Thursday, July 3, 2014

An Irish Garden

For my American readers, in Ireland a garden is the patch of land to the front, back and or side of your home. A vegetable garden is any or all of that ground that is used to grow vegetables. A yard, on the other hand, is either a farm yard, or a builder's yard (where a construction company stores building equipment).

Having cleared up that point, a typical Irish garden has a patch of grass which grows very fast due to the weather, never too hot, occasional sun, cool breezes and constant precipitation, varying between misty damp air to short bursts of pouring rain and every imaginable variation in between. The grass, if it isn't cut regularly, will soon become filled with daisies and dandelions, these will very quickly choke out the grass. The trick is to be ready with the lawn mower and rush out between the showers, preferably catching the grass when it is most dry and sprint around the lawn area to keep the grass trim and reduce the likelihood of the various weeds propagating.

Not only do the weeds love the climate in Ireland, flowers grow in abundance. The hanging flower baskets all over the city of Dublin are overflowing with color and are a source of amazement to tourists. Most houses also sport these incredible decorations and many gardens are a sea of various shades of every color. Roses thrive in this climate also.

Every Irish back garden will also have a clothes line. Some homes do also have clothes dryers, but it isn't common, and even those that do will only use the dryer in a case of extreme emergency as the cost of electricity is prohibitive. When the rain persists, Irish families either suffer the problem of racks of damp washing drying indoors, or frequent trips to the laundromat to dry clothes in the coin operated dryers there

My sister's current home backs up to the Mental Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The advantage of this is that the wall at the end of her garden is at least 25 foot high and, for obvious reasons, structurally extremely sound,being built out of huge granite rocks. The grounds of the hospital are large and filled with huge trees, the result is a very sheltered and private back garden.

Stone or concrete walled gardens are still very common in Ireland, though usually a whole lot smaller than the wall at the end of my sister's garden, so in either side she has also got concrete block walls. She is lucky enough to have a house at the end of the street and there is a well treed, grassy patch on one side of her.

My sister has a green thumb and a love of gardening, cats and birds. Wherever she lives, you can be certain she is going to be surrounded by color and interesting wildlife, and domesticated animal, interaction.

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