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Wordless Wednesday: Lismore Castle Gardens

12th May 2021: Vaccine Day

Link to my visit in October 2020


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Six-on-Saturday – Waiting

Last week I was waiting for the opening of  travel restrictions and visiting beautiful gardens. This week, I’m realising that beauty is on my doorstep.

I’ve been waiting such a long time. It feels like warm weather is never coming my way. This week we’ve had torrential rain, hailstones, cold northerly winds and some sunshine. The rain coincided with my first visit of the season to Lismore Castle Gardens, the hailstones arrived just as I was preparing to go cycling and the cold winds persisted every day.

I’ve been waiting to plant out dahlias, petunias, begonias and other annuals. I’ve also been waiting to collect my new bike, for club spins to resume next week and most importantly, I’ve been waiting for the magic shot in the arm.

That’s a lot of waiting, and it is not good. It’s a form of living in the future, so it’s time to let it go. The flowers will get planted, the winds will shift to bring warmer weather, and the cycling adventures will commence shortly. The vaccine is scheduled for Wednesday next.

In the meantime, I’ll focus on six items from the garden this week. It’s a live-in-the-now strategy.

1. Osteospermum

Commonly known as African Daisies, osteospermums love a sunny position. They generally have a white daisy-like flower. This variety is called Blackthorn Seedling, but it’s unclear why black is mentioned. I’ve got this growing well close to a sunny wall. The petals will not open on dull days. This little plant knows all about waiting.

Osteospermum Blackthorn Seedling

It has been in place since 2016 and I’ve successfully taken some cuttings from it. Also, this year I’ve grown a mix of Osteospermums from seed. In total I’ve got ten plants that are now about 10cm high, and are ready to be planted. I’m ready, the plants are ready, but I’ll wait until the time is right. Come to think of it, I’ll decide to be content while waiting.

2. Forget-me-nots

Myosotis, commonly known as Forget-me-not, is still blooming away. In fact, it is probably now looking its best, and will last for another few weeks before being removed. Of course, I’ll be sure to scatter the seed widely before composting. I’ll be planting a selection of annuals in this spot before the end of the month. That’s a lot of thinking ahead, so I’ll stop awhile to look at the beauty right before my eyes. It’s lovely right now just as it is. Everything else is irrelevant, except to note that among the blue you’ll notice the purple of the baby osteospermum.

I’m coming to the realisation that so much gardening is a form of living in the future. There’s lots of planning, hoping, expecting and wishing. Added to that, this last year and a bit has me wishing for a time when everything will be normal. Again, I’ve been waiting. Last week I was waiting for the opening of  travel restrictions and visiting beautiful gardens. This week, I’m realising that beauty is on my doorstep.

3. Allium

I’ve got three of these Alliums. Related  to onions, they produce one large flower head. A closer look will show that this one large head is, in fact, hundreds of tiny flowers. The waiting is over. They are in flower now.

4. Bluebells

I selected bluebells about three weeks ago as they began flowering. Right now they are at their best.

5. Lismore Castle Gardens

I visited Lismore Castle Gardens last Monday. Heavy rain cleared about midday, so I decided to head north-west. Unfortunately, heavy rain returned as soon as I entered, so my visit was very short. Long quick steps were in order and I was unable to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In any case, I collected my season ticket and returned to base. There will be better days. I’m happy to wait for blue skies and sunshine, knowing that this beautiful place is only thirty minutes away. I’ll go when the time is right. It’s been there for more than three hundred years.

6. Starling Feast

Heres a link to YouTube feasting. There’s something within! These starlings seem to have found a tasty meal, and they are determined to find more. Strange that I’ve never noticed them foraging like this before.

About Six-on-Saturday

We are a group of gardeners who write. We write about six items in our gardens, and we do it on Saturdays. I’ve been doing this since last June and I enjoy nothing more than reading about and seeing other gardens from near and far. Lest we forget, many more choose to publish on Twitter and Instagram. You can find out more about it here. Six things, in your garden. Could be anything, and frequently is.

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading, and to Jon for getting us all together every week. Have a good week. Stay safe. Slán go fóill.


Six on Saturday – Lismore Castle Gardens

It has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds.

17th October 2020.

There’s been some Autumnal giddiness this week along with serious work in the garden and homework in my head. I am in the process of moving my website from WordPress to Hosting Ireland, but I asked the team leader to allow me time to get my Six-on-Saturday up and out. No problem, she said. Amid all this ticking of boxes and following my nose, I had some John Cleese moments in the aftermath of my visit to Lismore Castle Gardens last Sunday. More of that later níos déanaí. My six (plus one) this week comes from the lovely garden in Lismore, twenty kilometres away.

1. Aon

The original castle was started in 1170 and I’m pretty sure they grew a few beans and bushes, along with thorns and truffles from time to time, but the first real attempt to add a garden befitting the castle caisleán commenced in the 1605. My meander through the present gardens, upper and lower, was the highlight of my year. That’s really saying something! I lost myself moving from one section to another through narrow maze-like alleys, eyes ahead in anticipation, moving from one century to the next.

2. Dó

I came upon this erect grass everywhere and I really do want it. Can anyone help me out?

3. Trí

This is the Avenue of Trees na gCrann. one of several throughout, most likely added by some new owner. Speaking of owners, it has passed through several noble hands. Walter (of the Raleigh), Richard (of chemistry laws fame) and Fred the Dancer’s brother-in-law all had the deeds and seeds. Since the 1600’s this has been just one the very many large estates owned by the Duke of Devonshire. The current Duke is Peregrine Cavendish, but I was unable to meet him because of my other Sunday commitments.

4. Ceathar

As I neared the castle walls I sat to enjoy a Hamlet moment, I was joined momentarily by a hedgehog. It crept slowly out of view as I admired the bigger picture.

5. Cúig

Very impressed I was by the many secluded nooks. This one would be ideal for a picnic or romantic moments. I had neither of these but I did sit to take stock of life.

6. Sé

Voila! Here’s the back entrance, the coffee-and-apple-pie café and the newly-established art exhibition gallery. The café was very tempting but the gallery was closed. I saw someone looking down on me from a window, so I assumed an interested gaze at a tree down to my right and pointed the camera away. Later, my thoughts turned to Rapunzel.

One for the road…

The back lawn is spirit-level level, but as I photographed part of the castle from the approaching bank, I needed to shift my weight to my right foot cos. Accordingly, the building is leaning. The builders of banks and castles could not have known at the time that this would cause first-world issues. An image of the Rapunzel in Pisa lingered with me.

That’s my short account of my first visit to these majestic gardens. I enjoyed it so much that I will save up for a season ticket. The gardens will open again in March next year, all being well with the world, so I will have some time to save slowly.

Further Study & Giddinesss

I did mention giddiness at the outset. In fact, it persisted until Wednesday, by which time I had produced a few fun items… photo edits, a tongue-in-cheek article and seven tweets. I’m told I’d do Twitter a great service by not bothering.

Just shocking! Read about it HERE.

Wouldn’t you just love to visit many other majestic gardens or castles from around the World? England, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are well represented on the Six-on-Saturday thingymebob created by The Propagator.

SOS World Tour

Read all about it and follow this week’s gardeners’ gardens. You may join in free gratis, saor in aisce. Ireland has several keen enthusiasts, and my County Waterford is headed up by An Irish Gardener and myself. That’s it for this week. Stay safe, enjoy your garden and garden reading, keep your distance and wash your hands. I’ll be back next week so until then, slán go fóill.


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Hyssop and Cavendish

Wednesday, 14th October 2020.

Agastache is also known as Hyssop and has many medicinal, herbal and culinary uses.

Marion’s cycling group are known as G5. I’m going to suggest some hyssup oil for them. In the coffee! Hyssop is known also as Ysup, Herbe de Joseph, and Herbe Sacré. Great for cyclists in appropriate doses.

Lismore Castle is owned by the Duke of Devonshire. No connection to the Hyssop family. Due to other commitments, I was unable to meet him. The current 12th Duke is Peregrine Cavendish. The family seat is at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and the heir is Lord Burlington (William Cavendish), who is regularly in Lismore. According to regulations the heir must be male. There’s also the important matter of legitimacy.


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