GLENVIEW GARDENS IN WEST CORK

Seeing it was the last week of the holidays, we took my grandchildren for a visit to yet another fabulous garden in West Cork.  This one is very child oriented and the children, of which the eldest is 11 and the youngest 3 enjoyed themselves for hours on end.  For ourselves it was interesting too with so many different plants, trees – some quite exotic, and different garden landscaping ideas.  The children enjoyed the hobbit house and promptly started to play ‘house’ wanting to move in and stay there forever…. they also enjoyed the huge circular lawn and seeing it was a real warm day they went lying on the grass and rolling and frolicking like there was no tomorrow.  At every turn among the foliage and shrubs the children found fairy houses and other novelties which they loved.   I myself noticed several butterflies among which was a peacock, only my second one this summer.  There were some exotic birds and for the children there were young goats and rabbits.  Plenty of benches, situated in ideal and peaceful settings made it so that anyone could enjoy this garden and I was glad to notice that.  And even though it was now at summer’s end, there were still some lovely flowers in bloom, such as bright yellow Rudbeckia, dark red Dahlias, and other colourful blooms.  I also noted the variety of fir and pine trees, including some lovely Larches.  Some of the trees were marked with name labels.  What I personally like very much too were the statues, giving the garden an old time feeling.

It was our last outing before school started today and I am sure that it will be a lovely memory for all of us.  We absolutely love the gardens of West Cork, rain or shine!  This time it was actually very warm and dry – but in West Cork you never know what to expect weather-wise, so we were lucky and delighted.

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READING THE LANDSCAPE

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The landscape that I am thinking about if not some wild stretch along the coast or hill side here in West Cork.  It is, rather, my immediate surroundings – our garden, where I have access any time of day or night and can make observations in any season of the year.  Let it be during my early morning stroll past the vegetable plots to the back where everything is disorderly and where wild things grow, or let it be during the height of day when the sun is streaming through the tree canopies, or at times when Irish mist engulfs us and brings the clouds real close to the earth.  Night time too is good to find and learn to understand the many creatures that are about.

Our garden is small, it slopes down slightly and it has four mature trees giving shade, a chestnut, silver birch, hawthorn, and a Mediterranean oak.  These all provide shelter for the many birds that frequent on a daily basis, from the little wren to the hooded crows – all are very welcome.

I find it a source of immense pleasure and joy to observe not only all the plants that grow, but to see and know all the wildlife – every little creature, to find out their species, their lifecycle, their name.  To take photos of them helps me sometimes to study one or other aspect of them in more detail.  There is always more to learn and discover, and I find a lot of information on Google as well as in books.

Why my garden, and not the larger landscape around me.  Well it is down to logistics really, my garden I can go into at any moment, it is a daily ritual, a meditation that I have got so used to that it would be hard to live without it.  The wider landscape does get observed too, but not that frequently.

In the garden next door the people keep a pony, this attracts a certain amount of flies to the neighbourhood and that is good.  The other neighbour keeps a small hive of bees, and it is nice to have those come into the garden at times.  Behind our dilapidated sheds at the very back, where some rotting wood also gives shelter to a variety of insects, the ground, covered in wild plants and grasses, slopes down towards the town, well below us.

And so this small bit of nature, filled with wild plants and herbs has an eco-system all of its own, rich in variety and brimming with creatures, a goldmine for anyone with an interest.  Great joy can be found in reading this landscape and finding new discoveries every day.  The changing seasons, even the high temperatures and drought recently brought about unique or forgotten surprises, like the very large wasps that we had not seen for many years.

I watch, and listen, and observe, and I find that the natural world is a great source of joy!

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Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta,

Aglais urticae - small tortoiseshell

HERON GALLERY AND GARDENS

Despite the rainy weather, my daughter Tjorven and my five grandchildren got into our wellingtons and raincoats and decided to head to the Sheep’s Head Peninsula where we visited a place very beautiful!  Gardens and a gallery showing the beautiful art of Annabel Langrish.  What an amazing place we found this to be, both nature wise and because of the cosy café were we found ourselves surrounded by very tasteful design and beautiful art.  Great coffee and scones too!  But first we took a walk in the gardens.  In between the rain showers, which are quite usual for this area in West Cork, it feels more like a mist, no wonder people often call it Irish mist rather than rain.  It does make the landscape more mysterious and compelling I think.

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The gardens were laden with summer flowers, and as the paths wound their way up the hill wild plants like heathers, blackberries, and bracken took over.

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We saw interesting sculptures which the children also loved, all blended into the landscape and garden with ‘nature’ as motive.  In fact I found that everything from the paintings to the crafts blended in with the nature surrounding the place, very nice.  We all loved the barefoot path, it generously added to the  meditative quality of the walk and soon all our feet were touching the cool stones.  My three year old granddaughter remarked on the soothing feeling on her little feet.

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Flowers were explored as were spider webs, and some of the statutes had to be touched and sat on.  Blackberries were eaten along the way.

These three photos were taken by my eight year old grandson, we are very proud of him.  I think that he has an eye for composition and colour.

The wealth of lush growth is found everywhere now that the rains have started.

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“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”
― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations