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Sunday 15 March 2015

The Botanic Gardens in March

Spring has just started to claw its way out of winter here. We got a hint of good weather last weekend that got revoked somewhat during the week but the various plants have started to decide it’s time in any case. I’m always intrigued by the difference in the onset of spring between Dublin and Cork, Cork is usually a sea of cherry blossom and magnolia in the week of Saint Patrick’s day. In Dublin, on the other hand, it seems that it’s a week or two later. But if you look around you can find a few examples, even outside the microclimates of south facing sun traps.


Daffodils are definitely starting to flower but only some varieties to be honest and it’s still mostly crocuses, primroses and pansies. The gardeners in the Phoenix Park seem to really like primroses. Which is not a bad thing by the way.


I finally came across the deer in the park within range (well almost) of my camera. I wasn’t sure how close I should get, not keen on either spooking them or getting charged. I assume the risk is pretty low but still, I’ll wait until there are other people around, between me and the deer, before getting close. That’s why these are such lousy shots. Cool deer though.


The main target for today was a walk out to the Botanic Gardens to see whether spring had really made much of an impact there. Not really is the short answer but things are just about to kick into gear. There was a superb bonsai exhibition on too which made it more than worth while all on its own. I met the guy who grows these. Talk about a labour of love, interestingly he said he had grown most of the trees on display from seeds of trees from the Botanic Gardens. Really lovely stuff.


Gotta love that apple, it’s the size of a pea.

For the weekend that was in it they had also put on a display of shamrock.Considering how much clover I walk over these days it’s not really a surprise that a variant of it should be our national plant. 


Interesting that they had this on display in the Alpine House. I think that was simply to get it up to a convenient height to look at, otherwise they could probably just have stuck a label almost anywhere around the grounds and had a 50:50 chance of being right. Endemic, that’s the word.

There were some slight changes in the other plants in the Alpine House, I don’t recall that they had the irises and hyacinths out when I was here few weeks back but it’s probably just that they weren’t flowering.



And tons of narcissae. Or whatever the plural is.


Otherwise it was still pretty much an end of winter rather than start of spring scene. One solitary daffodil out in this outdoor patch.


It’s all mostly green and brown with a very few bright spots, like the crocus on the right.


Some things are beginning to bud and blossom however. I’m not sure what the triffid on the left is called but some, not many to be fair, of the magnolias were in blossom.


Along the way I came across a couple of magpies who seemed to have been taking drugs, snapped this rather interesting shot and then noticed that some wag had decided old Socrates needed glasses.


And I finally found some of the grafted trees I’d been told were out there if you looked closely enough. These two in the first shot below are quite strikingly different to each other. It’s pretty much standard practice for growing grapes, citrus fruits and apples as far as I know but it’s quite mad to see. The last picture is just some box from the walled garden. I associate it with my Gran and her house as she had box hedges in her back garden. The smell of it is very distinctive and one of those things that immediately brings me back to long hot summers when I was a kid.


On the way back into town I came across this classic rental property on Temple Street, just off Dorset Street. It’s St George’s Church, now deconsecrated ( I should hope) and renovated with “floating floors and Cat-6 cabling’ apparently. Man if I had the money, I’d be renting this. I know it’s totally crass, like a stretch Humvee limo but look at it. You get a whole block just to yourself too. Mad. 


As I was heading up O’Connell Street I remembered seeing a perspective trick photo that I had to try out for myself. I’m very happy with how this turned out and the “Hallowed are the Ori” effect. Although “The jousting is about to begin” could also work. The version I saw of this used Gandalf’s “You shall not pass” tag, which is pretty good too. I’m trying to find the source as I really should credit them here. I don’t think I’d have ever seen it myself, even as I was walking up to the spot where you can take this I was convinced it had been photoshopped, there is a very small area where you can take this shot and have it work.


The Spire has been done up to glow green at night and the International Year of Light people have also helped out and added in a “Get your tweets on the Spire” feature which is well cool. I was quite happy with my choice of tweet given the people we have lost recently, seemed apt.



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