Mount Congreve – A Preview

Mount Congreve Gardens, in Waterford, will open for the 2015 season on Thursday 12th of March but I took the opportunity to have a walk around the gardens during the last week.

Mount Congreve: A view to the house.
Mount Congreve: A view to the house.

My first impression, as I remember the scenes of devastation we witnessed in the gardens following the storms at this time last year, is the amount of work the gardeners have done in the last 12 months. It can only have been an enormously upsetting occasion for those who have worked for years in the garden to see the huge number of mature trees which were knocked over by the gales and the amount of underplanting – rhododendrons and camellias etc – which were flattened by their falling. The work over the last year has simply been trojan in its scale and the gardens are looking marvellous.

The woodlands are coming to life again with beech trees above flowering camellias.
The woodlands are coming to life again with beech trees above flowering camellias.

Along with the essential work of clearing up after this storm a great deal of work has been done in renewing large areas of older planting. Old rhododendrons and old camellias have been pruned back hard – indeed, to such an extent that the amateur gardener would believe they had been too harshly treated but they are all sprouted anew with great vigour and this work has allow light into areas which had become overshadowed with the passing of years.

Camellias with a scattering of snowdrops at their feet.
Camellias with a scattering of snowdrops at their feet.

The necessary clearing after such a disaster also led to some wonderful vistas being opened. One of the walks from the Temple leads to a small rise and two old cherry trees which grew there were blown over. It is always sad to see such mature specimens being lost but their departure opened up a vista which has probably not been seen in twenty five years or more. Now, one can look along and over the canopy of, perhaps, a 150 metres planting of Magnolia campbellii, running along the terrace to the back of the house. Looking at it last year I though it was the most beautiful and marvellous garden vista I had ever seen – and it will be in flower again shortly, so the treat awaits again.

A venerable Sweet Chestnut tree with white crocus below
A venerable Sweet Chestnut tree with white crocus below

At present, the first of the magnolias are coming into flower along with the earlier rhododendrons and camellias. Some are in absolute magnificent full bloom and are a sight to behold and the flowering will improve as the season progresses. Here and there through the garden there are specimen trees which are given more space than the general planting – most of the garden is planted as a woodland garden, a very natural style where neighbouring trees must jostle for their space and for light but a few have been allowed a little more room, mainly venerable oak or sweet chestnut trees and these are underplanted with crocus or wood anemones which give great splashes of colour in the early garden.

This old oak tree has become surrounded by a  multi-colour planting of crocus.
This old oak tree has become surrounded by a multi-colour planting of crocus.

Mount Congreve Garden is a place that merits being visited many times during the year as the display of plants in flower develops as the season progresses. The first big display will be from the huge plantings of Magnolia campbellii and will continue with a whole range of other magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, maples etc etc – and this truly is a garden where the “etc” can be applied liberally as it was Ambrose Congreve’s style to plant everything in big numbers, never a single plant when you could plant fifty.

You will notice the fragrance of this Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postil' before you see it. The scent is a pure delight.
You will notice the fragrance of this Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ before you see it. The scent is a pure delight.

June will bring the glory of the paeonias, roses and catmint display in the walled garden and July/August/September will bring the delightful colour of the Pleasure Gardens with the abundance of dahlias, asters, eucomis, gingers etc.

It is a year round garden, a delight to visit at any time of the year so make your plans and come along.

One of the early camellias in flower at the moment
One of the early camellias in flower at the moment

Paddy Tobin 

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Mount Congreve – A Preview

  1. What an enticing entrancing blog. makes one want to camp outside Mount Congreve every thursday so as not to miss any of the years unfolding blossom. Really enjoyable and informative yes and as said ,enticing!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s