Paddy’s Blog

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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…

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…

Native Hedgerow

Creating a Biodiversity Bank

Native hedgerow Native hedgerow (1) Even though native hedgerows are excellent for enhancing biodiversity some people are reluctant to plant them because they mistakenly think they are difficult to create (1)Their creation does require some careful planning but when species are selected, and an order of planting decided the planting itself is very straightforward. Plant…

Biodiversity Banks

Native Hedgerows

Native Hedgerow Native hedgerow (1) Native hedgerows consisting of a wide variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers are sometimes all that remains of ancient woodland.  Most, however, are field boundaries that were planted in the last couple of centuries when enclosure of fields occurred (1). Hedgehog (2) Speckled wood (3) They are often referred to…

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Detritivores in November

Audio version about Millipedes Decaying leaves (1) Animals that obtain nutrients by eating detritus which is dead animal and plant parts are called detritivores (1). They ingest the nutrients. Examples of detritivores are earthworms, slugs and snails, millipedes, dung beetles and the larvae of beetles and flies.On the other hand, organisms that break down dead…

Needles of Gold

The European Larch

Audio – The European Larch Spring larch (1) The European larch (Larix decidua) or Learóg in Irish is unique amongst conifers in this part of the world because it sheds its needle shaped leaves in autumn.  Conifers are usually evergreen. It is a native of mountainous regions in Central Europe and the Pyrenees.  The drooping…