04 June 2014

Late Date

Can't help it, I'm in love with May. It's June as I write this--I'm late with this blog--but I'll write not about June, but about wonderful, fresh, scented, rich, green May. May is what I dream about the rest of the year. May is when all gardeners congratulate themselves on their amazing gardens, but it's the time of the year when, really, we can take little credit for the beauty in those gardens, because May does all the work for us. And this year seemed better than ever: it has been so lush, with such flowers! And the smell of May in the early morning is almost untenable - it's new and fresh and burgeoning and green and ... who knows what else, all carried on the dewy scent of a May morning. The woods are a most earthly green; the whitethorn froths over a granite wall in the 'burbs, carrying memories of fields and hedgerows, home to carolling blackbirds and thrushes and wrens and robins; in the park the sycamores and horse chestnuts are proudly displaying their new foliage and buttercups bring another bit of the wild into a quiet corner that the council can't reach to raze short. 

May green

A vain search for squirrels under the horse chestnuts

My favourite sycamore in the early morning

In the garden, Da's Welsh poppies punctuate the new green growth with serendipitous dots of yellow; and close to the purple orbs of Allium, day lilies from Glenarm Castle make their own tiny galaxy of yellow stars. This year, the Echiums are blooming: two buzzing babel towers of violet blue, visited by all the garden bees.  

Hemerocallis (Day lilies) and Alliums

Echiums delight the bees

At the end of May the irises started to bloom
May this year was a happy time for other reasons too - a son delighted his mammy by coming home from Canada for a short spell (so good to see you CM) and my yew tree drawing was on display (with many other wonderful paintings) in the Botanic Gardens! Yes, the AibĂ­tir exhibition ran in the Bots for most of May. Three Irish alphabets, some amazing paintings, and an opening by the doyenne of Botanical Art collection, Dr Shirley Sherwood ... altogether a great inaugural event for the newly formed ISBA.  I was over the moon that at least three prints of my Yew sold during the exhibition (and I only knew one of the buyers, thanks DW!).

My Yew tree made it... I was more than a bit excited
Another first was the postcard garden made by the Alpine Garden Society here in Dublin for Bloom 2014. I did a stint on the stand with another AGS member on the Friday of Bloom, and what a lovely afternoon it was. A steady stream of visitors came with almost equal measures of delight and amazement and questions. We wanted to show people how much you can do with even a tiny space (the postcard gardens are only 2x3 metres) and to get them thinking about alpine plants in a different way. I think we accomplished that, thanks to the expertise of those who designed and built the garden and grew the plants for it. It was all the more challenging as we weren't allowed dig into the ground so the whole garden had to be assembled on the surface but look as though it belonged there... 

AGS garden for Bloom 2014 (thanks to Bernard van Giessen for the photo)

Twenty One

The twenty-one photos were a pleasure in May: an early sunny morning, the kind I can't imagine when the planet is tilted the other way mid-winter... I'll be coming back to these photos time and again.

The field trees are fully green now

Heading into the park is a pleasure

The Scots Pine shadows point to the newly green oaks

Such bright sunshine slanting in

Coming home from the walk to my own bit of May
A bit too green, that pool ... but the plants are doing fine
Go well all.


  1. Wonderful as always! It's great to hear you sound so joyful. May there be many more happy days ahead!

  2. Lovely photos and words! I agree with you about May, everything is so fresh and green, but I must say that June is pretty good too, at least here in the Pacific Northwest where I live.

    1. Thanks Janene. I'm sure June is wonderful in the Pacific NW! But I'm with Patrick Kavanagh on May vs June in Ireland in his poem 'After May':
      "Sweet May is gone, and now must poets croon
      The praises of a rather stupid June." :-) (doesn't sound so harsh when you read the whole poem!)

  3. Wonderful photos and blog,and what a wonderful May we've had. But June so far has just been raining , however this means I get more painting done! Well done on selling some prints too, it's a beautiful painting xxx

    1. Thanks Claire. May wasn't half-bad, but June isn't off to a great start, you're right. Delighted to hear you're painting as it means we'll see more of them online (I hope!).