Monday, June 30, 2008

How are you liking Powerscourt Gardens?

I hope you're really liking it, because you're going to see more of it today!

Pretty in pink.

The bees seemed to think these centaurea were candy.

Charming columbine.

This shot is another favorite. I loved the pairing of these colors! But I am a pushover for alstromeria (those are the freckled ones), I must admit.

Loved this too, but didn't know what it was. Just a beautiful deep black-purple center!

And now, we move into the rose garden. Some of the most amazing varieties of roses I have ever seen, and with scents so varied and was just terribly exciting.

This dazzler was one of the first to greet me.

I loved these yellow roses. The scent had hints of citrus, just incredible. And the color! It was practically fluorescent.

I loved them so much, I had to take another shot...

The beauty just didn't stop. Come hither, you beautiful thing.

I assure you that I have not messed with the color of this picture. The rose was white and the foliage was such a dark shade that it almost appeared to be black.

Like buttah, the creamy color of this beauty.

The flaming orange color of this one drew me in...

...but alas, our run for the roses was over, and it ended with this one.

And as we walked back to the mansion, the back door was beautifully done with roses as well. Click to enlarge and enjoy this more.

* * *

When we finished our tour, we went into the little cafe to pick something deadly for dessert. It was a chocolate cake-type thing covered with a layer of baked meringue, topped with a white chocolate mousse and drizzled with caramel. Sorry I didn't take a picture of it, because the taste was as luscious as the look of it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And more Powerscourt Gardens...

What is it with you, so surprised that I'm posting so regularly? :P I actually have something to talk about! Okay, so here we go. As usual, you can click on everything to get a larger version.

There was a beautiful walkway through a number of flower types. Let me say that it was full of bees and I am allergic to bee stings, so I was quite nervous. Quite nervous. And I had to pee, so that didn't help.

Not sure what these were, though they look a bit like dianthus. Greg, can you ID it?

Again, not sure what these were, but they were I had to photograph them, of course!

There were lovely peonies...

...and poppies. I love poppies. No opium jokes from the peanut gallery.

And more beautiful peonies...

...and then there was this stunner. Not yet fully bloomed, I still loved the way it looked. Not only beautiful, but the scent was incredible. This has to be my favorite flower shot ever (that I've taken myself).

The poppies were stunningly red-orange.

I loved these geraniums. Wonder why...?

The were lovely splashes of color everywhere.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Powerscourt Gardens

Here are some more shots from our visit to Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry.

Things were in bloom everywhere. The colors are a little subdued here, but I liked the lavender and the deep burgundy contrasts.

There were some lovely azaleas along the path.

Love the purple flowers.

This was a neat wall of moss and flowers that was photographed from above. Down on the walkway, the wall was about 18 feet tall.

Fuschia - it should be the Irish national flower. It was everywhere. Roadsides, front yards, used as natural fencing...I loved it.

Lovely little yellow flower along the walk.

Nice view from the walk.

A gorgeous red tree rhododendron. Too bad most of the azaleas and rhodies were finished blooming by the time we were there. They had a large variety. We nearly gave ourselves coronaries climbing up through the rhodie forest to get back up to the level of the gardens. The path was narrow and steep!

This stunning evergreen was along the path. It was gigantic, so I didn't photograph it top to bottom, but I absolutely loved the flat, graceful foliage and the beautiful way it caught light.

Here's a closer view.

And for Greg, a beautiful variety of foxglove I spotted along the walk. If you haven't visited Greg's blog, he's a serious gardener who puts me to shame. You must go.

Garden break

Here are some recent garden shots. Now that we're home, we can see a big difference in the growth from week to week!

My pink astilbes have finally bloomed, and they are beautiful. Unfortunately, there was a group of these in complete shade where the plumes just died instead of blooming, But these are nice. There are two different varieties of pink. This is the lighter version, and it is so pretty - it's cotton candy pink.

And this is the more deeply-colored pink, and it's nice, too.

The hydrangea is showing its first blooms of the season, and the colors are mixed. I fertilized on either side of the bush and not in a ring, so as to produce two colors of bloom. So here, you see the purple...

...and here, you see the pink.

My heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato plant has grown to about 4 feet. When I bought it four weeks ago, it was only about 10 inches tall.

On the right is a cherry tomato I grew from seed. It's up to a little more than 6 feet. On the left is a Brandywine plant I picked up from the garden center a few weeks back.

This is a Brandy Boy tomato plant I grew from seed.

Here are two Mortgage Lifter plants I grew from seed. They're called that because the guy who developed them sold them at a roadside stand and used the extra cash to pay down his mortgage.

I've only shown you six of the ten plants I have going. I went a little nuts this year on tomatoes since I only got one large tomato off four plants last year. The cherry tomatoes produced well, but cherry tomatoes are only so useful...they certainly don't make a great BLT or tomato & mozzarella salad.

The grapes are getting bigger on the grapevines...

...and lovely pink lilies are in bloom.

Tiger lilies are in bloom also, but I didn't shoot those.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Revisiting the trip

Okay, so I've finally got the pictures uploaded so I can show you the stuff that I took...and Jess took a few on my camera, too. I'm not nearly the photographer Jess is, so I didn't even do anything at the rugby pitch in the way of field action. I did, however, take a couple of shots on the field to show the rapidly changing weather and light wreaking havoc on everything. I hated the Irish weather. It was like Seattle on Prozac. Cold and wet one minute, warm the next, then windy and cold and overcast the next. You need Xanax just to control your weather anxiety.

When we arrived at the pitch, it was overcast, but barely warm enough not to need a jacket.

The clouds cleared a bit. It heated up.

And 15 minutes later, the clouds came in and the rain began...and it was cold.

And it stayed cold...from Saturday through Sunday. Sunday, in fact, was colder.

These shirts and sweats were for sale, at the most outrageous prices. The shirt on the left was €45 - about $71US. And the green one next to it, which I really liked, was €60 - almost $95US. And the sweat hoodie was €80. I couldn't believe it.

Leaving the games on Sunday, we had enough time to drive down to Enniskerry, to Powerscourt Gardens. It's a mansion that has a beautiful set of gardens and grounds to walk. It was the high point of the entire trip. This was the view of the back of the house...

...and this was the view of the front.

The view out the back door onto the terrace was splendid.

The steps down to the garden paths were interesting and artistic. Very much form over function...they weren't easy to walk!

The pond was lovely. The silver winged stallions were gorgeous.

The fountain, which was a kneeling Adonis holding something over his head...we couldn't really tell what.

There were water lilies in the pond among the grasses.

They were so gorgeous close-up that they almost looked unreal.

Okay, that's it for tonight. More later, and believe me, it will be worth the visit back!