Signs of summer

Posted on: 11th April, 2017

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years. 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.

Summer’s on its way: first swallows seen on March 30 – one of our earliest sightings.  Here’s hoping they (and us) have a better summer than last year.

Chiff chaff’s and willow warblers are about too, lovely sounds of summer…

It’s hard sometimes to get work done, there is a little competitiveness here, who saw what first or heard this first. There’s the cuckoo and the grasshopper warbler still to come too.

I live in flower seasons and not particular months and I’m in double narcissus, double tulips and hyacinth heaven now but I’m dreaming in Roses and Dahlias. We’ve gone all out this year with new varieties and can’t to wait to see these new beauties in full bloom. I did curtail my bulb ordering this year and I’m so glad of it now. Our new rose tunnel went where we had our outdoor daff beds and some of them still need to get back in the ground (about 2,000 of them). It didn’t stop them flowering though bless them.

We are hoping to have an open event towards the end of July this year ( I know I said that last year too) to share all our changes and celebrate our new ventures and show its not too difficult to grow your own. There is nothing like the taste of fresh produce that you have harvested from you own garden.

In keeping with our streamlining, we don’t grow the large amount of varieties that we used to anymore, we have refined our product list and are growing fewer varieties but more of each one and they have to double up and be edible as well as being a good cut flower. We are still failing abysmally to photograph our progress so you’ll have to take our word for it.

On the college front, I’m finishing an assignment on the products I was hoping to create when I started back in September, well hasn’t that changed! We were hoping to bring our beautiful allergy-free pesto to market but when I researched it and did the figures, it turns out it isn’t commercially viable, the cost of producing it to the standard we would have ourselves just isn’t possible. I have so much respect for producers of quality food and really we need to be asking why some food is so cheap and not why real food is so expensive because it simply isn’t. I’m learning how some food is processed and frankly it’s not worth eating. My advice is that if you can go to your local farmers market and know where your food is coming from and who and how it’s grown we would all be healthier in the long run. That kind of education could start in primary schools and would benefit our physical and mental health from an early age.

We have been plagued with the fox this week; it’s disturbing to see them out hunting during the day especially at this time of year. Gracie has run them off every day but still they come back – this kind of desperation at this time of year is a little worrying. If they have to take such risks now so early in the season what does that say about our ecology and the balance of nature? We need to remember we are all in this together.

On a happier note it’s April and the ground is warming up so get out there and start planting and in a few months you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labour and feeling fitter and healthier. Enjoy it all.

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