Fota Frameyard Blog

Gardening, Nature and Heritage from Fota House

Painted Lady on the Sungold tomato vine

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You say to-may-toh… I say poisonous mandrake!

In the Frameyard, in Pithouse Number 3, the tomatoes are ripening.

Among the varieties there are Sungold and Sweet Apperitivo, cherry tomatoes that can be eaten like sweets off the vine.  Standing beside these vines, the wonderful earthy, tobacco smell fills the warm air.

Some say that this smell is a natural deterrent against insects or pests. (It’s suggested that one could pick the foliage, soak it in hot water and use it as a spray). According to the University of California, glandular trichomes are responsible for secreting a yellow substance that gives off that characteristic “tomato plant” smell (see explanation below).  Whatever the scientific explanation is, some gardeners love it, some hate it. But the fruit is universally enjoyed nowadays, unlike the first reaction to tomatoes in medieval times.

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The Bees Knees….

In typical Irish fashion, bees are closely associated with folklore and saints.

St. Modomnoc is credited with bringing bees to Ireland in the 6th Century, when his hives resolutely followed him across the Irish Sea as he returned from Wales.
St Gobnait, whose feast day is 11th Feb, is the patron saint of bees. She is portrayed by Harry Clarke in the luminous stained-glass windows of the Honan Chapel, University College Cork.

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