Christmas in the Garden, By Edith, Lady Londonderry

Edith Lady Londonderry in the gardens at Mount Stewart

As I stepped into the Garden, from the windows of the house, on Christmas Day, it certainly had a Christmas air of Joy and gladness.

A brilliant sun was shining on a still clear day- a day on which it was a joy to be alive and drink in the beauty of the green earth. The Garden had not the traditionally English winter garden of sparkling hoar frost, outlining the branches of the deciduous trees, or even a landscape of snow. Everywhere was a restful satisfying greenness around me greenness and a lusciousness which allows no wintry feeling to creep in here: the verdant hue of numerous conifers running the gamut from dark green to grey into tones of blue, largely stately flexes, reminiscent of Italy, many fine upstanding Eucalyptus of several varieties, Embothriums of the Rostrevor type, and Acacias green as in Springtime: tree ferns on 8ft stems from New Zealand, looking down snobbishly on their English counterparts, but all clothed in “Faery Green” with just a silvery touch of diamond dew to make the picture look almost too lovely to be true.

By far the best winter effect in the garden, just now, I think, Is the view of the small lake set in the midst of the Garden, surrounded by fine trees. When the slanting rays of the setting sun light up the Salix Britzensis which are grouped around the edge with masses of the deep red Dogwood and companion shrubs of giant Griselinia Litoralis, a most vivid green, and large clumps of green Bamboos, the reflection of these in the still clear waters of a winter’s eve reveals a golden world aflame, set with emerald gems.

Mount Stewart,

Christmas Day 1939.