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.

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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)

a new dove tree for Ardnagashel

Eliane Zimmermann ArdnagashelI wonder when the fabulous handkerchief came to Ardnagashel. It should be around thirty to forty years old so it probably was planted by the Kaulbacks. Richard Hutchins, the former owner (who sold it to the Kaulbacks after WW2) was 95 four weeks ago and we decided to give him a handkerchief or dove tree to plant it in Ardnagashel East which still is owned by his family.