Nature, photography

An idea that could spread and spread…

photo of Forget-me-nots by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

My brother told me once that if I planted Forget-me-nots in the garden, I’d never see the end of them and you know, he was right.  They spread.  They pop up everywhere.  (It’s wonderful).  They came from my mother’s garden and they always remind me of her. (She passed away 21 years ago next Monday)

But I was over in Glasnevin Cemetery where my parents are buried and I had an idea.  That graveyard is so cold, windswept and stony that nothing grows there – nothing that is – except maybe for Forget-me-nots?

So I had an idea for a new art installation. A secret “time-based” piece, what you might call: “Guerrilla art” and this was it:

For the sake of all those lonely, un-tended graves where no one visits, what if I were to plant Forget-me-nots – firstly on my parents’ grave – but then the following year, the seeds would’ve blown around and established themselves in nearby graves and then, as the years passed, they would spread further and further until every year, for the month of May, the whole graveyard would be covered in a carpet of tiny skyblue flowers, and the poor lonely souls need never feel neglected again.

photo of Forget-me-nots by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Well, that was my idea – and I tried it once but no, even the Forget-me-nots couldn’t eke out a living in that barren place.  So that was that, or so I thought, and the years passed and even plastic flowers wouldn’t stay put where they’d been put.

But then, one day I went to check on a flowerpot I’d brought over from our garden, a pot which had contained some healthy Campanula flowers.

Photo of Campanula by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Now Campanula, as you probably know, is the type of flower that would grow out of cracks in the wall if you let them (see above) but no, even they had withered and died in this arid desert of a place.

But wait!  The pot was still there; the dead Campanulas were still dead but now, there were some Forget-me-nots blooming in the pot instead!

So now, don’t tell anyone! This is just the start. Maybe, just maybe we have a new project – happening all by itself this time. Maybe Mother Nature liked my idea and decided to take it on, herself!  What do you think?

Gentians on Inismaan

An focal scoir:  Deartháir eile liom a thóg an pictiúr seo thús. Dúirt sé gur Ceadharlach Bealtaine an t-ainm oifigiúil ar na bláthanna gorma seo (na Gentians) ach go dtugtar Pabhsaeir na Maighdine orthu ar Inis Meáin. (Ach dúirt sé freisin go dtugtar Pabhsaeir na Maighdine ar aon bhláth ghorm ar Inis Meáin). ‘Sé Lus míonla an t-ainm oifigiúil ar na Forget-me-nots ach is maith liomsa Cuimhní na Maighdine a thabhairt orthu. Céard é do mheas?

Isn’t there just something extra special about blue flowers?


Nature, photography

What’s the best Birthday present you ever got?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of apple blossom

Yes, well some years ago, I got a present of a tree for my birthday – an apple tree – and every year, around this time, those delicate pink and white flowers open up to greet the sunshiny days of Spring.

“Efflorescence”, that’s the word to describe our little tree ‘in the state of flowering’ and that’s what’s happening right now in our suburban garden.

Later on, of course, the wind and the rain will come howling down from the Kimmage Crossroads and tear at the branches and send the petals flurrying and swirling into the air until only the pluckiest and the stubbornist of the buds will remain to develop and grow into lovely green and rosy apples.

In Celtic tradition, the apple tree was a symbol of purity, wholeness and fertility. They say that applewood was burned by the druids in various fertility rites. The apples were highly valued because they would keep over the long winter months.

But for me, the apple tree is a reminder of the rhythms of nature and of the cycle of life. Rotha Mór an tSaoil. Isn’t it amazing, when you see the tree in winter, to think that in a few short months, it will be completely transformed from bare branches to an abundant mass of flowers – and then again – to sagging branches, laden with luxurious fruit!

I have a series of apple paintings which I return to from time to time. (Here’s one of them below). But they have to be real apples, the sweet juicy ones. Did you ever get a nicer gift?

small oil painting of Halloween Apple by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Halloween-Apple-no.2, 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas

Nature, photography

What do you do in the evening?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of fire

“Ah, sometimes I sits and thinks”, she said, “and sometimes I just sits”. I was thinking about that old woman recently, when I finally got time to sit down.

And she reminded me of a film that I’d seen about the artist Natalia Black ARUA. Whilst expounding on the visual impact of a painting, she said: “My idea is to look at (paintings) and stare into them like one looks into the fire and thinks wordless thoughts…” (see her website here )

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Kippure mast

Funnily enough, I wasn’t sitting by the fireside at the time; I was sitting on top of the misty summit of Kippure in the Wicklow mountains. But isn’t there something about slow-moving clouds, like flickering flames or the never-ending sea, that just brings forth those ‘wordless thoughts’?

If only we could’ve stayed there for a while longer. But it was cold, and whenever it’s wet underfoot…

grasses on Kippure mountain photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Happy New Year, a chairde, let’s hope it’s a good one.