Butterstream is the ambitious work of a single person, Jim Reynolds, a
delightful gardener who is so entertaining he could easily be a professional
commedian. His lovely garden, Butterstream, is the hard work of this one
gentleman in a little over 20 years, and is situated along a gently flowing
stream near the town of Trim in County Meath, Ireland. Yes, the garden is
beautiful, earning the prestigious "two star" rating from the Good
Gardens Guide in the UK, but the real experience is just wandering
the property with Mr. Reynolds, just listening to him talk about his labor
Started in the early 1970's, Jim Reynolds has has
amassed a collection of choice perennials and shrubs, arranging them in both
formal and informal settings. He
has gradually added a series of garden rooms in his landscape, each with its
own theme and focal points. In his White Garden, he has built a tower
so that he could look down on on the formal gardens below. Only a few
years old, the tower looked as though it had been there for centuries
and the entire scene seemed reminiscent of the White Garden and Tower
at Sissinghurst Gardens in England. Walking from the Pool Garden, we
strolled past the Obelisk Garden, then through the Laburnum Tunnel, and
eventually opening onto the lawn and summer house. My eye was immediately
caught by the brilliant yellow foliage of an expanding maple. Surely
this was the butter at Butterstream.
Jim Reynolds is in the process of restoring the summer house that is situated
beyond an impressive beech hedge and gate. As we discussed the artifacts
and restoration plans, Jim confided remarked
that the Duke of Wellington originally owned this property.
In his delightful Irish accent and delivery of polished comedian,
he confided, "They bankrupt themselves in the early 1900's...", and after
a strategic pause he added, "...gardening."
Laughing, we all
knew the reality of that comment.
Another story that delighted us was Jim Reynold's recollection of a
visit by noted plantsman Graham Stuart Thomas and garden writer, Rosemary Verey.
As they toured Butterstream, Rosemary Verey commented, "Have you ever seen such
caterpiller damage? Oh, the weeds... they're huge, and the vine wevils must
be enormous!" At that point, Mr. Thomas calmly turned to his companion and
said, "Rosemary, my dear... Hasn't anyone told you that the gentry
always look up to see the good things in life? Only the
look down, and see the weeds." As a final note his story,
Mr. Reynolds advised, "Real gardens do not have to be pristine and perfect.
Why, if I looked at myself in the mirror too carefully in the morning...
I'd go back to bed!"
I am sorry that I don't have streaming audio and video so you can appreciate
the wit and wisdom of Jim Reynolds narrating a tour of his lovely garden.
However, here are a few images of the garden and flowers