Oh my goodness, it was like being in s gardening version of the land time forgot!!
This was my visit last weekend to an RHSI garden in Wicklow called Russborough House. The reason I was there was because there was a rare plants fair, which I only discovered via my friends on twitter. So suggested to OH we needed a day out in the open air discovering new things (plants) and the response was 'No thank you - can't think of anything worse - but you go and enjoy'.
Done - Lol!
I got there about 1pm, and as I walked up the avenue in search of these rate plants, I came across people walking back towards their cars, plants abound. I think I slightly increased my pace a little, just in case grower are sold out! I shouldn't have worried, there was definitely plenty to go around.
So, on paying my ticket for entry, the ticket seller was talking how there was all sorts of plants to discover and the house was well worth a tour.
I explained that I was delighted to be there, couldn't wait to browse through the plant stalls and I really wanted to see the gardens too. On hearing this she said a tour of the recently rediscovered Rhododendron gardens was about to start and it really was a must do!
Okay, sounded interesting.
Went along and joined the tour group. It was nice to be among plant people. We walked about 1.5 miles over reasonably rustic ground listening to the tour guide talk about the gardens of Russborough House, their development about 250 years ago, falling into disrepair, and more recently being rediscovered and slowly being brought back to former glory.
When we got to the entrance of the Rhododendron gardens it was most unimpressive!
It was worth waiting to hear the guides explanation, where she told us that these gardens were planted with various specimens of Rhododendrons, and other plants, about 50 years ago, and over time they became completely overgrown right up until just a year ago, when some dedicated gardeners reclaimed the area over a six month period - finding the balance between natural, yet accessible, gardens.
Well, on knowing this, I was immediately respectful that the entrance area wasn't the manicured area I was expecting. On going in under/ through the entrance area, we were greeted with such an amazing array of matured plants!
Now to put this in context, I'm used to seeing these guys in garden centres, in pots, at a very young age, and then in larger pots in gardens, but no larger than waist or chest height, either because of the variety or restricted growing conditions.
I initially started taking pictures of the plants and their flowers and soon realised that without some sort of measuring stick beside them, viewers would not truly appreciate the size of these specimens, so I tried to ensure there were people in the pictures, as a measure.
The variety names of the plants were lost to time, although there was some work being done in this area. Some of the plants were also on their side, blown over at some point in time, only further lending to the character of the place. As always, it was at times like this I wish I had a better camera, but my iPhone had to suffice.
The flowers were all sorts of sizes and colours and most of the plants were at an excellent point of flowering.
It really was an excellent adventure and I found it inspiring - what will be the outcome of this visit? Not sure at the moment, just inspired to find what can be with this genus of plants.
As for the rare plants, well, I want to do a separate post just for this.