Traditional Irish cottage gardens have always had a haphazard charm – beautiful dancing wildflowers mingling with the potatoes and growing over the old farm machinery. The garden more sprung up around the cottage than was planned in any formal pattern.
The haggart or little kitchen garden to the side of the cottage was where the vegetables were grown – within easy distance of the kitchen door. Trips to the village or town were often long and money tight so the garden provided the staples required to supplement the diet – onions, carrots, cabbage and potatoes being the main crops grown depending on the time of year.
In many coastal areas like Connemara boundaries are informal with little delineation between the field and the garden except for the odd stone wall. Boundaries elsewhere ranged from hedgerows to flora entwined stone & earth banks to timber fences but over time have morphed into concrete and stone walls where the charming rock plants and flowers have no place.
A garden is a huge feature of a cottage with the windows peeping over the plants to the outside world. Often the seeds of the garden would make their way to the roof and just before it was due for to be renewed the thatch would resemble a garden in its own right.