Paddy’s Blog

Wild privet and Snowberry

Black and White Autumn Berries

Audio version of Autumn Berries Wikd privet leaves (1a) Wild privet (Ligustrum vulgare) or Pribhéad in Irish is often found growing in hedgerows.  Its leaves grow in opposite pairs and are spear shaped or lanceolate. They are dark green on top and pale green underneath but changing now to a dark burgundy colour (1a).  It…

Garlic, onions, peas, beans

Growing in October

Audio version of Growing in October Organic garlic bulbs and onion sets from Fruithill Farm in West Cork (1a) It is surprising what can be sown in the garden in October.  Spring is a long way off; the weather is getting noticeably colder and the light is diminishing both in length and quality. Some gardeners…

Ivy

A Plant that is Loved and Hated

Audio version of Ivy Ivy (1) Flowering now is Ivy (Hedera helix) or Eidhneán in Irish, an evergreen, native climber which uses aerial roots along its stem to adhere to a host so that it can reach light (1).  It is not a parasite as some people believe. It has its own root system completely…

Sloe

Purple – Black, Bitter Drupes

Audio version of Purple – Black, Bitter Drupes Blackthorn blossom (2) Credit E.Ó Murchú The Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) or Draighean/Draighneán donn in Irish has produced a bounty of purple-black fruit in the hedgerows now (1).  These fruits which are covered in a blue waxy substance are called sloes or airní in Irish. They are classified…

Elderberries

Hedgerow Bounty

Audio version of Hedgerow Bounty Elder flower (1) The flat-topped, creamy-white flower clusters or corymbs of the Elder (Sambucus nigra) or Trom in Irish formed lofty, fragrant tiers when they dominated the hedgerows in June.  These flowers were used to make wines, cordials and elderflower water which is used as a skin cleanser (1). Ripening…

Guelder rose

Blood-Red September Drupes

Audio version of Guelder rose Berries of Guelder rose (1) The attractive, juicy, shiny, red berries of Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) or Caorchon in Irish are a lovely sight now as they hang in inviting clusters from the hedgerows (1). These “berries” are technically drupes.  (A drupe is a fleshy fruit with a central seed…

Rose Hips

September Scarlet

Audio version of Rose Hips Dog-rose (1a) The beautiful, pale pink to white blossoms of the Dog rose (Rosa canina) or Feirdhris in Irish which brightened up the hedgerows in June have now turned to scarlet rose hips which are very noticeable. (1a;1b) These are rich in Vitamin C and were collected in England during…

Knapweed, Loosestrife and Nightshades

Autumn Purples

Audio version of Autumn Purples Common knapweed (1) Common or Black knapweed (Centaurea nigra) or Mínscoth/Mullach dubh in Irish is common on roadside verges, grasslands and wastelands from July to September. (1) Superficially the plant looks like a thistle because of its deep purple flowers and similar flowerhead but on close inspection it will be…

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Fliers from the Age of Dinosaurs

Audio version of Dragonflies and Damselflies These insects belong to a group called Odonata. They have long, thin segmented abdomens, striking colours and large wings with networks of delicate veins (1). They begin their lives as eggs laid on vegetation growing in water.  These hatch into larvae which do not pupate.  These are called nymphs. …