Mount Usher, in Co. Wicklow, is often referred to as Ireland’s most romantic garden and as an especially good example of a Robinsonian garden. For me it is a beautiful garden to visit at any time of the year but I particularly like to visit in spring for the carpet of blue from Scilla biflora and other spring ephemerals and in autumn for the wonderful colour which is all the more attractive being reflected in the river which runs through the garden.
In this annual autumnal display, it is a very special tree which can steal the show, dominate the garden and continually catch the eye of the visitor and, though this stealer of the limelight may change over the season, it is Nyssa sylvatica which is the star at this moment.
Nyssa sylvatica is a native on eastern North America and its riverside planting at Mount Usher seems particularly appropriate for “Nyssa” refers to Greek water nymphs while the North American common name, Tupelo, derives from the Creek Indian word for swamp. It is well placed at Mount Usher for it may be enjoyed for a second time in its reflection and also as part of several vistas within the garden.
Its autumn display may be short and fleeting but it is, indeed, a cracker!