Visitors are welcome to the RHSI garden at Russborough, Co Wicklow. The garden is a five minute stroll from the front of the house. The garden is open Wednesday and Saturday 10.30 - 3.30 when the volunteers are at work, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 12.30 - 3.30 and 2.00-5-00 on Sundays. The garden will be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 28th, 29th and 30th June during the Kaleidoscope festival. There is no charge but donations are welcome and there are always plants and produce on sale. More information on, and directions to, Russborough
The walled garden was established in the 18th century to provide the owners and staff of the estate with fruit, vegetables and flowers. The garden had been largely neglected for many years when, in 2011, the RHSI took on the task of regenerating it under a 25 year licence agreement with the Alfred Beit Foundation. The RHSI Garden is being laid out along the lines of the original garden.
The area to the north of the central path has now been almost fully re-developed with double herbaceous borders, a fruit plot, herb bed, holding rows, an ornamental area with curved beds and wildflower circle backed by a sweet pea fence in summer. There are productive perennial and rotational vegetable beds as well as both tender perennials and annual edibles in one of the existing glasshouses. A new rose display area was constructed and planted in 2018. The garden is being managed organically without sprays or pesticides. The use of peat is being phased out and alternative products are being researched.
The area south of the central path has been divided into four separate areas with hedging. We hope to develop these to include a Rose Garden, an Irish Garden Plant Garden and a Shade Garden. The North Kildare Beekeepers have set up three beehives along the south west wall.
This project is being undertaken entirely by volunteers with funding by donations and grants and the sale of plants and produce. We are always in need of more resources, both human and financial. Volunteer gardeners are always welcome. No experience is required - just enthusiasm and energy. Workdays are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10.30am until 3.30pm but there is no obligation to stay all day, just whatever suits. If you would like to volunteer with us please just come along to the "log cabin" in the garden and introduce yourself or contact our Volunteer Coordinator Gillian Davidson on email@example.com or 087 668 9381
Anne James - A distinguished horticulturalist in charge of RHSI Garden Russborough, she holds a Masters in Horticulture from the RHS, MA in Garden History/Archaeology from Bristol University and was Executive Park Superintendent of Fingal County Council prior to her retirement. Among her achievements is the cataloguing of the entire plant collection of the Talbot Botanic Gardens, Malahide in 1982-83, following which she was curator of the gardens. Anne also managed the restoration of the derelict walled garden at Ardgillan Demesne in 1992.
Daphne Shackleton - A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where she took an Honours degree in Botany followed by a PhD, Daphne went on to practice as an environmental consultant. She managed the Shackleton garden at Beech Park in Clonsilla, Co Dublin while bringing up her family and now manages her organic farm and gardens at Lakeview, Mullagh, Co Cavan. As a botanical artist she exhibited her work in many group shows in the 1980s. For the past ten years she has combined her expertise in plants, ecology and gardens with her artistic skills in a successful garden consultancy practice in Ireland and abroad.
Diarmuid Gavin - Garden designer, author and TV presenter, Diarmuid won an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal in 2011 and a Silver Gilt in 2012, the latter for his innovative 80ft Westland Magical Tower Garden, which won the Most Creative Show Garden prize, the first time it had been awarded in five years. He is well known in both the UK and Ireland as a presenter of BBC’s Home Front in the Garden and RTÉ’s I Want a Garden.
Helen Dillon - Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, Holder of the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal, awarded to persons of any nationality who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture. Helen is a garden designer, writer and broadcaster, and owner of the iconic Dillon Garden in Dublin with her husband Val. She has been on many plant-hunting expeditions, and has lectured extensively abroad, and is the author of many well-known gardening books.
John Anderson - Head Gardener at Exbury Gardens, Hampshire, and formerly in charge of Mount Usher Garden, Wicklow. John is responsible for preserving the important collection of rhododendron hybrids raised at Exbury, as well as the outstanding collections of trees. Renowned as a plantsman, he is a member of the RHS Woody Plants committee.
Joy Larkcom - One of Britain’s most respected vegetable experts and garden writers, Joy has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, radio and TV programmes and has lectured all over the world. Her accolades include winning the Garden Writer of the Year award three times, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild in 2003, and the prestigious RHS Veitch Memorial Medal for horticulture in 1993.
Matthew Jebb - Director of the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin since 2010, Matthew took his primary degree and PhD at Oxford University. He is an Irish taxonomist and botanist specialising in the ant plant genera. He was Keeper of the Herbarium and Taxonomist at Glasnevin from 1998, until his appointment as Director. His research interests are varied and include the origin and conservation of Irish flora, the flora of Clare Island and other small island floras.