St. Patrick’s Weekend at Powerscourt Gardens – Head Gardener’s Update

The taste of spring is well and truly in the air!

To wet the lips for the coming Tulip Festival we have forced a few of our varieties in the glasshouses, these can be viewed at the reception area and will give visitors a taster of what’s to come.

Take a stroll through to the rose garden where we have done some rejuvenation pruning on our 40 year old roses. Don’t be shocked by the severity of the cuts as there is still life in those beauties! As the saying goes… “tough as old roses”.

Alex Slazenger Head Gardener

The next step with these is to give a good granular feed around the base of the rose which we will be doing towards the end of the month. We will ensure the cold weather has passed before feeding. Stock up your rose food now at the Powerscourt Garden Pavilion and be ready to tackle this job.

You will notice our camellia bed is coming to life with an array of colourful specimens on show. A good feed of sulphate of iron which acts as an ericaceous booster would be beneficial at this time to promote longer lasting flowering and is available from Brian and his team at the Garden Pavilion.

As you walk into the herbaceous border take a quick look at the espalier fruit trees consisting of apples, pears and plums on the wall which are just starting to bud. This area is one of my favourite locations in the gardens and an extremely peaceful and tranquil spot to escape for reflection.

The border is a mass of colour and includes our thousands of standard daffodils and small tete a tete daffodils which surround the pond. Keep an eye out for the 14,000 tulips which are slowly stretching themselves up and will dominate this area in a month’s time.

Image Fran Veale, Independent.ie

Around the Dolphin pond area there is a beautiful Rhododendron in full flower at the moment and just in front is my personal favourite tree on the estate and not too be missed Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Marginata Pendula’  a weeping holly, over 150 years old. This specimen stands out for its intriguing architectural form and pronounced graft mark where the two trees were joined about 1m up from the base.

This winter gone we put a huge amount of effort into the Rhododendron walk and are finally seeing the first signs of life appearing. Be sure to not miss this area as these beautiful specimens are looking majestic in their revamped surroundings. Don’t miss some excellent specimens of camellia in this area too.

Head towards Triton lake and just before you get there a small grove of white birch Betula utilis var. jacquemontii greets you with a fantastic photo opportunity with the main house in the background. This tree is excellent for winter interest as it stands out when there is not much colour around.

At the Japanese gardens our magnolia is just starting to flower and looks very impressive above the pond. Let’s hope the wind and rain eases off as these are delicate beauties!

Walking up to the Pepperpot Tower cyclamen and daffodils lead your way with some of the bluebells poking their noses out.

At the daffodil lawn by the graveyard the stock of plants are pushing on nicely and will be an excellent show this year.

If you can remember what our formal lawns looked like last summer I hope you will be impressed with the work that went into deep scarifying and slit seeding last autumn and I must say the amount of moss in our lawns is greatly reduced. If your lawns are acidic like ours I would recommenced a good dose of lime to be applied now. This is available from the Garden Pavilion and is an excellent deterrent for moss along with sulphate of iron and scarification, all prior to a good spring fertiliser.

Enjoy the gardens this weekend – my team and I have been working tirelessly to have them looking fantastic for the kick off to the season.

Alex Slazenger,

Head Gardener

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