We stay in B&B at Bantry House in Bantry. A huge pile in a terribly Irish state of dilapidation.
Box blight strikes one of the box circles in front of the house while others are unaffected. Julie will have more pictures for my article.
The first of two derelict stable blocks – this one at least still has a roof.
The wisteria pergola in the main formal garden. Would be superb in flower.
It looks like box hedging but most of it is actually yew.
The grotto in the centre.
Dereliction at the back of the main house – rotten windows, ivy, balustrade a health hazard.
Myrtle seedlings clipped on a bank to about 18 inches.
The second derelict stable block with no roof at all and the pergola just hanging there.
Drimys winteri showing cold damage like ours from the cold east wind.
The east end of the house.
Dead echiums from the cold – this was Echium fastuosum.
The largest Cordyline australis I have ever seen. Huge base – 12ft around perhaps.
Cordyline and gunnera grown together – an odd mix but not where you have 75-80 inches of rain each year. 41mm last night!
Buxus harlandii in flower and as a tall hedge.
Off to Illnacullen Island which is run and owned by OPW, the Irish state entity with a similar but different role to our National Trust. 66,000 visitors to Garnish Island (or Illnacullen if you prefer).
Rather cheaper to enter Garnish than Blarney Castle!
The ferry terminal and views in the mist.
We arrive after a 10 minute sea crossing where we are obliged to look at seals.
Pittosporum eugenoides in flower. It is rather better than you might imagine for a pittosporum.
A huge Agathis australis which was hit by a tree at 20ft but reshot with three main stems. The juvenile foliage lower down vastly different to the leaves at the top. Odd spotting on the bark.
The first view of the Italian garden.
Various views to the towering mountains nearby which we cannot really see however close they were.
A mature Carpodetus serratus with its peculiar coloured leaves.
The hidden valley.
Ternstroemia japonica – a red rarity which I have never seen in flower.
Abies firma – I am getting a liking for abies!
Cupressus arizonica in flower.
A fine Rhododendron macabeanum.
Chamaecyparis obtusa phillicoides.
The largest Rhododendorn maddenii I have ever seen with gorgeous peeling bark.
The battery tower built by the British before the garden was even thought of.
Griselinia littoralis seedlings everywhere on the ground.
Even in the trunk of a Pinus radiata (insignis).
More views across the island.
Chaenomales speciosa trained perfectly across a wall.
Quite the largest Dacrydium cupressinum I have ever seen in a hollow.
Griselinia littoralis ‘Bantry Bay’ – presumably the original as this was a very old and well pruned tree. It was clearly a chance sport and still has the odd green shoot or branch.
Pittosporum eugenoides ‘Variegatum’ in full flower too.
Dicksonia fibrosa fronds untouched by cold.
More than could be said for the older mature plant a few yards away. Well wrapped but with all fronds dead.
I will have to look up the name of this evergreen climber which I have seen before at Tregrehan and would be a good Burncoose seller if we grew it. We should! Individual male and female flowers I believe. Ercilla volubilis I think.
Words fail me to describe the beauty of this extraordinary garden with its Italianate architecture in the middle of nowhere!
Nearly an hour on to Derreen Garden – privately owned by the Bigham family. The son, James, has returned home to sort the garden and is getting stuck in with major storm and new clearance work after many years of neglect and no new planting. Only 7,500 visitors per year and just starting a tea room in an outbuilding.
The largest Cupressus macrocarpa I have ever seen – 26ft around the base.
The house facing the mountains and the sea from a huge knoll.
Big leaf rhododendrons self seeding all over in moss banks in a way they simply do not in Cornwall.
Rhododendron zelanicum with a few late flowers.
Peeling bark on Rhododendron nuttallii.
The view from the boathouse and nearby restored pergola to other planted woodland islands and the mountains in a strong facing wind.
Ferns growing on tree trunk trunks – no idea how to name these.
The tree fern grove from above. I have never seen so many self sown (and saleable) seedlings of Dicksonia antarctica in a garden. They form canopies everywhere the ground is exposed.
Perhaps the largest Griselinia littoralis tree in the UK and Ireland? Nicely cleared now with a new path so that the public can see the trunk.
So we have already seen examples of fine, well run state owned and private gardens expanding, replanting and being properly maintained. Also fine examples of dereliction, chaos and avoidance of the inevitable due to lack of money and business skills. The historic remnants of the once titled Anglo-Irish aristocracy are very friendly but a glorious tragedy really. No hot water or heat in the smart bit of Bantry House which has been done up for B&B. All very normal. We have happy times driving along in our nine seater bus with the six of us spotting ugly new bungalows painted vulgar colours and bars called ‘Murphys’. Terence has rather strong views on the Republic’s planning laws (or lack of them) which allow bungaloid desecration of very beautiful countryside. ‘Only in Ireland’ as they say with a shrug. The roadside posters about the forthcoming abortion referendum over here say ‘one in five babies die in England’ (from abortion). About as dubious a fact as the catholic church could dream up. Stopping abortions before bungaloids of course. The best remark today was ‘it rained so hard last night that the power went out’.