Spring Gardens to Visit
Finally the brighter longer days of Spring have arrived and what better way to celebrate this, than a visit to one of the many historical beautiful gardens, that are located all over Ireland. Every county in Ireland has a garden bursting with a story to tell.
Even city dwellers in Dublin don't have to venture to far. The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin close to Dublin city centre, never disappoints. There latest ambitious project involves the recreation and building of 1,000 year old Viking Home and garden. This is based on the excavation of Wood Quay and Fishamble Street in the late 1980s. With the house and garden being recreated and built with the same method that the Vikings would used. It seems our Viking forefathers, had more down time, than we imagined. It is reckoned that the Vikings brought many new plant species, crops and even new weeds to Ireland. This exhibit will give real insight into the day to day lives of a Viking and how they gardened and lived of the crops and plants of the time. The Botanic gardens always has something of real interest to view. Even for someone like myself who has been there countless times it is always engaging and thought provoking.
The countryside is bustling with equally interesting gardens, for example, the Burtown Gardens and Villa in Athy which contains a large herbaceous rock garden, Yew Tree walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, orchard and a large woodland garden surrounded by water. The woodland, known as the Nutgrove, hosts a collections of primulas, hostas, ferns and iris. The one thing I always want to visit is walled gardens. In this case it is a vegetable organic garden that has been in continuous production for over 150 years. Walled gardens are always full of amazing feats of gardening history which often includes amazing tales of, growing exotic crops.
The Infamous Isabel Shackleton (married to the present owner's great grandfather and first cousin to the explorer Ernest Shackleton) oversaw the original design it has been greatly enlarged and reclaimed by the present owners to great acclaim and it would be a crime not to visit.
Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens at Great Island Campile Co. Wexford is a
20th garden that surrounds a Georgian rectory. A family owned guest house that overlooks the River Barrow features Herbaceous and Mixed Plantings offset by Topiary planting and stunning architectural features. There is a large water garden that extends into woodland planting with rare trees and shrubs. While only a youngster in garden terms, as the garden was only started in 1947, its relative youth has not held back the gardens and it hosts a wide selection of over 130 different plant species. The garden holds a Heritage Garden Certificate which is reward for 65 years of creation and dedication.
Being partial to anything from Italy I have to mention the "Italian Loggia" at Kilmokea. Loggias are a small ornate Summer House that were vey fashionable in the likes of Bologna in the 17th century .A Loggia is built on a roof of a residence to enjoy the view and cool breeze with its fine stone pillars being regarded to be the perfect resting area from which to look across the gardens. During a walk through the gardens one can enjoy the likes of Camellias, Eucryphias, Metsequoia and Primulas.
Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill Co Galway is an award winning garden that offers something a little different in its unique interpretation of our Celtic folklore. It has a woodland style that reflects the ancient Celtic calendar and allows one to walk through four Gardens. Each garden representing one of the Celtic festivals of Samhain (Winter), Imbolc (Spring), Bealtaine (Summer) and Lughnasa ( Autumn). This seasonal cycle mirrors the cycle of Celtic life and is best described as Celtic stories with a contemporary design with tranquil gardens full of life. Brigit’s Garden is very family orientated with a kids’ discovery trail, a natural playground all of this is set within 11 acres of native woodland & wildflower meadows an ancient fairy fort.
Mount Usher is designed in the Robinsonian style so called after William Robinson the influential and brilliant Irish garden designer. William Robinson believed correctly, in the natural garden style, as opposed to the formal approach of those who preceded him. Mount Usher Gardens has been managed by four generations of the Walpole family over a period of 112 years from 1868. The gardens are set on 22 acres with the Vartry River flowing through the gardens of an impressive 4,500 different varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. Mount Usher has rightly been voted the Best Garden to visit in Ireland by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. Monty Don the finest British Gardner, in my opinion, has even endorsed it as one of his favourite gardens.
Trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants have been introduced from all parts of the world with there Rhododendrons soon coming into bloom. Rhododendrons in flower can best be described as magical and that is a good description all round to describe Mount Usher. We sometimes forget how small an island Ireland is and equally don’t appreciate how many superb gardens we have relative to our size to visit only short drive away.
Other Notable Irish Gardens
Tullow, Co. Carlow
Large, Robinsonian style garden. Lawns and clipped yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees, shrubs and a profusion of roses both old and modern and herbaceous plants.
..2… Birr Castle Demesne
Birr, Co. Offaly
Ireland’s Award Winning Gardens spanning 120 acres of formal gardens, waterfalls and lake. Home of the Third Earl of Rosse's Great Telescope & Historic Science Centre.
..3… Mount Stewart House & GardensWorld famous for its grandeur and bold planting schemes of rare and tender plants. A £7million restoration project is underway in the house providing the opportunity to see conservation in action. Experience a different view of the house, watch the experts and learn about conservation techniques in the new conservation studio.
..4… Wells House & Gardens
Gorey, Co. Wexford
Waiting to be explored… Wells House & Gardens, a Great Victorian House and Gardens in the heart of Wexford. Wells House has something for all generations to enjoy and share!