Tag Archives: important

Dandelion Explosion!

This year we have had a very cold spring, and most plants and wildflowers are way behind their normal growth levels, but yet again the humble and resilient Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has saved the day.

Dandelions can flower all year, but in April they absolutely explode into blooming and our environment and our food depends on the fact that the massive amounts of pollen produced by the dandelion blooming sustain vital pollinating insects at a time that would otherwise be a crisis for them, and then result in a crisis for us. In fact, I believe we should have a dandelion festival every year to celebrate this most important of all spring wildflowers. This is my video dedicated to the dandelion:

Above is one of our rarest pollinators, the Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) and this species also depends heavily on the dandelion for pollen, especially as this bee emerges in late March and flies mostly in April, and to a lesser degree in May, before dying off by early June and not being seen again until the following spring.

However, big bumblebees depend on them too, like this huge Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).  Let’s celebrate the dandelions.  They deserve it.

Welcome to Wicklow, Michelle Obama!

A nice surprise for us this week was the sudden announcement of the visit of the vivacious US First Lady, Michelle Obama. Today she’s getting a tour of Glendalough, a very ancient site which should have been included on the World Heritage List decades ago, but has been ignored continually by successive Irish governments, despite the importance of tourism to Ireland. Anyhow, I leave you with some photos of Glendalough I took last week, featuring my brother Owen, an archaeologist by training, and his wife, Alla.

The monastic city of Glendalough, which might actually be pre-Christian in origin despite its association with Christianity.
The monastic city of Glendalough, which might actually be pre-Christian in origin despite its association with Christianity.
Ruined church dating to 11th century.
Ruined cathedral dating from the 11th century.
The famous round tower of Glendalough. Even when you are standing near one it is extremely difficult to judge the scale of what you are looking at, but there are some people standing at the base of it, and they look absolutely tiny.
The famous round tower of Glendalough. Even when you are standing near one it is extremely difficult to judge the scale of what you are looking at, but there are some people standing at the base of it, and they look absolutely tiny. These were among the tallest structures in Europe for almost a thousand years. This one is dated to the 9th or 10th century AD, but the Glendalough complex is far older.