Ushered by the Weather

It wasn’t our intention to visit Mount Usher Gardens last week but we ended up there nonetheless and enjoyed it very much.

On Wednesday of last week we went to see Corke Lodge and went on afterwards to Powerscourt which is only a short distance away. However, it rained, and continued to rain, as we waited in the carpark in hopes it might clear but when it didn’t we decided to give up on that plan and head off down the M11, which is in the direction of home, and drop in instead to Mount Usher if the weather there permitted.

The weather permitted and we had what for us was an unseasonal visit to one of our favourite, and most regularly visited, gardens. We feel that Mount Usher looks especially well in spring, when there are great spreads of spring bulbs, and again in autumn/early winter, when the views along the river are more open. The fulness and lushness of growth in mid summer is inclined to crowd the views of the river to an extent and I feel that some selective pruning of the overhanging trees and, most certainly, the removal of dead material along the riverbank is long overdue. There are a few dead trees in the garden, storm damage, which seem to have been left lying where they fell for far too long. I suppose finances and lack of staff may be an issue which is a great pity as the garden does seem to need a little more active gardening.

This is the first area one meets on entering the gardens at Mount Usher, a small garden with double herbaceous borders looking very well at the moment:

Mount Usher is regularly cited as an outstanding example of a Robinsonian garden, one developed in the style suggested by William Robinson, where a more naturalistic and relaxed style is applied as one moves away from the immediate environs of the house. This has been Mount Usher’s charm for generations but it does not mean that gardening and management should be abandoned completely in those areas. Those beautiful views along the river, the weirs and cascades and riverbank plantings, were all manmade and require maintenance to look their best. I feel that at present there is a need for some work on the riverside planting while the higher areas above the river seem to have little done other than ensuring access for some years. In fact, I didn’t bother to walk these upper paths on this visit as I didn’t expect to find them appealing. Similarly, the pond on the island is presently completely overrun by weed to the extent that it is difficult to distinguish its outline – probably a danger to visitors!

Some views along the river:

Despites these comments, I continue to enjoy each and every visit to Mount Usher very much and recommend it highly and I always feel it merits a second walk around the garden – taking a break for lunch at the Avoca Restaurant onsite makes it more of a day out. Our next visit will be later in the year when the colour has come into the trees and the general fulness of the gardens has eased and the bones and views of the garden are more accessible. It is a garden for all seasons but one can still have preferences – and hopes for improvements!

Some plants from the gardens:

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7 thoughts on “Ushered by the Weather

  1. It is a sad fact that, despite the protestations of the media and well-meaning ‘experts’, nature is not a gardener and needs a helping hand at times. What many people admire as a natural beauty is not completely natural. I wonder if the change and deterioration is the result of staff shortages or policy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I expect it is due to staff shortage which stems from an unwillingness or lack of understanding that a garden needs maintenance, work, change, new plants etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well if there were any shortcomings, they absolutely did not show up in your photos. Beautiful, even if they have an autumnal taste to them.
    A natural garden is hard to pull off. Like you said it’s hard to balance the ‘let it go’ with the need to maintain things. Here with our (usually) more intense summers, prairie plantings often look more like huge weed patches rather than an intentional garden. Even a native planting needs care and weeding for the invasives which love to slip in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The photographer always lies – we always seek out what looks well and avoid what does not so there are no photographs of the less attractive areas.

      Like

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