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Published on May 26th, 2021 | by Joan Hamilton-Smith


Dunorlan Park Memories

continued, thanks to Susan Beckwith

Granddad loved the park. He used to always wear dark navy dungarees which had his Players cigarettes in one pocket and his mint humbugs in the other. He used to talk to us about the beautiful trees and the wonderful flowers which he had planted, along with help from his colleague Mr Duffin. The crocuses and daffodils in the Spring, the tulips, then all the Summer meadow flowers which were in the fields at the bottom (not part of the park at that time but there nevertheless). We used to wander around to our heart’s content, climbing down on the rocks on the stream (as we called it), the overflow from the lake near the fountain. Run up and down the tree-lined area up to the beautiful lady statue. I used to think she must have been a very special lady to have a glass house built around her. She was so beautiful, with flawless white skin and a lovely sheer dress barely covering and, if my memory serves me right, she was playing a tambourine. Granddad used to tell us about the birds in the park and how he had a special friend which followed him everywhere. – Mr Robin. Mr Robin used to be partial to the odd worm and, in true Robin fashion, sit on the fork handle. Now and again he blessed us with a beautiful melodic song that truly touched us, bless him.

Dunorlan Park greenhouses

We never got to visit the greenhouses as they had likely been pulled down by then but Granddad told us it was a place where he grew lots of different flowers and even fruits!

He told me there were even pineapple pits – what is a pineapple pit? It’s a low greenhouse with a door which opens upwards. You fill it with straw and cut the top off a pineapple and plant it in soil in a big flowerpot, push the straw around it and keep it warm and moist!! If you are lucky, after about a year it will fruit. Granddad said it was so hard to do , but he decided to try.

He tended to the pineapple plant every day, making sure it was looked after and tucked up nice and warm in its straw bed. He said one day he could not believe it, a small shoot appeared in the middle of the plant (which had now grown a lot bigger). A stalk started to grow and on the end of it, a baby pineapple. He was so pleased he said, he even had a photo done.

The greenhouses at Dunorlan, by all accounts, in the house’s prime grew all sorts of produce and flowers. They had a special orchid house, an orangey to produce citrus fruits and a myriad of beautiful flowers, as you can see in the pictures. Thank you so much to my dad, Derek Beevis, for letting me show you some of the images from his private collection.

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