Mmmm…what’s that smell?

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Potting on Ammi Majus in the potting shed

Potting on Ammi Majus in the potting shed

Visitors to Mount Stewart often ask where the smell of curry is coming from as they walk up the path from the car park to reception, maybe hoping that a good lunch was in store. They find it hard to believe it is coming from a shrub, the Escallonia resinosa (vindaloo plant), (not to be confused with the little grey Helichrysum italicum serotinum that is commonly known as the curry plant). No point in rubbing the leaves to get the smell as it comes from the dead leaves at the base of the plant and just wafts around. Today we were potting on very healthy cuttings of this plant which had been taken, last September, from a very old plant in the Mairi Garden. We also potted on cuttings from Escallonia illinita, which had been donated to Mount Stewart, and reputedly has an even more pungent smell of curry. We wait with bated breath.

Crates of Ammi majus, Echium pininana, Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’, Anchusa and Leonotis leonurus ‘Lionsear’ were also potted on into 3 litre pots. Sore backs, stiff hands and legs like jelly at the end of the day (maybe that was just me?) but very satisfying to see hundreds of plants all lined up in the polytunnel.

We are all getting excited about the Planthunter’s Seminar which is going to be held here at Mount Stewart on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September. The seminar held here last year was such a success that it was decided to have another one this year.

The speakers at the seminar will be the well known Chris Chadwell, Stephen Haw and Roy Nunn. Chris will be talking about the beautiful flowers of Kashmir and plant hunting in Nepal. Stephen’s topics will be trees and shrubs of China and Rhododendrons in Western China. Roy will be sharing information on Clematis, new crosses, introductions, cultivation, propagation and design. Speakers will be open to questions at the end of both days.

Saturday

11am and 12pm  – One-hour tours of the Formal gardens, then time for own lunch.

2.30pm – Gather for Refreshments.

3.00pm – Introduction and welcome from Lady Rose Lauritzen and Neil Porteous.

3.15 – 5.30pm – Chris Chadwell and Stephen Haw speaking.

5.30 – Questions.

Sunday

10am – Gather for refreshments.

10.30 to 1.00pm – Roy Nunn and Stephen Haw speaking.

1pm – Buffet lunch.

3pm – 5.15pm – Roy Nunn and Chris Chadwell speaking.

5.15pm – Questions.

5.30pm – Sum up and close. Group photograph.

6pm – Depart.

These are just basic details. For more comprehensive details go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart. Or ring reception at Mount Stewart on (028) 4278 8387.

Price – £65 (covers both days refreshments and lunch on Sunday). Booking essential.

Jill

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