Six on Saturday – Lismore Castle Gardens

It has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds.

There’s been some Autumnal giddiness this week along with serious work in the garden and homework in my head. I am in the process of moving my website from WordPress to Hosting Ireland, but I asked the team leader to allow me time to get my Six-on-Saturday up and out. No problem, she said. Amid all this ticking of boxes and following my nose, I had some John Cleese moments in the aftermath of my visit to Lismore Castle Gardens last Sunday. More of that later níos déanaí. My six (plus one) this week comes from the lovely garden in Lismore, twenty kilometres away.

1. Aon

The original castle was started in 1170 and I’m pretty sure they grew a few beans and bushes, along with thorns and truffles from time to time, but the first real attempt to add a garden befitting the castle caisleán commenced in the 1605. My meander through the present gardens, upper and lower, was the highlight of my year. That’s really saying something! I lost myself moving from one section to another through narrow maze-like alleys, eyes ahead in anticipation, moving from one century to the next.

2. Dó

I came upon this erect grass everywhere and I really do want it. Can anyone help me out?

3. Trí

This is the Avenue of Trees na gCrann. one of several throughout, most likely added by some new owner. Speaking of owners, it has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds. Since the 1600’s this has been just one the very many large estates owned by the Duke of Devonshire. The current Duke is Peregrine Cavendish, but I was unable to meet him because of my other Sunday commitments.

4. Ceathar

As I neared the castle walls I sat to enjoy a Hamlet moment, I was joined momentarily by a hedgehog. It crept slowly out of view as I admired the bigger picture.

5. Cúig

Very impressed I was by the many secluded nooks. This one would be ideal for a picnic or romantic moments. I had neither of these but I did sit to take stock of life.

6. Sé

Voila! Here’s the back entrance, the coffee-and-apple-pie café and the newly-established art exhibition gallery. The café was very tempting but the gallery was closed. I saw someone looking down on me from a window, so I assumed an interested gaze at a tree down to my right and pointed the camera away. Later, my thoughts turned to Rapunzel.

One for the road…

The back lawn is spirit-level level, but as I photographed part of the castle from the approaching bank, I needed to shift my weight to my right foot cos. Accordingly, the building is leaning. The builders of banks and castles could not have known at the time that this would cause first-world issues. An image of the Rapunzel in Pisa lingered with me.

That’s my short account of my first visit to these majestic gardens. I enjoyed it so much that I will save up for a season ticket. The gardens will open again in March next year, all being well with the world, so I will have some time to save slowly.

Further Study & Giddinesss

I did mention giddiness at the outset. In fact, it persisted until Wednesday, by which time I had produced a few fun items… photo edits, a tongue-in-cheek article and seven tweets. I’m told I’d do Twitter a great service by not bothering.

Just shocking! Read about it HERE.

Wouldn’t you just love to visit many other majestic gardens or castles from around the World? England, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator.

SOS World Tour

Read all about it and follow this week’s gardeners’ gardens. You may join in free gratis, saor in aisce. Ireland has several keen enthusiasts, and my County Waterford is headed up by An Irish Gardener and myself. That’s it for this week. Stay safe, enjoy your garden and garden reading, keep your distance and wash your hands. I’ll be back next week so until then, slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

17th October 2020.

Six on Saturday – Pears and Pancake Mix

Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again. Repeat defeat!

Reading time: 5 minutes + 1 minute spent looking closely at photographs. That’s Six on Saturday.

I’ve been saying it for several weeks. It’s Autumn, and now it’s officially Autumn. The past few weeks have been very dry and warm, so the garden is looking great. The cold nights and dininished light are adding the expected colour changes everywhere. The diminished light and cold nights are not bedfellows, as nights are generally completely dark. For the sake of Autumnal clarity: The diminished daylight hours combined with the cold nights are turning my garden to Autumn gold.

When I’m not gardening I’m playing with my phone or cycling. This week I skipped the midweek cycle, but spent a few cúpla euro to buy a gimmicky little camera app that applies filters to photographs. The hands are not mine and neither is the phone. They belong to someone else who got paid a nominal stipend to allow distribution. I think they are not gardening hands. This is a photo of a photo of my Six this week. Read along with me in reverse alphabetical order:

1. Strawberries

My strawberries had been in pots and window boxes this year, but I’ve been driven demented as mo mheabhair watering and feeding them. I seldom seemed to get it right, so I purchased four hanging baskets and loaded each one with twelve plants. I have one basket left over for something else.

Competition: How many plants altogether? If each plant produces one hundred fruits and the birds get 10% how many bowls of twenty will I have? Ceist eile: What might I put in the remaining basket? I’m reminded of a classic conundrum…

Classic!

2. Pear Tree

Hiding among the two fuchsias is my new pear tree, which is actually two pear trees, and a close look at the second photograph grianghraf clearly shows where the second one has been grafted on to the main plant. The first is Williams and the other one is Buerre Hardy. Perhaps it’s the other way round? This will grow to 3m wide, so I will need to consider very carefully where to plant it.

Which is which?
Pear Williams & Buerre Hardy

3. Onions

During the week I got stuck in, and completed the job of getting the onion sets into the ground. They are protected by netting and surplus shopping baskets. Don’t ask!

4. Feverfew

This little guy is flowering again. Feverfew, sometimes known as Bachelor’s Buttons, is a great little addition to the garden and I’m happy to see it seeding itself in nooks and crannies among the patio slabs. Along with the little flowers, I love the lime-green foliage. This was featured among my very first Six on Saturday articles in early July.

Bachelor’s Buttons

5. Begonia

My begonia-love is changing, as is the case with true love. There are still six in the garden, constantly being moved around for visual variety, a few are being dried out in the glasshouse and finally, a few have been added to the compost heap. I never thought this would happen. Love does not normally discard, yet I’m adapting… Some of the trailing begonias do not suit my garden. They are best viewed from a height of 10 cm, and I’d need to be a miniature Yorkie to really appreciate them. Could I use the leftover hanging basket? In any case, recently I have been influenced by many SOSers who have espoused the virtue of dumping unwanted varieties rather than keeping them simply because they have been purchased with hard-earned cash. My previously-loved Begonias are now in the process of returning to the garden next year via the compost heap. The hanging basket is still available.

6. Acer

A beautiful plant in summer, this comes into the limelight from now until the end of October. The diminishing daylight hours and cold nights are in no way connected to limelight. I wonder where did the word originate?

Acer limelight

SOS – Only One Garden Here

  • Royalty cheque for $200 arrived from Fashion Artist. It’s a decent stipend, and we feel happy to authorise our wide distribution. Top tips indeed.
  • On Paddy’s recommendation (Paddy, An Irish Gardener) we visited Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens in Wicklow. It’s a wonderful place, and I’ll be back. Beidh mé ar ais.
  • Sam Bennett was on the brink of finishing the TDF in the Green Jersey last week, and on Sunday last he  sprinted to a double victory in Paris. Chapeau Sam!
  • Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2. It took us thirty years to beat them at Old Trafford last year, and then we go and repeat the feat again last Saturday. Repeat defeat!
  • Separate Yoga and Chiropractor sessions have me bouncing 360.
  • I enjoyed a nostalgiac photographic back-look to this week in 2015 when we visited our daughter in Thirsk, Yorkshire. I double-jobbed by cycling the Moors including Sutton Bank and Rosedale Chimney. In reality, I escorted the bike on foot for much of the latter.

That’s my lot for this week, a cháirde. I’ll be back with more an Satharn seo chugainn. In the meantime, please visit Mr. Propagator’s garden blog where you can find many more Six on Saturday offerings from around the world, together with details of how to participate if that’s your thing. I’ll be spending some time today reading articles by so many others. I hope you have a great week wherever you are. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig,

26th September 2020.