Bank Holiday Bramble Bashing

Yesterday was one of those “bonus” days where the forecast is for rain and we end up with a gloriously sunny day with genuine heat, not really hot, this is Ireland. There have been a couple of “no go areas” in my garden, not because you will get attacked by a local street gang but because I have let the brambles run amuck. I call them my nature reserves and they probably are but this year I have been launching an attack to tidy up the whole place.


One such area is alongside the barn at the front of the house. I did have it under control a good few years ago, we’ve grazed goat kids and lambs there, we had a raised flower bed at one stage with a great splash of candytuft, it gets full sun and there is even a long south facing wall and it is one of the first things a visitor sees once they get down the very long drive. I don’t know why I’ve let it turn into a bramble wasteland but now is the time to tackle this thorny problem.


I had a good day clearing roots and burning off what I could, I even unearthed a large red rose bush that is one of the few original garden plants that was here before me. I have an ambition to build a small wall in front of the long barn wall and have a lean to where I could grow tomatoes or peppers in raised beds under glass. If I clear the rest and put down some gravel it would make a good parking and turning area.


It is a daunting idea and I’m not sure of I have faith in my determination to complete it but just by writing this idea down it may just help me follow through and if I do some work on it every day it might eventually get done. I am now a man with a plan. That maybe a bit of my problem, too many plans or what I refer to as projects and rather than just focusing and completing one at a time I am trying to keep loads of plates spinning at one time. I think it is combination getting bored really easily and too many grand ideas.


I have just come back inside as it began to poor with rain. What I wrote just inspired me to get out there and do some more clearing, it is slow going digging up brambles. I managed to get a new handle for my Turkish Mattock. Nearly 30 years ago I went to Turkey for a holiday with my wife. She wasn’t my wife then we were just dating but it was her 21st surprise Birthday Present. She worked with a Turkish woman when she was working in Germany and she wanted to see the country her friend had told her such exciting stories about.


I managed to get her to change planes in London and she burst into tears of joy when she realised she was sat on an airplane bound for Istanbul, the hostess thought she was scared of flying and tried to comfort her. It is a great memory and we had an amazing time, the history, architecture, spice market and the ever so friendly people made it very special. On one day we hitched a ride on a fruit and veg van heading for the Black Sea, while we explored the village I found a very run down shop selling an extraordinary selection of stuff. The wooden walls were completely covered with pots, pans, soap powder, tools and so much more. I found a Mattock head, like a tool I had seen people working with in the fields. It was heavy and a bit of an odd choice as a souvenir but I fell in love with it and when I got it home I fitted a handle and it got major use. After the handle broke it hid away in the back of my shed for years and I had forgotten it till I rediscovered it last week and I’ve fitted a new pick axe handle. It is perfect for clearing brambles and for sodding rough ground and it can be used as a hoe as well and every time I use it I am reminded of a wonderful holiday, the Bazaar, the Blue Palace and eating fish on the bridge over-looking the Bosporus.


Kate and Suki have been making Elderflower cordial. Another tree we were given by a friend to mark to birth of a child (not sure which one!), I think a tree is a fabulous gift that just keeps on growing. 20 flower heads, lemons, limes, sugar, water and some citric acid (optional) and in 24 hours you have such a refreshing drink straight from the garden, we now have bottles of it in the fridge.


The skies are grey with low heavy clouds drifting in from over the sea, it is the first Summer Bank Holiday and the locals will be disappointed that the sun, we have had so much of will fail to warm the visitors looking to get out on the beach this weekend. My garden is lush with all the sun and rain, the weeds are thriving and I’ll spend most of the day on my knees, giving thanks for the peace, the quiet and the calm of the day.


PS: I saw a Greenfinch for the first time in the garden this year and a Cinnabar moth.


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