The Last Letter

The Irish Heritage Trust which manages Fota House in Cork is proud to be the gatekeeper of many stories.  We know this one is all too common and many families safeguarded those last letters from the front as precious Continue reading

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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Loving the Wildlife

Loving the Wildlife

Fota isn’t just about the flora and fauna, though these are spectacular throughout the seasons. It’s also about nature, birds, bees, butterflies and some elusive animals. Here are some of the creatures we happily share Fota with. 

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An intriguing visitor to the Frameyard

An intriguing visitor to the Frameyard

Not all our visitors arrive on foot. On Monday last, just as we were finishing up for the day, an unusual visitor arrived. Our volunteers, Mary and Harriet and Bernard the gardener, watched in amazement as it darted about and hovered, its wings flapping rapidly. Then it latched onto a Dianthus plant and fed on the pollen. We were puzzled, having never seen anything like it before. Was it a bird, a butterfly, a bee or a moth?  In fact, it was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum (Linnaeus, 1758)

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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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The Fota House Game Larder

In the 21st century we don’t think twice about purchasing strawberries for Christmas in shops or supermarkets. Seasons are largely unimportant in today’s globalised world, and when we want to preserve food we can easily chill or freeze it. Continue reading
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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