Healthy neglect…

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Last month other commitments pulled us away from the garden. Apart from us harvesting apples, raspberries and vegetables, the land was left to its own devices for the duration of the month. On the very last day of September we walked around the different areas to get a few pictures for this blog and we realized that the land had not suffered at all in our absence. Sure, it looked a bit untidy and overgrown on the surface, but underneath it was healthy, alive and brimming with wildlife. Maybe that is the biggest lesson we have learnt from looking after and developing our land over the last few years. A forest garden, mimicked on young natural woodland but full of edible and other beneficial plants, is a very forgiving place. Nature has a marvellous way of doing what is best for the land and when you start to work with nature and not against her fantastic things can happen. We wanted more frogs, newts and other wildlife so in addition to our stream we added two ponds. Because of this the slug population is being kept small and is not the major problem it was for the first couple of years.

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Kale perfection

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Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to cook and preserve your crops in a way that everyone in the family enjoys. This year we have found ourselves with a lot of kale. This super green has numerous health benefits but is not very popular, at least in our house, when steamed or stir-fried. We have been doing some research and cooked up a few batches with different flavourings, in the hunt for perfectly crunchy, delicious kale chips. Here in Ireland they would probably be known as kale crisps though.

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Our tree house so far.

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There is something very special about having a hideout high up in a tree. You feel slightly removed from all worldly worries and commitments. You can climb up your ladder to rest, dream and spend some time suspended between the sky and the ground.  When we moved into our cottage almost five years ago, all boundaries were planted with laylandii trees that blocked out light and prevented the hazels, oaks, hollies and rowans from thriving.

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A journey through time at Brigit’s Garden

We have wanted to visit Brigit’s Garden in County Galway for over a year, and a sunny morning last week we decided that it was time. It is a special place, inspired by Ireland’s Celtic past and partially designed by Mary Reynolds who is our favourite Irish garden designer. She believes just like we do, that it is time to go down a different path, one where we start giving back to the earth instead of always taking. You can read more about Mary and her work here.

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