Monday, May 31, 2010

Garden and Catch Up... 31st May 2010

A Blue Cornflower

Phew! I was up until the early hours. Then Buster decided to keep scratching at the door. Jim was shouting at him so I'm up again! I've sent Jim back to bed..... Animals, who'd have them?


I have now reached 'U' in our ATC/ABC Group and here is the result:

U is for Underwear

This is off to Joss in London. Teri did 'Undies' too.

I have also made 2 more ATCs for swapping. Please leave a comment on the ATC blog if you'd like either of the ones below:

Roses Cross Stitch (no, I didn't do it)!

Textured Papers

Garden Progress

The weather has been a little more changeable but the garden is coming along apace. Remember the lawn 'extension' that Jim did? The grass is growing....

You can still see the brown earth but it's coming along. Do click on any of the photos to get a closer view.

The latest project is another attempt to sort out the back yard just beyond the new extension. It is all just covered in stone and sundry bits of rubbish from the builders. We have decided to build a wall between the house and the road which leads down to our neighbours' house. We made good progress the first day:

The taller section on the left is the remainder of the old wall. We had to do some large stone shifting and Jim's back needed a rest after this. Here he is about to start work:

And here is the wall taken from the house:

We made a good start I felt.

The aquilegia bed has been a huge success. I can see it through my double doors as I type.

We also have several acers in the same bed.

One of the acers in the same bed.

The largest of the arboretum beds is coming on fast - especially the lupins:

The Judas Tree is still flowering too. You can see one of the living willow fences in the background.

They are looking wonderful this year. Jim grew them from seed.

A perfect lupin flower.

Opposite this bed is the new extended bed and the rhododendron is in full bloom:

They are such showy flowers.

I took these photos yesterday morning. I walked past the bottom of the fairy hill where I spotted this daisy. This one's for you Teri:

The laburnum tree is now in full bloom too. It hasn't as many flowers as last year but they're still pretty impressive:

I walked up the gravel path and on my right is the back of the bed you can see in the header photo. Jim has put an arch up for height:

It's a bit hard to spot but is on the right of the photo. As you can see, the cats followed me about! There are some gorgeous white lupins in this bed:

It had rained overnight and some of the leaves held droplets of water:

Pity about the hole in one section!

On the other side of the bed, the thrift is now fully out:

My son Jason bought me the pink one. It has lovely bronze leaves.

As I turn round, I'm greeted by this cheerful sight:

Chives in flower with fern behind.

In the same bed is this startling orange geum and in the top bed, another one, this time red:

In complete contrast, the Lady's Mantle is just about to flower. It, too, is holding some of the overnight rain:

Finally, just for Rachel, a close up of the white cornflower, which I know she loves:

I think they look like Catherine Wheels in this shot. This is the name of a firework for anyone who hasn't heard of it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Evening Outing to The Burren, County Clare

The Dolmen at Poulnabrone by Jim

Jim suggested that we should take a trip to the Burren in the evening as it stays light so long now. This was on Saturday and it had been a scorching day. Luckily Buster returned from his wanderings about 5, so we were able to feed the animals and head off about 6pm. I know I have mentioned The Burren before but for anyone who doesn't know about this very special area, here is a link to the Burren centre:

Part of the Burren landscape. The ridges were formed as glaciers moved slowly across the land.

For me, the flora and fauna of The Burren is the main attraction. Flowers not normally put together by nature, live side by side in this unique environment. I have been quite a few times now and never tire of the area.

A few years ago we took Jim's sister to a Cairn at Poulawack on The Burren. There we saw the most amazing array of flowers. It was quite a difficult hike up to the Cairn - but ok if you were careful. We set off to find this again and the signpost which was originally by the track is now just a pole and the access was very difficult. The wall had clearly been built up and a further wall likewise. The cairn is on private land and I can only assume the landowner is trying to discourage visitors. It didn't work with us!

At first we thought there weren't many flowers out, but as we walked further along the track, we noticed many more. What ever time of year you go, the display is always different - and fascinating. I can't name them all, but here is a selection:

There were dozens of wild orchids.

Wild white saxifrage

The Burren is famous for the bloody cranesbill - and this is one.

This tiny white flower shelters down among the rocks.

This dog rose was just coming out. Again, they grow down the cracks in the rocks to take advantage of the shelter offered there.

This is Milkwort, which varies from pale pink to dark purple. I love the colour of this one.

There was lots of Lady's Mantle but it's very small.

The cairn at Poulawack. On our first visit we met some Americans who said 'it's just a heap of stones'! In typical Irish fashion there is no sign or explanation about the cairn. We engaged their 2 teenage children by explaining about the magical flora and fauna. They then spent ages taking photos and getting excited by all the variety of plants. Job done.

Ha ha, we played silly devils with our long shadows. A cuckoo accompanied us for most of this walk!

There are reputedly a lot of wild goats on The Burren, but we had only ever seen half a dozen. This time we passed a huge herd, but when we stopped, they all ran. I did manage to get a couple of reasonable shots:

Some of the males were enormous.

We always pay a visit to the Dolmen at Poulnabrone.

'One of the most iconic Irish images - and the single most photographed monument in the country - is Poulnabrone. This megalithic grave was also probably a site of deep spiritual significance to those who built it. The portal stone of this tomb is aligned towards the rising sun. This is an architectural characteristic of portal tombs.'

It is amazing when you stand near the tomb, to think it is some 5000 years old. The evening was drawing in and the sun setting, so we decided to stay by the monument and wait for the sun to go down. Jim took lots of photos of the dolmen, while I took lots of dandelion clocks. I also sat in some grass and to my horror picked up a load of tics! They were tiny and Jim had to pick them all off me at home.

Here I am waiting for the sun to set

One of Jim's photos of the Dolmen at Poulnabrone. The sun was shining on the underside of the main stone.

The Limestone pavement at sunset by Jim.

The Dolmen at Poulnabrone by me. It's a truly magical place.

A joiner of The Burren hills - please click on it to enlarge to a reasonable size.

One of my dandelion clock pictures.

A 'glory' of orchids.

One last one of a dandelion clock:

We drove back after that, stopping in Gort for burger and chips! What a delightful evening it had been.