The walled garden of St Dominics Retreat Centre @ Ennismore was a joy to behold, located just north of the River lee, in the middle of a developed part of Cork you have this oasis of green, a number of cropping field surround the gardens at Ennismore House. The majority of the gardens were laid out in the mid 1800's by the Leycester family, (before Ennismore the house was called East View), although some trees pre-date this and may be mid 1700's.
My thanks to Eileen and Fr. Benedict Hegarty for facilitating my visit.
Inish Beg Estate is a private island offering luxury accommodation in west cork, and its gardens and grounds are a member of the West Cork Garden Trail, and open all year round.
The gardens centre around a reworked walled garden and then branch out into woodland walks which take in the islands landscape and viewing points.
The gardens were full of seasonal colour during my visit, with the woodlands looking wonderful and the walled garden looking productive, with a good showing of seasonal vegetables.
Listen to the Podcast of when The Sod Show met Inish Beg Head Gardener Tony O'Mahony
The grounds of Bantry House, located in West Cork, were full of seasonal colour this past week. The foliage colour on the famous Wisterias, Cherry Blossoms, Gingkos, Maples and the whole woodland was just amazing. Bantry House is another great garden on the West Cork Garden Trail, and is a super day out. In addition to the gardens there is a wonderful Cafe and luxury accommodation offered
List to the podcast of when The SodShow met Brigitte Shelswell-White of Bantry House here
Ballymaloe House (the 'mothership' to the Ballymaloe Cookery School) has an amazing walled garden which supplied a wide range of seasonal delights to the Restaurant and on-site use...although it was the start of Winter it was still full of seasonality, well trained fruit, seasonal flowers and all capped with some dazzling blue skies!
Delighted to have gotten the chance to visit the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, although (as you'd guess) the cookery school itself held very little interest for me...it was the gardens and grounds that I wanted to take in
The grounds are a mix of ornamental gardens, art, and then the commercial organic farm (certified by Organic Trust) to the rear. All are accessible with good footwear.
Having followed @BlarneyGardens (Head gardener Adam Whitbourn) on Twitter for a few years I was hugely looking forward to visiting the acclaimed gardens of Blarney House and Gardens....and boy are they special.
The castle is famed for the stone you can kiss....but the gardens are special, really specially....wonderful mix of parkland, forest trails, designed gardens, lush planting and Arboretum area....with features and artwork throughout the grounds.
I spent 4 hours just in the gardens, not including the castle, house or tea rooms, so if your visiting give yourself lots of time!!
For more on the wonderful castle and gardens please visit the website Blarney Castle & Gardens
Currently I’m down in Cork city, and when here I’m trying to absorb as much of the fabulous Horticulture which exists here. The mild climate here, combined with warm soils, allows for many unusual and tender plants to flourish here which our climate in the North West wouldn’t be as hospitable for them.
Also the light levels here during the year are amongst the highest in Ireland and the Autumn colours are amazing, from the grounds of Blarney to Fitzgerald Park, Fota and down through Cobh the colours on the trees have been amazing!
One tree which is standing out here and which also does very well in our own part of the world if the fabulous Sweetgum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua. In the summer months these Sweetgum tree are nice shaped trees, narrow in growth, so ideal for smaller gardens, although listed as being tall growing in our climate they make a nice Medium sized tree – ideally planted as a specimen in the lawn or as a focal point, but I’ve seen them used in Avenues and they work well too, especially in larger sweeping gardens.
Like any plant you grow for autumn foliage the colourful foliage remains as long as the wind and weather plays ball, so in years when the wind howls you’ll have a shorter period to enjoy, but in years like this when all the stars align the colour is fab!
Once the foliage has fallen the stems have a corky nature to them and the stem has nice colouration, both can be admired well up close in smaller gardens.
Although unusual sounding Sweetgum trees are easily sourced in your local garden centre, and don’t be put off if they look a bit ‘twiggy’ when you buy one, once planted the tree quickly establishes and within a few short seasons you’ll have a tree shaping up nicely! Available here from Johnstown Garden Centre.
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond