Fancy a summer day trip from Dublin to some marvellous Partner Gardens west or south of
the city? Here are a few ideas…
Travelling west from the city via Tallaght, you could visit Jimi Blake’s Hunting Brook
Garden, then on to June Blake’s Garden nearby, and finish 15 minutes further on with a
tour of the RHSI Russborough Garden and some well earned refreshment. Jimi Blake’s
internationally known, flamboyant, ever changing 20 acre garden holds one of Ireland’s
largest private plant collections. Whilst his sister June Blake’s very individual 3 acre country
garden with its exciting bold herbaceous borders, beautiful stone buildings and more offers
something delightfully different. The volunteers working in the RHSI Walled Garden at
Russborough are always really appreciative of those who come to view the fruit of their
labours in this beautifully evolving garden. The excellent Russborough Cafe is the final
Deep in the heart of Wicklow, but so worth a visit, is the almost secret Kiltegan village
garden, Patthana. A true panorama of colour and artistry, from the packed courtyard around
the old granite house, to the upper terrace and then out to the newly created Torc garden…..
Heading south from Dublin, on the northern outskirts of Bray is the 1780 walled garden of
the charity Festina Lente. The restored ornamental gardens have huge community
involvement with beautifully kept allotments, formal gardens and ponds which are a
designated sanctuary for terrapins. Just south of Bray are the magnificent 17th century
classically French-designed gardens of Kilruddery. Set in the 200 acre estate are extensive
woodlands, the famous long ponds, formal, sunken and walled gardens and beautiful yard
buildings including a large converted granary cafe.
Further south along the M11, in the village of Ashford are the 20 acre Mount Usher
Gardens. These beautiful Robinsonian style gardens set along the banks of the River Vartry
are home to a superb and important collection of shrubs and trees- many of them
champions. There is also extensive informal woodland and riverside planting. Just half a mile
away at Rossanagh is the romantic Dower House and garden. With a charming formal white
garden, a wild flower meadow and a great variety of unusual trees it has deservedly been
described as one of Wicklow’s finest gardens.
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.
For future reference…
Run by the OPW (and not a Partner Garden!) are you aware that Kilmacurragh, Ireland’s
second Botanic Garden after Glasnevin, is just 15 minutes south of Ashford? It’s a must for
new and return visitors.
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