When good friend George McLellan of the Middle Atlantic Chapter
of the American Rhododendron Society was planning this "Trip of a Lifetime",
a tour of many of the greatest gardens in England and Ireland, I never
imagined that I would be traveling with them.
As a school teacher, there was no way I could miss two weeks of
school in May, and take off for such an excursion. There was also the
concern over expenses since world travel doesn't easily
fit into a teacher's budget.
However, a series of
circumstances just happened to come together that permitted me to
tag along on this great journey.
Join me on this tour some of the truly magnificent gardens we visited in
England and Ireland.
Butterstream, the garden of Jim Reynolds, features a wide assortment
Noted garden writer Helen Dillon maintains a small walled garden in Dublin filled with rare plants.
Mount Usher, a naturalistic garden along the Vartry river, is home to
rare rhododendrons, azaleas, and trees.
Mount Congreve, the creation of Ambrose Congreve, is a magnificent landscape on
a grand scale.
Hadspen Garden and Nursery specializes in perennials and garden color.
Stourhead is a majestic landscape featuring rhodendrons and azaleas bordering
a scenic lake.
Hestercombe is lovely garden with several water features and the site of my
public bathing incident.
Castle Drogo is a relatively new castle with a formal garden featuring clipped
shrubs and various flowers.
Exbury Gardens has an incredible collection of rhododendrons and deciduous
azaleas displayed in a gorgeous setting among ancient trees and rare plants.
Denmans is a relatively small garden and nursery featuring unusual perennials.
Sutton Place is an expansive estate once the private home of oil magnate, J. Paul Getty
Great Dixter features extensive topiary and perennial gardens and is the home of famed
garden writer, Christopher Lloyd.
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens with its beautiful gardens in many color schemes has been
a major influence in English garden design.
Hever Castle, the former home Anne Boleyn in Tudor England, has an extensive garden
installed by more recent residents, the Astor family.
Wisley, the headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society, contains an extensive
collection of all manner of plants including many rhododendrons and azaleas.
Chelsea Flower Show
The Chelsea Flower Show, the undisputed "world's best" in flower shows, features
full garden designs and collections of rare plants on display.