In nature, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on July 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm
July 1st is here and walking on the lane with the dogs this morning it almost had an Autumn feel. All the rain has kept everything lush and green. But then that’s what people love Ireland for…the forty shades of green. I’ve never met anyone who came here for the good weather.
The lane is a 3 mile long cul-de-sac. We live about 2 miles along. There are lots of other houses on the lane so it’s not as isolated as it would initially seem.
Berries have already set on the Hawthorn, adding to the Autumnal feel. In his book Food for free, Richard Mabey, says : “When fully ripe they taste a little like avacado pear. They make a moderate jelly, but being a dry fruit need long simmering with a few crab apples to bring out all the juices and provide the necessary pectin. Otherwise the jelly will be sticky or rubbery. It is a good accompaniment to cream cheese.”
I think this arrangement of Ferns, Hawthorn, Moss and Foxgloves looks lovely. Nature does it better than any garden designer. A passing Sheep has made a contribution to the scene. Diarmiud Gavin eat your heart out! No multi-coloured monstrosities needed here!
Maybe the wool was from this Mama who thinks she is invisible as she sits quitely in the long grass.
“Hey Mama, I think they can see you.”
Foxgloves are playing a blinder this year…so many of them. Gorgeous!
Lettie likes to drink from the puddles on the lane. In their water bowls in the house we always add Citricidal, which is good for eliminating internal parasites. Given the choice she always goes for the pure unadulterated rain water.
In Bees, Gardening, herbal remedies on October 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm
Watery sunlight shines through the jars of newly potted honey from our Bees. Less honey this year but it’s been so sunless and wet we are impressed to get anything. We have 14 of these one pound pots which will see us through Winter. Enough honey is left for the Bees food supply for the Winter. Some Beekeepers take all the honey then feed the Bees sugar syrup, but Andy prefers not to do that.
The big Sycamore tree has dropped most of it’s leaves now…
they fall conveniently on the developing Forest Garden area beneath…giving a perfect mulch to the plants.
A Sunflower produces a late bloom. A cheery sight on these drab wet days we have had throughout October.
On the laneway the combination of the Hawthorn berries and the lichen covered branches give a Christmassy look. The lichen seems to get whiter at this time of the year…or maybe I notice it more when the leaves have fallen. Lichens only grow where the air is pure…they are a good sign of an unpolluted environment.
Sedum and Yarrow continue to flower in the shaded bed by the chalet. Yarrow is a medicinal plant…useful for nosebleeds and cuts and wounds. It can be made into a tincture which is useful for high blood pressure, weak digestion and heavy periods. The leaves can be dried and used to make a tea. This tea is particularly useful for reducing fevers.
The Fatsia which is in a big pot near the back door is doing well. Most books tell you this is a houseplant…rubbish…this one has been outside for the last 2 severe Winters and is doing great. It looks like it is going to produce flowers soon.
In Gardening, Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 8:47 am
Yesterday was a windy, blustery day here in Roscommon. Undeterred by weather we decided to pay a visit to Strokestown Park Walled Garden. As if by magic, the rain kept away while we were there.
Really enjoy walking around the 6 acres of restored Georgian gardens, especially the wilder undergrowth beyond the lake. Love this double flowered vibrant pink Hawthorn. The large bush was covered in blossom which look like miniature roses.
Nice to see the display of old tools and paraphernalia from a bygone age, replaced now by mechanisation.
The Peach harvest is looking promising, incredibly healthy looking plants.
Grapes looking good too, lots of fruits forming.
An early flowering Honeysuckle which is also scented, perfection!
In Animals, arigna, Off the beaten track. on May 7, 2011 at 8:08 am
Every day, (sometimes twice in the day), I go, with our two dogs Lettie and Alice, for a walk along The Railroad. The Railroad is the name given to the narrow road on which we live. So called because, up to the 1950s it had a narrow gauge railway bringing coal from the nearby mines. So, down our steep drive. The dogs wait to see if we turn right or left.
Right today. Lettie, the white speck in the pic, has to be in front, leading the way, ever the terrier.
Alice, always behind, he is 14 now, entitled to take his time.
The dogs run about, sniffing and checking out every Badger pass. For me it is the daily changes in the hedgerows that I love. The Hawthorn dripping with Lichens, signifying the clean air, the coming into leaf, then the flowers and last of all the haws, before Winter. So many wild flowers and plants, it’s hard to have a favourite. Herb Robert I always have a soft spot for though.Then there’s the Ferns, unfolding a little each day, to reveal their full beauty. I just love Ferns, some of the oldest plants on the Earth.
Check in tomorrow for part 2.
In Folklore, Gardening on April 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm
The Eve of Bealtaine, the beginning of the celebration of the first day of Summer according to the old Celtic calendar. The good weather this year make the vibrancy and energy of the season more tangible than usual. There is an old saying to predict the weather ” Ash before Oak, you’re in for a soak. Oak before Ash, you’re in for a splash.” As you can see from the pic above the Oak is in leaf first, in Arigna anyway!
The hedgerows are full of wildflowers right now.
The name Bealtaine comes from the Celtic god, Bel, meaning bright one, and the Gaelic word, teine, meaning fire. Midnight tonight is the traditional time for fires to be lit. The lighting of fires was seen as a symbol of purification for man and beast. The Celts used to build 2 fires and drive the livestock between them, this ensured fertility and a good milk yield.
Ferns are almost fully unfurled now.
The Earth’s energies are at their most active now, everything is a fresh new green. The Hawthorn or Maybush is just coming into flower. It was an important plant at Bealtaine, bunches were collected early on a May morning and placed above the doors and windows as a protection. They were also placed on doors of the animal houses.
Anyone know what this tiny flower is? The hedgerows are full of it.
The dew collected on a May morning was believed to have magical properties. If used to wash your face it was said you would’nt be burnt by the sun or get wrinkles.