Career Opportunity

Woodfield Garden Centre, can trace its origins as a garden centre back to April 1995, when it opened in Birr as Wards Garden Centre. Today, the garden centre retains its values as a small family-run enterprise, with a wealth of experience behind it.

We are a plant centre first and foremost. In today’s competitive market where every service station and supermarket has its own mini garden centre, we aim to stand out from the crowd with a more diverse and interesting range of plants and trees.

We are passionate about the natural environment, about plants, and especially about trees. Three of us here are qualified arborists, and we are always happy to give advice on tree planting; my favourite tree is the Oak (Quercus robur); you can’t beat an Oak!

We are currently looking for a new member to join our team in Birr. We would love to hear from anyone looking for part time work (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and some weekends). Horticultural experience would be a bonus, but good customer service skills and a keen interest in gardening/plants essential.

If you are interested, drop us an email to telling us a bit about yourself,  and we can go from there. We would love to have you on board!

Angelica Ward



Partner Garden Pairing

We’ve now come to the end of our whistle stop summer tour of the 53 RHSI Partner Gardens! We hope you have fitted in some visits, or at least are now more aware of these gardens for future visits. The RHSI is very grateful to the owners who work so hard and generously to share them with us. This final piece points out that while some Partner Gardens can be visited in clusters, others may be a bit more off on their own. So, why not tie in your visit with a trip to one of Ireland’s many excellent public gardens which may be nearby?

For example, Georgian Tyrrelstown House Garden set in 50 acres of parkland with its beautiful old world walled gardens, climbing roses, herbaceous borders and arboretum is just 20 minutes north of the National Botanic Gardens (OPW) in Glasnevin.

Also north of the city, a trip along the coast road to the dynamic contemporary Partner Garden Ardan on Howth summit will bring you past the 250 acre St Anne’s Park (Dublin City Council) in Clontarf. The varied and eclectic planting on Ardan’s half acre is complemented by a great design layout with terraces and divided areas. Herbaceous borders, vegetables and a pond are cleverly woven in.

South of the city in Dundrum are the Airfield Estate Gardens. Packed into this lovely open 6 acre site are walled and sunken gardens, glasshouses, fruit trees, mixed herbaceous and shrub borders and the very busy 2 acre organic vegetable garden supplying the garden’s excellent eatery. Less than 10 minutes south towards Stepaside are the newly restored Fernhill Park & Gardens (Dun Laoire Rathdown Co Co).

Ardgillan Castle and Demesne (Fingal Co Co) lies just off the M50, north of Skerries. And just 30 mins further on via the M1, the Partner Garden at Collon House, with its small but beautiful 18th century styled garden lies right in the heart of Collon village. Statuary, topiary, a box parterre, a classically styled summer house and herbaceous planting are very atmospheric beside this beautifully restored historic house. (Extra charge for tea & house tour)

And now, a pair of Partner Gardens which ARE near each other- off the M4 and just 15 mins apart! Lodge Park in Straffan has a walled garden dating back to the 1700s but restored in the 1940s and again in the 1980s. The old brick walls are covered in climbers, fruit trees and roses while beech hedges divide the garden into sections, featuring herbaceous and mixed borders. There is also an outstanding rosarium.

And just on the other side of the M4 are Kilgar Gardens near Kilcock. It is almost impossible to believe that these gardens have been developed from a greenfield site over the past 23 years. Gardens within gardens- formality with box parterres overflowing with roses, a Mediterranean room with pots of colourful annuals, a shaded area with evergreen plants, and a semi wild garden leading to a cut- flowers area. And lastly the most recently developed sensory garden…..

And that completes the 2022 Partner Garden tour!

Free or half price entry for RHSI members on presentation of current membership card. It is essential to check with each garden by email/phone or their own website.  Some are by appointment only. Full information on these gardens is in the Partner Gardens section of the RHSI website. The accompanying full-size map is very useful to visualise garden locations.

Please be sure to look up all the above named public gardens on their own excellent websites.

Southern Symposium at Kells Bay Gardens

The Southern Symposium is a semi-formal fun gathering of Ireland’s plants-people held every Autumn at Kells Bay. Since 2014 the Symposium has been addressed by a veritable Who’s Who of the International and Irish horticultural Community. There are formal presentations by the guest speakers, an informal tour of Kells Bay Gardens, a buffet lunch, and a Symposium Dinner.

This year’s Symposium takes place 30th September – 2nd October 2022.

2022 guest speakers are:

John Anderson – Keeper of the Gardens, Windsor Great Park, England
“A Head Gardener’s journey from Mount Usher to Windsor”.

Darach Lupton PhD – Curator – National Botanic Gardens
“Hop, Skip and Jump – the Curious Distribution of some of Ireland’s most Enigmatic Native Plants.”

Robert Wilson-Wright – Plant explorer & Proprietor Coolcarigan Gardens
“Isle of Bliss The remote island of Socotra”

Alasdair Moore, Head of Gardens & Estate, The Lost Gardens of Heligan
‘Tresco and Heligan: plants, history and meaning.’

Click here to find out more and to purchase your ticket

Kilanerin Flower Festival

September  23rd – 25th 2022.

The inaugural Kilanerin Flower Festival will take place from 23rd – 25th September, 2022, in the Pugin Church of Ss. Peter & Paul.

The Festival is being coordinated by Kilanerin parishioner Margaret Woodbyrne, supported by a parish committee and over 50 floral artists from our own Floral Art Group together with floral artists from Carlow, Dublin and Wicklow who will decorate the parish church.  The church grounds and village will be decorated with Land Art.

The Festival is a Fundraising Event and the theme of the Festival is the ‘Circle of Life’ showcasing arrangements which explore and envoke  images of life and the cultural and physical landscape of North Wexford.

A display of vintage farm machinery etc. will be staged in the old orchard of the Parochial House in the ground of the Church. This will provide a very different perspective on times past in Kilanerin and attracting a broader audience to the picturesque village which is tended so creatively by residents and Tidy Towns Committee.

Festival Details:

The Festival will be open daily from 10 am – 5 p.m. from 23rd – 25th September

Entry Fee is  €10.00 which include refreshments and souvenir Booklet.


Looking forward to seeing you all at the Festival and welcoming you to Kilanerin.   If you are travelling by bus as a group, please let me know by contacting me on 087-6791939 or by email to enable me to organise parking for you.

A wander through Partner Gardens in the West and South East

Hoping that you are still on your holidays this week, we’d like to tell you about our Partner Gardens in yet two more areas where by chance, many of the gardens are beautifully associated with ponds, rivers or waterfalls. Firstly in the west, where we really would love to have more Partner Gardens, and secondly in the south east.

If you are heading to Mayo along the N5 you can stop at the beautifully restored 6 acre Strokestown walled gardens and woodlands in Co Roscommon. Within the grounds your visit can also include the National Famine Museum or the restored Strokestown House. Perhaps you are heading to Galway and Connemara. If so, Woodville Walled Garden is close to Loughrea just off the M6. This is a restored romantic garden complete with herbaceous borders, roses, a dovecote and a reconstructed archway with its original 1750 keystone. Then right in the depths of Connemara near Letterfrack is Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden. This 6 acre garden is set on a sheltered south facing slope – an oasis of fertility and cultivation within a wilder landscape. Half is laid out as a typical Victorian pleasure garden and half is planted with an enormous variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits which supply the excellent abbey cafe.
If you are in the south west and heading to north Kerry, you could divert 15 mins off the N21 south of Limerick City at Patrickswell to Coolwater Garden at Fedamore. This small half acre garden is distinctly different without lawns or borders! A stunning Water Garden with superb aquatic wildlife, multiple alpine troughs, rare and exotic trees and shrubs making it a very well structured space. Or if you are in south Kerry in the Kenmare area, seeking a wonderful contemporary garden experience, a trip to Dawros Gallery & Garden is the answer. The 4 acre garden by the Dromoughty River waterfall blends extensive use of grasses and drifts of perennial planting into the beautiful surrounding native woodland.

Now away from the west and over to the rich lands of Kilkenny and Waterford!  Rothe House & Garden is in Kilkenny City. This is the only known medieval garden left on the island, a long slim burrage plot now faithfully reconstructed as a 17th century garden with the same trees and plants as would have grown there originally.  Some 17kms south of Kilkenny, a romantic landscape- Kilfane Glen and Waterfall -was developed in the 1790s within the demesne of Kilfane House. The very picturesque glen is made up of multiple paths through the ancient woods leading down to an artificial waterfall which plunges into a winding stream with little rustic bridges. The romantic idyll is completed by a restored cottage orné.
Some 45 mins further down, just southeast of Waterford City is Springhill garden. Above the River Suir, this lovely 6 acre garden within a 29 acre site is largely Robinsonian in style with a host of mature trees, wonderfully varied wildlife and vistas over the countryside. There is a maze and more formal planting complete with a pond closer to the house. Still in Co Waterford, but heading west towards Cork is Tourin House & Gardens on the banks of the River Blackwater near Cappoquin. The superb gardens first laid out in the 1840s cover over 15 acres including the main garden. A fine Broad Walk leads to the colourful more informal Pleasure Garden and thence to the walled garden with its ornamental and productive planting, and finally down to the banks of the Blackwater River.

Enjoy your visits- hopefully escaping the showers!

Free or reduced entry to RHSI members on presentation of current membership card.
It is essential to check with each garden by email/phone or their own website before
visiting. Some are by appointment only. Full information on these gardens is in the
Partner Garden section of the RHSI website. The full-size map is very useful to
visualise garden locations.

Are you having a little sojourn in the Midlands by chance?

We have several Partner Gardens which you may like to visit. Belvedere is close to the N4, with Tullynally and Loughcrew north of this route. The Irish National Stud Gardens, Burtown and Ballintubbert are quite close together between the M7 and the M9, while Gash Gardens and Birr are close to the M7 a little further west.
It is easy to see their relative locations on the full-size map in the Partner Garden section of the RHSI website…….

Belvedere House Gardens & Park lie along the shores of Lough Ennell. This fully restored Georgian house has a beautifully designed walled garden and adjoining arboretum extending out to woodland and landscaped lakeside walks. A special folly among others, is the 1760s Jealous Wall! Tullynally Castle Gardens are a 25 minute drive further north. The imposing castle sits in 12 acres of beautiful gardens made up of extensive woodland, a walled garden and 2 ornamental lakes. A Chinese garden with waterfalls and streams and other eastern features has also been added. Just 15 minutes further north are Loughcrew Gardens, the 200 acre estate being in the same family since the 1600s. The very fine 6 acre gardens boast a lime avenue, yew walk, lawns, terraces, a parterre, a canal and a greatly restored walled garden with herbaceous borders.

The Irish National Stud & Gardens- The Japanese Gardens and St Fiacra’s Garden, are close to Kildare town. There is huge variety in this visit, from a fascinating tour of the stud to the two widely differing gardens in the grounds. The very peaceful Japanese Gardens regarded as the finest of their kind in Europe, were created in the early 1900s. St Fiachra’s Garden design was inspired by ancient monastic settlements and is in a very naturalistic setting with great use of water, rock and recreated ruins. Just off the M9, Burtown House and Garden have been a source of great artistic inspiration for several generations of its owners. The gardens are divided into several areas complete with large herbaceous borders, walled vegetable garden, shrubberies, a yew walk and a large woodland garden surrounded by streams. Just 20 minutes further on to the west, Ballintubbert Gardens and House are extremely proud of having recently become Ireland’s first Organically Certified Ornamental Garden. The gardens are laid out in a series of over 40 different “rooms”, from cottage style to a splendid Lutyens inspired sunken garden, a nuttery, orchard rose garden and much more. The next public open day is Aug 18th.

A little further west and just off the M7 are Gash Gardens. Set in former rich dairy land, this lovely 4 acre garden has been gradually developed over the past few decades. From the cottage style garden in front, the gardens flow informally and with great variety, with flowering shrubs, large drifts of perennials, many specimen trees and some wonderful water features. Some 35 minutes on, and across the other side of the M7 is the famous Birr Castle Demesne. The gardens are home to many rare plants, with 50 champion trees, rivers, lakes and streams within the wider 120 acre estate. The formal gardens boast the world’s tallest box hedges along with a romantic hornbeam walk. A must- see is the Leviathan, the 19th century telescope in the Science Centre.

Happy exploring!

Free or half price entry for RHSI members on presentation of current membership card. It is essential to check with each garden by email/phone or their own website before visiting. Some are by appointment only. Full information on these gardens is in the Partner Gardens section of the RHSI website.

Gardening Together

Discover the inspiration to get gardening!

Create and maintain a stunning and fragrant garden with Ireland’s favourite garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and plantsman extraordinaire Paul Smyth as your guides.

Find out when to prune your hydrangea, which soil suits potatoes, how to keep your lawn green and moss free, and learn how to plan ahead with this beautiful and practical gardening book.

Packed with beautiful photos, simple tips and tricks, and inspirational advice on plants, this book will show you month by month how to achieve striking colour schemes, gorgeous scents and fabulous foliage, as well as how to plan and create a garden design to suit your lifestyle.

Inspired by Diarmuid and Paul’s online conversations and TV show, Gardening Together follows the pair on a garden year from January to December, with a monthly look at what you need to do to enjoy and appreciate your outside space like never before.

About the Authors

On March 18th 2020 Diarmuid Gavin pressed the live button on Instagram and started a daily broadcast committing that he and his gardening friends would be available right through the Covid lockdown. That soon became a TV series Gardening Together, initially for RTÉ and more recently broadcast by the BBC. He has presented gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show on nine occasions from 1995 to 2016, winning a number of medals, including gold in 2011. He has also authored or co-authored at least ten gardening-related books.

Paul Smyth graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology in 2015 with a BSc in Horticulture. He worked as chief propagator in Crug Farm, the internationally renowned nursery in North Wales, for 3 years. His work at Crug brought him to Vietnam on plant hunting expeditions and he has helped create award winning nursery displays at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Gardening Together by Diarmuid Gavin and Paul Smyth is out today on Gill Books, priced at €19.99.

Click here to purchase

Annual Farmleigh Plant Fair

Have you any plans for the bank holiday weekend…why not pay a visit to the Annual Farmleigh Plant Fair on Sunday…. In addition to over 25 plant nurseries there will be about 10 other stalls selling garden paraphernalia, prints, and related garden items.

There will also be lectures by Mary Keenan of Gash Gardens and The Irish Garden on how to get the best from your garden in the autumn and floral art demonstrations by Chelsea Gold Medal winner  Christopher White.

A Northern tour of Partner Gardens

Stretching from Antrim right around to Donegal we have eight great Partner Gardens
waiting for you to explore!

Seaforde Gardens, Rowallane Garden and Mount Stewart are south of Belfast in Co Down,
with Ballyrobert Gardens and Benvarden Garden to the north in Co Antrim. Then across to
Oakfield Park and Salthill in Co Donegal and last but not least to Killyreagh Garden in Co
Fermanagh. A suggested tour for a few days but the choice is yours!

Seaforde Gardens are part of a historic demesne with lots to enjoy including its Tropical
Butterfly House, Ireland’s oldest living maze, rare and venerable trees and a Herb Garden
with a Mughal Tower. The National Trust’s Rowallane Garden and Mount Stewart House
and Gardens, within a half hour of each other, are among the most beautiful and prestigious
gardens on the island. Along with the many horticultural treasures at Rowallane, are the
summer roses and perennials including The National Penstemon Collection. Meanwhile
Mount Stewart’s Arts and Crafts-style designed gardens and huge plant collection are the
jewels within their larger demesne.

By contrast, about a half hour north of Belfast, Ballyrobert Gardens comprises six acres
of charming gardens nestled into the countryside. Informal herbaceous planting around the
old farm cottage gives way to an orchard, woodland, meadows, streams and a lake. There is
a cottage-garden plant nursery attached. Heading on up towards the northern coast is
Benvarden Garden, near Ballymoney. Enclosed since the 17th century, the restored walled
garden has a formal area with a central fountain, box parterre, rose arches, herbaceous
borders, and a well stocked adjoining kitchen garden. There is also a woodland area leading
down to the banks of the River Bush.

Thence over to Co Donegal and Oakfield Park in Raphoe. This 18th century Georgian
Deanery has won several national awards for the restoration of its gardens and buildings. On
the 100 acre estate you’ll find beautiful parkland, formal gardens man-made lakes, walled
gardens, follies, parterres, and much more! Heading south to Mountcharles, on the edge of
Donegal Bay is the romantic Salthill Garden. The circa 1 acre walled garden behind a
Georgian house and old farm buildings has its own microclimate with a profusion of
perennials, roses, shrubs and vegetables woven between winding grass and gravel paths.
A 50 minute drive south along the scenic shores of Lower Lough Erne brings you to
Enniskillen and nearby Killyreagh House Garden. From the front of the listed Georgian
house this peaceful and tranquil garden leads down a sloped lawn to a pond and beautiful
views beyond over the surrounding fields and hills.

Happy visiting!

Free or reduced entry to RHSI members on presentation of current membership card.
It is essential to check with each garden by email/phone or their own website before
visiting. Some are by appointment only. Full information on these gardens is in the
Partner Garden section of the RHSI website. The full-size map is very useful to
visualise garden locations.

Airfield Estate Gardens

Ardan Garden

Ballintubbert Gardens and House

Ballycommane Garden

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Belvedere House Gardens & Park

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Garden

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dawros Gallery & Garden

Dower House

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glebe Gardens

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Hunting Brook Gardens

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum and Gardens

June Blake’s Garden

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Kilgar Gardens

Killruddery House and Gardens

Killyreagh Garden

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kilravock Garden

Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park

Old Deanery Garden

Patthana Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Seanabea Cottage


Strokestown Park Gardens

Tourin House & Gardens

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden

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