A Dappled Feast

I woke to thick mist on Sunday morning and  a mad longing to find my anchorage in Mount Congreve Garden. A tiny patch of blue eventually forced its way through and I ran out of the sleeping house to be greeted by a Mount Congreve that I had never witnessed there before ~ dancing colours, shadows and a luxurious vibrancy that made my heart sing.

While I’d been waiting for the mist to lift, I’d ascertained that Sunday (April 6) was the day that William Wordsworth had been appointed Poet Laureate in 1843. The daffodils in Mount Congreve were in full bloom and as I walked down the avenue, I heard a woman saying to her male companion: You can certainly see what William Wordsworth was talking about. It took every ounce of restraint not to burst into the last stanza of The Daffodils which has punctuated my life in so many ways:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 
(William Wordsworth)

And, as I wandered through the magnificent gardens, W.B. Yeats seemed to be everywhere with his great lines from The Song of Wandering Aengus:

And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

So here’s a hint of  what unfolded during my wanderings:


Remember that Mount Congreve Gardens are open each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5.30.







Come to my Garden of Eden …..

Summertime started here in Ireland yesterday. It seemed like the world was still sleeping as I wandered around stunning Mount Congreve Garden, here in Co. Waterford, very early on what was a calm and balmy morning.

Here’s a hint of how the Garden looked as it moves into April:






Christmas Love ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 355

As Ireland moves towards St. Stephen’s Day, I would like to share a couple of photographs from today ~ a day on which nature here in Co. Waterford sparkled:

Listening to the Church Bells in Tramore
Garrarus Beach
Garrarus Beach
Newtown Wood
Newtown Wood
Tramore Bay
Tramore Bay

What’s Your View? ~Gatherings from Ireland # 340

I tend to do almost all  my writing in ‘my study,’ which is a rather grand name for the little room upstairs that I fell for the minute I clapped eyes on it 22 years ago.

It wasn’t so much the room, but the view ~ the dangling arms of the Monkey Puzzle tree which is much closer to the house than I’m sure it should be. Deepest green, evergreen, but a tree that also presents me with golden glints, pearly raindrops, tapestries of intricate webs …..

My Monkey Puzzle
My Room with a View

About five years ago, two birds, that I liked to think of as The Love Birds, set up home in the Monkey Puzzle and would sit for hours each day on its prickly branches. I missed them dreadfully when they finally left but they’ve kept returning and this year it seems like we have five generations all partying and singing like mad, before sunrise and after sunset. 

No, I can’t see their cleverly hidden nest/s but I smile as their music has added a whole new dimension of light to the dark hours when I hear this precious tree that never sleeps.

I often wonder about the views which are part of the lives of the millions of bloggers all round the world.  Go on, tell me about yours!

Secrets of a Happy Life ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 323

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. (Iris Murdoch)

Swans in the Anne Valley, Co. Waterford
Swans in the Anne Valley, Co. Waterford

Swans never fail to cheer me and I went in search of them today on the calm waters of the Anne Valley. There they were ~ tranquil, perfect soulmates melting into each other and their calm waters.

What are your small treats, dear friends?

A Post I Thought I’d Never Write …

I am very conscious of the fact that the majority of the search terms that lead people to this blog relate to Losing Elderly Parents and there are times when the fear, angst and sadness of those who are searching is painfully palpable.

I honestly can’t remember but I suspect I was one of those searchers back when my parents were in failing health and in the weeks and months after they had died. There is absolutely no easy way to lose one’s parents and there are times when it can seem overwhelming and totally unmanageable. I say that in relation to both the period leading up to their deaths and after they have passed on.

This time three years ago, I was trying to deal with what would have been my parent’s 62nd wedding anniversary and it was just two months after my father had died. Mother had died 16 months before him.  I have the most vivid recall of driving out to Maguire’s Garden Centre to buy spring bulbs to mark the occasion.

Maguire’s was a place that Mother and Father always loved and we spent many, many happy hours out there buying bulbs, plants, garden furniture ….. That day, three years ago, I pulled up in the car park and was so overcome with grief that I just sat in the car sobbing and ended up driving straight home without being able to go in.  I felt that day that I would never, ever be able to set foot in what had always been a haven of happiness.

Although I’ve been back to Maguire’s quite a few times in the last two years,  it’s  never been on special occasions.  So, today was a first and the memory of that day sobbing hit me when I got to the car park. However, the sense of hopelessness and loss didn’t descend. Rather, I was able to think about the happy times we had shared there; smiled as I thought of Father teasing me when I went out there with him shortly after I’d finished a gardening course and thought I knew everything there was to be known about plants; was immediately drawn to the snowdrops which were always Mother’s favourites …..

Back home, I spent about three hours at total peace tidying up the rockery and flower beds and planting the spring bulbs and heather I had bought.  It was like Mother and Father were with me and all sorts of memories drifted in an out of my mind ~ the little patch that I had in the garden from when I was about three; Mother’s saying which she had picked up from her father: While you’re resting for supper, be sweeping the yard; Father’s absolute love of daffodils and the bunches of windfalls that he would bring in to decorate the house …..

Yes, all has changed, ‘changed utterly,‘ as W.B. Yeats wrote, but it’s not a terrible beauty  that has been born.  I would describe it more as a  sense of oneness and presence,  and something which I would wish for all those who are in that state of turmoil where I was three years and more ago.

Time to Look Up ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 281

This is the time of year when I most often think of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol and especially these lines:

I never saw a man who looked

With such a wistful eye

Upon that little tent of blue

Which prisoners call the sky …

Embracing Autumn ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 243

I made a very conscious decision yesterday to step out and welcome Autumn.  I had been trying to convince myself that I was only imagining that the leaves weren’t quite as green as they had been and that the darker evenings were because there was a bit of a sea mist.

Mount Congreve Garden here in Co. Waterford seemed the obvious place to go and on the drive there I was thinking about Autumn of Life and how easy it is to go into denial about that too, rather than see the magic which it can weave and that we can weave within it.

So, here’s a glimpse of that promise: