Monkey what?…..

As long as I can remember, I have dreamed of visiting Ireland.  The lush tapestry of green landscapes broken up with hedgerows and rock walls.  To see first hand, the beautiful gardens, whether they are attached to a lovely old castle or the Killarney National Park.  To get the chance to meet a few of the hundreds of relatives that reside there.  To be surrounded by the melodious conversations of the Irish, their lovely accent surrounding me as I walk through Dublin.  The music has long been a favorite of mine too.

My dream came true this past May.  My Mom asked me to go with her, she needed a traveling companion.  As you all know, my Pop passed Christmas night 2013, so she invited me to accompany her on an Insight Tour of Ireland!  I was too excited for words, but at the same time worried as to the quality of companion I would be.  Being an introvert and solitary being, I knew that I would struggle with the close proximity of people while on this tour.  This was a huge experiment on a personal level, an adventure you could say.  My Mom hadn’t spent more than a long weekend stuck in my company for more than 33 years, an adventure for her too! Lol


My first view of Ireland, from my window seat of the plane approaching Dublin Airport.  It was just as I had imagined, a patchwork quilt of varying hues of green with a dash of rain on the side.  Love at first sight!

I think Mom and I had been on tour only maybe a day when I came upon a fantastic tree!  Oh, what a unique tree too.  It reminded me of the Monkey Pine tree we had seen in Oregon.  The tree didn’t have leaves that extended from the branches, it really didn’t throw of any shade of any sort either.  I was so drawn to this tree, the branches were the leaves if you understand what I mean.  The branches were origami-like leaves, growing out of each other in a chain.  Phooey, I’ll show you…..


So? Interesting, unique, kinda creepy huh?  Wonderful I thought!  I told Steven all about them when we talked that night.  I couldn’t wait to see another one so I could touch it.

I got my chance much later in the tour, when we visited Kylemore Abbey, in Connemara.


The castle is gorgeous!   But…… Wait for it…… they have a 6-acre walled garden!  It is one of the last walled gardens to be built during the Victorian period in Ireland and is the only Walled Garden constructed in bogland (peatland).   As Mom and I walked through the arched gate, there it was, in the center of the garden.



This tree, I came to find out is called a “Monkey Puzzle”.  The name fit I thought.  We were to come across many more of them on our journey.  This garden had to be one of my favorite stops.  So many of the plants were in my garden too.  The climates were similar in many ways.  Gardens, they are such a gift to the eye as well as the soul.  I just wanted to sit and view it, get to know it  but alas, only so much time to spend at each stop.

On Mother’s Day back in the States, Steven was out nursery hopping with our daughters and found me a Monkey Puzzle tree.  It was waiting for me when I got home!


I found the best place for it.  They like to have their own space, nothing milling about  underfoot, they like to drink but not to access, hmmmmmm…… sounds like me.  I didn’t realize they will grow to 70′ tall and 30′ wide though, yikes.  The spot I picked will accommodate that, thank goodness.  I truly am so excited to welcome this new comer to our yard!  Hopefully it won’t mind if I talk to it occasionally….. Cyn


About designbycyn

Sonoma County, California ceramic enthusiasts Cyn and Steven Gradek have worked in the clay medium since 1996. They had a retail store where they held classes and provided the essentials for fellow ceramic enthusiasts. The business evolved into producing for other retail outlets and artist. Which quickly grew and they closed the retail storefront and concentrated on the wholesale business. With their 3 children raised and on their own, they had time to pursue their own creativity. Cyn learned how to embroider from her Grandma Cirner at a young age. After that she found sewing, cross stitching, crocheting, well you get the jist, LOL. She hasn't met a craft that she hasn't liked. Blogging was suggested by her youngest daughter, Colleen. At first it was a battle to get her to try it, but eventually Cyn started to enjoy the exercise. The blog on Cyn's website was limiting, so Colleen got her started with Wordpress. Hope you enjoy her Adventures with Creativity!
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