Is it just me, or when you hit fifty have any of you decided to leap straight out of your comfort zone into something you've never done before? Well that's what I'm doing right now - getting ready to bring my designs to sell in the Irish Craft Village at Bloom in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Not that I needed an excuse to go see those stunning show gardens and enticing nursery stalls, but this year I'll be spending five days there showcasing my nature-insired textile designs. A whole five days! The question is, will I manage to leave the show without buying any plants?
Any of you who know me, know that plants are one of my passions. And I still remember the botanical names learned on my Landscape Horticulture course in UCD, all those years ago. Thank you, Mary Forrest for those plant IDs.
In our exposed garden, we do struggle to establish some plants. (Note to self - don't even think of buying any Magnolias at Bloom.) And it's not just the wind either. Our garden plants have to withstand slugs, rabbits, hares, our neighbour's goats and a very lively ten-month-old lurcher, who loves to prune anything that sticks out in his path. You can imagine that I swore when I spotted him nipping flower buds from the Rhododendron luteum, one of the most sweetly scented plants that I've come across.
I have notions of trying to develop areas along the lines of Piet Oudolf's prairie-style planting. Grasses and Verbena bonariensis do well here so that's a start. We do leave large areas as wildflower meadow, which is great for the local insect and bird population. Just yesterday, I was watching some Linnets feasting on Dandelion seed heads and bees working their way through the Clover. It's our little haven and we love it.
Anyway, back to Bloom - I decided that it was time to unleash my designs into the world and try to encourage everyone to look at the little things in Nature; to let Nature work its magic and see where I end up.