March has arrived and with it the promise of the heaviest snowy weather Ireland has seen for over 35 years. We have stocked up on food, candles and other necessities, filled up the bird-feeders, brought in firewood and covered some our vulnerable plants with fleeces. We are ready for the storm.
Thankfully the last week of February saw some sunny and dry weather and we spent a couple of beautiful days in the garden, clearing old plant-matter and mulching many areas. A friend had lots of wood chip he did not want and we asked him to dump it in our garden after Christmas. Another friend brought some rotted horse manure and we mixed up the two and spread wheelbarrow loads out in a generous layer across our borders and planting areas. It will protect all plants from the heavy frost that is predicted for the coming week.
Here you can see pictures from around our main circle before and after the spring clean. Every year we cut back our red and yellow dogwoods and use all cuttings as plant-supports. Some we just stick in the ground in between perennials and some we use for weaving into our supports. Any that root over the spring and summer months can be dug up and replanted in the garden or given away to friends.
We are pleased with the many shrubs and trees that have transformed our land in the last five years since we started planting them. They all have roles to play in our forest garden, some as food plants and others for fuel, fibres or as nitrogen fixers. Our aim was to create a both practical and beautiful space. Many visitors to our garden tell us they enjoy it for its calm and therapeutic qualities so we think we are on the right track. This is our garden in the four directions of the compass.
Our stumpery was quite overgrown and we cleared it last week. We planted perennials and ferns around the stumps last year and they have now doubled in size and should look great come summer. Annuals self-seed as well and to help them along we threw large amounts of seeds collected last year from aquilegia, sweet William and ragged robin over the whole area.
As we prepare for the plummeting temperatures and blizzard like conditions promised for the next few days, we know that soon enough spring will be here and we will once again see our land green up and blossom. March is often a month full of surprises, awakening wildlife and strong growth. We can’t wait to see what it will bring to our land this year.
But first we welcome the few days of wintery weather that has brought us all to a standstill. We will take the opportunity to finish off the bedrooms for our teenagers. We have been busy for the last few months, changing two rooms into three and creating small, efficient, well insulated spaces for the different members of our family. To save on resources, we have built high beds and also used many other recycled materials and space saving strategies. We will tell you all about it soon and post some pictures of the work in progress and the finished results.
What we are looking forward to most though, is getting the main living area in the house back. For months we have lived in a sea of boxes and clothes bags. Now some of that can be sorted into the new rooms and the rest can be donated to the charity shop. There is nothing like a spring clear out to get the positive energy flowing through the house and find new homes for any items no longer needed .