The warm weather and blue skies may be the recipe for a perfect summer.
While scorching temperatures have sun worshipers flocking to the beach, parks and their gardens to soak up their daily dose of vitamin D, the heat is having an impact on our plant life.
Although drought measures are in place until the end of the month, the three month hose ban has not stopped one East Cork village staying in bloom.
You’ll be just amazed how this was accomplished by using a simple technique to hanging baskets, tubs, flower beds and floral displays, helping to keep Castlemartyr’s plants at their dazzling best along the river bank in Castlemartyr and throughout Castle Manor estate.
As the mercury hit an all-time high with temperatures rarely seen in almost 40 years, the arid conditions didn’t stop Pat Delaney from Castle Manor Estate digging deep to help keep the village in bloom.
The gardening enthusiast has maintained a blaze of colour while adhering to the hose pipe ban since it came into effect in June.
Pat, who is known for his interest in all things garden related, has enriched his surroundings by using small amounts of water taken from the Kiltha River which runs through his village.
Every second night Pat and a friend were applying minimal amounts of river water directly to the roots of plants planted by the Castlemartyr Community Council and Paddy Daly and his FáS team to keep them moist.
“We were under pressure to keep the Hydrangeas alive. They are very susceptible to drought because their roots just skim the surface. The rain two weeks ago was the eleventh hour saviour and now we just water the plants twice a week” Pat tells the East Cork Journal.
Originally from a farming family in Ovens, Pat’s interest in horticulture began in the 1960s.
“The first plant I ever grew was a Dahlia. My mother went to Cork city once a month to get her hair done. She would never come home without a packet of Dahlias. As I was the eldest in the family it was always my job to plant the Dahlias and it wasn’t to die otherwise I’d have to leave home”, he quips.
Now weekly, during planting season the Castlemartyr resident visits the Midleton Co-Op where he picks up plants that are about to be thrown out, at knock down prices.
“I get them with a 50% discount. I bring them home and water them up. Bring them back to life and plant them out” “It’s all improvisation. What is planted all depends on what is available in the Co-op”
He is even known to resurrect dead plants he finds in skips in local burial grounds while attending to plots belonging to close family.
Few people know that Pat’s passion for flowers has led to a number of prestigious awards.
On emigrating to Cricklewood, London in 1970, Pat took up a position in sales and service management at National Cash Register, the till company. He stayed there until he took a lease on a pub in London in 1982, where he applied the principals to his sales and service management to the pub business.
“I always liked a pub that had a nice frontage and a pub that had a beer garden, so the flowers were a huge part of that set up.” “Once Easter came in, English people would be sitting out. The beer garden would have lovely furniture. It was like sitting out in their own garden at home. It was the home from home that was the big draw.”
Two years in a row (1988 and 1989) Pat took second prize for his floral displays for the city of Westminster, where he was up against hundreds of brewery owned bars.
He also won a similar award for a micro brew pub he ran in Northampton.
“With a bit of luck, and if you follow the rules, flowers are not difficult to grow”, he says.