Author Archives: Murtagh's Meadow

About Murtagh's Meadow

As an ecologist I have always had an interest in nature. I love gardening and would spend all day outdoors if I could. I also enjoy taking photographs and writing. I live in the west of Ireland with my young family.

Six on Saturday – 11th July 2020

Finally a dry Saturday and time to get out into the garden. Lots and lots of tidying up to do.

So first this week Worcester berries V Juvenile blackbird. A few weeks ago I posted about the still green Worcester berries. Well they are ripening nicely, but the juvenile blackbirds that was helping itself to blackcurrants last week, also appears to have a taste for Worcester berries. We picked about half a pound today for ourselves and hoping that we can harvest some more that still need a few days to ripen before the blackbird eats them all!

2. Meanwhile Robin friend (my daughter’s name for our friendly robin who will feed from her hand), appears exhausted after his/her brood has successfully fledged. We’ve seen it with two young ones. Here it was having a peaceful preen away from hectic family life.

3. Bee numbers are definitely down after a few miserable weeks but this garden bumble bee was enjoying what remains of the foxgloves.

Garden bumblebee on foxglove

4. Some of the self-seeded borage is now flowering in the vegetable patch and these always prove popular with the bees too.

Borage and White tailed bumblebee

5. Gypsophila – looking nice in a pot with some other flowers.

Gypsophila

6. And finally for this week some brassicas – a mix of red cabbage and brussel sprouts plants which have enjoyed the rain.

Brassicas

Thanks to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

Summer ………………….

Well not exactly – at least going by the weather. I was going to do a post about beaches and sunshine, but we haven’t been to a beach yet this summer. We could have gone in the spring when we had lovely dry and sunny weather but we were in lock-down. Since mid-June we have been having a lot of grey, dull and wet days. So, what else says summer to me? Well I am back to my favourite subjects.

Bees of course! I took this photo in the drizzly rain this evening but what struck me about it was that it reminded me of when Winnie the Pooh had his head stuck in a honey pot!

Our bumbles did really well in the late spring when there was plenty of sunshine, but numbers seem to be down now as they cope with the wetter weather. Some appear pretty hardy, particularly these large garden bumblebees. I have watched them feed on the sage outside the kitchen window even during rain showers. Now the bramble flowers are out they are feeding on them as are the white tailed bees and carder bees.

Of course as well as bees, butterflies make me think of summer too.

And their caterpillars. Here the cinnabar caterpillars (which is actually a day flying moth) have eat their way to the end of the ragwort plant. So it may not be just humans that over-exploit their resources.

Inspired by this week’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge – Summer

Six on Saturday – 4th July 2020

So rain seems to be a common theme with some Six On Saturday participants this week. As a gardener it is hard to get the “right” weather. Back in April and May it was too dry and now it is too wet!!

So first this week, a rather wet bee. Poor bumblebees are not enjoying this weather and numbers are well down from earlier in the year when they were enjoying the sunshine.

Garden bumblebee on sage

2. Next Campanula, this one is about 80-90cm and often gets battered by the wind. So will need to tie up today as it is due to get windy tonight.

3. Fennel is good at capturing those little misty raindrops which we are having quite a bit of:)

4. We have blackcurrants, but we also have two hungry young blackbird who appear to be rather partial to them!

5. Yellow loosestrife

6. And finally Crocosmia lucifer.

Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

I took this photo because I liked the look of the water, chain and blue of the boat. But I was surprised to find when I downloaded it onto my computer that the chain and boat had a number of damselflies sitting on them – some looking to be recently emerged.

Boat and chain

A cropped image shows them slightly more clearly.

Six on Saturday – 27th June 2020

So today it is raining and they tell us it will rain pretty much continuously till Monday night!! So a slight tangent for this week’s Six on Saturday. We had the opportunity to visit The Organic Centre, near Rossinver in Co. Leitrim this week, so I am sharing my six from there as opposed to our very wet garden.

The Centre was founded in 1995 by local organic growers, farmers and supporters. It comprises of a 19 acre site and includes gardens, polytunnels, community garden and orchards.

  1. The garden area has raised flower beds against a stonewall containing geraniums, Rosa rugosa, and nice willow structures in the background

2. The polytunnels were jam-packed with very healthy looking vegetables, and totally weed free (not like my own).

3. Companion planting was evident throughout the garden.

4. These poppies were particularly stunning. I have these in my garden too but mine are a much more a pink that red (do you see the bumblebee?)

5. I really liked their orchard which had apples, plums and pear. The orchard was well sheltered and I noticed that they had much more fruit on their trees than I do.

6. And finally I love this fun garden fence.

I would certainly recommend a visit if you are in the area. The centre hopes to begin delivering their varied courses again very soon. More information can be found here.

Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: A Quiet Moment

This walk is part of the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. Croagh Patrick is a pilgrim mountain here in County Mayo climbed every year by thousands of pilgrims. This Heritage Trial though is a much quieter place and the day I walk this bit of it, I had the whole place to my self.

Part of the walk winds it’s way though a lovely hazel woodland.

Here there is plenty time to take a quiet moment to enjoy the wonderful flowers.

Bugle
Orchid