So this week Ann-Christine has set me an impossible task – choose my favourite flowers. I have tried to narrow it down by only including native Irish wildflowers. The why is simple – they are beautiful and they support so much life. It’s a selection of some of my favourites.
First spring flowers – celandine one of the first to show itself; dandelions are just little pots of sunshine loved by pollinators; wood sorrel is so delicate and cuckoo flower so dainty.
If I had to choose one spring flower it would be wild primroses, for the colour and smell, the essence of spring.
Then comes summer. Harebells, for the name and the delicate shade of blue; ox eye daisies as they are big, bright and happy flowers and sea thrift because it appears to grow from rocks.
And if I had to choose a favourite I would cheat and choose a whole flowering meadow.
Late summer and early autumn, there is perennial sow thistles (here with woundwort another lovely pant) and the latest flowering of our wildflowers, devils bits scabious – loved by pollinators.
A big thank you to Ann-Christine for reminding me of the beauties of spring and summer on this dark October day.
This year, I have been lucky to be working for the Great Yellow Bumblebee Project. The Great Yellow Bumblebee is Ireland’s rarest bees and it occurs on the Mullet Peninsula and Erris coastal mainland of County Mayo in the west of Ireland.
We have been working with farmers looking at how best we can manage fields in a way that provides lots of flowers for all types of pollinators. This area of County Mayo is stunningly beautiful, and supports a unique flower-rich habitat called Machair.
Machair is traditionally been used as winter grazing, which has benefitted the wildflowers that grow here and in turn these areas support a wealth of insects including pollinators.
We find lots of different bees. And finding the the rarest of them all, the Great Yellow Bumblebee, brings deep satisfaction.
Other rare and vulnerable bee species can also be found in this special place.