Due to some more pressing needs associated with moving house, such as painting, decorating, etc., we've not been out in the garden very much at all this week. That is, however, not to say we've not been busy. With this fresh start, we're trying to do it properly, which means planning, seeking out help and advice and, something quite alien to us, not rushing headlong into disaster. In this day and age, the internet is loaded with lots of help and advice. Although specific Irish sites are perhaps fewer than those in the UK, what they lack in quantity certainly seems adequately compensated for in quality.
First up is the Irish Gardener's Forum (http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum) - a fantastic resource for Irish gardeners with lots of advice and helpful folks to answer queries and problems. We hope to be able to help and contribute to the forum, although its probably more likely that we'll be looking for help.
Another interesting looking site is the GIY (Grow It Yourself) Ireland (http://www.giyireland.com/home.php). The aim of GIY Ireland is to bring gardeners together to help each other. No group in Offaly yet, but watch this (or perhaps that) space.
If we're talking about advice, the organic centre (http://www.organiccentre.ie/) is always worth a look, particularly for their mouth-watering selection of courses and, of course, their excellent seed catalogue. Another good source of organic seed is the Irish Seed Savers (http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/), a charity dedicated to preserving local strains and varieties of vegetables (an often forgotten part of our biodiversity). Membership is well worth considering at €50 (the price of an Indian take-away and bottle of wine for two!) for which you get five free packets of vegetable seed and three varieties of seed potato. ISSA also have an excellent selection of fruit trees for purchase.
For wild flower meadows (which we may have a go at establishing this year), two possible sources look promising: Fruit Hill Farm (http://www.fruithillfarm.com/), who also sell other gardening equipment, including organic slug pellets, and Design by Nature (http://www.wildflowers.ie/), who have some good-looking advice on what and how to create a wildflower meadow. All very tempting, but perhaps the wildflower meadow must take its place in the queue (as must the hens, which we haven't even mentioned yet...)
Finally, and not necessarily of immediate interest, but certainly one for the diary, is the self sufficiency weekend at Belvedere House near Mullingar (http://www.belvedere-house.ie/) on 17th and 18th April.