Mount Congreve, described as one of the great gardens of the world, is only 45 minutes from our home yet it’s taken until now for me to spend more than twenty minutes there.
Since the owner of this magnificent estate, the late Mr Ambrose Congreve, passed away there has been a fear that the gardens would close. In July Irish Daily Mail journalist, Tom Doorley described the difficulties the Estate has been under while trying to hand the gardens over to the Office of Public Works as Mr Congreve wished.
Thankfully the glitch has been resolved and the gardens have been open from springtime 2014, but do check the website for more information.
I wont ramble on about the history of the gardens or how Mr Congreve worked on them for almost his entire life until they grew to include over 16 kilometers of pathways and woodland containing “over three thousand different trees and shrubs, more than two thousand Rhododendrons, six hundred Camellias, three hundred Acer cultivars, six hundred conifers, two hundred and fifty climbers and fifteen hundred herbaceous plants” – the Mount Congreve website can do that for you.
Mr Congreve was a passionate gardener who lived for over 104 years before passing away at Chelsea Flower Show in 2011. The remains of both he and Mrs Congreve are buried at the Temple in the Estate.
For now I’ll leave you with a few images that I took in the walled garden that might give you some idea of the colour you could be experiencing in your gardens during late September if you so wish.
Most of the plants in the gardens are labelled and there’s a free downloadable PDF available on the website giving a synopsis of the plants growing there. I for one will be adding dahlias and asters to my shopping trolley next time I visit our local garden centre.
There hasn’t been any vegetables growing in the walled garden this year unlike a couple of years ago when I paid my earlier brief visit there. It was explained that as the kitchen is no longer operating as it was in the Congreve’s day when they held dinner parties and balls, the House has no need for them. For now the beds have been laid down to green manures until a decision is made about their future.
I’m so looking forward to going back and plans are afoot to return soon with my two community garden groups for their social get together.