The plant in question is the Lesser Celandine/Ranunculus ficaria/lus na gcnapan - rich yellow flowers opening with the Spring sunshine!
Solitary flowers making the effort to show in the image across, given the paucity of sunny hours to date and evident in this cluster.
Let's hope that soon both the woodland floor and hedge banks along the tracks will show carpets of gold.
Look also along the stream banks on the river walk.
Lesser Celandine closely resembles marsh marigold except that it is slightly smaller and grows in drier woodland.
Mac Coitir in his book Irish Wild Plants writes that "in the Scottish Highlands it was believed to have magical properties for protecting the milk and was placed over the byre door to ensure milk for the cows.Lesser Celandine got this reputation on account of its butter coloured flowers and its roots,which were said to resemble the teats of a cow.".......
The quotation is from Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees.American Poet, the full quotation is as follows:-
"Fools like me can poets be
But only God can make a tree".
Why not make your next walk at the Rock a tactile walk where you touch the bark of different trees with your full hand embracing the bark?Enjoy.
In this instance you can't see the Poplars for the Hawthorn/An Sceach Gheal.(looking across the Suir to the Rock near Knocklofty Bridge).
Poplars line the riverbank walk,the Purple walk as well as the main track to the river,running north/south from the gate.
They just soar into the sky,ramrod straight and branchless till they near the summit.
Many came down after the rain and gales some weeks back.
Michael and I were today, reducing sections of Poplar trunk to handy block or log size to keep the home fires burning next winter.Many more days will be spent repeating the exercise on
other fallen trees starting tomorrow when Stephen will be on site.
So if you are about rambling watch out for flying chips and deluges of perspiration!
Poplar had many uses: paper,pallets and plywood as well as firewood.A great starter wood for the open fire inside or out.
The slideshow below gives a feel for where the Poplar grows...
Our gallery of Modern Art is unveiling itself on a daily basis at the Rock Gallery.Can you find the pieces?
More will be revealed....
In all the years I have been walking and working at the Rock I have never, until a few days ago seen the humble Dock-across.
So this is the first 'head' of Dock Leaf I've seen on site; seen inside the boundary wall near the eastern V entrance.Chances are the plant arrived courtesy of the flow of water from the verges on the roadside where the plant is prevalent.
Having been stung by Nettles on occasion during work on site,I'm glad the cure has arrived!
There are four varieties listed in An Roinn Oideachais publication Ainmneacha Plandai agus Ainmhithe - flora and fauna nomenclature,published in 1978,a wonderful, tidy paperback,with beautiful line drawings of many plants.
The four are:- the broad-leafed,the clustered,the curled and the sharp!Happy hunting.
There is a throve of lore associated with the plant and for the curious I can do no better than refer you to Irish Wild Plants by
Niall Mac Coitir available in hardback and paperback at Andrew's bookshop,Mitchell Street,Clonmel -cheaply!
As of today have managed to locate a site with an unbelievable quantity of nature photos,courtesy of Dreamtime.
The Bugles below are Dreamtime images as are the Reds below,now must hunt for a Grey.
Found a shot of the Grey,below.
Was on walkabout yesterday on the Blue track and decided to rest the feet and sit awhile and see what arose.In no time heard a rustle and turned my head slowly so as not to disturb whatever was about.Across from me,two to three metres away was a young Grey Squirrel on the trunk of an Oak.He was full of energy,nervous energy or so it seemed as he relished getting his grip on the bark and moved in little jumps on or about the same place.He kept his eyes on me all the time before going up the trunk and becoming airborne through the canopy above.
No photo,I'm afraid...must learn how to poach photos from relevant sites....everything comes to him who waits!
We have the two types of squirrel living in the woods at the Rock:- the Red and the Grey.The first is considered the one that is 'natural' to Ireland,whereas the Grey is considered a blow-in!
The original pair came as a wedding gift in the late nineteenth century and were well gone - as in departed - by the end of the wedding - they eloped.
They have been celebrating their freedom ever since,multiplying at an alarming rate - alarming to the Red,that is.
The story goes that the Grey has the edge on the Red in the food department in that the Grey can eat the unripe nuts and cones while the Red must wait till nuts and cones are mature to be able to digest them - meaning the Grey must have a right cement -mixer of a stomach and the Red an empty one.
Ok,yes the above outburst is all because on my rounds today I saw one of each among the trees,the Red being the first such I've seen this year at the Rock.
Accidentally stood on a Shrew today,the third I've seen in the last few days.
The Bugle has made it's appearance on both the Green walk and also on the Blue - keep an eye out for it - has the most gorgeous purple/violet colour.Will post a photo asap!
If you are out and about walking over the next week or so be sure to walk the river bank towards Marlfield on the Purple Walk, to take in the amazing sight of the white carpet of Ramsons or Wild Garlic covering the ground right to the river's edge.Don't neglect your nose but breathe in deeply to savour the wondrous scent.Take a leaf in hand and crush it and take the scent with you as you continue your ramble.
In Wild Irish Plants by Niall Mac Coitir, - available at Oliver's great value remainder shop in Mitchell Street for eight euros,a steal at that price - mention is made that in ancient Ireland there were 365 different parts to the body ,and a different plant to cure the ailments of each part.
Garlic was one such and was highly valued as a preventative of infection,as well as a cure for coughs,cold and flu.It was also believed in many parts of Ireland to clear the the blood of impurities,and wounds of infection,and to cure toothache.
Wild Garlic/Cneamh was considered an important food in early Ireland,and along with Watercress and Wood Sorrel was regularly collected from the wild and then eaten raw or cooked in a broth or soup.
When,a few years back I found myself trekking in the Himalayas,I used often eat a clove of garlic raw and found the effect good for trekking but not necessarily so for company!
In recent times wild garlic was often used to flavour butter instead of salt - this was not a custom in my grandmother's in the Nire Valley in the '50s when I was but a boy,where the 'true' country butter was flavoured with a generous dollop of salt.God be good to her.
The wild garlic in this area of the Rock can be found elsewhere but not as yet in the same profusion.
Cloves of wild garlic were sometimes planted in the thatch over the door in Irish cottages for luck!
Continued with the work of finishing off the new steps on the former steep slope above the eastern zig-zag.
Every barrow load of mulch had to be ferried along woodland tracks hallowed by countless feet over generations.
Winding tracks that undulated like waves on a shoreline,giving way to minor waves where roots showed and wandered in myriad ways,heading God knows where.
The stones were more to hand,but having lain inside the boundary wall for almost a year had become embedded where they fell and snared in briar and nettle.
We each have the scratches to prove that fact!
Small branches,twigs and leaves covering the paths over which the barrow coursed were raked and the debris moved to the side,not as a spring-clearing exercise but to give our good friend and smallest Mammal,the Pygmy Shrew a better chance of survival from walking feet and nosy dogs - I have found a number of Shrews trampled in recent weeks.They will now have safer pickings among the heaped leaves on the track verges giving walkers a better chance of encountering them and of observing them.....
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