'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need'
Marcus Tullius Cicero
I am very fortunate to be able to work from my home, Woburn Lodge, in a studio surrounded by a beautiful old woodland garden and arboretum.
The garden once formed part of the estate of Woburn House, Millisle in County Down, Northern Ireland, which was once the seat of George Dunbar, a successful linen merchant and one time Mayor of Belfast.
Among the ‘large leaved’ Rhododendron species that grow at Woburn are R. sinogrande, R. magnificum, R. macabeanum and R. falconeri. Perhaps the most impressive though is R. protistum from Myanmar, one of Frank Kingdon Ward's introductions. It is a magnificent single stemmed tree now, covered with a mass of enormous magenta coloured flowers in February.
There are a number of champion trees in the garden. Irish champion for height at 14.5 meters is Crinodendron hookerianum, the Chilean lantern tree and Ilex altaclarensis, a hybrid holly, is an Irish champion at 20 metres.
A Eucryphia nymansay at 19.4 metres is first equal in height with the Irish champion at Mount Usher in Co Wicklow. Other plants from the southern hemisphere thrive at Woburn, including Myrtus apiculata with its wonderful peeling cinnamon-brown bark and aromatic leaves, Embothium longifolium and Drimys winteri. The latter has grown to massive proportions and flowers profusely.
I am now concentrating on developing an organic cutting garden. Although I am surrounded by trees and shrubs, there was no 'flower' garden as such here, since my grandmother's day. This is very much in its infancy, but you have to start somewhere and over the past few years we have been slowly reclaiming the old walled garden (or at least the outside wall and environs of the original walled garden).
For as long as anyone could remember it had been a muddy, rutted, neglected boggy mess, with old timber and bits and pieces of miscellaneous rusting machinery littering the area. The old apple trees were choked with ivy as thick as your arm, and brambles, nettles and ragwort ruled supreme….not any more!!
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Garden open by appointment for;
Other special occasions
Visitors and Garden groups welcome to make an appointment to view the garden