Author: pamadden

Spawning Time

Busy Frogs

Busy Frogs Log pile (1) The Common Frog (Rana temporaria) or Frog in Irish is widespread.  Both male and female frogs have recently woken from hibernation in stone walls, under logs, compost heaps, ditches and ponds and are now returning to the ponds or ditches in which they were born (1). Frogs and spawn (2)…

Alder

More Catkins

More Catkins by Paddy Madden Male catkins and developing female flowers (1). Credit E Ó Murchú Alder (Alnus glutinosa) or Fearnóg in Irish is displaying its developing reddish, male catkins now as well as its developing female flowers which are green and oval shaped (1)  The male catkins will turn yellowish when they are ready…

Hazel Catkins

Lambs’ Tails

Lambs’ Tails Male and female hazel catkins Credit E Ó Murchú (1) Hazel (Corylus avellana) or Coll in Irish is displaying its catkins to the wind so that when they open pollen from the dangling, yellow male catkins will fall on the short, stubby female flowers and so start the lengthy process of producing hazel…

New Potatoes

Gardening in the Cold

Audio version – Snowdrops New potatoes (1) Now is a good time to start chitting first early new potatoes so that they can be harvested in June (1). Chitting potatoes gives them a head start so that they can be planted around St. Patrick’s Day and harvested about 80 days later.  Make sure your seed…

Uncategorized

Scents of Wonder

Shrubs in the Garden On a bleak winter’s day in the garden, it can be a pleasant surprise to turn a corner and experience a sweet scent wafting in the cold air.  An inconspicuous shrub called Sarcococca confusa or Sweet box could be the provenance of the unusual fragrance hanging in the air. This evergreen shrub…

Snowdrops

Symbols of Hope

Audio version – Snowdrops Snowdrops (1) Credit E Ó Murchú Heralds of spring; heralds of hope. The Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) or Plúirín sneachta in Irish appears in January and blooms until March (1).  It is one of the first flowers of the year to appear in gardens, semi-shaded places, old graveyards and hedgerows (2). Snowdrops…

Common Yew

Sombre Sentinels in Winter Green

Audio – Common Yew Common yew (1a) Irish yew (1b) Common Yew (Taxus baccata) or Iúr/Eo in Irish is an evergreen conifer which like another conifer, the Scot’s pine, is native to Ireland (1a). A mutant, upright, fastigate form of the yew is the Irish yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastiagata’) the original of which was discovered…

Scots Pine

Reaching For The Sky

Audio version of Scots Pine Scot’s pine wood in Kildare (1a) Stately trees (1b) Credit Geraldine James Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) or Giúis in Irish is an evergreen conifer which is native to Ireland.  It colonised the country about 12,000 years ago but was thought to have become extinct because of wetter climatic conditions about…

Holly

Symbol of Life

Audio – Symbol of Life Snow on holly (1) Holly (Ilex aquifolium) or Cuileann in Irish was classified by the 8th century Laws of Neighbourhood as one of the seven ‘nobles of the wood’ (1). These included as well oak, ash, yew, Scots pine, crab apple, hazel. It had a high ranking because it was…

Feeding Birds

Caring for Birds in Winter

Audio version of Hedgerow Bounty Caring for birds (1) We can help garden birds survive the winter by providing them with food and clean water (1). This must be done on a consistent basis and strict hygienic standards must be observed.  More harm than good can be done by not being consistent and hygienic in…