Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘sycamore’

The promise of a sunny Summer’s day.

In arigna, Ireland, nature on July 15, 2012 at 6:56 am

Such a beautiful sunny Sunday morning greeted us here in the valley today. Very still and calm, not a leaf was stirring on the trees. Early morning sunshine casting dappled shade. The promise of a good day to come.

Beyond the trees the shrub border looks fresh and green. The early morning dew still on the leaves. In another hour this will be in full sun.

Daphne is out early too, she comes over and looks at me in a sort of puzzled way. Probably wondering what I’m doing… up and out and about so early. Such amazing growth with everything this year. Look how high the grass is in this field.

The Sycamore tree casts it’s shade over the steps to the chalet. The air is still… allowing the signing of the birds to be heard… crisp and clear…and beautiful.

The promise of a Summer’s day.

The gravel garden has taken well. Planted about a year ago everything is now starting to establish and spread. Sedums have done particularly well…I do love them. So easy to propogate and of course they are a real Butterfly magnet when they are in flower.

Lots of Succulents in pots too although some have jumped from the pots onto the ground below. I remember the walk through the bog in Tipperary collecting the Bog Oak for this little corner garden with my brother Tommy. Happy thoughts on a bright Summer morning.

Yes…all is well…everything is still…and calm…and green. We have the promise of a sunny Summer’s day…

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Seasonal plants, Water and the craziness of Fracking.

In Foraging., sustainable living on April 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Rhubarb season is in full swing now. Jam has been made, chutney recipes are being searched out and crumbles are on the menu. Last night I made a Strawberry, Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely crumble. Delicious! In our haste to eat it I forgot to take a pic to tease you with.

The Daffodils have lasted such a long time this year. They are starting to lose their vibrancy now but they’ve been flowering for about 6 weeks. Usually the Spring brings lots of rain and wind which flattens them pretty quickly, but this year we have actually had a Spring with proper Spring weather.      Huge areas of England are already in drought conditions with hose bans in force in many areas. I find it crazy that in midst of their water shortage the English government have given the go ahead to the resumption of hydraulic fracturing for gas in Lancanshire. This destructive process using millions of gallons of water each day to fracture the rock which then releases the gas.  This water is then poisoned with chemicals and naturally occuring heavy metals and radioactive elements. So poisoned that it is not reusable by man or beast. It does’nt make sense to me. We need to remember that all the water that will ever be is already on the Planet. It is not a renewable resource. 

In the back field the big Sycamore is in full leaf . I really love this tree and how it’s branches have taken the shape of outstretched arms…reaching to the heavens in it’s daily worship of Mother Nature.

Underneath the kitchen window this little Azalea is about to burst into full bloom. It never fails to give a great display year on year.

On the lane Primroses are giving their annual display. All parts of the plant are edible and a few of the flowers look lovely decorating a salad. An infusion of the fresh plant can be used to make a cough remedy and a mildly sedative tea. It is however protected in the wild so unless you have a profusion of them in your own garden it’s best to admire them and leave them to Nature.

A  plant which you can pick to your heart’s content is Sorrel. It gives a lovely lemony kick to a mixed salad and can be cooked as a vegetable. The succulent leaves are pleasant to eat raw and are a great thirst quencher. It grows in abundance here as it likes the damp, acidic soil. Mother Nature provides.

Another day begins…

In arigna on April 13, 2012 at 9:36 am

 

Such a beautiful morning here today. The sunshine got me out of bed early. In the shade things still had a coating of frost. The Foxgloves looked particularly attractive with their frosted leaves.

Fab to see a bright blue sky to start the day. In the background is Corry Mountain.

 

My Favourite Birch is almost in full leaf now. This part of the house faces west and will be in full sun by afternoon.

 

The goats were enjoying the morning sun underneath the big Sycamore in the back field.

 

Enjoying breakfast…they still get extra food in the mornings. The evening feed has been stopped as the grass becomes more plentiful. By next month they won’t need any supplementary feeding as the grass will be abundant by then.

 

Across the river the smoke rises from this cottage as the stove is lit. Another day begins in the valley.

October Musings from Prospect Cottage.

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.

Saturday Ponderings from the Arigna Valley.

In arigna, Gardening on June 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Catmint and Lady’s Mantle looking good together,   Foxgloves looking on. It is said that blue and green should not be seen together. This gives the lie to that.

The Tomatoes are doing well in the small polytunnel. I do find lettuce  is going to seed very quickly this year, probably due to the unsummery weather. The only outside crops doing well are Onions and Potatoes, the rest are just sitting there looking miserable. Thank goodness for polytunnels!

In the back field the Sycamore stands strong and proud, oblivious to all weathers. Sycamore is not native to Ireland but it has naturalised and self seeds itself profusely.

Facing West just outside the back door is Ganesh, a present from our friends Paul and Debra who visited last weekend from Co. Clare. Is’nt he fab? Ganesh is said to be the remover of obstacles. I think he has his work cut out for him here. The biggest obstacle, as regular visitors will know, facing us here in the north west is the threat of the destruction of the land in search of gas. The process called fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the only one that can be used to extract the gas from the shale rock we have here. If this happens it will leave a trail of destruction. Water sources destroyed, land and air polluted, an industrialised landscape instead of the amazing untamed wildness we now have. I am still stunned that our government would even contemplate letting this happen. But it seems they have. Maybe Ganesh will be successful!!

Saturday Morning Musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Animals, arigna, Cooking, Gardening, sustainable living on June 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

The Potatoes in the polytunnel are flowering. These are Colleen a fast growing, first early variety with good disease resistance. The tubers are oval shaped with light yellow flesh. As potatoes are ready to harvest 10 days after flowering these will be ready for use by Summer Solstice. Great!

The sedums planted in this old cast iron queenie stove have spread nicely and are starting to flower. I love these easy care plants that seem to thrive on neglect.

This is a pic of our house taken from the back field. I love how it is nestled into the valley and seemingly dwarfed by the big Sycamore on the left. You can just see the tops of the polytunnels on the left.

Just behind the house is this chalet built by Andy, about 5 years ago, from Spruce and Larch felled on our own land. We use this as a workroom and as a spare bedroom and storage area.

Sheila’s Crazy Horse Cake is a delicious vegan cake I made yesterday. I got the recipe from an American woman called Sheila who lived, with her husband Brendan, in this area for a few years. She was vegetarian all her life, never tasted meat, and had a great selection of cookery books. Whenever I make this Crazy Horse Cake I always think of her and joy she had for life. They returned to America for family reasons and we never heard from them again. I wonder where they are now?

We love Trees @ Prospect Cottage.

In Animals, Gardening, sustainable living on April 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

Birch Tree near our back door.
Sycamore in back field.

I wonder how often we all think of the importance of Trees in our lives. It’s a fair bet that the table you eat your food from, the chairs you sit on, the coffins we bury our dead in, the heat from our stoves and a multitude of other things all come from trees. Of course they are also the lungs of the Planet. A mature leafy Tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale in a year. A shelter belt of trees around your house can reduce heating costs by up to 30%. They provide shade in the Summer, on a hot day animal and human is drawn to the cooling shade of a nearby tree. Many medicines originally came from Trees, aspirin being one, it comes from the Willow. They stop soil erosion and help to absorb excess moisture from the land. They give nourishment to us in the form of fruit and nuts. They provide a valuable habitat for birds and insects. It is said that the native Wilow supports over 260 forms of life. The mighty Oak a similar amount. The Willow also gives us basket making material, a rooting hormone can by made be soaking Willow pieces in water for 24 hours, use the water to water your cuttings or leave them in it until roots appear.

2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the UN. Looking through the schedule of events to mark this occasion I was amazed that Ireland has, yes, you’ve got it, big fat ZERO organised to celebrate our Trees. Then I suppose that would be a bit hypocritical of them when in this International Year of Forests they are planning to SELL OFF our State Forests. No,  they are more than HYPOCRITES, they are TRAITORS!

Sycamore tree and other musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Bees, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

The Sycamore tree in our back field is almost in full leaf now. In a few weeks time the bees will be delighted when this tree flowers. I remember going into the garden last year and wondering where the hum was coming from. It was the Sycamore choc a bloc with ecstatic bees! Many people regard the Sycamore as a bit of a weed as it’s seed crops up everywhere, however they are easy to pull out and pot on or assign to the compost bin. I love this tree. I love how it’s “arms” spread out to shade part of the garden from the Summer heat. The goats love to sit in it’s shade and play around it when they are feeling frisky.

I was never happy with the shape of this Willow arch since we made it 2 years ago. A few weeks ago we undid it all, pruned it and retied it into a better shape. Much happier with it now!

Flowers on the Strawberries, these are wild ones I found when exploring the old walled garden at Kilronan. Maybe they are an old variety existing there since the heyday of that now sadly disused garden.

The Variagated Lemon Balm is growing strongly again, it is one of my favourite herbal teas. The Swiss physician Paracelsus believed Lemon Balm to be “the elixir of life.” He  believed the herb could completely revive a person, this view was endorsed by the London Dispensary in 1696:” Balm, given every morning, will renew youth, strenghten the brain and relieve languishing nature.”