Richard Hutchins is not longer among us but his presence is still strong.
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.
His long life was celebrated – from his early childhood in Ardnagashel (1915-1921) to his last weeks near London.
Ardnagashel 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.
Hundreds 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.
no, not our temperature but the angle of those two chestnuts in Ardnagashel. How long can such a tree win the struggle against gravity? A dead tree which was still standing near one of the cork oaks gave way recently when it was enormously stormy.
The wonderful old cork oak (Quercus suber) broke into pieces in spring. After some years of desperate struggle. In probably 200 years it saw many members of the former owners, the Hutchins family.
It even saw the evacuation of the then young boy Richard in 1921. He is 96 years now and still living nearby. In June 2006 Sir Thomas Pakenham and many members of the Irish Tree Society admired the wonderful tree which had then flowered some weeks before.
In February 2008 it still looked like that.
In late spring 2006 the western part was in full bloom.
The struggling wattles (Acacia dealbata) died due to the strong frosts, the champion silver fir is almost dead (just a few needles at the tips of the branches).
A small shrub of Rice’s Wattle (Acacia riceana) didn’t make it either. It had been struggling for a couple of years.
The lovely mountain pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata, former Drimys lanceolata) has a few fruits although it was more than half knocked by the fallen willow podocarp. The camellias had pretty blooms – though later and less than the years before and the huge rhododendrons apparently didn’t suffer from the frosts.
The tall but completely hidden Lomatia ferruginea (Proteaceae, native from Chile and Argentina) looks happy ever after. In only thrives in very mild and damp areas.
As mentioned earlier the Killeen in Ardnagashel (family graveyard of the Hutchins family) is an extraordinary place of peace and tranquility.
Around his 90th birthday Richard Hutchins had it restored as it was completely overgrown.
The remarkable Colorado Fir (Abies concolor) with its candelabra-like ellbows was tended by tree surgeon Anthony Cornforth. After six years it has recovered and became one of the main attractions of Ardnagashel Estate.
Most of the Ellen Hutchins Arboretum is overgrown and inaccessible. In some places you can still recognize the ideas of the former owners. Those steps lead into an area with huge rhododendrons – from an area with quite tall tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica).
Below an old beech there are masses of bluebells in every spring.
While many plants are still dormant the huge Rhododendron arboreum shrubs (trees!!! 6 meters and more) start to bloom everywhere around Glengarriff, not only in Ardnagashel.