Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mount Stewart: The Gardens

The extent of Edith's gardens is depicted in the map below. They literally surround the house. A principal feature is the variety. Situated on Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland's east coast, Mount Stewart gets some of the most temperate weather to be found at this latitude, and Edith took full advantage of this, acquiring temperate and sub-tropical specimens from all over the world. At the height of activity, she had 36 gardeners working for her. When over-night guests came, they were presented with a shovel and wheel barrow the next morning after breakfast, with explicit instructions on what was to be done before lunch and after. Formal entertaining would resume at dinner.
One of the best gardens yet

Looking toward the Shamrock Garden

At several National Trust properties we've
visited, a gardener, volunteer, and sometimes
the head gardener, will lead a tour; "meet by
the flagpole at 2PM," and if it's the head
gardener, as here at Mount Stewart, you're in
for real treat; so, passing by, Vicki and I of
course fell in and enjoyed one of the most lively
and interesting talks on plants, landscaping, etc.,
we've ever heard; charming, captivating, etc.;
and, oh, so Irish; after 45 minutes in the
Shamrock Garden alone, one of the Trust
personnel tactfully informed us this was a
private tour, arranged by the National
organization; knowing what those cost, we
quietly fell away and did the rest of the gardens
ourselves; still the best garden talk I ever
expect to hear; maybe "next time"

The Hand, in the Shamrock Garden

Topiary all over, all from Edith's personal stories and myths;
she herself was Circe

Monterey Cypress

The Pond

Everything in bloom, well, except the rhodos and azaleas,
now long-gone, but from their expanse one could see they
would have been incredible a month before

Near the Tir Nan Og, the family burial ground

Fuschias, of course

And much else

View of the house from the Formal Gardens

Black Roses, just like in Menlo Park

Statuary all over, again, much of it from Edith's mythology

And an arch, of course

We found a lay-by right on Stangford Lough, just beyond
Mount Stewart, and spent a quiet evening watching the tides

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Amazing to see the Monterey Cypress there!