My thanks to Ashbrook House for accommodating our visit recently with Donegal ETB Horticulture students, working towards their Level 5 Major award in Horticulture. The visit was part of their Plant Use module, so it was wonderful to visit such a historic gardens and showcase how careful use of plants and trees, chosen to match the soil, can enhance a property for many many years.
The Camelias of Glenveagh Castle Gardens are just looking amazing, a wonderful array of varieties and colours can be seen in the pleasure gardens.
I've a few in my own garden, and previously I've posted here about some care and maintenance associated with Camelias.
I just noticed our friends at Crocus.co.uk have just posted a 25% off special offer on many Camelias varieties, check out the special offers on Camelias here
See some more pics from Camelia displays around the area including, Ashbrook House, Ballyscullion House and BaronsCourt Estate from previous posts here
Recently we held a series of Super wild food events for the European Week for Waste Reduction 2013, these Foraging and Wild Food events were all about reconnecting folks to wild foods and also in promoting the Love Food Hate Waste ethos of trying to reduce household food wastage.
During this week I was a guest of 5 councils at 5 different events across NI, I had the company of some super chefs, who each helped to promote the LFHW ethos with some Al-Fresco cooking inspiration...
We visited some super forests through the week:
Delamont Country Park, as guests of Down Council
Derrynoid Forest, as guests of Magherafelt Council
Ashbrook Estate, as guests of Derry Council
Downhill Forest, as guests of Coleraine Council
Portglenone Ancient Woodland, as guests of Ballymena Council
Another Super Wild Food event for European Week for Waste Reduction, Ashbrook House proved a fabulous venue to discover some seasonal goodies and Chef Darren Iddon from Queens Quay Social provided a Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstration, using old lettuce, mushrooms, foraged salads, old bread and peas...delicious!!
In preparation for the European Heritage Open Day which took part on 14th September, I took a wee dander around the grounds of Ashbrook Estate in County Derry....to see what I could see see see (as the nursery rhyme goes)
You can see some more pics from the Head Gardeners Cottage and walled garden here
A mature Smoke Bush in flower, this is the 'original' smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) , not the Purple smoke bush (Cotinus Royal Purple), but the growth and flowering is the same on both, nice rounded full shrubs with flowers which are small and plentiful, said to resemble smoke hovering around the bush
Just about to start changing into its Autumnal suit of bright red leaves is this mature Katsura Tree, this is a stunning plant for Autumn colour....and a wonderful shaped plant.
Another plant starting to get dressed into its Autumn suit are the various Azalea Mollis plants, these scented azaleas again provide wonderful autumn colour with the leaves changing to reds and yellows in the autumn months
During the storms in July a number of branches fell from the ancient beech trees in the Estate (some have circumferences in excess of 450cm), these large branches sit like doorways in the grounds...kinda cool
The tulip tree that I so adore is in full leaf in the front garden....just a magnificent specimen of a plant!
Great to see loads of Blackberries, Elderberries and the edible Purple Veitch shown above. Ashbrook Estate is a great place for seasonal goodies...see here for more pics from various previous trips to Ashbrook Estate including our spring foraging trip there
For the 3rd year in a row Ashbrook Estate opened its doors for the European Heritage Open Day, and this year the Beresford-Ash family had asked me to facilitate a heritage walk of the walled garden of Ashbrook House. Below you'll see some pics from the day (with glorious Derry sunshine)..
The south facing wall was the location for the large greenhouse in the walled garden, and the rest was covered in espallier pear trees, like can be seen here at Glenarm Castle. A large beech hedge ran across the middle of the walled garden and the top area was planted as an orchard, this area now is small allotment area and home to 2 new beehives.
The current large entrance to the garden was always there, and was how machinery and the likes was brought into the garden, this was the former walkway where guests and visitors to the garden would gain access to the garden. Mrs Bereford Ash tells stories of how the family were very proud of their roses and every guest to the house would be led to view the gardens. There would have been 6 full time gardeners, which was reduced to 2 by the garden finished being a functional kitchen garden area in the early 1980's, and was let out to the current tenant - Ashbrook Garden Centre, a social enterprise.
Peculiar for me is the situation of this former greenhouse, on an East facing wall. It was heated-as can be seen from the chimney marks left on the wall (see above), its intriguing what this was for, perhaps a propagating house or something.
There are so many questions relating to the walled garden in my mind, Mrs Beresford-Ash is currently researching some pictures showing off the walled garden in its prime, so I look forward to hopefully sharing more history and details of the garden in good time.
This Saturday as part of the European Heritage Open day, Ashbrook Estate in Derry/Londonderry is opening its doors, and as part of this I'm delighted to be offering a tour of the Gardens and Grounds, including the walled garden at 10am on Saturday morning.
Starting at 11 we'll walk the front garden, side garden, farm trail and then around the walled garden, chatting about the trees, wildflowers, ornamental plants and explore the history of the walled garden area. Walk will last about an hour.
Pre-booking is advised, Contact Melanie on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place. There is no cost for this event.
The Artist Garden was a project created for the UK City of Culture in Derry-Londonderry, the project saw Artist Katie Holten design a garden which was built for the City of Culture. Void Derry Gallery were behind the project. I was the Horticultural advisor on the project, Romac Landscapes was project manager. The project saw a formery unused Factory courtyard (which gets no direct sunlight) transformed into a woodland inspired garden, inspired by the phrase '1000 shades of green' and a recent walk I led to Loughermore Forest in County Derry - the ancient woodland around Ashbrook House supplied the Aged Timber and Stones for the garden, plants for the project were sourced through Gardening Express
When I posted a while ago about Monkey Puzzle trees I referenced the one in Ashbrook House, here it is...a real stand-out-from-the-crowd tree. The Italian cypress behind it compliments it well and the rowan full of flowers wrap around its stem...
During the recent Ian Price Landscape Design Workshop in Ashbrook House, Ian led a walk through the grounds of Ashbrook House highlighting some design features of the garden and how the use of planting schemes could be used in the modern garden space, textures, seasonal interest, use of evergreens, focal plants and the likes...heres some super pictures from the garden showing some amazing colour
Check out Ashbrook on their official website here
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond