Monday, September 9th, 2013...7:35 am

Mount Steward House and Garden

Himalayan blue poppy by Swamibu

When I visited Ireland recently, I did not rough it, but was lucky to find lovely hotels in both Belfast and Dublin. The choices of hotels, especially in Dublin, were enormous and the nicest part for me were some of the wonderful breakfasts and dinners served in those hotels I stayed in. I was especially pleased with the quality and quantify of food served in Ireland. To have a huge, delicious breakfast to start the day and a huge, delicious dinner in the hotel when I returned back after a long day of hiking around gardens is, to me, a special bonus. I like to plan on seeing at least two to three gardens each day.

Though I visited both large and small gardens while in Ireland, I am going to write more about the more intimate gardens we visited in Ireland where the owners/gardeners spent time talking to our group about their gardens.

But one large garden I want to mention is Mount Steward House and Garden in the Belfast area. Alas, when we arrived at this one estate garden, the heavens opened and it was the one time on our vacation when it poured when we were in am Irish garden. There is no good time to rain when one is on a garden tour, but I didn’t want to miss this magnificent garden. So we sloshed through the rain to look at the grounds after we visited the house which was having major work being done inside. In a few years, the house will be its magnificent old self.

One area of the garden was roped off because the owner still resides in the house and because of the work being done to the house. When I bemoaned the fact that we could not get into half the gardens, the sweet lady at the desk took our group through a side entrance to allow us to see one part of the gardens we missed. Of course, we didn’t get to see all 98 acres.

Had I mentioned how welcoming the Irish were to our group and how much they told us they loved America and Americans? This opening of a side door was just one of many examples of the kindness the Irish showed us. It is a stunning garden, I am so happy we got to see the other half. How much more beautiful it would be on a sunny day.

Of course we were soaked. The rain was so heavy that the sunken gardens almost seemed like ponds; But it was well worth sloshing through these gardens. Then feeling cold and wet, we went for lunch in their cafeteria where we had delicious hot soup to warm us with yummy grainy bread. There are some gardens I wish I could return to spend more time and this is one such garden.

I took no photos in this rain, so google up Mt. Stewart garden images or look at the photos here.

PS When looking at the photos of the Mount Stewart gardens, you might see a blue poppy, a Himalayan blue poppy Meconopsis ‘Lingholm” that our group has seen growing in both English and Irish gardens. Who wouldn’t dream of having such a poppy in one’s garden? Alas, it likes cooler summer weather and grows in a a narrow geographic range, like Vermont or Alaska. (see here)

So if you want to try to grow Meconopsis, good luck if you don’t live in those areas the blue poppy likes. Let TheGardenLady readers know if you can get it to grow as a perennial where you are.



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