DANCE OF THE SPIDERS

Yesterday I took a look at some of the spiders which were hanging around the garden, seeing that the turn of the season is almost upon us and with the morning mists and the evening becoming cooler, the spiders seem to become much more noticeable. They immediately reminded me of ballerinas, especially the three first ones that I came across, they are garden spiders, Araneus diadematus, also called the Crowned Orb Weaver. You see those a lot around here, they are quite beautiful and have sometimes huge webs.  They rarely enter the house.  In autumn the gardens are full of them.  I took the first three photos, of two different spiders just outside along the wall beside the rainwater barrel.

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The fine slender spider is quite unfamiliar to me and I cannot locate it, I did not see it before in the garden either.

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Here in between two leaves (the leaves looked as if they had been pulled together into some sort of hammock), there are two garden spiders, sleeping perhaps, not sure but they looked quite cosy in there. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other species with the autumn starting. We are still getting nice weather, perhaps we might even get an Indian summer. Schools have started and everyone is getting back into routine, we saw a great number of swallows gathering on a neighbour’s roof, another sign of the season’s changing and their farewell to our shores, and we ourselves are preparing for our journey to warmer climate too.

BUTTERFLIES, HONEYBEES AND THE NEIGHBOUR’S CAT

A happy Monday morning wishes to all, hope that your week has started well. My week could not have started any better when early on I woke up to glorious sunshine. I happen to glance out of the window to the front garden and the buddleia bush and there I saw the most beautiful butterflies, five different species. They were fluttering among the honeybees of which there were over half a dozen.   I stood watching them for a long time and only then thought about taking some photos and I’m glad that I did because in a way I feel that I have captured their beauty to share with so many others, and that makes me happy!

What a beautiful time of the year it is!
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This is a peacock butterfly, it is found all over Ireland. It hibernates during the winter. It’s got to be the most beautiful of the butterflies in Ireland.
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This was amazing, so many species on the one flower spike, there is the red admiral, these feed on over-ripe fruit and also in particular you see them on the buddleia bush. There is also a painted lady and a small tortoise butterfly.  Not to forget the lovely honeybee, it’s so nice to see many of these around isn’t it, knowing that they are on the decline.

Painted Lady butterfly
Painted Lady butterfly

After I had stood there for a long time watching them, there came a neighbour’s cat and she could think of nothing better to do but to try and catch the butterflies, she managed to get hold of one branch of flowers and destroyed that, but the butterflies were able to escape and of course, much as I love cats, she got chased away very quickly by me.

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GIFTS FROM MY LATE SUMMER GARDEN

Half way through August in Ireland is already considered to be ‘late’ summer. Some years the month of August would bring autumn-like storms and lots of rain with chilly evenings, but this year, however, it has been warm, yes even warmer than usual, and the past few days the temperature has reached into the twenties (C). It’s just a lovely time of the year I think.
I’ve been away for a while and now that I am back the first thing I did was to go and have a good look around my garden. I have a lot to consider because in another few weeks we will be away for several months and though the house will be lived in, the garden will not be looked after. So there is planning to be done, so that when we arrive home again I can start planting and sowing straight away.

Here is what I found in the garden at present:
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Still beautiful flowers, I love hydrangeas, especially the blue coloured types.  These won’t need any attention as they are perennials, so they grow from year to year, all they might need is a little pruning.


Though the start of the summer brought very few insects, lately the garden has been full of them, bees, bumblebees, beetles, all sorts of flies, and so on, also the ants are ever present. The insect hotel has been quite occupied it seems and that is encouraging.

Seeds are starting to ripen.  Here in the garden it is the evening primrose plant and the thistle especially that are ripening fast, both of which I want to save for sharing later with my local GIY group.  The seeds of the thistle of course I grew especially for the gold finch, so far I have not seen any but the they will come, they do every year.

I used the last of my comfrey tea and the barrel is ready for another brew, fortunately the comfrey grows enormously fast and another large plant is ready to use to this end.  The straw I have put in the two cold frames on top of cardboard, this will help to prepare the soil for next year, and keep stuff growing there.  Montbretia flowers still brighten up corners here and there in the wild areas.

The garden is still gifting us with raspberries which are sweet and tasty, I also love the tansy flowers and of course the white hydrangeas at the back of the garden which this year are giving an amazing display.

This is an update of sorts, I needed to have this on record above all, and it has done me good, if anything, writing about my garden, and taking the photos is a really relaxing activity for me, I enjoy it very much and that has got to be good.

DELIGHTS OF ART AND YOUNG MINDS

Last week there was the yearly Art Festival in our town of Skibbereen. It is getting better every year, and what nicer way to explore it than with my two growing grandchildren, who are little artists in their own way, and they take an intelligent interest in art.

So we set off on our exploration of some of the exhibitions, and there were many, they were held all over the town. We did not strictly stick to the Art Trail, we started off at the Uillinn Art Centre where we wanted to see the work of John Kelly. There were his beautiful landscapes, which were scrutinised by our young artists, including technique and paint finishes.  Our main interest though was Kelly’s group of paintings which he produced during his stay in Antarctica, and on his way there in 2013. The wall was covered with these works, large and small, the whole collection told us his story of that journey, and the girls were quite impressed. I wanted them to take away this idea of telling a story in a collection of small paintings. Later in the day we were going to get paints and boards to try our hands on this idea.
Some of Kelly’s other works did get some comments, even some raised eyebrows.
The paintings in Catherine Hammond’s Gallery got much approval, and favourites were picked, this exhibition was called ‘Contemporary Realism’. A little Gallery further along in Bridge Street was really interesting, at least for me it was, and the girls took it in their stride too. Vauney Strahan’s works were an education for me and I had to look her up on Google, I do like her art very much, here is a link to her profile; http://www.saatchiart.com/vauneystrahan
Least interesting to the young minds was the Old Bottling Plant where we saw works by Angela Flowers, though some of Angela’s works were fabulous.  And the exhibition by Paul Cialis, ‘Saints and Sinners’ did not even get a look into, which was just as well, because it was a little beyond their age group.

We were all three getting tired, taking in a lot of visual stimulation can use up energy fast! So we just popped into one last exhibit, a re-creation of a shop of the early twentieth century, the girls loved it, they were looking all over it. It showed them a example of shopping before the supermarkets started.

We went home after buying the art materials, and we started to paint, after a pizza meal, and lots of banter with Ian. Both grandchildren gave a very individual interpretation to what they saw during the day; my 9 year old painted a beautiful image of a horse, incorporating colours and combinations she noticed today, and my 8 year old painted an ice scene with penguins after John Kelly’s paintings.  It is very nice to be able to share the love of art with my grandchildren, and lovely to see young minds at work, and hearing their opinions on what they observe.


Paintings also exhibited were by Karen Billings, and earlier on in the week I attended an excellent event called ‘Dark Matter’, Greg Sholette in conversation with Katherine Waugh. The topic was ‘What’s missing in art and politics in an enterprise culture’. Enjoyed a lot.


The Souvenir Shop


Works by the two girls