A helping hand

I had the unexpected pleasure of some help on Monday.

I was finding the number of tasks quite overwhelming.

But then Helen – a friend from Cork who was staying nearby – came over for the afternoon and reminded me of the rewards of gardening.

Especially structural things like establishing new beds.

An old stalwart

Last year I rescued an area at the bottom of the garden near three very disorganised compost heaps (the organised ones are nearer the house).

The space was being used as a dumping ground and I struggled to keep on top of it.

So we got rid of the rubbish by chipping, composting and burning it!

Then I planted that old stalwart, potatoes, as a clearing crop.

The new bed before clearing
The bed planted up with potatoes last year and “weeds” along the fence

Fast forward a year

So on Monday Helen and I took the plunge and removed some acanthus and ornamental grass as well as lilies that had been brought in from another part of the garden and dumped along the fence line.

The roots went quite deep so it meant digging which previously I’d sworn not to do – laying down compost instead on most of the rest of the veg beds.

But as we worked Helen and I realised that only the power of the spade would do.

I’m going to make a path by laying down cardboard and maybe some wood chippings on top and then desist from digging here again – just hoeing off weeds as I try to do in the rest of the garden.


I tried my usual trick of self sabotage by lighting a “mucky” fire that then blew in our direction as we worked!

But we got there in the end.

Thanks Helen – you are a star!

The day before I’d made a rough wooden edge along the bed – to formalise the boundary between the path and the growing space – hopefully that will mean less dumping in the future.



I have planted garlic chives along the edge – along with clumps of leeks further in.

The chives are a vegetable in their own right in places like Japan and China where they are stir fried, used as a flavouring in dumplings and to enliven soup.

Newly planted garlic chives and leeks
Newly planted garlic chives and leeks

They are perennials and are very pretty in flower with long flat leaves.

They die back in the winter.

Helen and I made a really lovely lunch of steamed fresh asparagus, roasted cauliflower with caraway and curry spices, and cauliflower stalk risotto.

Cauliflower and asparagus

I was completely exhausted from working in the heat – it was probably close to 30 celsius that day!

But I’m so pleased with the results!

Later Mum and I planted sunflower seedlings along the fence.

As well as the leeks I am thinking of putting a line of late shallots, some swiss chard and some beetroot.





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