Richard's Ramblings (Or GROW HQ Head Grower - Garden Diary) December 15th

Could a woodland meitheal be the secret to world peace...?

A cold, but dry, winter morning greeted the group of GIYers gathered for the woodland “meitheal” at GROW HQ on Saturday, perfect weather for a vigorous romp in the woods. There is something about being in a wood that brings out the child in people (or maybe that’s just me). Once in a wood it’s easy to feel like a ten-year-old exploring, climbing and making bases again. Sadly, though there was little evidence of children’s play in the very urban woodland we are cleaning up. What do kids do with their time? Maybe it’s just over-protective parents preventing children from experiencing the world. How will children learn to love and thus protect the natural world if they never experience it? How can you love trees if you’ve never fallen out of one?

Unfortunately, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un couldn’t make the “meitheal” (see Ramblings 1). Claire (our Communications Manager) assured me that they had been invited. I’m sure it would have had a positive impact on world peace. The wood might have brought out the real child in them, with the child’s clear- eyed view of nature; instead of the two petulant, spoilt children that seem to present themselves in the world’s media.

The garden walk this morning revealed a garden going to sleep for a brief winter respite. The frozen ground locked in the remaining root veg, preventing the kitchen getting their Monday morning supplies. We have already pulled and stored our turnips and beetroot so these are available but leeks, parsnips and, to some extent carrots store best in the soil. We will have to organise harvesting in milder periods to get ourselves a week or two ahead. As ever the variable Irish climate can catch you out. Having an unpredictable climate does definitely make growing more interesting though. I was lucky enough to experience growing veg in a perfect climate in the highlands of Uganda (25- 300 every day, 150 every night and a few hours rain every few days!) and as a grower from the wet, windy islands to the North West of Europe I found it boring. I like the weather throwing challenges at me, it keeps me awake.  Though to contradict myself I’m now preparing for my personal winter hibernation. As the garden goes to sleep so do I, the best time for a grower to take a break is when the garden does. I’m looking forward to a book and a whiskey by the stove. Though I noticed yesterday that the log store was nearly empty; so I’d better get some logs ahead of me first, and the tunnels at home could do with digging over and… ah well I suppose it’s the thought that counts!

Anyway I would like to wish all three of my readers a happy Christmas (or holiday, solstice festival or whatever you call it) as I stop rambling for a few weeks, here’s to a peaceful New Year.