Favourite things.

These are my favourite garden tools, an old digging fork and a mattock. The fork belonged to my paternal Grandmother and I felt very privileged to have been given it last year. She died in 1981 aged 86. She had a veg garden beside the cottage and grew all the potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbages for the family there. No exotic crops back then, very important though as money was scarce when she was rearing a family of 5 on little money. My Grandfather worked as a thatcher. Her flower garden was great, full of all the cottage garden faves, even a rose arch. Her particular favourite was Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia), and I always think of her when I see them. One of my abiding childhood memories is that flower garden with loads of huge red pokers which seemed to last forever.

The mattock was bought in Bulgaria on our first visit there in 2003. Everyone uses them there, there are also bigger ones with long handles. People use them like we would a spade. This small one is a really useful tool. I use it for making planting holes, soil cultivation and marking out seed drills. Everyone in Bulgaria has a veg garden. Their weather is  so different to Ireland, short sharp Winters and long hot Summers. It is great to see Tomatoes, Peppers and Aubergines growing happily outside and producing great crops. They still have a strong connection with the land, partly through economic need, hopefully the EU will not succeed in destroying this as they have done everywhere else .

This old box sits on the table in the small polytunnel. I bought it at an auction a few years ago and  really like it. I use it to hold my gardening gloves, dibber, useful bits of string and other garden knick knacks. I wonder what it’s previous use was, what type of person owned it. I suppose it would come under the “shabby chic” label!

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