The green sanctuary.

A sanctuary is a holy and sacred place. The more time we spend in nature, the more we realize that our sanctuary is all around us. Since starting the work on the land about six years ago we have been working towards creating a place for us, but equally a place where plants and animals can thrive and coexist on fair terms.

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Community spirit.

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It has been just over a year since the Ballaghaderreen Community Garden was started. We are very happy and privileged to be part of the committee and to have followed this endeavour from an early age. We wrote about the starting up process in this post, about a year ago.

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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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Our stamp on the stumpery.

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The Victorians were known for adding a lot of quirky and artistic aspects to their gardens. Grottoes, unusual water features, mazes and labyrinths. We are particularly fond of the stumpery;  a Victorian invention built from a pile of old tree roots and stumps with ferns, mosses and other plants growing amongst and on them.  The first stumpery was created by an artist and gardener named Edward William Cooke in Staffordshire in 1856.

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