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Diarmuid Gavin: On your staycation why not discover the wonder of Irish wildflowers?

Far from ‘weeds’, our native flora are precious specimens we should treasure. It’s time we learned more about them...

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Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)

Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)

Eremurus stenophyllus, the foxtail lily

Eremurus stenophyllus, the foxtail lily

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Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)

My first rented flat was in a house on a Georgian square in Ranelagh, Dublin. It had a garden full of dandelions, which for a couple of weeks each spring was ablaze with flowers — a dramatic scene.

For the rest of the year, it appeared to be a mess. But you take your joys wherever you find them. A current joy is a plant that grows very well in abandoned locations, poor soils and the seaside: it’s red valerian (pictured main). I saw a massive clump of this growing on the side of a motorway this week. Have a look — you’ll see it peeping out of buildings or growing horizontally out of walls; lush, almost succulent-type foliage and brilliant ruby-coloured flowers.


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