Weeds in their place and garden escapees


The common bramble – lots of blackberries to pick for jam this autumn

Walking along the metals the other day (for those not from the Borough of Dun Laoghaire, the metals are a series of pathways that run from the quarry in Dalkey to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. They were constructed to run a track for transporting the huge slabs of granite from the quarry to build the piers in 1815), I noticed firstly how dessicated everything is looking in the drought, but also how beautiful the hedgerows looked. Once out of the garden, ‘weeds’ assume a new characterisation – their true one – as wild flowers.

Another interesting thing about hedgerows is how the exotic species mix in with the natives. These are garden escapees, the most familiar being those west of Ireland stalwarts Crocosmia, Gunnera and Fuchsia. Some, like the Gunnera-  and in Cork Rhododendron ponticum become a terrible pest. They squash native species and are a less attractive source of food for our native wildlife.

A less savoury part of my metals experience is always dodging the dog turds. Why are so many dog owners so disgusting? I have a dog myself and you just have to get on with it, hold your nose and pick up the bloody poo!



Hedera helix looking fresh and green

Hedera helix looking fresh and green

A garden escapee - Fatsia japonica

A garden escapee – Fatsia japonica

Wild grass and brambles

Wild grass and brambles


A hawkweed family member


A jumble of wildflowers including fluffy old man’s beard


Overlooking the railway track on a hot dry summer day

Hedgerow species

Hedgerow species

Bindweed looking beautiful

Bindweed looking beautiful


Cetranthus ruber or valerian



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