They say that spring is a little late this year – the result of the winter storms, which caused so much destruction and set back growth. Many shrubs and trees around us looked stripped and burned from a combination of ferocious winds and salt spray. Even the gorse is slow: although some of it is in full bloom, the hillsides are not yet ablaze with that incredible yellow.
But now around the Mizen the spring flowers have burst into bloom. The boreens are heady with wild garlic. It’s become a thing to cook with it. One of my favourite young Irish chefs, Donal Skehan, has a recipe for wild garlic pesto and another for wild garlic soda bread. Haven’t tried it myself yet, but it’s definitely on the list.
I have serious bluebell wood envy. There is one near here, and I dream of eventually having my carpet of blue under the trees. Here’s a little bluebell slideshow: most of the photos were taken close to our house, but a couple are from Wicklow (Bray Head and Mount Usher Gardens), and the last one shows my brand new bluebells coming up from the bulbs I planted last autumn.
The hedgerows are striking right now. Above are the white branches of the hawthorn (also known as whitethorn), gorgeous in their bountiful white blossoms, and below are the roadside flowers – celandines, buttercups, daisies, violas and primroses.
Along the shore hardier species are showing themselves now. Sea pinks, or thrift, are waving in the breeze. Today we found one that Robert has always called pennypies, but which is more properly called navelwort. It’s a fascinating looking plant – and good, apparently, for curing corns!
There are lots I can’t name, so can you help me out, Dear Reader, and tell me what these flowers are?
I can’t resist one final photo – no, it’s not a wild flower, but it holds the promise of delicious things to come. These are the blossoms on our pear trees.