Tag Archives: garden

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #225 – Wildlife Close to Home

Well this challenge is right up my street, many thanks to Anne of Slow Shutter Speed for hosting “Wildlife close to Home” for this week. Those who drop by regularly won’t be surprised by my first image. I just love bumblebees, and it is great to see them enjoying the flowers in the garden.

Buff tailed bumblebee

This summer and autumn we had a lot more shieldbugs in the garden than other years. I think these guys look pretty comical.


Butterflies bring more colour to the garden.

And finally another favourite – this time a slightly larger animal and a rarer visitor to the garden, but always a joy to see – the Irish hare.

Irish hare

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #188: A Special Place

I have been a regular follower of the Lens-Artists since Patti, Tina, Amy, and Ann-Christine started their weekly challenge and it is a real honour being asked to host one of their weekly challenges.

The theme of this week’s challenge is “A Special Place“. Many of us have a special place; maybe it is a place you like to escape to when you need a break from the ups and downs of the everyday; or it may be just a place you enjoy spending time. Your special place may be a certain room in your house, it may be a place you like to visit, or it may be a building such as a library, museum, or church.

There are many reasons too why a place may be special. It might be a memory that it holds, or the way the light plays in that space, it may be something to do with the way the place feels or smells. It would be wonderful if you could show us the places that are or were special to you and if you can tell us why. I live in the west of Ireland and am lucky to be surrounded by many beautiful places.

In general, though, I am a home bird, so for me my garden is a truly special place. It is somewhere to sit and enjoy, somewhere to garden and find release from the stresses of work.

If I go anywhere, I just love going to the coast. Growing up, I spent many happy summer days with my family, by the ocean on the north-west coast of County Mayo, so maybe it is this that connects me to the sea. Or it might be just the smell of the salt, the feel of the wind in my hair. It is a place where I can always find peace, no matter what the season.

Many thanks to Anne Sandler for her Water challenge. It was so lovely to enjoy all the beautiful photographs and posts.

We hope you will join us this week. We look forward to seeing what makes a place special for you. Please link to my post here and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

Next week, Tina will lead LAPC #189. Her subject is Odds and Ends.

Lens-Artists Challenge #176- One Image/One Story

As Ann-Christine says there are so many stories to capture. So where does one start?

Bees tell us so many stories. They tell us how important flowers are. They tell us that we are all connected in life. They tell us we should forage near home when looking for food. They tell us enjoy life, at least while the sun is shining. Perhaps we need to listen to them more closely.

Happy Bee

Without flower meadows there will be no bees, without bees there will be no flowers meadows. It is another story. A short one.

Wildlflower meadow

Six on Saturday – Pollinators return

It is always a special moment when we see the bees and other pollinators returning to the garden in the spring. So for this week’s Six on Saturday, I am going to just share six pollinator images.

Six on Saturday – 17th October 2020

This week it is all about leaves.

  1. Birch leaves – the leaves are fast disappearing from the birch trees.

2. America hawthorn. Bigger leaves than our native hawthorn, and bigger berries too, though there was no berries this year.

3. Crab apples are looking nice now especially as the leaves are turning yellow.

4. Lime tree leaves also go a lovely shade of yellow.

5. Rowan leaves. Redder leaves. The rowan in the garden has actually lost all it’s leaves already, this one is in the field below the house.

6. And finally oak leaves, one of my favourite trees.

Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

Six on Saturday – 29th August 2020

This week I am combining Six on Saturday with the Lens-artist photograph challenge, using the word “Growing”. So what is growing in the garden this week?

  1. Twin courgettes – in fact con-joined twins.

2. Squash: very little fruit – too wet and cold this year I think.

Squash plants

3. Runner beans – not plentiful, but there at least. Let’s hope for a good September so we get a good crop.

Runner beans

4. Rose – possibly the last rose of summer.


5. Chamomile flowers.


6. Beetroot – we have had nice sized beetroot this year.


Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday, and

The Lens-Artists for hosting their weekly photo challenge.

Six on Saturday

Well it has been one stormy week. It hardly seems that storm Ciara finishes and we are now getting Storm Denis. I don’t think I have ever seen the place so wet.

  1. These tete-a-tete daffodils are standing in water. I have never had water standing in this bed before and this is the second time in a week.


tete a tete daffodils

2. Earlier in the week between the two storm it got very cold and we woke to semi white – not snow but frozen hailstones. The garlic is just showing through.



3. Despite the cold weather the frogs have decided to spawn anyway – first spawn appeared today. We have not as many frogs as other years (about 50), but it may be due to the fact that there is water everywhere and they are spoilt for choice as to where to spawn!

Frog spawn

Frog spawn

4. I disturbed a pair of bullfinches feasting on the buds of one of the apple trees so they moved to the blackthorn in the hedge instead.

Bull finch


5. In other years this willow would be buzzing with earlier pollinators. But this year and last year’s early spring means it is coming out before the pollinators emerge. This is one of the problems with climate change – when nature gets out of sync with itself.



6. Winter Purslane – self seeds itself in the greenhouse and polytunnel and is a great addition to winter salads.


winter purslane

With thanks to The Propagators Six on Saturday for hosting.











We cannot tell what lies ahead of us, we cannot predict our future and maybe it is just as well. What we do know is the world is changing, as it has always done, but now it is in a way that frightens me. I fear for my children’s future in a world where climate change will dominate everything. I fear for my children’s future in a world where political leaders still fail to heed the urgency of the crisis.

So let us do something positive for our future, for the future of our children, let us try as suggested by Ann-Christine (Leya) to – do something today that your future self will thank you for.

  1. Plant a tree. While they are growing trees will store carbon, and provide habitats for insects, birds and other wildlife.

Oak tree

Oak tree

2. Grow some of your own vegetables. Cut down on those food miles and enjoy so really fresh food.



3. Don’t buy compost containing peat. Peatlands are being destroyed throughout Europe to provide compost for gardens, parks and the horticultural industry. Yet peatlands store about half a trillion tonnes of carbon, twice as much as is estimated to be stored by the world’s forests (from The Garden Jungle – Dave Goulson). I am guilty of buying peat compost too (peat-free is hard to source here), but I am determined after reading this statistic not to buy any more.

Peatland - Ballycroy National Park

Peatland – Ballycroy National Park

4. Have a compost heap – no room – then start a wormery. Picture below is of my newish hot composter, but we also have wooden pallet compost heaps (of which I cannot find any photos!) in the garden.

Hot composter

Hot composter

5. Plant some flowers for pollinators. Pollinators are so important for pollinating so many of our food crops. But flowers also provide food for other insects too.



6. Leave an area of your garden to grow just a little bit wild, and be chemical free!

Grass and wildflowers

Grass and wildflowers

Also joining in this week’s The Propagators Six on Saturday – slight variation on the theme this week, as Storm Ciara prevented any photos being taken today:)