Gardener’s House Restoration

Gardener’s House Restoration

The Gardener’s House at Fota is a significant part of the history of the property and had been lying derelict for a number of years. In 2017 we began to restore it thanks to generous support from the Department Continue reading

ANGELS IN THE ORANGERY

ANGELS IN THE ORANGERY

Even on a misty, early-Autumn day, the Orangery is a bright, light-filled space. Growing happily in one corner is a species of Brugmansia, its orange “Angel’s Trumpets” and large foliage bright against the whitewashed walls. And then there’s the fragrance – released at night to attract moths and lingering throughout the day…

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A PROFUSION OF FUCHSIA AT VICTORIAN WORKING GARDEN

A PROFUSION OF FUCHSIA AT VICTORIAN WORKING GARDEN

Many of us have childhood memories of sucking the nectar from fuchsia flowers or using them to create figures. Some people considered it unlucky to take it into the house. Even the Irish name for the plant -“Deora Dé”, God’s tears – was fascinating.  These memories come back to us as we work this summer in the “buzzing” glasshouses of Fota Victorian Working Garden. Great, lumbering bumblebees are busy visiting the many varieties of Fuchsia. Magellanica (alba), Riccartonii, Pink Goon, Tom Thumb, Thalia, Mrs Popple, Nellie Nuttall, Sleepy and the wonderfully named, voluptuous Voodoo. Fuchsia was introduced to Ireland for hedging and a walk at this time of year on a country road in West Cork or Kerry bears this out. A constant stream of bees crossing the road from one fuchsia hedge to another is common. It’s like being on a bee highway.

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WHO SAID WHAT ABOUT GARDENING AND WROTE IT DOWN

WHO SAID WHAT ABOUT GARDENING AND WROTE IT DOWN

“Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests  / I’ll dig with it.”    Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist, 1966

The next best thing to gardening is reading about it. And some gardeners write very eloquently about their craft. This blog is a tiny sample from a few of those who sometimes exchanged the spade for the pen, planting seeds for thought.

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Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Unassuming, low-growing and evergreen but I can only describe this plant as enchanting. Cocooned in its spiders’ webs, it looks like a magic carpet of ancient, neglected rosettes. The plant that time forgot in Ms Havisham’s glasshouse. Now it has produced a delicate pink flower, bringing a dash of colour that seems to say “Don’t be fooled, I’m still growing” and living up to its name which means “always alive”.

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Flower tower – Echium pininana

Flower tower – Echium pininana

Cork is known as a city of “Steps and Steeples”. Some were designed by famous architects like William Burgess and George Pain. Nearby at Cobh Cathedral, the work of Edward Pugin and George Ashlin towers over the sea.  Summer brings a different kind of steeple to the Frameyard and gardens of Fota House, this time designed by Nature. It’s called Echium pininana or Giant Viper’s Bugloss. This beautifully structured plant even has its own bell-like flowers. They don’t ring out like carillon bells but on a sunny day they sing with the sound of bees.

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A Small Blue Goddess

A Small Blue Goddess

In the Frameyard now we see a beautiful tiny flower, with an equally beautiful name. Diana, Greek goddess of the hunt + ella meaning small + native to Tasmania, gives us Dianella tasmanica or Blue Flax Lily.

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Fota Frameyard Field Trip

Fota Frameyard Field Trip

Today the Frameyard Guild went on a “school tour” to Kinalea Garden, Shipool, Innishannon, County Cork. The owner, Alannah  Sheehan,  gave the group a warm welcome and told us all about her garden, which she has been developing and tending for over 30 years. It is spread out over one acre near the Bandon river and has a lovely mixture of herbaceous plants, alpine beds and trees.

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New kids on the (Frameyard) block

New kids on the (Frameyard) block

Something smells wonderful in the Frameyard.  It’s not the wallflowers in the glasshouse or the thyme growing on the top of the old walls. It’s the fragrance of our newly acquired Scented Pelargoniums wafting from Glasshouse No. 5. These tactile plants release citrus, rose or woody scents and come to life when touched. 

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