Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

LADY’S SMOCK: Look out for Lady’s smock, also called cuckoo flower and cuckoo spit, with four-petalled, pale lilac flowers in a spike. It is one of the few flowers that can persist in ryegrass fields as it tolerates moderately fertile soil, and flowers before grass growth takes off. It grows in wetter areas. It is the main larval foodplant and source of nectar for orange-tip butterflies.

The male is distinctively coloured white with bright orange tips on forewings. The female is less conspicuous with black tips on forewings. Lady’s smock and orange-tip butterflies are a good example of plants and invertebrates co-existing for the past 10,000 years – part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Online pick of the week

Caoimhe Flanagan, writer and illustrator.

In this week’s Meet the Maker, Grace Hanna chats to writer and illustrator Caoimhe M Flanagan about her business, illustrations and self-published book – Willow Land and the World of Yesterday., €18.

Picture of the week

Seven-year-old Marissa and five-year-old Ryan feeding calves at home in Co Kerry. \ Suzanne Murphy

Number of the week

It costs €1m per year to operate Dogs for the Disabled. The Cork-based charity was established in 2007 by Jennifer Dowler. She saw a need to provide highly-trained, accredited assistance dogs to support people with physical disabilities to live independent lives.

Quote of the week

According to the ISPCA, it can cost as much as €2,500 per year to responsibly care for a dog, including food and medical

expenses. Most small animals will need yearly vaccines and check-ups; this is excluding any emergency visits.

Dogs Trust Warns of Canine Obesity Issue

Dogs Trust Ireland are advising owners to re-evaluate feeding and use a weighing scale, after a recent survey by the charity revealed that only 35% of dog owners can easily feel their dogs’ ribs.

The survey additionally found that out of the 2,400 participants surveyed, 36% guess the weight of their dogs’ food, 49% use a measuring cup and only 15% weigh their dogs’ meals.

A further 40% of participants then admitted they find it difficult not to share food when their dog begs for it and only 20% said their dog doesn’t beg for food.

Niamh Curran-Kelly, Veterinary and Welfare Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland said: “If you’re not sure what a healthy weight is for your dog, how much to feed them or if you think your dog may be overweight, your vet will be able to help you with a feeding and exercise plan.”

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Poetry corner

He has arrived From Bar Stool Notions of Poetry by Dr Jonathan Roth

Did you hear that?

No what?

Himself… I think he has arrived.

I can’t hear anything.

Maybe you were dreaming.

Well it is the end of April and the

pheasants and swallows

are back from their holidays.

Then the new routine starts…

each morning at 7am

the windows opened and

our four ears start their shift.

Day one nothing

Day two nothing

Day three… Shush, is that him?

Sure enough the lovely sound of

nature.. he has arrived.



Four times like the beat of a drum.

Then our annual ritual and we recite

In April, Come he will

In leafy May, He sings all day

In sunny June, He prepares to fly

In August, Go he must.

Read more

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