garden, tilth and loam


The Naked Domestic Servant


    It is noon on the third of August and it is 36 degrees Centigrade under the French pre-Alps by Lake Annecy.  I am naked in the kitchen, making peach ice-cream.  I consider opening the window, but it is only 28.5 degrees in the...

This is the Difference Between Girls and Boys


  Last week, in 37c temperatures beside the lake, under the Alps, it was too hot to walk barefoot on the timber deck, so donning flip flops, wielding a long handled loppers, I went out to cut for kindling the mound of branches between swimming...

Move Over in the Bed Baby Boomers, Make Way for Millenials


  Woke up this morning worrying about earthworms. In a landscape increasingly covered in concrete, how do they breathe or mate?  Without oxygen, worms suffocate. Earthworms breathe through their skin and come up to the surface at night to mate if they feel so inclined....

Barrow Mouse


  Working in the garden I am not alone.  Pollen-bummed bees back out of flower mouths in haste to get to the next bloom complaining loudly I block their flight path.  A blackbird follows me around, tweeting all his friends that this is HIS freshly-turned long-...

Sex and The Country


                                Yesterday on the ‘phone a friend said they were into the tv series “The Americans.”  When I said we’d been thinking of watching it, he added “there’s a lot...

Cherries, Berries and Roger Medearis’ Granny


    This is not me, it is Roger Medearis’ Granny, but this is how I see myself, ageing amongst fruit and flowers, beside field and water in the sound of church bells.  Roger Medearis called his painting “Godly Susan” because his Granny was.  (I...

A Year in Brocante 7: My Kitchen Garden


  Yesterday morning at nine o’clock I met Himself in the hall, somnambulant to breakfast in white piqué honeycomb cotton.  “You’ve heard of golf widows….well, I’m a brocante widower” he grumbled. “Bye” ses I, and I out the door to Duingt, the next village down...

A Year in Brocante 6: Water Jug


I’m posting this water jug as much for itself as to welcome the May. (“Bring flowers of the rarest, and blossoms the fairest from garden and woodland and hillside and glade”…) It cost €3 in Annecy, is hand made and is not old, I would...

Apple Blossom Time


The last week of October and the shops are full of ghoulish things, Hallowe’en costumes and nuts.  We were out in the garden today, draining water taps, taking hoses from walls, storing summer furniture and organizing protection for trees, shrubs and plants.   If there...

The Secret Life of Diarmuid Gavin


  We know him as a horticulturalist, television presenter, author, Honorary Doctor of Art from Nottingham Trent University, and last month, winner of the Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show for “The Irish Sky Garden” (in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the City of Cork)……but...