On monday the 28th of July we visited Mount Usher and Kilmacurragh gardens in Wicklow. That morning before leaving we had spotted an example of Fasciation on a Veronica plant which got the learning off to a good start. We spent a few hours with our guide books in hand following the river Vartry and the numbered tree trail around the gardens. Some plants in particular took my eye. Lunaria Honest / The money plant which had finished flowering and its disc shaped seed pods were on display. This plant is suitable for part to shady areas and its seeds used in flower arranging.
I was drawn to Colletia from the Rhamnaceae family. This plant is from South America and Its rather a leathal looking thing with a stem that forms flattened triangles with sharp points. It’s one of a small number of plants that are non leguminous nitrogen fixers. Other examples of this include Alders , Sea-buckthorns, and Gunnera ( Cyanobacteria).
Another odd looking plant Ruskus ( Butchers Broom) caught my eye with its flattened shoots that look like pointed leaves. It tollerates deep shade and has many medicinal uses connected with blood flow in the body.
Heading on to Kilmacurragh we took a tour at 3pm
Plants noted include
- Silphium perfoliatum ( gum, medicinal uses, edibility, high protein content)
- Cardiocrinum giganteum the largest of the lilys which flowered earlier this year after 8 years
- The Chillean aromatic laurel was probably the higlight of the day with its wonderful scented leaves. Its a champion our guide exclaimed !
- Wolllemia nobilis.( considered extinct untill 1994 when discovered near Sydney)
Kilmacurragh provides refuge for plant that are endangered in the wild
Ballybunion Mens beach kerry Monday the 4th
At low tide Dad and I headed out onto the Limestone rocks to take a look about. We began our search by turning over a few rocks in the small pools and then waiting a second or two to see if a Porcelain crab would reveal itself by moving around the smoothed stone. Sure enough we found them as he had said. We also found hilarous little Hermit crabs and watched as they made a dash for water. Other crabs we saw were the shore, Montague and the shell of an edible crab.
We found 3 types of Periwinkle, edible, rough and flat. We also found top shell, Dog Whelk, Limpets, Acorn Barnacles, Koil worm and Sand Hoppers. In the rock pools we found a cute Blenny ,prawns, Beadlet Anemone, Sea Squirt,and Compass jellyfish washed up on the beach and later seen from a canoe.
Seaweeds seen were: Sugar Kelp, Kelp , Bladder wrack, Gutweed, Pink encrusting seaweeds, Coral Weed, Pepper Dulse, Carageen Irish Moss ( blue iridescent tips under water),Gut weed and Sea Lettuce.
Cashen river near Ballybunion
Abundance of Glasswort and Sea Aster growing together on the mud flats, Seabeet on rocks, Duke of Argylls Tea Plant ( Goji berry) ,growing in limestone gabions only a few red berries as the site is windy. Spear Leaf Orache, Wild Carrot, Ladys Bedstraw growing nearby. The glasswort ( Marsh samphire) is very nice boiled and served with butter stripping the flesh from the stringy centre and a bit like Rock Samphire in taste.