Paddy’s Blog

Hedgerow

Two Beauties of the June Hedgerow

Audio version of Hedgerow – P Madden The flat-topped, creamy-white flower clusters or corymbs of the Elder (Sambucus nigra) or Trom in Irish form lofty, fragrant tiers as they dominate the hedgerows in June.  The anthers which hold the pollen are pale yellow and this is gathered by flies, hoverflies and bees.  These flowers are…

Flowers

Unmissable roadside flowers

Audio version of Flowers – P Madden Masses of Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) or Persil bhó in Irish have been dominating and brightening up roadsides, hedgerows and woodland edges since April and are always a herald of summer.  They are beginning to fade now and leave nature’s stage. (1a;1b) It is sometimes called Queen Anne’s…

An Amazing Weed

Garlic mustard or Hedge garlic

Audio version of Garlic – Paddy Madden Hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolate), Garlic mustard or Jack by the Hedge or Bóchoinneal in Irish is one of those plants that is regularly weeded without a moment’s thought for the spectacular contribution it makes to biodiversity in the garden and on the roadside. Alliaria means that it smells…

Caring for Potatoes

Earthing up or moulding potatoes

Audio version of potatoes – P Madden This year we planted three types of potato: first earlies, second earlies and maincrop potatoes.  The variety chosen for first earlies was Home Guard. (1) These were chitted in a tunnel in February and planted out in a raised bed 30 cm apart on St. Patrick’s Day, the…

May Blossoms

The Whiteness of May

Audio version of May Blossoms – P Madden One of the great sights of May and June is blossoming Whitethorn or Hawthorn (1) (Crataegus monogyna) or Sceach gheal in Irish with swathes of its frothy whiteness sweeping across the countryside on hedgerows or punctuating green fields with mounds of loveliness.  Because it is synonymous with…

Wildflowers

The Jailer of Midges

Audio version of Wildflowers – P Madden Lords-and ladies, Wild arum, Cuckoo-pint (Arum maculatum) (1) or Cluas chaoin in Irish is a May wildflower that likes woodlands and shady areas.  It is a plant of extraordinary interest because of its unusual method of attracting pollinators.  In fact, it relies mainly on one pollinator to carry…

Wildflowers

Golden cups of the buttercup family

Audio version of Buttercups – P Madden There are about 600 species of buttercup in the world and four of these are very visible in May.  Many people will remember playing with these when they were children.  Children held buttercups under their chins and if the petals were reflected it was a sign that they…

Vegetable Gardening

Potatoes

Audio version of Potatoes – Paddy Madden The first early Home Guard potatoes planted outdoors in mid-March are between 20cm and 30 cm tall so need to be earthed up.  (1) (2) This entails building a mound of the growing medium up around the stems to prevent the potatoes from being exposed to the sun…

Nature

Cowslips

Audio version of Cowslipss – Paddy Madden The cheerful primroses which are in the same family as cowslips graced woodland edges, hedgerow bottoms, roadside verges and embankments from March to April. As their flowers fade tiny green seeds form in the fruiting capsules at the base of the plants.  Meanwhile its close relative, the cowslip, (Primuls…