Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mount Usher Gardens Again

Back in Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co Wicklow which is open from March to end of October and is home to a collection of more than 5,000 trees and shrubs.

In the latter part of the 19th century, there was a great fashion for importing exotic plant species from all parts of the globe and, thanks to the more naturalistic approach to planting here in Mount Usher, they are displayed in what seems like their native habitat.

The gardens started in the 1860's when Edward Walpole took over the lease and was developed over two further generations until taken over by Mrs Madeleine Jay in 1980 who insisted on gardening all 22 acres entirely organically and, since 2007, is now run by Avoca, the Irish retail company.

Several different walks and paths around the gardens are suggested and depend very much on the time one has to spare - the Woodland Garden and The Island are rather special and have many interesting specimens - and it's somewhere to revisit as the seasons change, spring with the 150 different species of rhododendrons and azaleas, lilies and Eucryphia in summer and, of course, the spectacular colours of autumn.

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