‘Stronachullin’ is Scottish for ‘Blackthorn’ or ‘Sloe’ and it is also the name given to the West Highland village in Scotland where I once lived and worked. I have worked on topiary projects before but never using ‘Sloe’ and for those that don’t know these trees well, they have thorns that dry and can easily snap off as deep seated splinters – so thick gloves are essential.
The HoBB Garden Sloe Trees are being shaped into irregular ‘blobs’ that have been designed to house two sheltered seating areas facing South. As April arrives each year, these trees fire out their white blossoms ahead of their leaves and at the close of Autumn they fill with the very berries that give Sloe Gin its flavour.
If you are starting a garden and looking for a suitable plant for your own topiary dreams, pick Box, Ivy, Privet, Laurel, Hebe, Hawthorn – anything but Sloe!
~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ waves from Grant
I have just spent one week at The HoBB, working on various projects with other residents, and these experiences have incorporated a dimension which has not been present in many of my other *wwoofing experiences (or at least not to the same extent).
This dimension concerns the need to incorporate our own individuality into our everyday lives – and not just in a peripheral manner, but ‘within the roots’ of that which determines the shape of our day-to-day lives.
With many other environments, which may be compared with The HoBB, the sheer weight of ‘practical necessity’ often makes it difficult to create a truly fertile environment, in which every person’s individuality is given the air which it needs to breathe. But life at the Hobb seemed to provide a healthy contrast to this – and on each day of my short visit it almost felt like there was some kind of intangible and unfamiliar presence reaching out to grab hold of something within me and drag it out into the open !!
Unfortunately, I am not accustomed to this presence, in this particular form, and this lack of familiarity meant that within the space of one week I only had the opportunity to shake hands and exchange a few winks with it !! But this was sufficient encouragement for me to make some modest contributions to life at The Hobb – which involved some kind of personal creativity and expression from myself.
For example, I was engaged in the creative process of producing some decorative cement tiles – and in other environments this would have made me feel like I was doing something non-essential or even indulgent. But the environment at The HoBB made me feel that by applying myself to this activity I was simply responding to another basic human need – and it seems to me that within the context of a short, one-week visit The HoBB put me in touch with this basic truth in a way which was particularly effective and liberating. And I think that this is the best way of summarising my visit to the HoBB.
Posted by Rob Lockwood
* Wwoof (www.wwoof.org)