Yes, while I am shaping my garden, my garden is shaping me. Yesterday morning I started to realise that this is true for me in my life right now. Next Sunday I will be 66, a mile-stone in Ireland at the moment because it is when you retire. Well as it happens I already had to retire two years ago due to ill health, and while I got used to not working with books every day, it has taken me a while longer to get used to not having the energy that I used to have.

My garden has helped me to return to balance. I have been out there even if I had to drag myself, and it has worked. In the beginning I could barely do 10 minutes after which I would be floored for the rest of the day, but slowly I worked up the length of time. I still need frequent rest periods but it is better than it was. My enthusiasm for growing herbs and vegetables, drying some of them, collecting seeds, infusing oils, propagating from cuttings, planning layout, and improving soils, making compost, and much more is so satisfying and interesting. I’ve gone from working with people and books, to working with plants, soils, and compost, and it’s all good. I find it inspiring the more so as I am learning every single day, reading up a lot on it, attending workshops, online courses on herbs and permaculture, and meeting other vegetable growers.

And now my partner and I are deep into discussions and making plans to turn his 3 acre land into a viable off grid Eco farm, hoping to invite some serious permaculture practitioners to take part in this model of sustainable living in rural West Cork.
So in some way all my permaculture shaping of my garden has opened my eyes and senses to be able to take on larger challenges, though we ourselves will not be living on the farm, we will be very involved and it’s this inspiration, the inspiration that I get from my garden that can be a good motivating and inspiring energy for the project we are embarking upon. In a small way that is what I am hoping to contribute to this endeavour.

And so, yes, while I engage day after day in shaping my garden, it is true that my garden is also shaping me, opening me to new ventures and a different form of happiness and contentment in my life.
What an adventure!


Chives flowers drying

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A variety of herbs drying for adding to teas and soups, and jars full of dried herbs

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Seeds of plantain for winter storage, and seeds of shallots

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Flowers of the feverfew plant, and self heal flowers already dried

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My fragrant geranium cuttings, and some produce for soup today.


  1. I know about the loss of vigour. My commiserations. I often work 10 minutes at a time also, but those ten minutes accumulate. It reminds me of The Old Man Who Moved the Mountain, an old Chinese legend. You sure got a lot done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so true that the garden shapes you. I have found the same: while I might plan to do this or that, there is so much outside my control, so I am actually reacting to a given set of circumstances. A bit like bringing up a child….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This has lots of exciting news. I’m glad to hear that your health and stamina are improving . It’s wonderful to be learning new things and having a whole new world open up at any age…which brings me to the next exciting thing .. The 3 acre plan!! So cool, Agnes!
    Also you gave me a great idea here.. Rooting the scented geraniums. The little plants would make cute little gifts and the more the merrier. They supposedly deter the dreaded Lyme tic.
    Thanks, Agnes for another inspiring and beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy about this Cynthia, thank you. Yes the scented geraniums are delightful, their scent so intoxicating. What a lovely idea of using them as gifts. I will be keeping you up to date with Ian’s farm. It is all very exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your kind comment. It has been a great realisation. And today the sun is out, and in one minute I will be out there with it, plenty to do in the garden today 🙂


  4. It’s so important to have something to be excited about – and if that something expands your mind and strengthens your body, well, no wonder we love gardening so! Congratulations on all of your wonderful news.


    1. I just retired last month, but before that for the past year I have been working up my strength slowly when I could not do my work (librarian) anymore due to ill health.


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