Long gone are the days when laughing children and happy adults were enjoying summer days at the bathing box near the East Pier on Garinish Island. On the right photograph from 1912 later owner Roland Bryce is sitting on the first step of the wooden ladder, his sister Margery (middle of the ladder) is looking into the camera. She became an actress who mainly performed in London. Recently a nice photograph with her portait was published and is being sold as a notecard (click).
Now the bathing box is a deserted and dark spot reminding of times past when the island was loved and tendered by it`s gardeners and owners.
Around some paths though there is a magnificent display of colours.
Even when the sky is grey the azaleas can be admired from far away. Some are highly fragrant and attract amazed visitors like hungry bees…
…though springtime has been more than cold so far.
Has anybody ever noticed the tiny heart shaped leaves of Myrtus obcordata (on the way to the Casita)?
After an extremely strong winter: Many leptospermums didn’t survive the strong frosts but a few are starting to bloom. The struggling acacia (mimosa) at the steps to the temple died and the whole corner was cleared.
The rhododendrons are gorgeous!
Sooooo soft, those leaves of Rhodendendron yakushimanum are like velvet!
Even a fading rhododendron can be of immense beauty when it builds up a carpet of blooms.
The exhibition in the Casita isn’t illuminated anymore (and the wisteria seems quite week after the low temperatures). The ancient sarcophagus and good old leo (the one who lost his face) dissapeared, maybe for restauration?
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.
Rush to the island to catch the wonderful frangrances of the many flowering azaleas along the upper side of the Happy Valley!
One of the most pretty small rhododendrons is this purple beauty blooming just a few feet from the pond (northwestern direction): Rhododendron rubiginosum.
Rhododendron arborescens is a gorgeous shrub with pink fragrant flowers. It will be blooming soon…