GLENVIEW GARDENS IN WEST CORK

Seeing it was the last week of the holidays, we took my grandchildren for a visit to yet another fabulous garden in West Cork.  This one is very child oriented and the children, of which the eldest is 11 and the youngest 3 enjoyed themselves for hours on end.  For ourselves it was interesting too with so many different plants, trees – some quite exotic, and different garden landscaping ideas.  The children enjoyed the hobbit house and promptly started to play ‘house’ wanting to move in and stay there forever…. they also enjoyed the huge circular lawn and seeing it was a real warm day they went lying on the grass and rolling and frolicking like there was no tomorrow.  At every turn among the foliage and shrubs the children found fairy houses and other novelties which they loved.   I myself noticed several butterflies among which was a peacock, only my second one this summer.  There were some exotic birds and for the children there were young goats and rabbits.  Plenty of benches, situated in ideal and peaceful settings made it so that anyone could enjoy this garden and I was glad to notice that.  And even though it was now at summer’s end, there were still some lovely flowers in bloom, such as bright yellow Rudbeckia, dark red Dahlias, and other colourful blooms.  I also noted the variety of fir and pine trees, including some lovely Larches.  Some of the trees were marked with name labels.  What I personally like very much too were the statues, giving the garden an old time feeling.

It was our last outing before school started today and I am sure that it will be a lovely memory for all of us.  We absolutely love the gardens of West Cork, rain or shine!  This time it was actually very warm and dry – but in West Cork you never know what to expect weather-wise, so we were lucky and delighted.

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HERON GALLERY AND GARDENS

Despite the rainy weather, my daughter Tjorven and my five grandchildren got into our wellingtons and raincoats and decided to head to the Sheep’s Head Peninsula where we visited a place very beautiful!  Gardens and a gallery showing the beautiful art of Annabel Langrish.  What an amazing place we found this to be, both nature wise and because of the cosy café were we found ourselves surrounded by very tasteful design and beautiful art.  Great coffee and scones too!  But first we took a walk in the gardens.  In between the rain showers, which are quite usual for this area in West Cork, it feels more like a mist, no wonder people often call it Irish mist rather than rain.  It does make the landscape more mysterious and compelling I think.

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The gardens were laden with summer flowers, and as the paths wound their way up the hill wild plants like heathers, blackberries, and bracken took over.

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We saw interesting sculptures which the children also loved, all blended into the landscape and garden with ‘nature’ as motive.  In fact I found that everything from the paintings to the crafts blended in with the nature surrounding the place, very nice.  We all loved the barefoot path, it generously added to the  meditative quality of the walk and soon all our feet were touching the cool stones.  My three year old granddaughter remarked on the soothing feeling on her little feet.

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Flowers were explored as were spider webs, and some of the statutes had to be touched and sat on.  Blackberries were eaten along the way.

These three photos were taken by my eight year old grandson, we are very proud of him.  I think that he has an eye for composition and colour.

The wealth of lush growth is found everywhere now that the rains have started.

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“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”
― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations

GREETING SPRING

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“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”
Ruth Stout

A recent visit to the walled garden at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, UK gave us a fine variety of flowers already in full bloom.  How lovely a day it was, many birds were singing, and the scent of some of the flowery shrubs wafted towards us while we were watching the bees and other insects fly from one flower to another.

No better introduction to an English garden than in the early spring.

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A large variety of beautifully coloured and fresh spring flowers

The Witch-hazel catkins, Quince blossom,  Hellebores, and Rhododendron

Edgeworthia chrysantha flower and shrub, beautifully scented and new to me.

Ceanothus arboreus is a lovely shrub which blue flowers are loved by the insects.

 

Holkham Hall dates back to the 18th century, its extensive grounds consist of some 25,000 acres.  The walled garden was originally developed by Samuel Wyatt during the late 1700s and is now still under restoration.  It comprises 6 acres and is surrounded by a high red brick wall.  This was our second visit to Holkham hall estate and I have enjoyed both visits very much, last time we saw the deer grazing among the most beautiful ancient trees that are on the land.

A beautiful  Italian iron-work gate brought from Venice in 1908 makes for a great entrance into the walled gardens.

The few days we spent in Norfolk with Ian’s family, and this visit to Holkham gardens allowed us a nice transition from Gozo back to West Cork, it was a nice introduction to spring in the more northern islands of Europe.

 

 

AUTUMN AT GLEBE GARDENS

A visit to Glebe Gardens in Baltimore, West Cork, was on the agenda for a while and finally some days ago we took the opportunity to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with a delicious cup of coffee and cake, and a lovely walk through the flower gardens, the woodland, herbaceous borders, and the vegetable plots. This 5 acre garden is bordering on the sea where the Ilen river enters Roaring water Bay. Vegetables for use in the restaurant are grown organically in the gardens. Because of the vicinity being so close to the sea there is a mild micro climate which makes everything grow very lush. There are again to be found a number of sub-tropical plants, with palm trees and exotic rhododendrons among them. When you walk through the woodland and over the little bridge you come to an open grassland where there is an amphitheatre where music and other entertainment is put on regularly.  I’ve not been to anything yet but again it is on the agenda. There is an orchard and we saw several varieties of apples ready to eat and fallen from the trees too. Grapes were a plenty in the tunnel, different varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers too.

I only took a few photos as I was wearing my grandmother hat, but still got quite a collection which made it hard to pick some for my blog! (Much as I would like I never put photos of my grandchildren on internet, it is an agreement between my daughter and I).  What the children really enjoyed was the goats and chickens, finding apples in the orchard, and the open space of grassland where they spontaneously started dancing.

It is a garden offering not only beauty but also peace and tranquillity.

 

20170826_162351There are benches where one can have some time to relax in beautiful surroundings!  My partner and I enjoying very much.

20170826_165409This old but lovely doorway – to goodness knows where, I could not resist taking a photo of, thought it looked so lovely what with the fern growing around it too.

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If you enjoyed my photos then you might like to look up more information on the Glebe itself.  When on holidays in this area it is a wonderful place to visit and have lunch or coffee, a walk in the gardens, and maybe go and enjoy some open air night time entertainment.  Here is a website:

http://www.glebegardens.com/the-garden/

 

THE ABORETUM AT ARDNAGASHEL

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The second part of the guided tour of which I took part, it being part of the Heritage Week, was last Saturday’s visit to Ellen Hutchins gardens at Ardnagashel. Though quite overgrown, and in the sub-tropical climate of Glengarriff, in the South West of Ireland, a very lush garden, we did see a great variety of trees.  Many of them quite new to me.  Walking under their expansive canopies one becomes aware of the magnificence of their beings, our heads were constantly held high and apart from the sounds of wow and oh, the explanations of our guide, and the whispering of the leaves, the forest was quiet – the trees majestic!

One of the most impressive species in the gardens is this extraordinary large Cryptomeria japonica elegans or the Japanese red Cedar.  Its feathery leaves are so delicate.  The red brown bark peels in vertical strips, as can be seen in the photo below.  It is said that the wood is very scented and used in manufacturing of light furniture.

These are photos of the cork tree (Cuercus suber) these trees give us the cork which is used in so very many different ways.  The small tree in the middle bottom photo has actually died from the frost one year, but the large one that is standing between many other species survives and has grown very big.  Actually cork is a renewable source as when the cork is taken from the trunk it will regrow.  It is harvested about every ten years.

This is the Myrtus apiculate, closely related to the Myrtle tree.  It was introduced as a decorative tree but it soon became a very fast growing invasive weed.  The wood looks nice and is put to use when cut down for a variety of fencing and a little bridge was made out of it too.  It is not native to Ireland.  It gets beautiful white flowers.  Below is a photo.

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This tree has had its roots growing on its trunk, the reason why is because the soil around it was so crowded apparently by the suffocating growth of the Myrtus trees that there was no space for its roots to grow underground (we were told by our guide).

A variety of interesting looking trees of which I am not sure what they are exactly.

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One of my favourites, again I do not know what its name is.  A trunk covered in moss!

Ferns were everywhere, including a few tree ferns (Dicksonia Antartica).  Ferns even growing on the branch of this large tree.

Rhododendrons grow very well in this part of the world, often giving a lovely display of purple along the roads of Counties Cork and Kerry.  But in Glengarriff one is able to grow quite exotic types of Rhododendrons, from the regions of the Himalayans.  Very large leaves (as my brothers is showing) and most beautiful flowers, whites or delicate pinks, among other colours.  Some of these types bloom already in January.  Besides Rhododendrons there are a variety of Magnolias, Ammonias, Camellias and Acacias growing in this garden.

Three other fabulous species.  The top left is a Griselinia Littoralis.  The one underneath I thought is the Cypressus macrocarpa.  The trunks of trees on the right I cannot identify – ideally I will visit this garden again and become more familiar with all the trees, something to look forward to I think.

Sequoia Sempervirens - Coast Redwood

This tree, again if I am right, is the Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood tree), it was pointed out to us that it was growing here. A tree of the Cypress family.  It is an endangered species.

A beautiful and interesting walk it was, wetting our appetite for more that is for sure.  This garden also contains the Davidia involucrate or Handkerchief tree but I did not see it this time.  It has plenty of Vagus Silvatica (common Beechtrees) growing too.  As I already mentioned the climate in this part of Ireland is sub-tropical, very mild and wet winters, mild summers.  This garden is lying along the coast of the Bantry Bay.

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This is a list of the trees found in the garden.  The list was compiled by John Bevan and can be found here:  John Bevan’s article

And here is a link to the WordPress site of Ellen Hutchins (Botanist) and the Ardnagashel Estate.  There is a lot to explore on the following blog link, I hope you enjoy as much as I did to explore this rich heritage.

Ellen Hutchins – Ardnagashel Estate

 

 

CARRAIG ABHAINN GARDENS

Carraig Abhainn Garden which lies in Durrus, West Cork.  It is one of the very interesting, well established and peaceful gardens in the area. It consists of 1-hectare which is bound by a mill stream. An amazing waterfall and further along the tranquil stream add to its charm and serenity. My daughter and I visited it recently with my grandchildren and the garden was loved by one and all. The children found it exciting with all its nooks and crannies, and we adults – although we often become like children when we are surrounded by nature – we just loved the tranquillity of the place. I was particularly interested in the variety of trees and plants, among them a Mimosa tree, a Korean Fir, and a whole range of other exotic trees, even a Banana tree! The variety of other subtropical plants, Palms, Rhododendrons and others was interesting too. I think it would be a lovely garden to visit in the autumn also just because of the variety of trees, although many of them are evergreens, a lot of them are deciduous trees also. I think my photos will speak for itself.  I hope that everyone enjoys the walk through this lovely garden with me.
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20170803_142255After our walk we had a chat with Eugene, the owner together with his wife of this beautiful garden.  Eugene is a goldmine of information on plants and trees and he knows his garden inside out.  I will be visiting again and he promised me a guided tour to which I am looking forward very much.  Here is a link to information on this garden.

http://www.ireland-guide.com/gardens/carraig-abhainn-gardens-.7116.html

 

“The earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in.

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A variety of rhododendron flowers in beautiful shades.

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And Azalea’s too!

My sister smelling the Lilac flowers, a sure favourite of her and mine.

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These flower photos I took in the gardens of Rolf’s Country House, (http://rolfscountryhouse.com/) in Baltimore, Ireland.  We partook of a lovely cup of coffee and some scrumptious cakes and pies, to celebrate the birthday of one of my grandchildren.  The garden is interesting and beautiful.

SUMMER GARDEN IN WEST CORK

In the last few weeks we have been visiting some of my sisters and brothers, those that live close enough by, and of course it being summer, we naturally gravitate towards the gardens. This garden that I illustrate in my blog today is well established, it is one of the older ones in the family, my sister Brenda and her husband Shaun have created it over many years, it is a space full of the most beautiful shrubs and trees, flowers and ferns. From an almost forested area, where there used to be an ancient orchard, to a manicured lawn surrounded by interesting shrubs and beautiful mature trees. Her Japanese Dogwoods, Abutilons, and Azaleas’ and some more shrubs of which I do not recall the botanical name, are all fully in flower. The Hydrangeas are almost open, and the Laburnum is almost finished. This all creates a magnificent array of colours and textures, rich and summerly scented. A real summer feeling abounds. There is more, there is a rockery which is also a place for wild flowers to grow to feed the bees, and an area where my sister feeds her many wild birds, attracting a lovely variety including bull finches, jays, siskins, and even a sparrow hawk who sometimes comes to see if he can catch something for his lunch! I loved our garden visit at the height of summer, and I hope that you too will enjoy the photos of so much beauty.
Thanks to Brenda and Shaun for permission to use their garden in my blog.
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INISH BEG GARDENS SKIBBEREEN

On the road between Skibbereen and Baltimore, West Cork, there is a most beautiful garden, it is the Inish Beg Estate and recently Ian and I visited it together with my daughter and my five grandchildren, it was a lovely afternoon and being the month of May so many flowers were in bloom, the gardens were looking so very beautiful, the many trees with fresh green foliage, the Rhododendrons, all varieties, were flowering. From a herb and kitchen walled garden, to a fairy house among the trees, everything is thought of.  The children enjoyed it very much too, running along the paths and discovering all sorts of things including sticks which they then ended up comparing with Ian’s walking stick.  And of course they loved the fairy houses.  These gardens comprise 97 acres of woodland, organic pasture and farmland, formal gardens including a the before mentioned walled  garden.  There is an orchard, a bamboo grove and a sunken garden.  And something I did not know about but is mentioned in the brochure of the ‘West Cork Garden Trail’ is that there are 4km of carriage drives.  There is a lot more to this garden and it would be worthwhile to look it up on-line if you are coming to visit West Cork I think.  We just enjoy it as it is so close to where we live.  The birds were singing their hearts out, everything was so very peaceful and beautiful.  We were lucky with the weather, I think that this is Ireland at its best.

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