New weekly garden blog – Mary, How Does the Garden Grow?

Hi all, we hope if you are in Ireland that you are enjoying the great weather these past few weeks, certainly feels like summer has arrived.  At Rothe House & Garden we thought we might start a weekly blog looking at the garden which deservedly gains a lot of attention and praise from our visitors.  We hope that you might learn more about our garden, but, also gardening and all things flora and fauna in general.

For our first entry we figured it might be a good idea to give the reader a general overview of the garden, its layout and some of the plants and trees contained within its historic walls.

 

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The garden, which is relatively new, was open to the public in 2008, having undergone a major renovation from a car park and waste ground to a fine post medieval garden that it is today, unique in the fact that its the only one of its kind open to the public.   The garden, just like the house, has been faithfully restored to its former glory and is tended by our gardener Mary Pyke; whom shared with us her knowledge on the garden and shall continue to do so for the coming blogs.

 

 

Mary Pyke in the shade under the mulberry tree.

Mary Pyke in the shade under the mulberry tree.

 

 

With the house having been constructed between 1594 and 1610 the garden style is a cross between a late medieval and early renaissance and remains faithful to the period in its design.  The garden not only served a practical function in that it provided the house and its occupants with fresh produce but also acted as an attractive show of wealth and power.  Containing many beautiful and by today’s standard, exotic plants , it would have been a showcase, or, if you like a window display of John Rothes success as well as being a pleasurable area to take walks and enjoy receiving guests.

 

Upon entering the garden the visitor first meets the vegetable beds, in which are currently growing beans, peas, carrots, cabbage, onions etc to name but a few.  The reason for the vegetable beds being the first in the garden is that the third, and last house functioned as the kitchen, thus, for convenience the vegetables were placed closest to this house.   Above this, in an attractive hedged area is the aromatic and herb beds in which is a fine selection of period herbs many of which had a number of functions and purposes outside of the kitchen!  These beds are flanked on the right by a row of Quercus ilex, more commonly known as Holm Oak, these are an evergreen and topiary trained to maintain their shape which is of renaissance influence.

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Vegetable and herb beds flanked by holm oak trees can be seen to the left of the pebble walkway.

 

Beyond the wall which divides the garden in two is the orchard, in which is also a fine selection of period fruit trees and bushes all producing crops.  In total there are 42 apple trees, these include; Blood of the Boyne, Irish Peach, Kerry Pippin, Brown Crofton, Scarlet Crofton and Lady Fingers.  Other fruit trees and plants in this section of the garden include quince, medler, damsen, old queenguage, cooking pear, cherry and mulberry not to mention figs, cobnuts and filberts!

Just a few of the many fruit trees in the orchard.

Just a few of the many fruit trees in the orchard.

The borders around the orchard section of the garden and filled with many variety of plants giving a wide range of colors and aroma, most notably being the 15th century roses which are currently in bloom, but will only be so for the next fortnight at most.  The fragrance from these cant be described and must be smelt in person!   The upper section of the orchard also has a wild flower meadow which not only looks incredibly attractive and adds color, but, also helps sustain wildlife and is also a favourite rummaging spot for the five Rothe House ducks!

15th century rose.

15th century rose.

It goes without saying that there is so much to talk about in the garden and over the coming weeks and months we will look closer at particular areas, plants, topics etc and help make your knowledge and/or visit to our garden all the richer and more enjoyable.  If you would like to see a particular topic covered then please do let us know by leaving a reply and we shall endeavor to help.

Until next time……

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