Our hedge gives us great joy, especially during spring and early summer. As much as I’d love to live out in the wilds of Mayo, maybe under a mountain or by a lake, with a wooded area nearby, unfortunately this isn’t the case. At my semi-urban home, the hedge separating our house from the open fields beyond, with her Ash, Whitethorn, Bramble and wildflowers, is my little bit of nature.
Right now, she has produced her first Primroses and the Blackbird, Wren and Blue Tit occupy her branches and undergrowth. This morning, I noticed our first Wild Strawberry flower of the year. When they mature, we will pick and eat the odd tasty little fruit, leaving the majority on the plant.
We’re currently watching the Whitethorn sprout her new leaves and await the those of the Ash, later. Soon, she will give us our annual Lords & Ladies, Dog Violet, Common Vetch and Germander Speedwell wildflowers. We’ll especially love the large white Field Rose petals that appear during summer. Later on, almost in autumn, it’ll be time to harvest our hedge Blackberries for dessert.
Fifteen years ago, I named one of our Ash trees after my first-born, as they both appeared in the same year. Needless to say, the tree is now far taller than my child, at some 5 metres, as it struggles for its place in the sun.
Earlier this week, our cat presented us with her maybe once-per-two-years catching of a tiny Shrew. I measured it at 4.5 cm for the body, plus 3.5 cm for the tail, giving a miniscule total length of 8.0 cm. Typical of the cat, she left her kill intact. Speaking of the cat, she has her special place in the hedge too, where she’s hollowed out a patch just the size of her body. She’ll lie there, snug, with the ever lengthening grass keeping her warm.
Don’t forget the wonderful online resource for wildflower identification (whether in your hedge or any other Irish habitat) that is Wildflowers of Ireland.