Tuesday 27.04.2021 Irish Spurge and a swing among the Golden heights

I pick up a small sycamore flower to remind me what they look like and go ‘east to see if we have another yellow bench installed but find only a bed of fresh cement.

The Fleischmann place and hover around the witch’s grove using my new found app to catalogue some of the plant life in this area, I enjoy adding these to ‘my garden’ in the app, a virtual collection now in my pocket. Just as I am negociating the mud at the willow two sleek and spotty spaniels come bounding over with a ball and shake themselves dry at my feet, I throw the ball which promptly sinks causing them to circle around and around one another in a wet doggy waltz, their humans arrive at the bridge and we wave and greet one another, the dogs are not giving giving up, and one of them, Sally (under the Saille) retrieves the ball and bounds out joyfully and purposefully the other hot on her tail. The water eddies in their wake.

I am delighted to find wild raspberries here under the the Witches’ Willow. Along the path by the mong wall and overlooking the bayou I find the elusive Irish Spurge. A plant JJ the horticulturist was curious to find on our walk together earlier this month, I think it must have been only a tiny leaf cluster deep inside the undergrowth back then, now it is a lush and confident domed bush. I spot the cuckoo flower at the water’s edge looming over the petrol and the filmy-fuzzy- caught-up-surface of the dry weather shallowing pond, it’s here at this spot I saw the single cowslip last June, must be quite the special place with its own conditions.

Then on to the Y tree, which I find now from its tender new leaves is a sycamore, and its grove pal is a horse chestnut complete with its own special ground cover, forming a frondy mat close to the earth. I consult my friend the app that this delicate plant is edible, with many names – Earth Chestnut – St. Anthony’s nut – Hog nut – Groundnut – Hawknut – Jarnut – Pignut – Kippernut! I make a note to myself to include this plant in my rounds. As I log the elms in my virtual garden I’m reminded of the story of the disease of beetle and fungus, the tree’s lower parts closest to the ground leafing and life rising up in spring each year but never reaching the upper branches so we have the elm skeleton on high, bare of bark and so lightening white, still perches for the birds.

I go on up to the ridge and find a swing has been swung from the oak a lovely long armed swing with a very accommodating curved barrel slice of tree trunk for a seat, later I look under and see it has been braced with metal bars across splits in 3 places, but it felt firm as I was sailing above the Glen, a perfect place at this golden sundown amidst the gorse with it’s night scent, the wheeling blackbirds, pigeons and crows, though I missed the buzzards who had been reported here earlier in the day, there is nothing so aspirational as a swing on the branch of a favourite oak. This corner is becoming quite the playground with its new fire pit stone stool and benches. I go on for the golden most of golden sundowns in the gorse on the ridge, all lit up, shadows carving out the mystic circle on the opposite side. I say hello to the tiny oak sapling and the burgeoning rose bay willow herbs and feel so happy even as I look down on the newly painted hatch. Homeward bound I see the dark and heavy cloud in the East as I turn on to Dillon’s Cross, feeling blessed that I have once again caught the magic of the Glen.

Published by @julforres

Julie Forrester, artist based in Cork City Ireland

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