|NOT what I need for the Bloom garden, but Lucy and I quite fancied these as patio umbrellas|
I spent a good bit of last week looking at trees.
In fact, I find myself looking at trees all the time. In hedgerows as I'm driving, in other peoples' gardens, in the woods with the dogs. And they are no sooner seen than categorised.
Too big - too small - good shape - not enough branches.
Birch - willow - hazel - alder. Sycamore even. Beech - if only.
And then there's the ash.
There are a lot of ash. They are beautiful trees.
I often find that the perfect specimen I've just eyed-up is an ash.
I was offered three perfect young ash trees, well - in fact a horse tried to eat them some years ago, but, having recovered, the resultant shapes were perfect - but it ain't gonna happen.
It is illegal to even lift an ash from the ground at the moment, let alone transport it to Dublin.
On Saturday, Jack took me to see some apple trees.
I have been on the hunt for a likely apple tree since January.
We walked around an old orchard just a couple of villages away.
The owner has kindly said I can borrow one. And a couple of cherries too - if I bring them back, and help Jack set the orchard to rights, which is fair enough. Jack is kindly going back to lift them on Thursday, which knots my stomach uncomfortably. I hate the thought of lifting these trees. Suppose they don't like it? Suppose they curl up their little torn roots and die? They are a bit neglected, and a bit overshadowed by a row of massive sycamores, but they aren't dead. Yet.
But if the garden at Bloom is to be made, trees we must have, and a) I haven't got the budget to buy them, and b) I can't find the right ones to buy anyway.
It's all very difficult.
I wish I'd known this was 'Go-go-go!' last autumn. At least then we could have trenched around these trees, let them make some little rootlets, steadied themselves against the shock.
But you know what they say - if wishes were horses...(they'd eat all the ash trees).
Anyway, there's no rest for the wicked.
On Sunday we loaded the Models into the car and headed off to Leitrim, to see a man about a cabin.
It's a bit of a puzzle, Leitrim. In my head it's sort of northeast of here, but to get there we drove an hour and a half down the road to Dublin.
Hmm. But it was a good day and the sun shone.
We ended up in the middle of a forest, talking to two lovely people while I secretly admired the way they live in such close connection with the land. Their garden was a delight - and the antithesis of mine. It has grown, bit by bit, into spaces that were once woodland, and most things that want to grow are allowed to grow. (Which doesn't happen in gardens that belong to control-freaks.) Their old cottage, in the middle of the clearing, has had a bit added on here and there, and is hunkered down seamlessly into its environment.
Outside the door - every door - flowers spilled out of old clay pipes and scillas spread across the ground like pale, early bluebells, while the dogs - ours and theirs - ran around like kids at a party.
It was a place of ease in the best sense, a place of welcome, and letting-live.
Niall weaves hazel and willow and makes all kinds of things from wood, including yurts frames - his own is pictured here, waiting for its sedum roof this spring - as well as chairs with character and traditional hay rakes and all kinds of other things.
He is going to build Yeats's cabin for me (the bit of it we need), from 'clay and wattles'.
If he weaves the magic of his homeplace into it, it will bring all the zen I could wish for into my little garden at Bloom.