With a few hours to spare while the cars windscreen was being replaced I took a look around Sean Walsh park opposite the Tallaght shoping centre. The park surrounds a large man made pond and has a small wooded area with some Oak, Ash, Birch , Sycamore, elder and plenty of hogweed and cowparsley, There is also an abundance of Geranium robertanium, cleavers, and neddles. I crossed the pedestrian bridge (with the design flair of an abattoir) over the N81 into a sloping field with views to the wicklow mountains. For a brief moment visually one might be forgiven for thinking these rolling hills continued unimpeded all the way south into Wicklow.
Along the sothern edge of the field Common Vetch Vicia sativa was plentyful as well as a rather strong looking Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
In the wood a common Lime was host to Eriophyes tiliae a mite that forms the lime nail gall. These little mites overwinter in cracks in the bark and about now start to feed on the sap in the leaves. The galls are tubular and grow to 5mm A new mite emerges repeating the cycle again next year. Had,nt seen this before!
A little way from the lime on a a damp incline was a Cowslip Primula veris which can be easily identified by an orange marking at the base of each petal..
The planting immediately around the lake,, playground and sensory garden is in stark contrast to the more natural feel of the woodland and by the river. Below Gunnera by the lake. .
A coot paddled toward the dog giving an alarm call. My father visited this lake a few times recently trying to get a decent picture of a rare caspian gull that comes here. There is definately something quite nice about the place even if it is a man made park..
By the lake this appears to be a Bay Willow Salix pentandra . Collins flower guide
Meadow buttercup Ranunculus acris by the river
By the entrance to the playground some Pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea .Its flower heads smell very strongly of pineapple when crushed and as Miles Irvine in The foragers handbook suggests use in salads raw or made into a jelly. Yum
The sensory garden was unexpected and is quite interesting. Enclosed to the north by Peaches traIned on Espalier buffering the views and sounds of the nearby road and brick buildings.
Reading through the plans and species I saw Ginkgo biloba the memory tree and most ancient of species.I collected some leaves for making tea. Biloba meaning two lobes just like the brain refering to its use as brain food.
Some Mahonia ‘charity’ whose berries are edible, rich in vitamin c, but a little sharp.
Plenty of ripe berries available.
Some of the gardens herbs included fennel,sage and chives.
A bay tree Laurus nobilis whose leaves are used in flavouring dishes, freely available for use by the community.
A very much enjoyable way to spend a few hours in Tallaght that avoids that shoping centre. The only hesitations one might have in using the edible plants found in a park like this is the proximity to the road (N81) and the widespread use of chemicals used in landscape maintenance. For urban dwellers this is potential forage so further investigations into the councils use of chemicals in parks will be needed.