Ros Ban Gardens in Raphoe can be contacted through the Donegal Garden Trail 2014, the gardens are open from Dawn to Dusk Easter to Autumn.
Recently we enjoyed a guided tour of the gardens of RosBan in Raphoe by owners Ann & Bob Kavanagh. The Gardens at RosBan are opened through the year as part of the Donegal Garden Trail 2014. Previous gardens we've visited such as Oakfield Park, Dunmore House, Glenveagh Castle, Salthill House and Cluain na d'Tor are also included in the Donegal Garden Trail 2014.
The best way I can describe RosBan gardens is 'A Multi sensory experience', the gardens are a horticultural cavalcade of medicinal plants and horticultural education. Ann & Bob Kavanagh have a real passion for alternative medicine and for using their garden to educate and inform, whether it be about medicinal uses for plants, or on rock scructures/butterflies/grasses/edible plants/poisonous plants they have information displayed throughout the garden on all these subject...without it being an overly 'teaching garden' it just kinda happens...
At every turn in RosBan there are plants yearning to be touched, tasted or discussed. I kid you not RosBan is a garden which for me has been a real eye-opener, its different from every garden in the Donegal Garden Trail 2014, its a real thought provoking garden, from the way be could be using more natural remedies from the garden, to the way the garden is a space which exists on a fine line between taken over by nature and being this cultivated personal garden...I don't know...there's something third-level about this place...listen, don't listen to me yamming on about it....go and see for yourself!
Ros Ban Gardens in Raphoe can be contacted through the Donegal Garden Trail 2014, the gardens are open from Dawn to Dusk Easter to Autumn.
A slideshow of pictures from throughout Ros Ban Garden in Raphoe, part of the Donegal Garden Trail 2014
This Thursday (12th June) at 10am I'll be at Dunmore House in Carrigans, where head gardener Andy will lead a guided tour of the gardens. Although this is arranged for a private group I'm more than welcome for others to join us to explore these amazing gardens.
The gardens of Dunmore House form part of the Donegal Garden Trail 2014.
The house itself has a 'Mystery' of its own....
The Donegal Garden Trail 2014 features many great gardens from all over the county of Donegal, Included are these recently visited gardens Oakfield Park, Glenveagh Estate and Salthill House.
The cost for Thursdays tour is a voluntary donation to charity....my thanks to Evelyn Glenn for allowing us this access and for providing Andys expertise on the day... Directions can be found here for Dunmore House, Carrigans, County Donegal
If you fancy it fill in the RSVP below, I'm trying to keep the numbers small so booking is advised :-)....I don't want another Prehen stampede ;-)
Further to this first set of pictures from the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin here's some more of things and plants that caught my eye on my recent visit there.
hope you enjoy them....everything looks better in glorious sunshine!!
picture showing Gwynns Institute
Brooke Park is undergoing some change...a complete redevelopment is underway under the guidance of Colin Kennedy from Derry City Council, so no better time to understand what we have before it all changes...then we can appreciate more the works being undertaken by DCC in the parks. Keen Historian Gerald McGill was our guide for the walk, and we went from 1840 to 2013 in under an hour....phew!!
Heres some pics and quotes from our wee dander....
Was the location of Gwynn’s Institute for Orphan Boys from Derry and Donegal between the ages of 8 to 12 years, it was built at a cost of£10,000 as part of a £40,608.93 halfpenny will bequeathed by the late John Gwynn a who had a Grocery business in Bishop Street Derry, he was born in Drumskellen Muff Co Donegal, he died in 1829 and is buried in the Church of Ireland Graveyard in Muff just on the Derry Donegal Border. The Orphanage was opened in Shipquay Street Derry in 1832 following a Cholera outbreak that year, it later moved to the new building in Brooke Park in 1840.
The grounds known as Brooke Park after Benefactors, the Brooke Family of Brookhill off Culmore Road L‘derry. When James Hood Brooke died in 4th August 1865 (buried in St Columb’s Cathedral Graveyard) his will stated that he wanted the residue of his estate to secure an area of land to be used for recreation by the citizens of Derry. The money was placed in a trust fund and when his sister Margaret died in 1884 she also left the residue of her estate to the trustees. There was now a sum of over £10,000, which was used to buy land and design the Park it was laid out in trees shrubs and a fish pond it opened in 1901.
The second in front of the ornate gates is an imposing statue of Sir Robert Alexander Ferguson, Bart and MP for the City for 30 years, he was fondly referred to as “The Black Man” he was Born on 26 Dec 1831 and Died 13th March 1860, he married Elizabeth Alexander, daughter of Robert Alexander of Boomhall, Culmore. He is Buried in the graveyard adjoining Augustine’s Church L‘Derry, known as “The Wee Church on the Walls” - G McGill
Thanks to all who came out to take in the sights and sounds of Brooke Park, and thanks to Gerald McGill for providing such an interesting history of Brooke Park....PS next time you're there, look for the archway in the west wall where the river used to come in....
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
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.
Sunday 7th October saw our latest gardeners outing take in BeechHill House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Derry. This fabulous place dates from the mid 1700 and has been in constant use ever since, modern day its a multi-award winning country house hotel, previously it was private home, a ww2 Marine base and before a proper gentlemans abode...we tried to sample all of these on our fascinating tour of the grounds...and boy were we blessed with the perfect weather!!
Head Chef Barry leading the harvest of salads
Our tour started in the 2 acre Walled Garden, an areas which has been transformed in the past 12 months under the guidance of Olli Smyth (BeechHill Kitchen Garden guru), Olli chatted to th egroup about the work undertaken, what the future holds and offered great advise on growing tasty produce...and there can be no better business card for freshness than Head Chef Barry leading a harvest just as our tour was on....Field 2 Fork in less than a 2 min stroll....
Gerry starting the ww2 history...
After the walledgarden, Gerry Temple took over the tour, covering the recent ww2 history of the site, highlighting the re-use of some US materials, locations of some of the 400+ outbuilds and lots more....He kept the history short and to the point, just how we all like it. To think 5000 Marines were based here was amazing...must have been a right hub of activity.
nice ripe elderberries
the grounds are littered with free foods...here we're collecting some Elderberries for a wee snack as we go....
ancient steps in the garden
The grounds of the BeechHill are fabulous, and offer a multitude of small walks, photo opps and more. Its a wonderful place, we take the kids there a lot as its a nice hour walk around the grounds and there is the option of using the hotel for a coffee or lunch stop before we head home....
Donations from the tour went to Foyle Hospice , we raised nearly £90 in donations....thanks to all who chucked a few quid in the pot, thanks to Patsy O'Kane from the BeechHill for the warm welcome to the group, thanks to Olli Smyth and Gerry Temple for giving up there Sunday morning for us.
On March 24th from 12, our famous Non-Gardeners Gardeners Cub has been invited for a tour of the famous Springhill House, Moneymore, Magherafelt. (full directions etc here on their website). This 17th century plantation house is closed to the pblic over the winter months and re-opens on the weekend of the 16th March, so our tour will be on the second weekend of the year.
Our group has been invited for some-what of an exclusive tour as apart from getting a tour of the House, Gardens, Parklands our tour will be guided by the relevant staff/experts (ie part of the gardening team will lead the tour of the gardens), we will also have access to the allotment/kitchen garden area which public are not normally allowed access to.
If you visit their website you will get a right idea of the scale of the house,gardens etc with their famous Chamomile lawn and the 1000 year old Yew tree....
Springhill is National Trust property and as such they charge for entry. This tour of the house, gardens, parkland, veg gardens etc etc includes tea&coffee and scones in the cafe and is offered at £10 per head.
Take a virtual tour here to wet your whistle...
Date 24th March
Time 12 (may be subject to change)
Cost £10 per head
Clothing - prepare for amazing spring sunshine!
Buggies - Aye, all good paths and easy access
Kids - Aye, i'll hae ma 2 so bring yours too...
Picnic - Aye, mind tea and scones is provided and there is a cafe on site, but a picnic would be amazing if the weathers right
Dogs - No
My few pictures only give a tiny impression of Springhill, hopefully you can make it in person.
Leave a comment on the blog if you can make it. Hopefully we can arrange some car-sharing at the same time for folks travelling from Derry/Coleraine/Limavady/Donegal/Strabane etc....if you think you might have a spare seat even let folks know, or if you need a lift do likewise....Cheers guys.
Thought I'd try for something new and special for Novembers tour. I have secured us a wonderful days outing to the unbelievable Balyscullion House in Bellaghy....an amazing place. Mr and Mrs Mulholland the owners have thankfully offered us the chance to explore the house and grounds of a truly amazing place on the 25th November.
Check out the official website here
Come join acclaimed gardener Gareth Austin on a winter woodland tour of the
gardens and grounds of Ballyscullion Park. Located in Bellaghy, Co Derry
Ballyscullion Park covers 400 acres (mostly in wood) and offers a rare-glimpse into something
truly special. On site there is fully restored Coach Houses, a 4 acre walled
garden, a 1840 house and some ancient woodland....which houses the
ruins of a Palace once built as a sister palace to Downhill...used recently for
filming the award winning Game of Thrones TV series. (check out a blog post of my previous visit here)
On the tour we will walk through the walled garden, with its extensive perennials borders, manicured
lawns, built in gazebo pavillions and household kitchen garden, then onto the
woodland paths and finally ending up in the outdoor arena.
The walk will last approx 4 hours, and be generously hosted by Mr+Mrs Mulholland, owners of
Families are more than welcome, dogs too (but poop-and-scoop and only on leads).
After the tour acclaimed chef Emmet McCourt (emmets website) will perform a cookery demonstration using foraged mushrooms, and other seasonal delights...as only Emmet could....which we all get to devour!
This is an event not to be missed. Cost per head is £20, kids free.
Date sun 25th november
Time 10am start
5Now theres a cost here of £20 per head, different from out previous trips, but there is a cost in the chef, food and materials for this one. But the Mulhollands are offering a brave days worth of fun between the house, gardens, ancient woodlands, foraging etc etc and then the cookery demo in the house's kitchen I think it's fabulous value for money.
Leave a comment on the blog below if you can make it. Just pay on the day please. Numbers limited to 30 so please share and put your name down if you want to go.
so full details:
Date 25th Nov
Time 10am start
Guided tour of Ballyscullion House - Approx 1.5 hour
Guided Tour of Gardens and Coach Houses - Approx 1 hour
Wodoland Walk incl ruins and forage - approx 1 hour
Cookery Demo back in the great kitchen - approx 1 hour
Clothing: Its November, its Northern Ireland.....I'd suggest you bring your wellies/boots with you for the gardens and woodland part.
Kids - Yeah, i'll have mines
Dogs - yeah but not in the house and poop-a-scoop please
Parking- Lots on site, but perhaps we'll look at car pooling if folks are travelling from afar?
Cost: £20 per head, no charge for kids. - pay on the day.
Numbers: Limited to 30.
(Bellaghy is on the main derry-Belfast road, turn-off is up beside Toome Bridge, give yourself about 30 mins from Derry)
After the tour and cooking is all over, mr and mrs mulholland are happy for folsk to do more exploring on the grounds, perhaps consider exploring the lough and the other areas which involve a serious treck....defo an entire day out....
Ashbrook House out in Ardmore is something special....it predates the plantation of Ireland for a start....and to quote from the the Derry Visitor website
"Ashbrook has been family home of the Ash family since before 1595. The Honorable
The Irish Society records the Ash family as one of only four 'native land
owners' prior to the plantation. It is set in 30 acres of mature parkland on
the outskirts of the city of Londonderry- The Maiden City, made famous by the
Ulster Plantations and The Siege of Derry. The Ash family is the only family
who have lived in the same house continuously. This is certainly unique in the
North West. "
Now the Ashbrook House and Gardens is not open to the public, its a private family home. Only normally open on such events as European Heritage Open Weekends and the likes...and as recently featured on UTV as part of that weekends events.
Mrs Beresford-Ash has kindly agreed to give a tour of the house and gardens to our group. The Late Mr Beresford Ash was a tree expert and there are some magnificant trees and plants in the gardens....and the house itself is just amazing....from the get go witht he 6' thick walls....history dripping out everywhere.
Get a taste here on this Virtual Tour.....amazing!!!!!!!!
Right the details:
Venue: Ashbrook House
Date: 28th October
Buggies: Not ideal
Kids: aye....i'll have mines....but again its an old house...if you break it you buy it!
Cost: £4 per head
Duration: 2 hours....at least...prob close to 3...depends how much walkign you want to do...gardens run right down to the Faughan
Picnic: Yeah...ideal for it
Clothing: something for walking indoors with and wellies/boots for outdoors....great paths down to the Faugahn in the gardens...
Please leave a comment on the blog if you can make it.....
Numbers limited to 30 for the tour of the house....I'll have to ask permission for 2 groups if the demand is there...
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond