The sweet smell of the Irish landscape

Gorse in all its glory

My first memory of Ireland is that of a delicious sweet scent that wafted through the lanes. It came from this gorgeous shrub loaded with heavenly amber flowers. The scent has a distinct tropical feel, a little like fresh tender coconut with a hint of soothing baby lotion. The bees couldn’t get enough of it and were hovering rather dancing around the bush like greedy little things. The sight and smell will stay with me for a lifetime. Apparently, this shrub has medicinal qualities and its flowers when boiled and given to horses can cure worms. This is a famous Irish folklore and I’m excited to learn more.

Gorse is a hardy plant and can withstand harsh weather. It’s best planted during fall but I believe they take off pretty well when planted in well drained soil around the year. However, I have seen them thriving in relatively poor-quality soil too – no wonder they are known as one of the hardiest native shrubs. So, go ahead plant it in a sunbathed spot in your garden; preferably in a corner with a spot just for this shrub. Keep pruning it to maintain its size and overall appearance. They flower for almost 4 months from March through June. It will remind you of the countryside in a very pleasant way. Bees and Red Robins seem to love them. If you are a bees and birds kind of person; you should seriously consider this shrub.

Note:  They spread profusely so give the plant a place of its own unless you have a vast expanse of land and want an outlandish display of gorse as a hedge. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons its declared as an invasive species in some countries like Australia and New Zealand.

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