Luma apiculata brought to Ireland by the Hutchins family

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannSummer is fading…  there are still many flowering trees around the estate though: The snowy blooms of the many Chilean myrtles. Once it was named Myrtus apiculata as it is closely related to the myrtles (Myrtaceae). Originally it came from Chile – where it is called arrayán and palo colorado. Botanist and plant hunter William Lobb sent seeds to England and so introduced the lovely plant with the cinnamon colored trunk to cultivation in Europe around 1844.

Ardnagashel Eliane Zimmermann

Labels made by Richard Hutchins displayed in Ardnagashel East

The Hutchins family brought it to our area around 1880. It grows like weed – it IS a weed in der area around Glengarriff and is even hated by gardeners of many a famous garden. The black berries are edible and are either prepared as a kind of chutney or as a liquor. They are also used for their medicinal properties.


rare rhododendrons

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelI always wonder whether the immensely tall and the rare rhododendrons were brought to Ardnagashel by Col. Ronald Kaulback (the owner from just after WWII until the early seventies). He had  joined famous plant hunter Frank Kingdon-Ward (1885- 1958) on one of his  expeditions to Tibet. He went to Tibet a second time (with John Hanbury-Tracy who had been a frequent guest in Ardnagashel), mapping the terrain for the Royal Geographical Society and collecting specimens of flora and fauna for the Natural History Museum in London. Two of Kaulback’s many books ‘Tibetan Trek’ (1936) and ‘Salween’ (1938) tell of his adventures and impressions.

As a result of these links with Tibet, Col. Ronald’s daughter and son in law Sonia and Robin Waddell  received invitations from the Dean of Westminster Abbey in early 2012, to attend an audience (among others persons, each with some historical Tibetan connection) with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Jerusalem Chamber, part of the Dean’s residence adjacent to the Abbey itself. It was suggested that they each bring a documentary or photographic memento of the ancestor in question, together with a white scarf, a traditional offering on such occasions, to present to the Dalai Lama.

It was in Tibet that Col. Ronald Kaulback discovered foot prints of what he thought was the Yeti (Tibetan for ‘rock bear‘), you can find an illustration of this incidence by clicking here and an recent article (2007) here. There is a lovely photograph taken on  this occasion here (refresh the link if it doesn’t show immediately).

1rhodo_rare_prob_cinnkeysBack to the rhododendrons: This year we found and uncommon species of rhododendron with small tubular orange-yellow colored flowers, probably Rhododendron cinnkeys (cinnabarinum x keysii) which is 6 to 7 ft tall (almost 3 m)…

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel…and two surprisingly fragrant rhododendrons in an extremely overgrown area of Ardnagashel Estate, we just discovered them by following their intense perfume shortly before sunset… the soft pink blooms were high above us. Behind those tall shrubs a very slim eucalyptus tree had fallen just like a match, probably recently in the last winter.

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel HouseThe only handkerchief-tree (Davidia involucrata) between Glengarriff and Bantry (to our knowledge) is blooming later as usual as are the two almost overgrown laburnums.

Eliane Zimmermann Ferienhaus in Irland für 12 Personen am MeerSome of the camellias are still full of flowers now in June.

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel House We ate salads with the spicy flowers of the huge winter’s bark (or canelo) shrubs (Drimys winterii) this week.

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel HouseThe greenish flowers on the huge Cornus kousa tree look like butterflies. They will soon turn pink.

view from the abbey to ardnagashel

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannRecently we went to see the grave of Audrey Kaulback and enjoyed the lovely views from her resting place (of 19 years) on The Abbey Cemetery in Bantry towards her beloved home in Ardnagashel.

Ardnagashel Eliane Zimmermann

She would be so proud of her more than wonderful Magnolia campbellii var. Mollicomata which opened it’s blooms a few days ago. It is the most beautiful early flowering tree on the estate and is so tall that you can hardly take photographs of the gorgeous butterfly-like pink flowers – just with a very good zoom lens. She probably planted it in her early days in Ardnagashel – when her life was still full of joy. (Magnolia © by Antje Wendel 11/03/2013)

memories, friends and flowers

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelRichard Hutchins is not longer among us but his presence is still strong.

Eliane Zimmermann Ardnagashel

He even seems to have best connections to the weather makers above. 😉 How else could it happen that after a dull, grey and rainy week the “lights” (outside) suddenly went on? On a bright and sunny afternoon – exactly a month after he deceased – a loving memorial service took place in St. Brendan’s Church in Bantry.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelHis long life was celebrated – from his early childhood in Ardnagashel (1915-1921) to his last weeks near London.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelArdnagashel House was decorated with his favourite flowers (daffodils which are now flowering in the fields and along the roads on the estate), with lots of greenery from his beloved tree ferns, from the giant rhododendron which he admired so much, with huge branches of myrtles (Luma apiculata) which were brought to Ardnagashel by his ancestors and with lovely twigs of a willow podocarp (Podocarpus salignus – the champion tree which stood nearby fell in autumn of 2010). Mike Collard from Future Forests in Kealkil placed vases with beautiful flowers and branches all over the place: catkins, daffodils, cherries, Dacrydium franklinii and Dacrydium cupressinum, Cryptomeria japonica and many more. More than 50 guests got a warm welcome by an amazing fragrance of woods and meadows.

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelHundreds of papers, photographs, maps and many more bits and pieces illustrated Richards life and his commitment for nature, walking, cycling, youth hostels, trees and so many other activities. Here (click!) you can read and listen about his outdoor experiences, here are some other fascinating facts, hier können deutsche LeserInnen einiges über ihn nachlesen. He donated his mortal remains to the scientific world, after three years or so his ashes will be brought to the lovely Killeen in Ardnagashel. We are glad and proud having met him and being inspired by his never ending enthusiasm for all things ‘green’. We will try to continue his work in saving the precious arboretum of Ardnagashel which was once established by Ireland’s first women botanist Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) and her brothers Arthur and Samuel Hutchins (Richard’s great-grandfather). It is a national treasure but so far hardly anybody is interested in this asset of valuable historical interest. Hopefully the day will come – before it’s too late as the place is terribly endangered. We thank Richard’s family for their generous sharing of their family treasures.

end of season

Eliane Zimmermann

Ardnagashel House saw many guests in this first season after the major renovation. Most of them were extremely pleased and happy as they found it very relaxing to stay in such a blessed place. Even the more or less constant dull weather during this rainy summer couldn’t affect their high spirits.

Eliane ZimmermannThe garden is still colourful and provides us with many a decoration for the dining tables.

rhodos and azaleas

Ardnagashel House Eliane ZimmermannThe only fragrant rhododendron in Ardnagashel Estate is in bloom.

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannMany old azaleas started to display their beauty and their lovely perfume – unfortunately they are extremely overgrown by briars and moss.

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannThe master bedroom looks quite homely now.

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannUpstairs is a double bedroom which is illuminated by the afternoon sun.

Ardnagashel Eliane ZimmermannThe single rooms are small but cozy. At the moment all rooms are occupied by people from a walking group.