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.


What a most beautiful day here in West Cork, glorious sunshine and 20C, so excellent weather to work in. And a project was waiting to be done, so no better day than right now. Bought two cold frames early last spring, and they needed some repairs (storm damage) and also they needed to be fastened better (for the next storm). I got a loan of Ian’s electric saw, and cut some lengths of timber, and I had to screw these in so as to stop the plastic flying around at the bottom. I love using this little screwdriver, love the feeling of the screw going into the wood, as if the wood was butter, so easy. Anyway after a few hours of work, with rest periods in between, the work was done and the two cold frames are now ready for planting out young vegetables to harvest during the winter months. I have salad leaves ready to go in, also will probably plant in some of my young beetroots, and the black radish, it is about time I make up my mind about it, but what I really want from these cold frames are good honest down to earth vegetables to cook meals from, not fancy experiments like the bitter gourd that I tried to grow during the summer. Ok I will be trying out new vegetables again next spring, I cannot resist the temptation, but as for this winter I just want to fill the cold frames with food, it will be my first time growing stuff in a sort of greenhouse (which is what these cold frames are really). I shall be reading up on suggestions.

Meanwhile, though wrecked, I am really happy this evening about the work I was able to do, so satisfying to get it done.

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My greatest tool, the screwdriver!   And inside the cold frame sides all secured and closed off.


Ready for planting stuff in now, another job done to prepare for winter.

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Teaching one of my grandchildren about ‘soil’ and it’s importance.  And a super great caterpillar found and distributed to the wild fields.


One of the poppy’s a single one this time, still quite a few flowers in bloom this autumn.