A Year Full of Flowers…with Sarah Raven.

Here is an exceptionally good book, full or relevant information, practical advice and suggestions to enliven your gardening life. It is an absolutely superb handbook for the enthusiastic gardener. That should be “enough said”; you could stop reading here and go and order it immediately but paper never refused ink nor my keyboard the tapping … Continue reading A Year Full of Flowers…with Sarah Raven.

Spring Cannot be Cancelled!

Waterford, south-east Ireland. Saturday, 27th March 2021 The title is borrowed from a new book from Thames & Hudson which they describe as "an uplifting manifesto in which David Hockney and his long-time friend Martin Gayford reflect on our extraordinary period of confinement, and art’s capacity to divert and inspire." Of course, those who are … Continue reading Spring Cannot be Cancelled!

Liam Neeson Saves the Purple King.

The garden is presently not a place of peace. There hasn't been an unleashing of uncontrolled, or even controlled, violence but there is a seething anger which threatens the tranquility usually associated with this gardening pastime. Wildlife is part and parcel of our garden: birds, even those which might be considered pest species - pheasants … Continue reading Liam Neeson Saves the Purple King.

The Darling Sophie North

It is the 25th anniversary of the horror that was the murdering of the children at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. At this moment there is a television programme on ITV recalling the events of that day. Looking at it again is a deeply distressing experience which brings back the enormous upset which arose from the loss of the children in Dunblane. I can still remember the reactions of parents at the school where I worked, the level of upset and worry that it caused in them; the concerns for their children that suddenly burst out and the changes which it brought about in our own little rural school. It changed life forever.

I wrote this blog five years ago and feel it appropriate to air it again.

Paddy Tobin, An Irish Gardener

We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the Dunblane School massacre (13th March 1996) when a man entered a primary school in Dunblane, near Stirling in Scotland, and murdered sixteen children and their teacher, injured others and devastated the lives of innumerable families and sent ripples of upset and fear far and wide.

sophie_nort201509090715 Sophie North, one of the children lost at Dunblane

At the time of this horrific event I was the principal teacher (headmaster) in a small rural school in Bigwood, Mullinavat, Co. Kilkenny.  It is so hard to imagine today but then our front door, and our back door, was always open.  It was never locked. In summer it was left wide open and parents, neighbours and even strangers were free and welcome to enter the premises.

Immediately after Dunblane we had big meeting of all the parents at the school. Even at our distance and with…

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