In 1861 Queen Victoria was to visit the Muckross House, so in preparation for the joyous event extensive gardening began in the 1850’s. Later, the family continued this gardening tradition. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape. Everything was so pristine, I love how lush all the grounds were.
Mount Usher Gardens were created by four generations of the Walpole family over a period of 112 years from 1868. The garden comprises of 22 acres with the Vartry River running through it and contain many champion trees of Ireland and the UK, as well as some 4,500 different varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. Edward Walpole, the garden’s founder, passed the property to his three sons.
Mount Stewart is an 18th-century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland. The house and its contents reflect the history of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, who played a leading role in British and Irish social and political life. After the house’s interior, the Marchioness redesigned the gardens in the most lavish way possible. One bed shows the Red Hand of Ulster rendered in red flowers. It’s a rather morbid story about someone associated with this manor, who cut off his hand and tossed it over a ship’s bow to be the first one to touch this land. These gardens were, like most of the gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland were beautifully designed and expertly maintained.
Loughkey Forest in Ireland is a tranquil piece of land and estate. It has many broadleaf and conifer trees growing along the paths, as well as many wildflowers and mammals. The forest looked almost magical, as if something out of a story book. I love that all over Ireland, you can find full castles and even castles that have been left behind. Its all so beautiful.
Located on an isthmus between the lakes of Lough Rynn and Lough Erril, the Lough Rynn Estate was the home to many wealthy families in Ireland. Opening in 2006 as a hotel, the estate got much more attention for the renovation that had occurred. It’s now used as a wedding venue, and the gardens are well known in this area. We were told we “must go” by a woman we met on a forest stroll, who announced briskly “Off you go” and sent us on our way. We ran into some wayward cows on the road to Lough Rynn.
The terraced oceanfront walled garden was breathtaking on this property. It was raining, and a long walk through an open field, but it was so amazing!! The house was built between 1830 and 1835, and Lisadell House is a historic house Ireland. Lisadell was the first country house in Ireland to have an independent gas supply piped into the property. This house is interesting and we toured the kitchens and some other rooms. This house is still occupied by a family and is only open a few days a year. We were lucky to be able to see it. It sure wasn’t easy to find!! The walled garden was amazing. Incredible variety of plants, a stone garden, the caretakers quarters and spectacular views of the water.
Founded by Lady Mary Percy in 1598, this monastery has a long history stretching back almost three hundred and forty years. The purpose of Kylemore Abbey was to provide an education and religious community for Irish women during times of persecution in Ireland. This place was spectacular, with massive terraced garden rooms, one after the next, all lovingly maintained.
Glenveagh Castle is located in the middle of Glenveagh National Park in Ireland. Built between 1870 and 1873 by Captain John George Adair, it was left to the Irish Nation in 1981. It was used by Hollywood movie stars as a vacation home– such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. We toured the greenhouses and grounds on a rainy day and were entertained by traditional musicians.
Garinish Island is located in Southwestern Ireland. The entire island is an Italianate garden built by a man for his beloved. It is known for the exotic plants that grow there in an unlikely climate. The gardens that are nestled in the woodlands there, combined with the effects of the Gulf Stream and unique makeup of the harbor nearby creates a micro-climate that allows exotic plants to flourish. There are structures in the garden all over the island, including towers, temples, and a tea house.
The Dunmore House was my favorite “Secret Garden” in the world. Our innkeeper sent us “across the street” to the most spectacular walled gardens. We walked through them in awe. All the plants were by deep green leaves and shrubbery. The colors of everything just seemed so exaggerated it was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The gardener told us he wasn’t sure of the name of a plant, as he had only been “working these gardens for 60 years”. His uncle before him had worked the gardens previously. The distant manor house must have been spectacular, but this place was unforgettable.
The Botanical Garden in Dublin, was a beautiful place to be. Originally created in 1790 by the Parliament for agriculture, it was taken over for primarily botanical purposes in the 1830’s. The new visitor center was opened in 2000, and has become a public space of beauty. There are hundreds of flowers and plants within. The greenhouse was really fantastic. The dahlias were in full bloom, and there were interesting sculpture pieces throughout.
We visited the Bantry House while in southwest Ireland. The estate has been around since the 1700’s and has been a part of Irish history. During the Irish Civil War it was used as a hospital for 5 years and also during the second world war, the second squadron of the Irish army occupied the house and stables. In 1987 the estate was also turned into a bed and breakfast. It was amazing to view these spectacular grounds and the house as well. I LOVED the anemones around the grounds.
The Bamboo Park in Glengariff Ireland was created in 1999. It has many varieties of plants, not just bamboo. Other notable plants included a lot of hydrangeas, ferns and palms. Although a lot of the palms were badly hurt by a tough winter the previous year. This garden was a very tranquil place. Look how beautiful and bright the Hydrangeas were! The color was magnificent!
When we visited Ireland, we went to the town of Adare. Adare is a small village that still has it’s old buildings and cottages that have lasted for hundreds of years. We got the chance to walk around, and the village itself is super beautiful. Look at the amazing church, that looked like a castle! We also walked around some gardens, all the flowers and shrubs were so pretty and were in perfect peak bloom.
Here are photos of when we visited Holland and went to Keukenhoff to see the tulips. It was breathtaking with all the beautiful colors and the meticulous gardening. The sheer numbers of tulips was overwhelming (in a good way!) It is definitely a sight to see! I think one of my favorite parts of all the floral displays, was the rivers of mini grape hyacinths flowing amongst all the tulips. The royal purple was so beautiful.
Being on foot and looking at Holland is beautiful, but get into a car or plane and the view elevates. Being able to get a bird’s eye view of the fields and landscape gives a feeling that can’t be described. It was magical to be in the trains rushing past the tulip fields. I still can’t get over the copies amounts of tulips and all the different colors that were being grown.
We also visited a castle in Holland. The medieval architecture of the estate was amazing. The castle looked straight out of a storybook! There was even a drawbridge with a moat. It felt like being moved back in time. The atmosphere was stoic and fabulous. All the surrounding grounds were carefully taken care of, and there was even animals roaming around in the fields.
While in Amsterdam, we visited the botanical garden. They had an amazing variety of plant life. Many of it was encased in glass to keep it safe from the outside world. We loved the display cases and the massive tropical plants. The last photo was my favorite plant inside the botanical garden. It was this beautiful tree, that just looked like it was dripping purple flowers.
When we visited Amsterdam, it was an unforgettable experience. All the buildings were artfully built, and the city just screamed beauty. We passed a street vendor who was selling tulips. All the different choices were mind boggling. Really, all the flowers being sold (not just tulips) had many, many different color choices. We also walked past a small garden that had giant lizard statues running along it- how creative!
Aalsmeer is the largest flower auction held in Holland. The town that the auction is held in, is referred to as the Flower Capital of the World. All the flowers that were being auctioned off were magnificent and so vibrant with color. The vastness of this place and the amazing volume of flowers in motion were unbelievable.
While in Fort Myers, Florida we visited many beaches and the land that surrounded our hotel. It was such a tranquil area to visit. All the animal and plant life was interesting and new to this Long Islander. I loved all the different tropical birds. I also loved the large white trees by our hotel, that looked like string hanging down from the branches. They were so cool. They looked like they were just melting.
The Doris Duke Estate was begun in 1903, with plans to build a new mansion were put into place by J.B. Duke. He also had plans to build other mansions in New York and North Carolina. After the foundation was laid in 1911, construction abruptly stopped. It is claimed to be from the staggering drop in tobacco sales (the business J.B. Duke was involved in.) Today, the remnants of this building project may be seen at the Old Foundation site, which overlooks the Great Meadow, a centerpiece of the habitat regeneration efforts at Duke Farms. The Orchid Range is one of the first buildings that was erected on the property. The Orchid Range is a large greenhouse that is home to many tropical plants and fruits that grow year round.
We took a visit into Manhattan this month. It was so nice being able to walk around Central Park. We visited the Central Park Zoo while we were there as well. It is so amazing, that there is such a large space of just greenery right in the center of busting New York. This park is so beautiful, it is definitely one of those things that have to be on everybody’s bucket list.
I visited my Dad in San Clemente CA, and went with my stepmom Annie to a Garden near their home. We saw lovely tropical plants there including a large variety of bamboo and other flowering plants like cactus. All the tropical and warm weather plants were giant and magnificent. I love that we were able to get a shot of a hummingbird on a feeder! He just sat there and let us take a photo!
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona, is an interesting place. It is not like the traditional arboretums we are familiar seeing here in New York, where there is a ton of greenery. This was a more dry, and arid place for plants to grow. Therefore making all the plants, things that could absorb and hold water for a very long time (like cactuses!) They have guided tours, nature trails, and really interesting plants!
I took these photos when I was visiting my sister in her home in Arizona. I had such a lovely visit with her. I couldn’t resist taking photos of her garden! This is the garden she has at her house. There was a lot of greenery, amongst all the dry landscape of Arizona. There was small wooden insects placed around the garden, that gave the effect of insects sitting in the garden.
The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina has a lot of beauty behind the walls of the estate. The gardens on the property are magnificent and definitely worth seeing. There was one plant that caught my attention during our visit. It was the Rose Grape (Medinilla Magnifica.) The bright pink color, and large green leaves had such a contrast against each other that was super pleasing to the eye.
We took a cruise to Bermuda for our 10th wedding anniversary. The island is such a vibrant and tropical place with plant life unlike any other. It was such a memorable experience going to the botanical gardens located on the island. All of the tropical flora was beautiful, I wish we could grow tropical plants like these year round on Long Island!
While in Arizona, I had the chance to take a bike ride to the Phoenix Zoo. There were so many different animals. There was monkeys, flamingos, turtles, tigers, many different birds and various other mammals. All the animals there were so amazing. The monkeys were super cute, and were just running from tree to tree. The one animal in particular I liked the most was the tiger.
The Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, NY is a great place to visit. They have a garden strictly for dahlias which is lovely. You can see more of that here. It is about 600 acres of natural beauty, full of well maintained paths. It is such a scenic place that is great for taking photographs. The water was at high tide when these photos were taken.
We visited this Chiluly exhibit which filled the Phoenix Botanical Garden. All the glass sculptures were made to represent the plants growing. There was glass sculptures of rocks, cactuses, trees and flowers. We went during the day, and then came back at night to see the glass sculptures all lit up. Daytime photos of each glass sculpture are followed by night images of the same exhibit. It was really spectacular.
The start of May brings a bunch of new flowers blooming in the yard, including Ruby Tears Weeping Crabapple, Spice Bush Viburnum (My favorite scent!!), thundercloud plum, Ajuga, Basket of Gold allysum, white Lilac, Lilac Josee’s delicate Dwarf flowers, Geum, and Standard Lilac. All the colors are so vibrant and beautiful, and the scent is to-die-for!