Summer was on a Thursday!

It has been said that we don’t have a climate in Ireland, only weather, as conditions change so quickly from one day to the next. Yes, a day of sunshine will have us dashing to the seaside, dusting off the barbeques to burn a few sausages and stocking up on beer and ice-cream. The threat of a days’ snow will see apocalypse-type stocking of food and supermarket shelves as bare as Santa Claus’s toy factory on the 26th of December.

Fritillaria meleagris in grass
Snakeshead Fritillaries enjoy the damp conditions in the lower part of the garden and recent rains have been very good for them
Fritillaria meleagris Alba
There are a number of white Snakeshead fritillaries among the others.

One swallow may not make a summer but, in Ireland, we often claim that one good day may have made the summer. Today was one such day! We had an afternoon temperature here in Waterford of 17C. Granted, the mercury will creep over the 20C mark regularly enough during the summer but 17C is a very pleasant and very enjoyable temperature – and I made the most of it. Not, of course, that I am the ever-alert opportunist or the born-again “Carpe-diem” man; rather that I am an Irishman and know, from long years of experience that the 17C of today may lead to a breeze tomorrow which would skin a brass monkey. It is pessimism, not opportunism, which lead the Irish to enjoy the pet days – make the most of it, for it might not be as good tomorrow. William Butler Yeats expressed this mindset well: ‘Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.’ To bear out this point of view, my wife told me at the dinner table that the next few days were going to be “horrendous” – that the thermometer was forecast to go as high as 26C! Irish people either burn or melt when it goes over 20C.

Tulip white in pot (1)
After the recent days of heavy rain the tulips are as fresh as…. well, as fresh as tulips!
Abies koreana cones (1)
The young cones on Abies koreana

But, enough of literature, for the enjoyment of good days is often more mundane – yet, no less enjoyable. I spent the day in the garden today  – three hours before and three hours after lunch – and had a perfectly pleasant day, all light work, nothing too strenuous, but it is such a pleasure to be out and engaged in the garden and in the plants which are putting on that spurt of growth that comes at this time of year.

Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' (1)
Tulipa saxatilis/bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ – a very colourful and easy to grow tulip


We went yesterday to Kennedy Park – the name in common usage sticks with me though it is officially JFK Memorial Park. Kennedy Park is about a 30-minute drive from us and we visited very regularly when our children were young. It has that perfect blend of being appealing and interesting to adults and being exciting and fun for children at the same time. It is an arboretum of a very high standing, laid out so very pleasantly, and of great interest to the tree enthusiast and keen gardener and to the child a place to wander safely, to explore the “wilderness” and be enthralled and amazed by the little wonders of nature.

A beautiful and expanding planting of Cyclamen repandum at JFK Memorial Park
Beautiful bluebells, one of our most loved spring flowers

While Mary and I were delighted to see the beautiful spreads of Cyclamen repandum, an uncommon cyclamen, little grown even by enthusiast gardeners, beautiful spreads of bluebells, clumps of primroses and drifts of daffodils, there were no match for the “muddyy puddle” for our grandson. Time stopped; the world was allowed to pass us by and he was enthralled by the simple childhood pleasure of stomping in a puddle and when “Paddy” allowed (encouraged…shhhh!) him to stand into the little stream then Kennedy Park had worked its magic once again and, who knows, the little child may go on to become interested in their trees and in gardening. But who cares! Muddy Puddles are just perfect for now!

Muddy Puddles – the best fun ever!
Well, we had to wash our boots – and have a little splash or two!
And quiet moments too!

9 thoughts on “Summer was on a Thursday!

  1. Thank you for reminding me about Kennedy Park … last time we went was about 39 years ago when our son was a similar age to your little man … has always been a great place for children. Might go again tomorrow!
    Glad you seem to be really on the mend … enjoy the sunshine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The plant is the seedhead of a dandelion. It is a childish game to blow it to disperse the seeds and the number of blows equals the hour of the day – so, one of its common names is “clock”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like another wonderful visit, and good to see everyone was able to enjoy the park.
    A few years back I took the kids to a water garden where they ignored the amazing leaves of the Victoria lilies and their only interest was in trying to catch the small pond fish in their cupped hands. I winced as one of the park attendants took notice and approached, but then to my relief she only came by to offer the children a small net which might help them. They thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
    Glad to hear you’re up and about once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a perfect day, Paddy! I have to admit to being fascinated at the sudden apperance of shorts and tee-shirts the minute it even threatens to be sunny – I think we have a totally unrealistic attitude to climate as a national characteristic – and the sausages got well and truly cremated here this weekend!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has passed now and we have a cloudy morning here in Waterford and it seems the rest of the week will bring rain. It’s as well we enjoyed it while we had it.


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