Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Birdwatching and Blogging for Powerscourt

Novice Birders Needs and Wants my second post, was written ahead of Niall Hatch's guided walk at Powerscourt Estate.  Niall, the development Officer at Bird-Watch Ireland (BWI) is Irelands’ authority on all things birds. No doubt you have heard him on 'Mooney Goes Wild' on RTE Radio one.  If not tune in here to a recent podcast where Niall visits and talks to a lady who has a mistle thrush nesting on the window ledge of her spare bedroom.

But I digress!  My birding article was well received and boy was I pleased when Brian Carruthers wrote 'a fabulous little article from a very enthusiastic novice birder, letting all know the joys of getting out and about' especially given that Brian is such a accomplished birder!

Which reminds me, after you've read my blog post be sure to check out your local BWI branch for the upcoming National Dawn Chorus Day 2014 time schedules.

My own BWI branch South Co Dublin will meet at Cabinteely Park 4AM Sunday 18th May.  That's right 4AM so don't forget to set your alarm as those birds won't wait!!

Happy Birding.....

Blogging on Trees for Powerscourt

These past few weeks were particularly busy not least because it's Spring and gardens need weeding and plants need planting, but I wrote my first ever blog post for Powerscourt Estate - yeah I know, I'm still grinning!!
One of my favourite natives is our spindle Euonymus europaeus
As the Tree Council of Ireland selected Powerscourt Estate as the venue for the launch of National Tree Week it seemed fitting that my first post be about trees.  Best Trees for your Garden was a challenge and took a little longer to write than I had anticipated but was such fun.  Once the article went live and photos added, it took on a life of it's own.  Click the link should you want to read the blog....

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Blueberries anyone?

Just one of the many fruits I'll talk about at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on Tuesday 1st April at 2pm.  

While you're waiting though why not be inspired with this fab Blueberry Mojito Recipe.  Lets be honest this fruit is totally addictive and so versatile.  This fruit can be eaten quite literally morning noon and night and here are more fantastic recipes to try.

Blueberry Mojito (click link above for recipe)
Some 'benefits' to think about while your eating this fruit.....
  • Low in calories [42 calories per 1/2 cup]
  • Virtually fat free
  • Cholesterol free
  • High in vitamins A and C
  • High in dietary fibre, high in calcium, requires little sweetening
  • Has more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables
  • Prevent cancers
  • Slow down the aging process
  • Help reduce cholesterol
  • Help keep certain bacteria from adhering to the human urinary tract, thus preventing urinary tract infections
  • Contains anthocyanin which actually strengthens eyesight [which I certainly could do with]
Blueberry and Cinnamon Smoothie (click link below for recipe)

Easy to grow? 
  • Loves dry acid soil pH 4.5 - 5.0 but will tolerate higher pH if mulched with peat, pine needles or pine bark [therefore easily grown in some parts of Ireland] 
  • Requires good drainage yet an adequate supply of water for fruit production [it'll get that for sure here in Ireland!!]
  • Suitable to pot culture [which solves problems with unsuitable soils]
  • Good shelf life in comparison to other soft fruits
  • Best feature.... wait for it...... is that good yields are possible even in exceptionally poor summers as they love summer rain.

Chefs, magazines and newspapers hail blueberries as a superfood.  Even in this issue of 20 Superfoods that everyone went bonkers over blueberries get a plug "this little blue fruit is said to boost memory capability, prevent heart disease and provide an excellent source of anti-oxidants".

Closer to home (my home that is),  Select Stores in Dalkey, Co Dublin claim that blueberries "keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature and in a good mood" and are one of the 'safest slow releasing carb fruits" around.  

Is it any wonder that biting into an apple just doesn't have the same appeal...


Further reading according to Fruit & Nut:
Blueberries, Cranberries and Other Vacciniums, by Jennifer Trehane of Trehane Nurseries, Dorset, England (Royal Horticultural Society 2004), is by far the best text on the subject.