I don't think I have fully grasped the 'Selfie Stick' concept...
Until recently I used to claim that I was an avid “selfie” photo taker. Well before everyone was stretching their phones at arm’s length I was there in my garden taking images of myself pressed unnaturally close to whatever it was I was talking about. I did used to get someone to take the picture for me but it was too much trouble and the moment was usually gone before the picture was taken.
I usually embellish my own images by including myself with a huge grin or a look of quizzical wonderment at what it was I was looking at. It’s a simple formula but seems to work for me and stops people being shocked when they see me in the street for the first time in a few years.
My lad got a “selfie stick” this week and as soon as I saw it I knew this was the way to go for me. I can be far more animated with my weekly pictures now as it has a remote control. I haven’t quite got the use of it yet as I think I’m supposed to keep the actual rod out of the picture. The idea of using the telescopic stick is made more enjoyable knowing that they are now becoming classed as antisocial, even some museums and other public places are banning them. That’s my kind of gadget. As long as no-one shoves one in my face.
The Wildflowers of Ireland
One person that takes her own images but manages to keep out of them is the wonderfully talented Zoë Devlin. Zoë has taken hundreds of beautiful images of Irish wild flowers over the last 35 years and published a book called ‘The Wildflowers of Ireland - AField Guide’ along with a new website titled wildflowersofireland.net.
Zoë hopes to add a new dimension to a country walk by drawing our attention to the amazing but often overlooked beauty of what is growing along the way.
“Even in the earliest parts of the year, there are wildflowers to be found, and when you get into the habit of looking at every hedgerow, wayside and ditch, you’ll be well rewarded.” Zoë is also including folklore with regard to many of these wildflowers and any other relevant herbal information, historical or literary allusions.
800 Irish Wildflowers
Zoë tells us more about the wonders of wild flowers. “In Ireland, we have over 800 flowering plants. Our mild climate and varied soil types are the major influences on the range of plants growing here. Our flora, though much shared with Great Britain, contains fifteen plants which are not found there and this group of plants is collectively known as the Lusitanian Flora. The members of this plant group would have relatives more usually found in the Mediterranean.
One of the most interesting areas for Irish and visiting botanists alike is Co Clare’s limestone pavement, The Burren and there are several of the Burren’s wildflowers listed on the website, including Mountain Avens, Hoary Rockrose, Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Shrubby Cinquefoil and Spring Gentian. In our natural woodlands, plants such as Wood Sorrel and Enchanter’s Nightshade occur, and on our blanket and raised bogs one can find Bog Asphodel, Common Butterwort and Round-leaved Sundew.
Many plant families are well represented in Ireland. The Daisy Family – Asteracea – is widespread with varieties of Ragwort, Thistle, Knapweed and Hawkweed. Also the Geranium Family – Geraniaceae – containing the wonderful Burren wildflower, Bloody Cranesbill, several other Cranesbills and the well-known Herb Robert."
“Conservation of our wildflowers is of the utmost importance as they are now facing threats on several different sides. One is the changing uses of land for building purposes or different agricultural practices and there is the increase in invasive species, particularly aquatic plants, which crowd out our native species. Also it is estimated that climate change will affect 15% of our Irish flora, the most vulnerable being alpine plants. Estimates are that as many as 120 species are under threat in Ireland, six on the verge of extinction. Through education and awareness of the diversity of our wildflowers, perhaps, just perhaps, the tide can be held back a little longer.”
Zoë does say that she has a scientific approach to the flowers to some extent, but she is in reality very much drawn to the wonderful, delicate, magic creation which is a flowering plant. They are her passion and she closes by saying:
“I hope that I can pass on some of that feeling for the beauty that is all around us if we just choose to find it.”