Cherrie's Garden Notes

I don’t feel quite ready for autumn this year.

Usually I don’t mind that end of summer feeling when there’s an early nip in the air and warmer sweaters seem like a good idea and sandals swop places with boots.

But such niggardly thoughts were kicked into touch when we went down to Mount Stewart to record for this week’s programme.

We wandered through the Mairi garden with it’s cool glade-like atmosphere, on down the steps by the Dodo terrace to the formal gardens at the side of the house where, elegantly confined within neat low hedges, the lovely plants of late summer were doing their riotous thing.

Fulsome spiky Dahlias tumbled and shone in reds, clarets, orange and pink, golden Crocosmia spears stabbed the air, columns of Morning Glory spiralled around upright supports, their bright blue flowers still unfolding, irridescent purple and bright pink Persicaria spikes wafted above their foliage and the new soft purple leaves of the Berberis hedging were translucent in the Autumn sunlight.

What a glorious morning to be out in the air and talking about plants and how great for us all to have knowledgeable and passionate plantsmen on hand to talk to.

Neil Porteous is Head of gardens at Mount Stewart we were lucky that he was able to take some time out from his busy morning to walk round with us. The reason for his busy morning was The Annual Plant Hunters Seminar which takes place this weekend and as we walked and talked the gardens became busier with people arriving early to enjoy a leisurely dander before the seminar.

This year’s guest speakers are Ken Cox, Bleddyn Jones and Roy Lancaster whom we persuaded away from setting up computer and slides to talk to us about his love affair with plants, why he didn’t become a train driver and what caused him to burst into song on his most recent trip to China.

And you can hear why on this week’s programme.