Gardening with Nature on the Edge of the Atlantic

A Festive Frog

Colourful Cotoneastor providing a festive backdrop despite the hard winter. Ferdinand the frog is continuing to develop a nice patina of lichen despite his smooth surface.

Over the last week or so I have been practicing for the Survey for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. I did not expect to have much to contribute but did a thorough, early search of the garden and came up with at least 10 wild flowers in bloom. The daisies and dandelions were to be expected but this tiny violet was a complete surprise. I just hope that all varieties stay in bloom until the days of the survey.

Despite the lack of a central wine umbel, the feathery, hairy leaves suggest that this Is a Wild Carrot. It and its relative the Sea Carrot are abundant throughout the garden, but this plant is acting as if it is high summer and is full of flowers.

The full Wild Carrot plant with the red quince flowering and just visible in the background.

The first Camellia of the season, far earlier than usual but it looks as if it won’t be alone for long.

This little Willowherb may not have any flowers, but is providing striking colours during these very drab, stormy days.

West Cork is very lucky to have two Michelin star restaurants. Given the number of birds that are now feeding in the garden I like to think that I am providing them with the same quality service – sadly at almost the same cost. This little Dunnock is nearly as friendly as the robins and sat very patiently as I tried to take a photograph. If only the other birds were so helpful.

The Mallus Scarletta has held on to its leaves to the bitter end of the year and these are the last stragglers.

The Blue and Great Tits are prticularly fond of the peanuts even when most other food is on offer. The only exception is my homemade lard and oatmeal pudding which lasts seconds on the bird tables. This is a pity as it takes me hours to render the fat and make up the pudding and I will have to start the process again much sooner than I expected.

This is a recent photograph of a hydrangea that not only has retained its leaves but its colour as well. At the moment you have to search for such gems of colour but I will take anything that I can get.

Despite the wet December I am very lucky to have a garden where the Camellia thrive and if the buds are anything to go by, it will be a spectacular January. Meanwhile this lone primrose is a lovely reminder that Spring is around the corner.

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