Fota Frameyard Blog

Gardening, Nature and Heritage from Fota House


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Fota Frameyard Field Trip

Today the Frameyard Guild went on a “school tour” to Kinalea Garden, Shipool, Innishannon, County Cork. The owner, Alannah  Sheehan,  gave the group a warm welcome and told us all about her garden, which she has been developing and tending for over 30 years. It is spread out over one acre near the Bandon river and has a lovely mixture of herbaceous plants, alpine beds and trees.

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New kids on the (Frameyard) block

Something smells wonderful in the Frameyard.  It’s not the wallflowers in the glasshouse or the thyme growing on the top of the old walls. It’s the fragrance of our newly acquired Scented Pelargoniums wafting from Glasshouse No. 5. These tactile plants release citrus, rose or woody scents and come to life when touched. 

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What time is it in Fota? It’s rhododendron time!

This rather unwieldy title – “The rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya : being an account, botanical and geographical, of the rhododendrons recently discovered in the mountains of eastern Himalaya, from drawings and descriptions made on the spot, during a government botanical mission to that country” – relates to a book of coloured lithograph drawings based on sketches made by Joseph Dalton Hooker on his expedition to the Himalayas (1847 to 1851). No catchy titles in those days. The book, with illustrations by Victorian botanical artist, Walter Fitch, did exactly what it said “on the tin”. The rhododendrons are blooming in Fota now. Walking around the gardens it’s hard not to think of the plantsmen who travelled the world seeking different species of plants and trees, many of which are grown in Fota. This brings to mind Joseph Hooker, who introduced the wonderful Sikkim rhododendrons to the British Isles..

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What’s flowering in the Fota Frameyard?

“In golden April weather/In sun and wind and rain/Let us fare forth and follow/Beneath the Spring’s first swallow/By budding break and heather/To the good brown soil again.”

Frederick Frye Rockwell (1884 – 1976)

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With thanks to our volunteers Vivienne and Linda for the Frameyard board and quotations. And Edwina for the botanical expertise!


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An Eastern Gem – Other gardens

Leytown by the sea. And nearby, Sonairte, an organic garden which is like a glimpse of another world. A world of ancient apple trees, vibrant rows of organic vegetables, birdsong and the river Nanny flowing slowly by.  Sonairte is an “interactive visitor centre promoting ecological awareness and sustainable living”. This 10 acre project was set up in  1986 by members of the local community. The walled garden has rows of organic (certified) fruit trees and vegetables beds. The woodland walk follows the river along a Salt Marsh and leads to a bird hide with a view of  local wildlife and Ballygarth Castle. Volunteering at Fota makes us curious about other gardens and this curiosity led us to Sonairte in “The Ninch”.

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We’re open! Come and visit us in the Fota Frameyard.

We’re open again! The weather was very kind to us and our visitors on the first day of our new season in the Frameyard. Our visitors  today included people from Pittsburg, USA, Wexford, Tipperary, West Cork and some locals too. Sunshine. Bird-song. Flowers. Trees. What more could you want on a Monday in March? 

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