Winter at Mount Stewart

A red squirrel standing on a tree trunk with a nut in its mouth

It may be a lot colder in winter but there's still plenty to see and do at Mount Stewart.

Highlights

  • Explore the gardens and discover just how many plants are still blooming in winter.
  • Spot a Red Squirrel. With the Trees starting to shed their leaves for the Winter and more visibility, its an excellent time to spot one of our elusive red friends!
  • Head out and discover the miles of trails around Mount Stewart within the pleasure grounds and demesne.
 

Wild Life

Here's what you can expect to see over the next few months...
  • Large flock of gadwall on lake
  • Hooded, Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws are plentiful here this time of year
  • BIG flocks (collectively known as charms) of goldfinch this year
  • Red squirrels on supplementary feeders
Red squirrel stocking up for winter
Red squirrel stocking up for winter
Red squirrel stocking up for winter
  • Wintering redwing feeding on berries
  • Flocks of finches such as siskin and linnet
  • Colourful Jays, rustling around for food
Jay taking a moment at the squirrel hide
Jay taking a moment at the squirrel hide
Jay taking a moment at the squirrel hide
  • You will also find Linnet and Reed Bunting on the field margins
  • Not forgetting the humble Robin, who always provides some winter cheer!
Robin perched on a chair
Robin perched on a chair
Robin perched on a chair

Pleasure Gardens & Demesne

Enjoy a serene stroll around the lake and take some time out to feed the ducks and swans who are always pleased to see you.

Take some time out to feed the swans
Take some time out to feed the swans
Take some time out to feed the swans

Take a moment to notice some of the festive blooms appearing around the lake walk, which also act as a vital food source during the winter for our wildlife. 

Festive reds and greens around the lake walk
Festive reds and greens around the lake walk
Festive reds and greens around the lake walk

Winter Trail

Keep an eye out for our Winter Trail when you're walking round the lake and see how many woodland creatures you can find. 

Can you fine the woodland creatures on the winter nature trail?
Can you fine the woodland creatures on the winter nature trail?
Can you fine the woodland creatures on the winter nature trail?

Trails

We especially recommend the blue trail and the north ride in the winter as not only are they quite beautiful this time of year but they also stand up to even our worst wintery conditions.  You will find many Red Squirrels, Jays, Fungi and the occassional badger on these walks. Bask in the sunny winter glades, admire the ferns and discover the wetlands.

Badgers in the demesne
Badgers in the demesne
Badgers in the demesne

 

Winter in the gardens

The Mount Stewart microclimate allows us to grow species not found anywhere else on this latitude, but, in the spirit of Lady Edith, we endeavor to continue to push the boundaries of possibility. Some of the plants that we grow, such as Tree Ferns (Cyathea cooperi) need a little help making it through winter.

Discover the many plants beginning to bloom in winter in the Shamrock Garden
Discover the many plants beginning to bloom in winter in the Shamrock Garden
Discover the many plants beginning to bloom in winter in the Shamrock Garden

In the Sunk Garden, we cover some of the more tender climbers and the pillars they wrap around to protect the stems and soft growing tips from damage caused by frost.

The parterres in the Italian Garden, our showroom for the most exotic plants are largely emptied. The banana plants, Salvias, and many more, have been lifted and transported to the nursery, where our propagator, Tim, will care for them until warmer weather.

We also wrap plants, and we have constructed bamboo teepees around certain climbers, whilst others, such as the Dahlia tree (Dahlia excelsa) have been cut down to the ground and covered with a mulch of either straw or compost, pinned in place with a fleece over the top.

Take a closer look and discover hidden treasures in the sunk garden
Take a closer look and discover hidden treasures in the sunk garden
Take a closer look and discover hidden treasures in the sunk garden

The stone containers in the Mairi Garden have also been swaddled in mesh, as this year we experiment with leaving our succulent specimens in-situ. Cuttings have been taken in reserve, and are being looked after by Tim in the nursery, but we hope that this will allow the plants, including the succulent daisy Senecio serpens  and the ever-popular dark purple Aeonium atropurpureum, to prosper during the spring and summer season.

Meanwhile, Jonny has begun work on the climbers around the house as we look to revitalize much of what we have growing on the walls. Now is the season for the climbing roses to undergo major restorative pruning. The fresh new growth will be retrained in spring, and will hopefully reward us with plenty of greenery and a good flush of flowers.

Look a little closer at the hanging vines to find their delicate purple flowers
Look a little closer at the hanging vines to find their delicate purple flowers
Look a little closer at the hanging vines to find their delicate purple flowers

Many of the trees are starting to shed their leaves but there are plenty of beautiful plants coming into their own at this time. Explore the Shamrock & Sunk Garden and discover delicate fushias, late blooming rhododenrons and fragrant camellias to name but a few of the delights you will find.