It’s been rather windy here… gusting up to 70mph overnight, but mostly 40-50mph. It’s not unusual for the west coast of Wales and, over the years, we have got used to adapting our garden to withstand such winds.
When we first moved into our house, the garden comprised a lawn, a patio, a paved path along the back boundary and a larch-lap fence. We moved in on a blustery day towards the end of 1999. When we got up the following morning, one of the fence panels had blown down. To begin with, we tried replacing and repairing fence panels as they were damaged before finally acknowledging that this is not the place for a solid fence. So, we took down the fence along the back boundary and planted a hedge to provide shelter and slow the wind. There is a field behind and this has its own fence to contain the sheep, so we planted willow. The ground is soggy and the willows help with that, plus they flex in the wind and, although we have to cut them to stop them growing too big, we’ve never had to replace any of them and they save us money (providing wood-chip for compost and the chicken run and fuel for the Kelly kettle) rather than costing us anything to maintain.
The same cannot be said for many of the fences around us. One neighbour had 10cm (4 inch) fence posts break in the high winds a few weeks ago – probably because they were supporting solid fence panels. We’ve seen several fences and walls blown down recently (one twice in as many months), but still our hedge survives.
And so it is with life… sometimes flexibility allows us to survive turbulent times in tact – especially if we have our roots firmly planted in the soil.