Dalmeny House is some pad....thats clear to see....but its not the house I came to see, its the grounds which are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland...a treat of Parkland planting with some immense perennial borders....so me and wee Gracie went for a dander...you can read more about the House and its history here
The Dalmeny estate is open to all the wind howling up the Firth of Forth and many of the trees show obvious signs of this, to allow for planting a large area (to the left of the house) has been developed with thicker planting, allowing for creation of a lovely walkway surrounded by lush planting with a neat clipped lawn in the centre
Wee gracie (well wrapped up for the scottish summer) was getting too comfy...looking for a seat in the garden..so we left the enclosed garden and walked around the East side of the house, out to admire some of the parkland planting...
Some of the signage makes it clear that is this in a Private House, but you always get the feeling that if you wished you'd be excused for exploring the woodlands and trails more. It's also clear that the Estate is still very much alive, we were passed by 2 massive John Deere tractors and a good few jeeps, the Estates office had people buzzing about it and there was some drainage work going on to the rear of the mansion...
Many of the trees come from 1788-1812 so they are massive....like this pine tree....and factoring in the exposure the plants get from the wind blasting up the Firth of Forth they would be ever taller if they were more sheltered...
iconic bronze sculpture of a Horse standing on the grass in front of the house looking up the Firth of Forth....If you nearby call into Dalmeny House...well worth a trip....I know I've lots more to see in it too....
August was holiday time, and when on holidays I love to visit new gardens or re-visit gardens I've not been to in years, so I decided to call up to Suntrap Gardens in Edinburgh. I've not been to Suntrap in years, not since I did evening classes in Garden Design many years ago and it was with sadness I heard that it was being closed/Sold....so I took a dander up and took a heap of pics...you can read more about the suntrap gardens and their fight for survival here
A reminder that the gardens, grounds, plant centre are all ran with the help of volunteers, an amazing achievement. The gardens used to have students from Oatridge Agricultural College come down and they used to use Suntrap as a training facility but , i think, due to cutbacks the college no longer offers support to the gardens, a real shame in my eyes, there is lots of facilities in Suntrap going unusued due to this...such as large commercial heated greenhouses etc etc...but maybe an increase in useage could see these re-used in the future??
the range of plants, the range of habitats, the range of themes, the range of settings on offer on such a small space is inspiring....there are plants everywhere...granted there not labelled like in the botanical gardens but i'm guessing there must be well over 4000 varieties of plants on show in Suntrap...maybe someone out there knows??
and the way the volunteers are able to maintain the gardens so well is a tribute to their detication....I only wish something like this existed in Donegal/Derry....or maybe this is what we need to be trying to create?
Will the gates of Suntrap Gardens stay open or remain closed? the friends of Suntrap are doing their best to keep the gardens opened, all details are on their website above. I know as much, if I was within distance i'd be down volunteering, helpign to raise the profile, bringing groups in....but its up tot he folks of west lothian and edinburgh to decide whethere an idyllic inspiring horticultural training facility should be kept open or closed....
To the Friends of Suntrap.....I salute you!!
The Latest Stop for the Grow it Cook it Roadshow was the Fountain Community Garden, again head chef from Browns Restaurant Ian Orr was the man with the hand on the pans and rustled up some mighty dishes using fresh produce from the Fountain Community Garden.
on the day we offered advice on how to grow the best herbs, using the fountain community herb pots as good examples, offered advice on seed gathering, crop rotation and much more
and every dish from the Lamb, Steak and the Salmon ended up like this...devoured by the folks in the garden...is there a better way to spend a few hours??
Come join myself and multi-award winning chef Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge on the latest stop on our Grow it Cook it Roadshow in the Twin Towns Community Garden (Ballybofey), Sat 22nd September from 12-2pm.
A 2 hour spectacle of cooking, gardening and GYO information...Come one call all!!
*the Twin towns community garden is located nehind the HSE buildings to the left of McElhinneys stores (coming from stranorlar look over to your left when you cross the river and you'll see the polytunnel);
hey folks.....next Non-Gardeners Gardening Club walking tour next tour is to the superb Grade 1 listed Mansion. Prehen house has been called 'one of the most imporatnt historical houses on the island'....and we're luck to have the main man Colin Peck to give us a tour of the grounds and the house. As per last time, all are welcome, young, old, dogs, kids, cameras all welcome....no cost for the group....but Colin has suggested a donation of £4 per head towards the 'friends of Prehen House' which looks after the place....you can read more about the house here , please leave a comment below if you can come along....
Venue : Prehen House
Date Sun 16th September
Time: 11am ( a nice sunday morning walk before lunch lol!!)
Cost : suggested donation of £4
Picnic: sure why not
Kids: grounds perfect....remember its an old house filled with lots of old things....if you break it you buy it lol
During the past few weeks I've been fortunate enough to have been teaching a 'Skills for Work' group in the North West Regional College. I think this is one of the best courses a youngster can go on, its aimed at under 18's, and offers the student a full-time course in the tech which lets them experience some brickwork, horticulture, tiling, joinery, painting, plumbing, electrics....in truth all craft skills, from this they can then decide which interests them most and then move onto that in their second year...during our time together we transformed a long-forgotten about courtyard into a fantastic garden space....here is some pics....
I stopped into Leafair Community garden, see whats happening and whats coming on....heres a few wee sneeky pics...
Sunday kicked off the Non-gardeners Gardening Tour, and no better place to make a start than with a tour of the grounds of the Foyle Hosipce, lead by curators Liam and Charlie. The weather was pretty fab too.....here the group is hearing the story of the water lillies and the pond with the waterfall....
we were so lucky to have liam and charlie as tours, the wealth of stories and tales on how the gardens have been evolving and how the new areas came about was a joy to listen to...
I really enjoyed this tour....was great fun....like-minded folks having s stroll and a chat, folks with cameras, folks with dogs....all appreciating what we have on our doorstep....next visit is Prehen House and Grounds....date to be confirmed...but hope to see you there...
Wild blueberries are in season now....super wee bubbles of tasty, vitamin C rich goodies....yum yum!! Found on poor acidic soils these wild blueberries are common around co derry and donegal....some folks called them billberries some folks call them fraughan berries...i'll stick to calling them wild blueberries.... So we under local information we headed up to a top secret location up in ardmore, county derry....(spot Altnagelvin Hospital in the picture)
and this is what we're looking for....lovely plumb blueberries, high up on the acidic hillside in ardmore....lovely jubbly, this place is a real hot-spot....a good mass of berries is within easy picking....
you can see the coating of pink flowering calluna heather which covers this area too, and the blueberries grow inbetween the clumps of heather. I was joined by Barry Obrien ( @barrypobrien1 ), Head chef at Beech Hill Hotel, on the foraging mission, also joining me was Gerry Temple and my eldest Connie....Barry looks right at home here in the pic....in the background Derry City and the hills of Donegal...gives you an idea on how high up we were...
after an hour and a half of picking this is our bounty....a good bucket of super ripe ardmore wild blueberries and a box of wild sorrell (handily stumbled along too).....thats the joys of foraging...sometimes you find wee extras as you go along....
Was thinking of making this a monthly type event....a monthly forage trip....anyone fancy it?
I'm off foraging for wild blueberrys in county derry first thing saturday morning.....taking a few foragers out with me for a looksee and some picking....anyone up for joining us in the future?
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond