wildflowers

Tourism Pure Walking Holidays

Guided Walking Holidays in Mayo & Connemara, Ireland

 

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Posts tagged with: 'wildflowers'

Spring Wildflowers of Mayo

Perhaps the most lovely thing about getting out for a walk at this particular time of year is the renewed colour all around as the spring wildflowers of Mayo come out and begin to dominate our forests, hedges and fields. But nor do you have to go far – simply enjoy those in your uncut garden or hedge.

The white of Wild Garlic carpets the forest floor, which it shares with the beautiful drooping Bluebell. Get down on your hands and knees and breathe in the powerful aroma of the Wild Garlic – one of the great experiences of Ireland’s springtime.

The bright cream Primrose is visible in tight bunches along the hedgerow, while the especially excellent Marsh Marigold stands bright yellow along the damp water’s edge, often with its feet wet.

The small white flowers of Wild Strawberry is a hedge neighbour for the discreet blue-purple Dog-Violet. We hope we’ll see the fruit of the Wild Strawberry later in the summer, while the Violet will soon fade away.

Some green is supplied by the carpet-forming Opposite-Leaved Golden Saxifrage on stream banks, along with Lords and Ladies in the hedges and the fabulous tall and erect shoots of Yellow Iris on damp ground, although neither of these is yet in bloom.

In the unmowed garden, Daisies, Dandelions and Cuckooflower already dominate the grass. Herb Robert trails along the borders, while if you go exploring a little, you might find glorious Early Purple Orchids in nearby fields.

So get out and enjoy the outdoors, ever more interesting with the arrival of spring wildflowers. For all you need to know about Ireland’s wildflowers, visit Zoe Devlin’s superb website, at http://www.wildflowersofireland.net/ and don’t leave home without the Collins “Complete Irish Wildlife” book, with its introduction by Derek Mooney. The latter also contains Ireland’s mammals, trees, birds, insects, etc.

Spring Wildflowers of Mayo – what to see

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Wildflowers Delayed due to Cold

Out for a woodland walk at the weekend, I noticed how delayed the arrival of seasonal wildflowers has been. The very cold spring (even last night, temperatures around the country were barely 1 to 4C) has resulted in few wildflowers in bloom to enjoy.

Here are some examples of how I fared on Sunday, over a stretch of mixed woodland that I know well :

Ramsons (Wild Garlic) – Eight in bloom, where there should be literally thousands. Those that were open were positioned out at the edge of the Beech woodland, where they can receive a little more sunlight. Under the trees, there was not one open flower.

Bluebells – Very few in bloom and even then, the heads are not properly open out into their complete ‘bell’ shape.

Orchids – None whatsoever, at a time when I would normally see hundreds. This includes areas under the sun, where the first would normally bloom.

Lords and Ladies – None whatsoever; there should be tens.

Water Avens – Much fewer than normal.

Wildflowers - Water Avens

Water Avens

I also noticed that new leaves on trees, such as the European Larch and Sally Willow, seem less advanced than normal. Nor did I hear a single Cuckoo.

I did, however, enjoy the beautiful bright green spring leaves of the Beech tree.

Luckily, the weather is supposed to finally warm up over the coming days and the May bank holiday weekend is announced nice and dry (-ish).

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Wildflowers on Walking Holidays

I took the following photos over a 500 m stretch of West of Ireland coastal countryside last weekend, while out on a walk. I love finding wildflowers in their natural habitat, whether that be the expansive blanket bogs, small remnants of old oak woodland, along cliff tops or on the bare limestone landscape of the Burren and less known, secluded parts of Mayo and Connemara.

Ireland, and the West in particular, is short on the variety of wildflowers you might encounter. We’re not in the south of France here !That’s partly because of being an island and, of course, partly because of the West’s wind and rain lashed vast blanket bog landscapes. Nevertheless, there are certain places and times of the summer when there is an abundance of gorgeous wildflowers in this part of the world too.

Indeed, my own small garden, with its wonderful Ash and Whitethorn dominated wild hedge, boasts Field Rose, Wild Strawberry (complete with fruit at the moment), Heath Spotted Orchid, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Herb Robert and more wildflowers.

But it’s out and about that the most interesting wildflowers are to be found. So, on my 500 m stretch last weekend, I found the following :

Sea Radish, Sea Thrift, Sea Bindweed, Bloody Crane’s Bill, Sea Campion, Broomrape, Common Mallow, Knotted Pearlwort, Honeysuckle, Ox Eye Daisy, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, O’Kelly’s Spotted Orchid, Yellow Iris and more. Bliss. I love that moment when you realise that you’re seeing a flower you haven’t come across before, or perhaps a finer specimen than you’ve ever had previously.

I regularly post photos of wildflowers on my Twitter account, so why not follow me here. Indeed, if you are looking for help with wildflower identification in Ireland, then consult Zoe Devlin’s Wildflowers of Ireland site. It’s excellent. So if you’re new to wildflowers, you know the mantra : just get out there !

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