A Look Back: Late Spring Garden April 2014

Technically speaking, May marks the start of summer in Ireland.  It would be more convincing if the cool and often wet conditions outside resembled more of that inside our polytunnel. But no complaining here, just appreciation for the inventor of the hooped hothouse and the man who sold us ours at a discount.  Each year, many plants in pots of all sizes, anxious to go in the outside earth, wait patiently in the warmth of the tunnel for a few more weeks.

I have never been very reliable at documenting our garden activities but did so in photograph on at least one occasion last year.  


This first photo is by far the most beautiful thing in our garden last year.


Thanks to Murtagh’s Meadow for providing information in the comments below and helping to positively identify this gorgeous turquoise, brown, and yellow flying friend.  The link she provided led me to this page and now I can confirm she was correct, it is a Common Hawker dragonfly.


garden 2014 1

garden 2014 3

Space was tight but Johnny rigged three hanging shelves down the center of the tunnel.

garden 2014 2

Flower boxes with great patience, waiting to adorn door frames and windows.

garden 2014 4

garden 2014 5

garden 2014 6

If you want real inspiration check out Roz and Phil Hill’s newest (renewed) blog, Polyanna.  I think this is their fourth blog– it is devoted completely to their garden.  WOW! is an understatement.  You have to see it for yourself.


  1. Roz Hill says:

    Aw Melissa! You are an inspiration too! I love how you can get around your beds. Phil admitted he got really possessive about his new piled high with soil beds in the poly this year…. Phil! I need to be able to walk across them!! I WILL BE using stepping stones! I WILL BE squeezing things in!! Gaps between veg is a luxury! Hehe!
    Fantastic picture of dragonfly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those beds were so much work. All stone with no depth. Johnny labored for more time than we can account for, breaking huge stones, then sifting the soil. The small bits of stone became the center path and larger stones filled in outside paths that we dug deep to take the soil from. Shifting it all about and repurposing it to suit our needs.
      Many would say we are wasting space with the stone paths, but I wanted it to look nice and to have defined walking spaces for the children and ourselves to not compact the soil. There is no shortage of stones here. This year we will move the tunnel and I think we will be happy for the work done. And then we get to do it all again in a new site! If we were ready for pigs we would put them to work turning the soil in our new tunnel site–I saw how good a job yours did. I don’t think it is as much ‘craig’. Craig is Gaelic for stone and it is used in most sentences relating to the land instead of ‘stone’ even in only-English speakers. The children will say ‘We’re going to play in the craig’, for example. Remember my address Baile na Creiga? Translates to Village of Stones.
      Hope you have an amazing day. Oh, and I must send you an email and update you on the willow. You won’t believe my news!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Roz Hill says:

        One thought on using pigs to turn the soil. Our pigs were intending to do just this…. Following advice…
        Under the surface soil we have clay and today it is almost unworkable because they literally brought the clay to the surface. It is especially bad where the deposited their dung by the fences. Spreading compost on it for a couple of years helped but we have taken out the nettle rabbit proof fences deviding the plots and we are opting for shallow raised beds throughout. 🚜

        Liked by 1 person

      • Roz Hill says:

        The soil structure can vary so much anywhere, there are certainly no rocks around here. We have soon to dig a huge hole for our clear water tank and Phil says we will keep the clay to make a clay oven! Intrigued about the willow???🚜

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah jeepers, I better just tell you now as if I put it off I may not get back to it soon enough, chasing my tail trying to catch up with blog, garden, house, children. and sleep. Good to be busy I suppose…
          So, I was in the library on the weekend talking to a couple of locals, picking their brains about this and that regarding traditional methods of working the land and all aspects of running the home traditionally, etc. In the course of the conversation I mention your astounding package of multi-colored willow and someone tells me there is willow on the island. That it was used by most houses and that is why there are so many clumps wildly growing here and there about the island. Goat willow is one of it’s nicknames–wasn’t it you who mentioned the goats would like it? file:///C:/Users/user1/Downloads/goat_willow.pdf–


          • Turns out I am familiar with it but by the name sally rods (I thought Johnny was saying ‘celly rods’). We used it to stake tomatoes one year and I was amazed how it rooted and sprouted, though found it a bit annoying having more greenery amongst the sun loving tomatoes, but I did have the notion that it had possibilities in living, functioning art. It is a light yellowish green if I remember correct and maybe some of the ones you sent me are the same? Would you know? If you do not have this variety I would love to reciprocate and send you some. Even if you do and would like some from the Aran Islands let me know.
            You might find this interesting, an a site I just found of a neighboring island business that uses the sally rods for making baskets–because you aren’t already busy enough 😉 ! I understand if you don’t have the time to view it. http://homepage.eircom.net/~achillbaskets/willow1.htm

            Liked by 1 person

          • And lastly here is a bit on Vincent, the basket teacher friend who I am going to take a class with this month. Is a 3 1/2 min video so it may use too many gigs but I’ll send it just the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYuYgnHzm6s I sent this in several bits because WordPress flags replies with 2 or more links in them (good thing). Have a groovy eve darling and talk soon. Xx


  2. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Wow – that is one productive polytunnel. Looks brilliant. Love the dragonfly – could be a ‘Hairy Drgonfly’ as it’s one of earliest ones to appear (or a Common hawker, but they come out later):)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The garden photos are late April, but the dragonfly is late June or so, if that helps with identification. Couldn’t resist adding it in, really it could have a post all it’s own, it is so special–is why I put it in twice 🙂 . Now I’m curious and will have to Google it. Thanks for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kim says:

    That is an incredible picture of the dragonfly – so beautiful. I am inspired by your dedication to growing in the polytunnel, everything looks so vibrant and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The tunnel can feel like I’m in another world at times, easy to get lost in the ‘jungle’ when all is in full growth and reaching the ceiling. It is very meditative, really takes me away.
      It was a lucky shot Johnny took with his camera phone, not a super quality phone, and that speaks for the beauty of the subject. Really I think the dragonfly deserves all the credit 😉 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Melissa, I thoroughly enjoyed your polytunnel (and dragonfly!) photos as I sit here on 5 March at the beginning of a day-long snowstorm. I am dreaming of an Irish Garden. I’m doing the Photo101 course again (never finished it the last time!) and yesterday posted a few photos of Leitrim taken last summer. https://deirdremagner.wordpress.com/

    Anything to escape the endless winter at this point!

    Loved your reference to the ‘craig’…brought back childhood memories – a section of my uncle’s farm in Limerick is even named “The Craigs”.

    Your garden is truly amazing. I’m in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deirdre, You are a very versatile photographer. Is there an award for that? 😉 If so, I nominate you! Your pictures are not only stunning but the variety kept me looking further and further.
      Nice to stir such happy childhood memories…I have yet to make it to Limerick, but I did write my first limerick last month in Poetry 101. I’ve heard they originated there, but it could just be an old wive’s tale…
      Thank you for your kind words and I look forward to talking with you some more soon.


  5. Awesome dragonfly! At first I thought is was a piece of metal garden art. Great picture. Your tunnel looks fantastic. Put in a lawn chair and get Johnny to put in a small pond….would be like a little vacation spot…..or a place to meditate. Never mind…it would take up to much growing space! LOL
    Can’t wait to see things once they fully grown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t is just a fab pic though?! And would be a stellar ornament too. When Johnny was renovating our house four and five years ago, we had the tunnel up but very little growing in it, we did have a wee kiddie pool. Dug into the ground and dropped the pool in. Drats that I didn’t get pictures of that. It was downright tropical and a great distraction for the children so we could get some work done. I would love an ‘endless pool.’ I can dream…
      You know, that is not such a bad idea Stan, about a meditation spot. I’m gonna sleep on that idea and assess the space with that thought in mind tomorrow. We make room for what’s important. Now I MUST go to bed. Nighty night to you and Becky. I’ve missed talking to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kathy…that is last year, just in case you didn’t notice that. But my lettuce seeds have germinated and I have been working on my month to month calendar but yet to publish it.
      Amazing how blogging can be a right kick in the pants motivator to get things done. I have been away but am going to check in on you and my other lovely blogger friends who I have missed. I hope you have been well and enjoying the lovely sunshine. Xx Melissa Xx

      Liked by 1 person


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