Our acre and a quarter of West Cavan is sort of split-level. The house is higher up and there is a slope down into the acre that my husband is gradually gardening in sections. There is a polytunnel and raised beds for vegetables and beds for perennial flowers and shrubs.(We love heucheras!) Although we have always kept the garden wild-ish, we are fully on board with gardening the Mary Reynolds way. The Chelsea Show award winner had a metanoia about how traditional gardening is destroying the environment. We have never used pesticides or herbicides on our acre from the time we first settled here seventeen years ago. For that we are richly rewarded in the insect and wildlife that shares our acre and a quarter of West Cavan.
Yesterday we were sitting outside the house in the sunshine for ‘tea on the terrace’ (newly gravelled by Gardener Cuckson) with friends. My friend Jo who lives in Leitrim commented on how she always hears the hum of bees in our garden. And how silent of them many gardens are these days. Then an insect flew in to share our conversation. I ran to get my Collins Irish Wildlife. After much deliberation we reckon it was a rare Downy Emerald dragonfly. Although as we considered over skimmer or dragonfly, my friend said, “Fairy!”
My friend wants to re-wild her garden, but commented that the neighbours would not take kindly to her ditching her lawn. The seed bombs of meadow flowers would migrate over fences. “But it is good for the bees!” To which she said the neighbour would be worried about their children being stung.
Which says a lot about how we will shield children from a bee sting but not consider their long-term welfare. Even if wiping out the bees means that said child and grandchildren may face starvation because there are not enough bees to pollinate crops in future generations.
Which leads me to a quotation that I happened upon serendipidously this morning.
Rare Dragonflies and Bees
"Long live the weeds and wilderness yet!"
We live to the tune and the humming of bees.
Still do. Re-wild your lawn! Plant some trees!
There is medecine and power to be had from weeds.
Create an ark. Give sanctuary to dragonflies and bees.
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