Monday, August 10, 2015

Looking for an Orchid.

For as long as either of us can remember we have always had an interest in our local flora and fauna, flora in particular.
A chimney in the middle of nowhere, there must be a story here.
A trip out will normally end up being a plant spot trip, this has been the case wherever we have lived. We don't normally go out intentionally to find a specific plant but our last two trips were the exception. We were in search of Irish Lady's Tresses, this orchid is considered to be the rarest in Europe, only occurring in Ireland and Scotland,athough I would have thought that the Western Marsh Orchid would have taken the title as it only occurs in Ireland although it is wide spread throughout the Island.

We already knew the area where we would find the Irish Lady's Tresses on the shores of a particular lough not that far from where we used to live, but our first days search proved fruitless,
but it was a lovely trip out with beautiful views.
Natures landscaping.
We had taken a picnic with us and the weather was good, we walked along the shore of Lough Allen
taking in the sluice gates where the lough discharges into the river Shannon and not for the first time wondered why all the power that is lost from these gates is not being harnessed for electricity.
The force as it goes through the gates is tremendous and you can't hear each other speaking. What a waste of potential power.
Two days later we resumed our hunt, we now knew where we would see these elusive orchids, we also knew that it entailed a two mile round trip walk. Due to a very long standing back injury long walks are something which I find very hard to manage nowadays, it's wonderful  how sheer     determination or maybe it is bloody mindedness can push you on. It was a lovely walk and we found the plant.
Irish Lady's Tresses.
Just five plants although there are reportedly more in the area, one of the plants had unfortunately been trampled by a cow.
The perfume from these beautiful orchids is lovely, honey scented with a hint of cloves. There is another plant that grows in this area but we failed to find it, the blue flowered grass, again it is rare, it should be in bloom now so maybe on our next trip out we will find it.
We also found Blue Sow thistle,
Creeping Jenny,
yellow Pimpernel
and of course Himalayan Balsam,
it's such a shame it's so invasive, bees love it and it is such a pretty flower.
Birds foot Trefoil.
Another six pounds of currants.
The last of the redcurrants have now been picked and made in to redcurrant jelly. All the veg are doing well, we are especially pleased with both the peas and French beans, both new varieties for us. 
Hurst Green Shaft peas.
The peas are Hurst Green Shaft, the pods are all around five inches and are full of  perfect sweet peas, the French beans are Cobra, we will definitely  be sticking to these in the future. It's great to have a good selection to eat each day,
Sundays harvest.
this basket full will go nicely
with the Sunday roast a lovely joint of beef from the organic butcher, properly hung for a minimum of three weeks, this animal was hung for twenty five days, as was the beast that provided the T bone steak, only one steak, for me, Simon does not like steak, strange man, still he was a vegetarian for twenty odd years.
We have several areas of garden here, the cottage sits in  two acres, mostly at the front. When we arrived here there was no garden and all around the cottage was covered with large stones, it's taken a while to get the gardens as we basically want them, this included a garden to the side of the house,
A bright garden to wake up to.
this is the garden just outside the utility room, full of colour we can also see it from our bedroom, a lovely  sight to wake up to. There are some plants which are going to have to be moved in all our gardens, some are too big, and some are just in the wrong place, a redesign is called for, hopefully we will get it done during the autumn and winter. The veg garden however is how we want it, just a matter of keeping the weeds at bay.
I love this colour of the Angel fishing rod.


  1. What beautiful flowers you have in Ireland. I love that you take a picnic and go walking together. How sweet!

    1. Unfortunately Ireland has far fewer wild flowers than anywhere else that we have lived, Spain was fantastic for the flora especially Catalonia where we lived first, but it's lovely to find rare and endangered species.

  2. Replies
    1. We do like our picnics, much better than spending money on medico food in some café.

  3. Never heard of the Irish ladies tresses before. They are incredible. I think there should be dynamos on all our rivers to generate electricity. I know of an agricultural mechanic here in West Cork who installed a dynamo on a river that runs through his yard. It runs all his machinery and he sells some of his electricity to the national grid.

    1. We were so pleased to find them Dave, you also have some good areas for Orchids, Sheep's Head peninsula has some good ones.
      I think all fast flowing rivers should have turbines, I know fishermen say they will lose their fishing, but fish ladders do work.

  4. Glad you managed to find the orchid after your walk, it's a beauty. I don't know many wild flowers, I should make more of an effort to learn the names of them and indeed, look for them whilst I'm out and about. I haven't harvested any beans this year yet though I think they're very close now.

  5. We are thrilled Jo, it's always been a hobby for both of us. The beans are the best flavour ones we have ever grown, we will stick to that breed.

  6. Hi from South Galicia, I have been reading your blogs for a while now, and I so admire what you do. Living Organically takes a lot of very hard work and dedication, we are 'battling' with our garden and vineyard, and it's a long way to go. Your flower garden is so pretty! What is your tip for healthy English Lavender? Ours is in its 2nd year, and some are OK but some we are losing now, especially those in pots. It is plenty of drainage, and due to hot weather we watered regularly... Do you think lavender is perhaps not that good for pots, and we should replant it in the garden??? Appreciate your advice and thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, close to you the French lavender grows wild, if you take the road to Canyones de Sil you will see it growing in profusion all the way down the horrendous hill to the Sil river. I also seem to remember that Barbra and Martin at Casa de las flores in Mer near Sober grow lavender, they also have a blog 'Life in Galicia'. they also sometimes have open days and their gardens are well worth seeing, they also have a stall at the Sunday market in Monforte de Lemos
      I would take it out of the pots and plant it into fairly poor soil, cut out all the dead wood and give the plants a trim to fresh new growth. Hope this helps.

    2. Thank you so much for your reply. In the garden center we were told that French lavender wouldn't survive our frosty winters hence the choice of the English. French is much prettier and bushier and i will look into getting it. Again, thank you.