Category Archives: Photography

Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co Offaly


The same day we went to Clonmacnoise, we visited Boora Bog and its acres of sculpture parklands. We went to see the art and have a nice long walk on a lovely day – we were successful!

The art installation was begun in 2002, and most works have a theme relating to the Bord na Mona peat-harvesting that was done in the area from the 1950’s-1970’s. Quite a few works reference the wee trains that moved the cut peat out of the bog.

Every work has a sign giving details of the artist and their inspiration and materials used. This one is called ‘Sky Train.’

Looking out from one lonely train engine toward a stand of upside-down bog oak. There is a tiny dolmen in the centre.

The bog-oak henge.

Two views of the same work. So far all pictures have been one by himself and one by me!

Another work. Sorry we didn’t log names.

This one is meant to embody a skipping stone. I saw a canal-monster!

There was so very very much more here. More art, endangered birds, and a Mesolithic site! We spent hours but could have spent a few days. If you go, expect to not want to leave!

Peace Out


I have one very very healthy and happy rose bush – my all-time favourite, the Peace rose. It is finally coming into bloom, and I have to say I’ve been able to get the most gorgeous photos of the first bud.

Day one…

Day two…


I’m still sick, but it’s sunny today and it costs little of my energy to sit outside and smell the flowers. I’m so grateful. The peace rose was my mother’s favourite rose, and I have so many good memories of her when I am enjoying this rose (it smells as good as it looks). 

Oh, for Socks: How I did it. I did some photo editing on the first two shots to bring up the ‘black point’ and make the dark green leaves look black. I don’t know if any of the further THIRTEEN buds on this tiny bush will also have the full-leaf background to make this type of shot possible again. 



Points for the reference.

Our high on Sunday last – 32.5C, or about 90.5F. And only 10% humidity so…yay! 

We had a bank holiday this Monday, so I spent all three days outside. I am super proud that I didn’t put on a pair of shoes for three whole days! Yes, my feet were filthy. Yes, I loved it.

Got lots of garden-work done. I think I’ve finally finished ripping all the grass and weeds out of the annoying and awkward strip to the left of our driveway.

I goofed – thought these were nicotania. Foxgloves! Gifted to me by iDJ’s uncle who is also mad for gardening. Behind them, wild ivy and my not-sweet pea from seed I gathered in the US many years ago. It always comes back, and doesn’t spread. Once again I’m trying to get it to flop over the wall instead of smothering plants on this side. The ivy helps by giving it something to hold on to. But the wind usually comes straight at the front of the house, so every year it is a losing battle.

But I’m optimistic; so right below the pea, I planted broad beans. Silly me!

At the other end of Awkward Strip, I dug out my purple callas finally – after 10 years – as they hated it there (now potted, and in a sunnier place). Put these yokes in: Aubretia ‘kittie blue’ (look purple to me) as they are meant to spread and bloom for ages. Still some unhappy dianthus there under the roses, but it is so full of clover, moss, and grass that I might dig it out next year, too. Depends on if the dianthus makes an effort this year or not. I used to like it, but it’s just not been happy the last few years (it got mowed two years ago and never forgave me). 

In between, not pictured – a peace rose, and my first ever peony. Also these:

These are osteospermum ‘cool purple’ and ‘margarita pink flare’. I’m super proud of hubby for picking these out, and after I showed him how, he planted the pink flare all by himself. I think of it as his plant now! I really hope they both get well established and come back next year as they are meant to (I don’t really do annuals). 

Some foxglove close-ups, as you do!

It’s a bee-butt! This welcome visitor showed up while I was taking snaps. She sampled just about every flower!

My first rose of the season! Yes, the bush has a terrible case of black spot, and possibly orange rust. May have to hack the hell out of them this winter. I’m too timid with the pruning. 

Damn Duggar flowers are everywhere. 

The Sweet William has lost its sweetness for me as it also gets everywhere. But the top one isn’t a variety I planted. It’s evolving. Triffids, I tell you!

The blue Primrose, after looking a bit raggedy, has come back for another show. It also is looking more purple than blue, but part of that is the camera. It just can’t get a good pic of this beauty. 

The mini irises out front are going strong. They are so tiny! And in another annoying spot in the background, my massive hostas. 

But the real show-stopper this year is…

Now, I can’t seem to find the post where I planted these to find out what the heck they are! Four different bearded iris, but only one came up into bloom this year. I love it! The one stalk had eight flowers. Wow! They are massive blooms, big as nearly both my hands.

I have more, of course – but think I best end with the best.

I Did Garden Stuff Today! 


Some of my country was frosty today. I even heard rumours of snow. But not here! Today (between hail showers) we had lovely sun and not too much wind.

Of course, I was out in the garden as much as possible. We even had the grass mowed; first go of the year, thanks to iDJ’s wonderful uncles and their gas mower. They even took away the clippings, which was very welcome to me, as my compost bin is full to the top.

Digging out some of that black gold is a job for another day. Maybe tomorrow, if it stays nice.

I used the hail-shower time today to start some seeds, finally. More gazania, more rudbeckia, and trying yet again with the coleus and zinnia that have failed to germinate year after year. Just for the hell of it, I am also trying lilac seed I collected off of a friend’s tree, ancient broad beans, and pumpkin seeds that I saved from the past Halloween. These are in homemade mini-greenhouses on the best windowsill (sorry, cats). More Gerbera daisies, and some funny fuzzy sunflowers called ‘teddy bear’ that hubby found, liked, and bought for me. He does love his sunflowers. Also something called ‘honesty’ which I don’t have high hopes for, but hey; you never know.

I trimmed a lot of tiny bits of dead wood from my three blueberry bushes, and put a layer of needles from last year’s Christmas tree on top of the soil. Supposedly they are good for acid-loving plants. I still have most of a bucket of needles left over, too. Want some? They are premium: mostly dog-hair & random-strands-of-tinsel free. 

Glad to see the best of my three blueberry bushes is making flowers, too – by next weekend I should have some happy bees sampling them.

I also gave some needles to the azalea my mother-in-law got me two (?) years ago. It’s not been a very happy plant, and tries to flower in November for some damn reason, but this spring it seems to be settling in and realising that it has to live here.

Not the healthiest looking thing, is it? Weird furry leaves, too – can’t blame that on the dog. At least is it blooming at the right time, finally.

The clematis is going gangbusters. I’ve not given them any attention whatsoever. I’d say some of this is at least 12ft (3.66meters) high. 

I think I am going to (try to) kill the grey willow they climb on, and use its corpse as a trellis for way cooler plants. The birds love this tree as there aren’t many other trees nearby. I had plans…but my lilac from seed is now six or seven years old and still only a foot tall. It won’t do. Then again, if it wasn’t in a pot…

Raspberries are making flower buds, too! And spreading out into the grass like weeds. Dammit.

The tallest one there is six foot (nearly two meters). It is entirely new growth from last year, so all of this will make fruit. I’m going to be up to my eyes (literally) in raspberries.

New lilies from last year are coming up fast!

As are the old red-and-black ones that have been in this pot way too long now. Going to have to do some heavy culling and sharing this winter.

Dammed slugs have eaten the entire tops off of my yellow lilies. Hence all the blue pellets you see in all these pictures. Sorry but not sorry – I do poison the little sumbitches. I have thousands in my garden, and no chickens or hedgehogs to help.

Another thing the slugs have been at: the nicotiana I grew from seed last year. They did fuck-all in 2015, but overwintered well and are now getting big. 

But. There was an awful lot of leaf-litter gathered under those big leaves: from the sweet pea that you can see on the far right (it’s not any variety that makes sense), and random plant-rubbish blowing into the drive. So it was slug-heaven under those nics until today. I cut off most of the raggedy leaves before taking this pic, and obviously was liberal with the slug pellets. 

And don’t you love the ivy? I love the ivy. I didn’t plant it. I didn’t have to: its Ireland. My neighbor, however, hates it. It’s technically his wall, too. Oops. All I know is that I don’t have to paint that part because leaves.

Something the slugs don’t eat: garlic. I really thought I’d gotten it all last year – I harvested about a kilo. Clearly, I missed these. Still: slug pellets because they are eating the hell out of the two native primrose I stuck in this planter (which aren’t doing much but getting eaten, at the moment).

Lavender is coming into bloom! Had a bumblebee around today seeing if these were ripe. 

  My columbine (aquilegia) went from basic leaves to this in a week. Caught me off-guard. I haven’t even been around with the peter’s special yet. Tomorrow…
Last-meet Katy! She’s a flamer, but don’t hold it against her. Been an indoor plant for about a year now, and so top-heavy it isn’t funny. She’s a kalanchoe that I think I got for about 30 cents when she was done blooming. Shame that people just don’t have the patience to care for a living thing when it isn’t ‘pretty’. I’m glad I do – repotted once, needs it again, and she is quite the stunner. 

I got It – Croagh Patrick at Sunset


I’ve been trying to get this photo for weeks. 

I’ve been taking the big camera to work with me, and bringing it inside instead of leaving it in the car because I didn’t want condensation issues. The two days that the view was similar (but better!) than this, I had forgotten to bring the damn camera to work with me. Once I drove all the way home for it. Of course, when I got back to the perfect place, I was not only too late but the battery was stone cold dead! Auugh! And of course, every day the sunset came earlier and earlier, while I still had to work until the same late hour… So you know now that this took some effort, and wasn’t just luck!

The pointy one is Croagh Patrick, County Mayo’s most famous mountain. An extinct volcano, it has been revered by the Irish for several thousand years, and is now a Catholic pilgrimage site.

From many angles the mountain also named “The Reek” doesn’t look so perfectly pyrimidical. I’ve posted a picture from this same place along the road before – back in March 2012 –  I did the research then and said that as the crow flies, I am taking this picture from about 50 KM or 30 miles away. I think the sunset magnifies the mountain somehow. It isn’t huge – 764 metres or 2,507 feet – so to be seen so clearly from so far away is a rarity. Well, I’ve only gotten it twice in over three years!

*Need I remind everyone that copyright belongs to the blog owner and this picture is not for reuse without permission? I do have it in RAW format if someone wishes to purchase it.

Gerbera Update!


They have been in bloom for weeks now, but holy shit it is hard to take a good photo of them!

Only three have bloomed – one is still thinking about it, and two died. Dammit. I won’t leave them outside ever again!

The youngest, and smallest, of the brood. 

The second one to open. Gorgeous!

This is my favourite. I want so much for you to see how the underside of the petals are a different colour. Can you? It’s impossible, I think, to capture what we see.

Sometimes a picture isn’t enough -these flowers have made me realise that not everything can be expressed or shared to the full extent of reality.

Grow these – buy these – whatever you need to do, but please try to get this flower into your life. Mine are hidden away (from cats) on the windowsill of our toilet! Have to say every time we visit the room, we both talk about the daisies.

Tigridia Post. I Have To, The Photos Are Piling Up.


I think I’ll do all pink ones.

I’m beginning to think that wasps are the main pollinators of my tigridia – unless it is just the wind doing the job?

Did you notice? Most are pink and white, but some are pink and yellow!

I had a hard time deciding if this was red or pink… So much for the stereotype that women know all the colours. I think it’s more red, now – comparing to the other pictures. Oh well! 

 A bit battered.
 Not quite open yet, but I had to go to work. Hence the very abused steel-toe Caterpillar Boots in frame.