Strokestown Park House & Famine Museum, Roscommon, Ireland

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Friday, 01 June 2012 16:09

Lots Happening in the Woodlands & Walled Gardens

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park





Lots going on in the woodlands

All of the pieces of sculpture are in place now for the Roscommon Schools Sculpture Competition and voting begins on Tuesday 5th June. Really great work again by all who have taken part this year. Make sure you get over and visit. One of my favourite plants is in flower in the woods at the moment - Foxgloves, there is one clump that we were very careful about while putting in the path and it is in full bloom at the moment. I hope you like the photo. Earlier today as I was  out putting posts up for the sculpture comp I came across a red squirrel using one of the squirrel feeders, this is great they are really getting used to people these days. I took a photo with my phone but it would not upload, maybe next week. The walled gardens are colouring up nicely the herbaceous border is getting a major weeding these days and last few veg plants going out. Rabbits are now becoming comical you go into the garden and they just sit looking at you, it’s their garden. They think! The croquet club are doing really well, nice to hear the whack of a croquet mallet and ball on a sunny day. Enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend.

Friday, 25 May 2012 13:00


Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park



Sunshine at Last.

Wow! great weather, really hot inside walled gardens at the moment, actually having to water some plants. Must keep an eye on our newly planted trees they could dry out very quickly. In the woodlands the Roscommon Schools have place a lot of their works for the Schools Sculpture Comp. Remember voting starts from the June Bank Holiday weekend. We have a new activity in the Walled Garden, well I suppose not new just revived, Croquet. A local croquet group have formed and we were delighted that Simon from Croquet Ireland came to give a lesson during the week. The group are having their first meeting on Wednesday 30th May at 11.00am in the Walled Garden. I hope you like the pic. In the Vegetable Garden practically all veg is planted out (now let the rabbit onslaught begin). At least this weather will slow down slugs a bit. The Herbaceous border is getting its first dead-heading already. Let’s hope this weather keeps up for a while.

Friday, 18 May 2012 10:33

Adding to the Plant Collection

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

Adding to the Plant Collection.



Great activity in the walled gardens and woodlands these days. If you go into the woods you will see the first pieces of sculpture for the Roscommon Schools Sculpture Competition. Some really interesting pieces of art. The competition will open for voting from the June Bank Holiday weekend. Our new trees have started to come into leaf which is great (the rain will help this). The rare plant sale was on last week the perfect opportunity to feed an addiction for plants. Got some really interesting ferns for the woodlands going to plant these today. Also going to give an Echium another go, have never succeeded in getting these through the Winter in Roscommon, also going to plant a Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) outside of the Walled Garden. In the vegetable garden it is still a little too cold to plant out a lot of things but hopefully within the next week this will change. The Herbaceous border is starting to show off as you can see from the photo Monks hood is such a great plant for colour at this time of year. The new exhibition in Strokestown Park is “More than Meets the Eye, the photographic glass plates of Strokestown Park” and it features some early images of the walled garden and one of the Deer-park with deer grazing. Red Squirrels are spreading they have been spotted on the avenue coming in too.

Friday, 04 May 2012 07:49

Red Squirrel

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

Red Squirrel.


Great weather these last few days, raining this morning good for the newly planted trees. Really unbelievable how everything has burst into leaf over the last few days. The beech hedges are beginning to push off last years leaf replacing it with beautiful fresh new growth. Colour in the herbaceous border with Camassia, Aconitum, Welsh Poppies, Euphorbia etc. Delighted to see Smilacina racemosa (the False Solomans Seal) starting to flower - beautiful scent. Woodlands are looking fine too lots of growth and wildlife, at times the birdsong is deafening. In the Veg Garden we have not planted out any seedlings yet expecting a cold spell again over the weekend and next week, this would be a major shock to any seedlings so better to hold off for a week. Went out early this morning to get a good photo for putting on here took some nice photos of the border but I also met a Red Squirrel got some really bad photos of him/her, going to use one of these sorry it is not the clearest but if you look really closely you will see him/her.

Gary (works in the gardens) is marrying Jennifer tomorrow wishing them a really great day and a wonderful happy life together.

Friday, 27 April 2012 13:05

Lots Going on in the Veg Garden

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

Lots going on in the Veg Garden



Thank goodness the potatoes are in, we have planted lots of home Guard and Arran Victory in the walled garden. We also have some Lumper potatoes in too, very important for the Famine Museum.

All of the seedlings are well germinated in the glasshouse if only the weather would warm up a bit it’s fairly cold at the moment so no planting out yet. Great to see our trees in and being well watered. A lady came into the cafe here yesterday and said that she saw two red squirrels in the woodlands always great to hear this.

Growth has slowed down quite a bit recently no need for lawn mowing really. Had a look and I see that the American Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) is settled in well in the woodlands no flower this year, lets just hope its spreading it roots in its new home for many years to come. The Shuttlecock Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) are looking their best at the moment to those upright light green fronds just cannot be outdone.

Friday, 20 April 2012 12:16

Colour in the Walled Garden

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

Colour beginning in the Walled Garden


Even though it is a little cold at the moment some plants in the herbaceous border have begun to flower. Euphorbia grifithii Great Dixter is in full bloom giving big splashes of orange wonderful for this time of year. The almost tropical Tree Peony are in full bloom also, these are exotic plants native to China, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. The are very hardy and suitable for our climate. When I think that our tree peonys have survived through some extremely cold periods in the last few years I am very impressed. Hope you like the photo. The tree planting is just about complete in the woodlands, we have to put tubes on now to stop the bunnies from feasting. Our potato planting is a little behind this year but it should not matter too much ( I hope). Drills are ready and the first crop going in is Home guard.

Friday, 13 April 2012 12:39

Toothworth in Woodlands

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park




I am delighted to say that the Toothworth is in flower in the woodlands Toothworth, (Lathraea squamaria), is a parasitic plant that grows on the roots of Hazel, alder and occasionally on beech. It grows in shady conditions and has no chlorophyll. It is one of those great oddities of the woodland floor and really is a plant you should see. It can usually be seen for a couple of weeks in flower then it disappears underground again.

We had a great time in the Walled Gardens for Easter Sunday thanks to all who came along. Still getting frost, so no tender seedlings going out yet. Ground is ready for planting now. Our Tree planting continues and these heavy showers are really no harm for this, the ground was surprisingly dry (but please do think that I am hoping for rain). Staking of the Herbaceous border is next. If you are visiting the woodlands please keep an eye out for toothwort and have a go at the woodland walk trail just ask at the reception in the shop for details.

Friday, 06 April 2012 12:08

Frost Again

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park


Frost Again

Well the weather has changed quite a bit since last week and week before. About a fortnight ago we were hitting 20 degrees during the day then this week we were down to 5 to 8 degrees during the day and freezing at night. A little bit of frost damage can be seen in the herbaceous border in particular Macleaya cordata (plume Poppy) is looking sad. I am sure it will recover. Quite a lot of the fruit trees are in flower in particular the plums hopefully this frost won't knock all of the blossom off and prevent pollination. Other than that the weather has not been too bad, not much rain. Tree planting is well under way about 100 oak and beech in now 300 more to go. The woodlands are really greening up at the moment with a lot of trees breaking bud. In the Glasshouses we have really nice little peaches forming and the grape vines have started to come into leaf. The Fig has a great crop of fruit set on it also. Seedlings are up too. A lot of time was spent on the border dividing and trying to get the Asters back in place they really want to take over the whole border. All set for the Family Fun Day and Egg Hunt this Easter Sunday- Puppets, Music, Crafts, Bouncing , Egg Hunt and Chocolate what more could anyone want? Have lovely Easter.

Friday, 30 March 2012 16:21

Lots happening in Gardens

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park


Work continues with our tree planting area ground work finished planting start next week. The Marquees are up for The Easter Sunday Family Fun Day and Easter Egg Hunt also. Getting in another mowing before the dreaded rain comes. All veg beds have been ploughed and potato drills are now ready for planting. It’s really great seeing small peaches forming in the peach house. Rabbits still enjoying the gardens and estate. The Cherry Blossom is magnificent in the walled Gardens the sunshine has helped.

I planted 3 plants of American Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) in the woodlands, one of my favourite bog plants, let’s hope it s successful competing with celandines at the edge of a stream. The first bluebell has opened on the woodland walk also.

Friday, 23 March 2012 18:23

The Growing Season Has Started

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

The Growing Season Has Started


There is a great flush of growth here in the walled gardens and in the woodlands. A major cleanup has started on the herbaceous border, digging out those hooligan perennial weeds that always find their way into the border. This will be followed by staking. Some seeds are sown in the glasshouses and germination has begun. In the woods Celandines are in flower and some trees are breaking bud.

Also in the walled gardens preparations are taking place for the Family Fun day and Easter Egg Hunt which is taking place on Easter Sunday 8th April., marquees have to go up. Our ground preparations for tree planting are almost complete tree planting next week. Delighted to say that our red Squirrels are very active at the moment, tried to get a picture but they are way more difficult than rabbits.

Friday, 16 March 2012 10:37

Great Weather for Gardening

Published in Garden Blog Written by Strokestown Park

Great Weather for Gardening.


It has been a really great week weather wise here lots of tidying going on in the Walled Garden. The first lawn mowing began. I always feel that Spring is here when I get that wonderful scent of a freshly mown lawn at this time of year. We really only gave all a light trim to tidy up the straggly bits. Too early for serious mowing. I feel that we are going to have a serious problem with rabbits this year, yesterday as I walked through the garden at least eight rabbits ran ahead of me. What to do???? They can do an awful lot of damage but they are so damn cute. Ground preparation has begun for our tree planting – loosening up of soil in area and removing some rock. We are putting in 400 oak and beech this year. Have a Happy St Patricks Day (They say you should have you apple trees pruned by now, I ask who are they) and a very Happy Mothers Day.

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