From now until the first week in July the bloom chasers who visit Birr Castle Demesne will be met with wonder and surprise - a spectacle of blooms changing by the day. Right now, your feast includes wonderful collections of magnificent Magnolia trees in full bloom, Camellias from soft to deeper shades of pink, acres of Daffodils, Bluebells and Helleborus. To follow this and showing early signs of wonder are the Rhododendrons, peony and the Lilac all leading towards the awe inspiring wisteria which can be found in the formal gardens. For those looking for the more native ground-based plants the demesne has an abundance of wild garlic, wild snowflake, heathers and one of Ireland’s finest wildflower meadows which be in its full glory by mid-June.
And the cherry trees are about to pop in all their glory! Flowers, plants and trees have inspired artists and poets over many years and are now inspiring a whole new generation of photographers and instagrammers, with the hashtag #cherryblossom garnering 9.4 million posts on Instagram. In Japan, cherry blossom season is a full festival with daily announcements in media, specialised trips to view the blossoms and restaurant menus inspired by their beauty. Birr Castle Demesne plans to plant one hundred Cherry Blossom trees over the next three years.
Grainne O’Malley, General Manager of Birr Castle Demesne says “ These beautiful trees will bring early season flowers that will attract and feed bees, as well as providing a feast for the soul . Cherry Blossoms are a particularly good choice for the ecosystem, as they have many flower buds to attract a large number of bees, as well as other wildlife. The trees will provide a living space for birds, beetles and a variety of insects too. Their beautiful pink flowers will be a treat for the senses, and this project will create another area of wonder within the Demesne.”
Birr Castle Demesne has a world famous collection of flowers, plants and trees. The Demesne is well worth a visit any time of year, but for many frequent visitors, Spring and early Summer is their favourite time with the stunning magnolias in bloom and the cherry blossoms appearing in a riot of pastel colour. There are bluebells everywhere in March and usually in April the camelia walk bursts into bloom, alongside glorious peonies as the cherry blossoms fade for another year.
The lilac in the formal garden will bring stunning colour in May followed by the wonderous wisteria tucked away in an intimate pergola in the formal gardens, culminating in the wild flower meadows in June and July, alongside summer roses and a vast array of other flowers on the terrace walk. In summer you will find the romantic hornbeam cloister walk, planted by Anne, Countess of Rosse in 1936 to celebrate her marriage to Michael, 6th Earl of Rosse. It boasts the world’s tallest box hedges. A collection of old roses compliments the delphinium border in summer. A feast for the eyes to behold.
In her book ‘Great Gardens of Europe’, Eliana Ferioli writes “‘In the Heart of Ireland, a green jewel of world renown’ when describing Birr Castle Demesne. Birr now has plant material collected and subscribed for by 3 generations of the family, as well as some of the most famous plant hunters, past and present. It was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) after its discovery in China in 1945. Recent plant hunting expeditions by the current Earl and Countess include Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Iran, South Africa, New Zealand, China and Bhutan. www.birrcastle.com
When tired of chasing blooms why not try out the Forest Bathing and Birr’s amazing Red Tree Trail. Full details of both can be found on www.birrcastle.com