Lovely day out on Garinish Island! The view from the top where the Martello Tower is towards Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The eagles are around…
A particular lovely morning, we are on our last trip to Garinish Island in 2011. You see it as the dark silhouette at the right side of the photograph.
There are still flowering shrubs like those two miniature fuchsias in pink and in crimson red and also most of the Eucryphias. Some leaves are as pretty as flowers like those of the huckleberry (Gaylussacia).
One of Murdo Mackenzie’s favourite plants were all kinds of Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple). This species Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’ in the Happy Valley looks like a burning bush as it is well placed in front of dark foliage.
Gaultheria mucronata (former Pernettya) from Chile and Argentina thrives well in the acidic soil of the island, the beautiful berries are grown for food in South America but their taste is quite neutral. To grow the fruits you have to plant shrubs of different sexes.
I added some colour to an extremely rough photograph of the Happy Valley so it is better to recognize that there was a nice path along the Port Rock which is now overgrown. It is from The Sunday Independent from October 1927. At the right side of the picture the steps to the Temple can be seen (the Temple is dissolved in the mist of the blurred background).
The seals basking on many rocks along the boat trip to Garinish Island are among the main attractions for children visiting the area. In the early years of tourism the boatmen were wondering why French kids were always swearing at the sight of the funny mammals as they constantly yelled f**ck, f**ck! Well, the French word for seal is phoque and it really sounds like the f-word. Their scientic name is Phoca vitullina. You can distinguish them from similar seals occuring in the Southwest of Ireland by looking at their nostrils, they are v-shaped. An adult can attain a length of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft) and a mass of 132 kilograms (290 lb). Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years).
A nice place to rest near the Magnolia delavayi. It is native to southern China, occurring in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan at 1,500-2,800 m altitude. It usually flowers around July and August. This is the place where the gravel tennis court from as early as 1911 was. The Bryces adored to play tennis, they invited many of their gueststo have a game and later they even raised money by offering the game to and charging from visitors.
The wrought iron gates in the walls of the formerly called kitchen garden (Walled Garden) came from Spain: Being from the 17th century – already 100 years ago they were antiquities.
One of the remarkable plant hunters to the Far East was Frank Kingdon Ward (1885-1958), he brought Rhododendron macabeanum from the Himalayan Mountains to
Europe. A beautiful plate below the tall plant – at the moment in full
bloom – is dedicated to him (with a typo in his name! 😉 Read more about the interesting life of the explorer here and let him tell you about his adventures in his book Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges. A specimen of Rhododendron macabeanum in the East Garden (closed to the public) comes from the seeds of Kingdon-Ward, as former head-gardener Murdo Mackenzie noted in his plant lists.