CHRISTMAS GREENERY

I went picking some greenery to make a wreath and flower piece this afternoon, close by there is a boreen ( Irish word for a little pathway with lots of greenery), and during the year I saw lots of ivy growing there, some of which won’t be damaged by a little pruning, so I set out to cut some and bring it in for decoration. There was ivy with lots of the most beautiful berries, some quite dark and bright green. There was also quite a bit of gorse in flower, these bright yellow flowers are usually open end of January but already they are fully in bloom. Then I spotted some of the last Hawthorn berries, the birds have so much food in this mild winter that there are many berries left for them. The beautiful red berries stand out lovely against the dark green of the foliage. At home I raided some of our cotoneaster hedge very profuse with fruits this year, and I picked some ivy and holly from along the hedges.

I know that I am too late to make an advent wreath which is what I normally would do but that is for the four Sundays before Christmas, so I will just make a wreath for the front door, and a piece for the dining room table. Candles and greenery do make it for me around this time of the year, and pine cones!

Tomorrow is mid-winter and the days will start to lengthen, this winter more than most has been very dark, we will all welcome the light again.

CHRISTMAS GREENERY

A FLOWERY WALK ON EASTER MONDAY

I went for a short walk today, in the beautiful sunshine, hardly any wind. The birds were singing, sounds of children playing outside, and dogs barking, a very relaxed bank holiday in Ireland, quiet and peaceful. And because it is April already it comes as no surprise that along the walk I see bright spring flowers laughing at the sun.
This little flower is called Veronica, or in plain English Speedwell grows along the Irish roadsides, it’s so small that it takes an almost trained eye to find them, but close up they are very pretty.
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And these bright blue Violets are supposed to be flowering in March, but I only found them opened in the last few days, quite a few of them along the boreen.

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Lesser Celandine, lots of it along the road sides.

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Daisies and Gorse brightening up the roadsides as well.  The scent of the Gorse is lovely at the moment, especially when the afternoon warmth of the sun brings out their scent, a lovely almost Coconut flavour I always think.

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EMERALD ISLAND

On a journey to Beara peninsula today, it was a glorious though cold day, and there was some snow on top of the Caha mountains, especially Hungry Hill had a lovely dusting of snow.
The landscape on this peninsula is superb, you have the sea (Bantry Bay) on one side, and you have the mountains which are very rocky, and much to my taste to your other side. There is lots of Gorse growing, but also Fuchsia and Rhododendron, whole hedges of Fuchsia flower from May till November, this makes the road very beautiful. There are also lots of Holly and Rowan trees.  Lots of boggy land too, and bracken.  The main town on the peninsula is Castletownbere, a little fishing town.
Here are some of the views along our way.
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This is actually a view of Bantry Bay taken in Glengarriff on our way home

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Hungry Hill (685m high), one of the Caha mountain range peaks.  This range of hills/mountains is mostly made up of old red sandstone, which is composed of mainly quartz and/or feldspar.

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COUNTRY LANES

This is the country lane, a little Boreen as it is known here, the word comes from the Irish bóithrín, meaning “a little road”, where I take my walk every day. It does not look like much but along its sides it is brilliantly covered with so many wild plants, even now that it is only 21 days to the winter solstice, wild plants are growing profusely. And there are flowers too, the Gorse is starting to show it’s golden yellow blossoms, they flower twice a year, but their best bloom is between now and February when whole hedgerows may be so coloured by the yellow flowers that it looks quite spectacular. Their scent is so sweet also.
I see a lot of Wall Pennywort at the moment too and it is looking so healthy. And Ivy which is in bloom at the moment, it is said that the Peacock and Tortoiseshell butterflies hibernate in the Ivy plant, that’s great to know as I was always wondering what they do during the winter months, I thought that they died at the end of summer though you sometimes see them inside the house at this time of the year.

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And over this all sings the Robin, he’s singing his heart out, sheer joy at all the beauty around it, what a delightful sound.