Browsing Tag



earthTouch – The Hands That Change This Earth

September 18, 2014
©Ciaran Burke

©Ciaran Burke – Dee’s hands

I felt honoured to be asked to model for an interesting project recently that celebrates the soil. I joyfully accepted this photographic opportunity as for once the camera wasn’t aimed at my face, far from it in fact for the photographer wasn’t looking to capture images and expressions of people, he was looking for the story of our hands.

earthTouch Project

Ciaran Burke, horticulturist and photographer, has recognised that the soil doesn’t discriminate between poverty and wealth, age or experience, religion or race, the soil welcomes and accepts everyone who wants to tend to her. For the past few months Ciaran’s been travelling to far-flung corners of Ireland for his earthTouch project, capturing images of hands that work with this earth and the stories and tales are as varied as they are interesting.

Earth and Soil

I asked our youngest the question recently,

“what does the soil mean to you? What words pop into your mind to describe it?”

“It’s dirty and mucky, brown, wet and cold”, she said, “it’s the place that puddles collect in and a whole bunch of insects live.”

“And what do you think would happen if there was no soil” I asked,

“well there’d be no bees or butterflies as there’d be no flowers, there’d be no trees so no oxygen and then we’d all die”

“…and there’d be no food”, she added, almost as an afterthought, probably because I had a look on my face that was willing her to remember all the veggies growing in our garden.

Dee Sewell's Hands, Earth Touch Project

©Ciaran Burke – Dee’s Hands

The Planet

Just for a moment close your eyes and picture Planet Earth as if you were looking down from space. The globe is covered with oceans and mountains, forests, rivers and deserts. In among that whorl of colour are pockets of land that are farmed. Those patchwork fields that cover the Earth’s crust are covered with just a few feet of fertile soil and to some degree or another, they feed the entire population of our planet.

How precious a resource that we barely give a second thought to.

Next time you glance down at the place where the plants grow, spare a thought for the earth. It’s so much more than the muddy, brown stuff that sticks to our boots. It’s the core of our very being.

earthTouch Exhibition

Ciaran’s exhibition of hands can be seen alongside his Moments in the Air project at Mount Venus Nursery on the 27th and 28th September 2014. If you can’t make it along to the nursery, you can take a look here at some of the many hands he’s already captured and read their story.


Sunday Snap and Time For a Change

September 14, 2014

website upgrade

It’s time for a change. Apologies if you come across broken links or can’t find posts you’re looking for right now. The Greenside Up blog and website are currently undergoing a major update. Normal service will hopefully resume soon.

In the meantime, feel free to browse through any of the 400+ posts or contact me if you have a vegetable or community garden related question and can’t find what you’re looking for.


Sunday Snap – The Ghostly Huntington Castle Yew Walk

July 27, 2014

Not one but three snaps but I hope you’ll forgive me as I have a heap to choose from!

Today was day three of the Carlow Garden Festival and Helen Dillon was guiding two tours around Carlow gardens, the first of which took place in the grounds of Huntington Castle. There’s so much history tied up in this old castle I’m planning to write a separate post about it but in the meantime, here’s a snap of the Yew Tree Walk which is apparently inhabited by several ghosts. The Yew Tree Walk at Huntington Castle in Clonegal I’ve seen some fantastic images of yew tree walks in Ireland but as an amateur photographer this is my best effort. I can’t believe we’ve lived within a half an hour drive of Huntington and didn’t know these gardens existed, even more so as I helped a group of community gardeners in Clonegal last winter, just a five-minute walk away!

If you’d like to visit the gardens in the centre of Clonegal village, they’re open from May to September from 10.00am to 6.00pm, cost €5.00 for adults and €2.50 for children, which includes admission to the adventure playground though I’m not sure if that’s for the adults or children 😉

Huntington Castle tea room

Suzanna aka @Zwartblesie taking a break from the farm

They also have a delightful tea room that I’ll share more images of when I write the Huntington blog post. In the meantime here’s Suzanna taking a deserved break from her farm.

As it’s #CarlowGardenFest I’ll share just one more snap, this time a map of the grounds at Huntington Castle gardens that will give you an idea of what’s in store for you if you visit. Huntington gardens map Have you visited Huntington Gardens yet or will you add it to your places to visit when you’re in the south-east of Ireland?


Sunday Snap ~ Patchwork Fields

April 27, 2014

Lonesome Tree in Rapeseed Field

Jostling for space next to the magnificent Duckett’s Grove, this rapeseed crop might well be the most photographed field in County Carlow right now.

I’d love to see the images from the man who nonchalantly wandered over to the field with a camera fitted with a lens the length of my arm.

I took this photo today and haven’t played with the colour settings at all. If you’d like to see it for yourself in all it’s shining glory, it’s on the N9 between Carlow and Kilkenny and is quite breathtaking. Hats off to the farmer for his creative planting. The green field on the right has cattle grazing, giving us a patchwork glimpse of Irish farm life in the sunny south-east.

Food & Drink

Sunday Snap ~ Yellow

April 20, 2014

If you’ve enough dandelion flowers in your lawn and don’t want to add to them, pick the heads off, which will prevent them going to seed, and make some dandelion honey. Here’s the recipe. dandelion flowers

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them”

by Eeyore in Winnie-the-Poo (A.A. Milne)

Happy Easter