April 19, the earliest for quite a few years for me. My highlight so far has to be our bats, they have returned again choosing us for their summer roost. I’m not exactly sure of the numbers but there is defiantly more than last year, I know where I’ll be having my morning coffee from now on.
We are trialling a new all natural slug pellet on our zinnias and if it protects them it will protect anything. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
There is only so much room here on our article, we are always adding or elaborating on our blog, so feel free to go and have a look on our website www.RubyHarte.com, leave a comment we always like to hear your stories. Happy gardening.