In the Autumn of 2013 I did a heritage tree walk with the great kids from Groarty integrated Primary School and St Pauls Primary of Boom Hall in Derry, around this time I gathered some conkers from the Horse Chestnut tree (planted around 1815 +/- 20 years) and here's how they're coming on, I've around 40 wee trees, all looking for homes if anyone fancies one? I can shake off the soil and post to you if you'd like one of these (just cover the postage), grown from a great heritage tree in Derry City!
The walled garden of St Columbs House has seen better days, this 2 acre walled garden would have at one time served the Hill Estate with seasonal fruits and vegetables. But now it sits in an abandoned state....in the recent history it had a small resurgence but now its full of small self seeding trees and weeds. Thankfully no Japanese Knotweed!
Walled Gardens like these excite me, they offer a real glimpse of history, to a life before Supermarkets and weekly shopping, to a life of self-sufficiency and pioneering Horticulture.
For some more on St Columbs Park and the grounds see this previous blog post
After I did this piece on the flora of Derrys walls the kids of Fountain primary wanted to see what they could find, so we went for a walk around the outside of the walls from Bishops Gate to New gate and gathered as much as we could...found a good range, I think 27 different types of wildplants and flowers....
old garden gate
Sunday saw us take a stroll aroudn the house, gardens, riverfront, woodland and Marine Base of Ashbrook House in Ardmore...the weather was pure murder, lashing rain most of our time there but the site was fierce interesting....lots to see, some spectacular trees, bushes, foliage and the house itself is just steeped in history....the generosity of our host was brilliant and the craic amongst the group made the near 4 hours fly by...here's some of my pics from the day...
chinese artifacts decorate the hall
Ashbrook is a fantastic place....a private family home which just oozes history....a must for anyone who's into historical houses, ancient woodlands and a great day out....join Ashbrook on Facebook here
getting tore in
This week we started a series of 4 container planting workshops in the Ballymagroary Community Centre, organised by the Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Area Partnerhsip (BHCAP) these 4 sessions are all due to the fantastic success of the community garden there, each session involves 12 people making up and then taking a planter home with them....all for £2 a head...
This weeks hobby gardening class we did a wee workshop on how to make a raise bed for your garden, with the group we made a raised bed 3mx1m from pressure-treated 6" lengths. This was as a result of participants saying they'd love to see how one is made...so in the NWRC you ask we deliver!
U3A were the latest group to show their expertise when it came to Bulb planting, this week we planted a big clump of daffodils outside their centre in Gransha in Derry....in no time at all we had hunners of the wee fellows planted....
another big step toiwards my 10000 bulbs to be planted challenge with Housing Executive...
This big bed full of daffs will look great come the spring...hopefully I get invited back to see them!
massive beech trees
This week the kids from Groarty primary School and myself visited the historic Ashbrook House in Ardmore, as a field trip venue to look at Autumn leaves and trees its ideal, everything is a short walk from the coach drop-opp point, the range of tree sis extensive and mature and there is many unusual and interesting varieties on site, and it gives us a chance to combine History and Horticulture....
taking in the sights in the hallway
and of course there is the house itself, which is just lovely, and where else could you do a autumn tree trail and combine a visit to a pre-plantation house....very few places. We were guided in the house and gardens by Mrs Beresford-Ash who was very generous with her time and the kids loved hearing abotu the history of her, the family, the hosue, the furniture, the artifacts, the animals everything. And the kids were excellent is asking interesting questions, showing great respect for their surroundings and were a shining example in good behaviour.
in under 2 hours the kids had found every tree on their Woodland Trust Autumn leaf finder checklist, found umpteen mushrooms, lichens, ferns and the likes, saw trees of a size and age you would struggle to see outwith a Botanical Gardens, toured a pre-plantation house, saw an old sawmill, a laundrette, a pantry and let's not forget about the stuffed Leopard and the Bear....without getting their feet muddy (a school teachers dream!).
Ashbrook house can be contacted on 02871349223, house is private and only open to appointment.
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond