The ACP team visited The Hollies (www.thehollies.ie) over the weekend of the 26th March 2017 to participate in 2 workshops - growing plants under cover and cob walled construction. The workshops were given by Selvi and John and the day was really an inspiration to us all.
Cob walled construction has been used for hundreds of years in Ireland particularly in rural areas. This ancient technology was used to construct the picturesque thatched cottages that are slowly being lost in our countryside, having served as homes to Irish families for many generations. The attitude in Ireland has been (although gradually changing) that they are associated with our peasant ancestry and poverty. Whereas, in the UK there is a different attitude to these cob houses, where they command very high market prices.
From an environmental perspective these houses make sense – the earth is non-toxic and recyclable, this technology doesn’t contribute to pollution, and has no chemical toxins that are part of our modern buildings.
Many historic garden plants were grown under artificial condition in glasshouses, orangeries, etc. The polytunnel course was a great introduction to the horticultural practices of old that are necessary to successfully grow these historic plant varieties that were common place in ornamental gardens associated with many walled/kitchen gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries.