Mount Congreve Gardens II

Rhododendron

The Gardens are the life work of Mr. Ambrose Congreve. His life was colourful in any sense of the word.

Young Ambrose was sent to school at Eton where he met his roommate and life-long friend Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond spy novels. They both collaborated in the school magazine The Wyvern.

During the World War II, both friends served as intelligence officers. Ambrose Congreve served in Air Intelligence for Plans and in Bomber Command, and later in the Ministry of Supply.

A brilliant businessman, Ambrose Congreve was working for Unilever in England and China, and ran Humphreys & Glasgow firm when he took over from his father-in-law Arthur G. Glasgow (from 1939 to 1983). During this time the workforce increased from less than 100 to more than 3000. Foreseeing the global economic crisis, he sold the company and his holding of stocks and shares in the 1980’s. Much of the proceeds went to charities and literary prizes, the rest was invested in the estate. Wholesale nursery added to the funds necessary to maintain the gardens and house.

Mount Congreve

Liveried servants, fine chefs de cuisine, gorgeous Rolls Royce Phantom V1, collection of the finest items of art… and one of the best gardens of the world that took almost a hundred years to plant.

He employed Albert Roux, the chef who later co-founded Le Gavroche restaurant in London; his Rolls Royce was driven by the Queen Mother’s former chauffeur; his London house in the courtyard of St James’s Palace was next door to Prince Charles; he was a friend of Lionel de Rothschild ( his mentor in gardening), Winston Churchill, and Aristotle Onassis.

His 70 employees gave him a special and thoughtful gift for his 100th birthday – a Wollemi Pine.  

wollemi_pine

In the beginning of April, there are only a few Camellias in bloom .

Camellia

Most of the flowers are laying on the ground at different stages of decay.

The variety and number of Azaleas are overwhelming.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

There are 16 miles of paths in the gardens.

Mount Congreve

Snowy flowers and the bright flame of the new shoots  – Pieris fills up the gaps between the twisted Rhododendron trunks.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

River Suir.

Mount Congreve

Bluebell path.

Mount Congreve

Magnolia walk. There are about 200 tree Magnolias planted by Ambrose Congreve and his long-time head gardener Herman Dool who came from Holland. It was their secret – to plant numerous trees instead of 1-2 to make the garden look so spectacular.

Michael White is the current curator of the Mount Congreve Gardens.

Mount Congreve

Another long-leaved Rhododendron.

Rhododendron

One more Azalea. I have shared just a tiny slice of the collection.

Azalea

Some birds.

Thank you for visiting Mount Congreve Gardens with me. It is sad that we won’t see the tall figure of Mr. Congreve. He and his wife are buried at the temple overlooking River Suir.

wwww.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

68 comments

  1. Is wonderful how the vision and dreams from the mind of a person can get real into the shape of such a paradise. Thank you very much, Inese. Wishing you nice days. n_n

  2. A lovely and informative post with captivating images as always, Inese. I especially like the ones from the paths. Imagine to have 16 miles of them❣️
    Warm greetings to you from Norway.

    1. There is a lot of history. It has always been a well loved place, and Mr Congreve deserves all respect. They had no children, and most of their money they invested into the gardens.

    1. Resa, thank you. Sorry I haven’t visited your blog for a while. I haven’t visited no one’s blogs for that matter 😦 Sorry for that, I will do it tomorrow. This year has been too challenging for me so far xx

  3. Wonderful photos. I lived in Ireland for over 40 years and still never got to see these gardens. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thank you Janet! The place is only a few minutes drive from the Waterford border. The best thing is to check out their website for all the formalities, like time tables etc.

  4. A stunning garden, Inese, and I love your photos. I don’t think I’d be able to finish walking there. By the time I’d traveled all the paths, I’d have to start again to see nature’s changes. Gorgeous photos.

    1. Thank you Diana! The longest walk takes 2 hours plus detours to the other paths. I think 3 hours is definitely enough, because your route depends on the season. They will give you a map.

  5. 16 miles of paths! I can see why this garden has taken nearly 100 years to cultivate. The late Mr Congreve left an enviable legacy behind. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. Oh! It’s so lovely to hear from you again, Inese!!! I hope all is well with you! And I look forward to your midsummer photos of these magnificent gardens! Much love! 😄 xxxxxxx

  6. Lovely pictures of the flowers and the Mr. Ambrose Congreve. I imagine there must be a lot of people visit the garden on the weekends or a great place for wedding photographing.

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick. I wish you travel to Waterford some day and visit this beautiful place. Pity the house is completely emptied.

  7. Excellent job 🙂
    Your pictures show the variety of flowers and plants in these gardens, in a very orderly way. And the story of Mr. Congreve was very interesting to read.
    Have a nice week!!

    1. Thank you, yes, it is what they say. The gardens are set on the steep hill with the “switchback” network of paths. Thank you for your comment! xx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! This garden has a long history. Mr Congreve started planting in this garden in 1918, and did it until his death in 2011.

    1. Thank you so much, Joseph. I am getting there. This is a challenging year.
      I hope to visit the garden again to capture its midsummer splendor.

  8. Thank you Inese. The photographs are stunning so it must be absolutely beautiful in real life. It’s lovely we get to share these places with you. Mr Congreve and his wife must enjoy the peace of their resting place.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    1. Thank you! Isn’t it amazing that a tree (!) was discovered in the end of the 20th century. I wonder what else we don’t know about this planet 🙂

  9. Totally awesome…impossible not to feel spiritual when looking at such beauty.
    Thank you for sharing the joy of these gardens.

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