Monday, 1 September 2014

Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, Cornwall.

Back in July we hopped on the overnight ferry from Belfast to Birkenhead, crossed the Irish sea and headed southwards through England 'til we reached the bottom, our destination being Cornwall. It's a bit of an epic trip but worth it for having the comfort and freedom of having your own car.
Our base for the week was the beautiful coastal town of St. Ives, it's a bit of a busy tourist hot spot but luckily wasn't overly crowded despite being July.
Incidently, if you find yourself in St Ives and are a bit peckish, some of the best fish and chips we had (a must on a seaside holiday) came from the takeout at Porthminster cafe on Portminster beach, where you can enjoy your food sitting on the beach.
If you're a fan of waffles, (and who of sound mind isn't?) you must try those on offer from Waffleicious on the harbour, the range of toppings available is expansive, (as will be your waistline, they're plenty big enough to share) but any combination involving chocolate and clotted cream is a winner in my book. Watch out for the seagulls though, they will literally swoop in and grab your tasty morsel out of you hand.

Anyways, enough about food, (you can tell it's close to dinner time as I write) the reason for this post is to share some pictures of our visit to Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, close to Penzance, on the south Cornish coast.

You enter the garden (after purchasing you ticket from the lovely visitor centre and perhaps stopping for some delicious looking food) by wandering up a lane to the rear. The first area of garden that we encountered was a pool surrounded by lush planting, but I was slightly underwhelmed, I totally get the look that they're going for, wild and lush but as a first impression maker it didn't do much for me.

I did love the wooden detailing on the log seating

and great for keeping your butt off the damp wood.

 Some one was having a bit of fun with the rocks

As we emerged from the trees I began to get much more excited when I saw the view that stretched out below.


 Agave celsii, in bloom

and closer

 Anigozanthos flavidus, happily blooming away in the great outdoors

It's not for nothing that it's common name is the Kangaroo paw, with those furry flowers.

Delosperma was blooming abundantly

and various Agave were growing big and fat

The Minotaur

Looking down over the arid planting

I really liked the textural and colour contrast between the Stipa and the Agave

Turning around to face the other direction I was greeted with the stunning view of the rocky St Michael's mount in the distance


 Crocosmia, invaluable for late summer colour

The building to the left in this picture is the entrance to a chamber with a large elliptical hole in the ceiling where you can watch the sky, as the clouds rush by overhead. Beautiful, relaxing and providing a restfult contemplative space I'm sure, when conditions are right.

Sadly our visit coincided with a rather flat cloudy day.

Bocconia frutescens, up until now I didn't 'get' this plant, while others raved about it.

Having seen it in person I'm now a convert and need to track one down.

Butia capitata, are these plant that we grow in the UK now all called odorata?

Musella lasiocarpa, I've never seen this in flower before, an interesting sight, dunno if I'd describe it as a thing of beauty though.

I've a thing for members of Proteaceae, they're incredibly exotic in appearance for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, represented by Banksia in this instance.

I wish I could get away with Cycas revoluta planted outside permanently.

This has to be the iggest clump of Musa sikkimensis that I've ever come across, sadly winter, while normally mild for me, just drags on that bit too long. As a result, rot always sets in by spring when I've tried it out over winter.

Look at the leaves on the young shoots

Pretty exotic?

Signaled by the presence of the Bananas we descend into the moist lower woodland area, all lush and leafy with plenty of ferns

and Scheffleras

and Colocasias, masses of them.

 My favourite fern, Cyathea medullaris, an enormous black stemmed beauty.

New plantings of interesting stuff can be found if you look

 The palms will be stunning in a few years

as will the plantation of Phoenix canariensis on the lawn.

Tremenheere is an incredibly exciting new garden that will only get better as time passes and the plantings establish, I look forward to revisiting in a few years to see how it has progressed and what interesting changes have taken place.
If you're in Cornwall it's a must see.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, Scotland

Back in March I spent a few days over in Scotland and finally, after many years of trying had finally managed to arrange my time to allow long enough to spare a few hours to visit Logan botanic garden before getting the ferry back to Ireland.
It's a bit out of the way, being situated near the west coast in Dumfries and Galloway, south of Stranraer. Its positioning means that it is washed by the warmth of the gulf stream, a warm current of waters that originates on the opposite side of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. It's due to the Gulf stream that the northerly latitudes of Europe have much more moderate winter temperatures than would be expected for an area as far north as southern Alaska and means we can grow many unexpected exotics.
Originally part of the next door Logan estate, Logan botanic garden became a regional garden of the Royal Botanic gardens of Edinburgh back in 1969, one of three satellite gardens in Scotland that they have taken over responsibility for.

I love the architecture in this area, small whitewashed stone cottages, similar to what we'd have at home.

Fatsia polycarpa,  matt leaves which much more deeply indented than F japonica.

 Shefflera taiwaniana, I wonder if these have been pinched/pruned every so often to encourage branching.

I was intrigued by these boxes, sheltering something from the winter weather, but despite trying to peak through I was unable to work out what exactly they were protecting.

I really liked this urn built from pieces of slate, perhaps something to attempt at some point in the future.

Turning around and looking in the other direction there was a large cord tree Carmichaelia/Chordospartium stevensonii

This New Zealand native is quite rare in the wild due to habitat loss, I'd like to see it covered in its mauve flowers some time.

 In a protected corner near the cafe (yes, I partook in cake) Aechmea distichanthia seems to be doing relatively well.

and a Protea was thinking about blooming as well, though it's a bit of a wonky grower.

I've a bit of a thing for Eucalyptus trees, just don't ask me to attempt to identify them.

Especially ones with long slim Willowy leaves.

 In contrast this Ilex had very large exotic leathery leaves.

Wollemia nobilis has established well and is shooting for the sky. I was actually surprised at just how slim it was.

I'm mad for Cordyline indivisa, the broader the leaves the better, but it's tricky in many parts. Not too warm, and not too cold, not too dry and not too wet, as a consequence it is very prone to dying. They do well in mild wet areas of Britain and Ireland.

Polyelpsis australis native to South America and reputedly is the worlds highest altitudinal (is that a word?) woody plant. It's a member of Rosaceae and has lovely rufus coloured shaggy bark, this one needed a bit of propping to stop it form keeling over.

I can't quite make up my mind about Restios. I like them, but they can look quite untidy at times.

Saying that, the colours of  the base of the shoots is stunning

Rhododendron sinogrande was thinking about doing its thing.

Any ideas what this silvery shrub is???

Hakea epiglottis was giving me a serious case of the lusts.

Winter wrapping was still in place, protectively swaddling the Cyathea dregei plants.

Brahea armata looked good,still  snuggled down but getting ready to wake up for spring.

I've haven't managed to overwinter Fascicularia bicolor subsp bicolor, but then my attempt did coincide with pretty low winter temperatures a few years back.

The Dicksonia antarticas were on a primordial scale, with a mass underplanting of Blechnum chilense.

The leaning trunks looked great.

As did the props.

Tetrapanax aren't rare in exotic gardening circles any more, but I still love coming across them. The new growth looking like golden hands as they expand-to monsterous proportions.

Despite the relatively windswept position the Trachycarpus fortunei looked surprisingly good.

As you can see it's very open to westerly winds blowing in from the Irish sea in the distance.

I couldn't get a decent picture of Drachophyllum arboreum, but trust me, it's one hot plant.

Lagarostrobus frankliniim, a conifer with cool flailing branches going off in all directions.

 I want to get my hands on Pyrrosia eleagnifolia!

Its rhizomes snaking over the surface of a Dicksonia antartica whose trunk it is blanketing.

 Sophora tetraptera, the pea flowers are a harsh yellow but it's amazing to have such exotic, waxy blooms this early in the year.

More treeferns

A triple trunker, something you don't see to often.

Hairy Magnolia buds

Purple peeping through

  and bursting out all over. Magnolia campbellii subsp. mollicomata 'Lanarth'

We've many venerable old Cordylines like this in coastal areas of Ireland, but you still have to stand in awe when you see them.

and then we're back at the entrance with another mass planting of Trachycarpus.

Despite it being so early in the year there was still plenty to see, now I just have to try to get over in summer some time soon.