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|Price range||From £525|
|Travel partner||Brightwater Holidays|
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The Private Gardens of Dublin
Travel out into the countryside and there are further jewels to be found, full of colour and atmosphere, all of which adds up to a revealing and rewarding garden tour, based in one of the friendliest cities around. The Dillon Garden is a long-time favourite of ours and tops the bill in Dublin. Set in the grounds of an elegant Regency house, the centrepiece is a limestone pavement bisected by a narrow canal and bordered with an incredible range of colour co-ordinated plants, many of which are unusual species from around the world. June Blake is a passionate plantswoman who grows a unique mix of bamboos, ornamental grasses and perennials, while at Killruddery we find a historic garden that still retains much of its original 17th century style.
Travelling down into Co. Wicklow we call at Mount Usher, a wild and informal garden set on the banks of a meandering river with some rare and exceptional trees from the southern hemisphere; Hunting Brook, the home of Jimi Blake, the former head gardener of Airfield Gardens who has created a fusion of prairie and tropical planting in a natural setting, and Corke Lodge, an Italianate seaside villa whose romantic gardens contain some superb specimen trees and unusual exotics, punctuated by melancholy gothic follies.
- 3 nights dinner, bed and breakfast at the 4* Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, Dublin (or similar). All rooms have private facilities
- Return scheduled flights from London Gatwick. Regional flights from other airports may are available on request at a supplement.
- Visits to the private gardens of Carmel Duignan, Corke Lodge, Mount Usher, Hunting Brook, June Blake's Garden & Nursery, Powerscourt and the Dillon Garden
- Comfortable coaching throughout Ireland
- Services of a tour manager
We will fly from London Gatwick to Dublin (other regional flights are also available on request) and on arrival we will transfer to our first visit. Carmel Duignan is a gardening writer and former television producer who has created a beautiful garden. A self-confessed plantaholic, she has amassed an extraordinary collection of plants from old familiar favourites to plants that are on the cutting edge of tenderness, rarity and current fashion. Old and new have been planted together with flair and artistry and the resulting combination of colour, shape and texture is quite stunning. Of particular interest is the small-flowered clematis and a good range of Pseudopanax. Following our visit we transfer to our hotel where dinner will be served in the evening.
This morning after breakfast we will travel to the Dillon Garden, a well-known favourite of ours. Helen Dillon is a world-renowned plantswoman, writer, lecturer and broadcaster who, together with her husband Val, has created a garden that is considered to be one of the gems of the horticultural world. This widely acclaimed garden is a mixture of startling design and perfectly grown plants - many of them unusual and rare. The view of the gardens from the windows of the elegant drawing room is one of the most photographed scenes in contemporary gardening. A dominant feature in the garden is a canal set in Irish limestone, bordered on each side by superb borders - one mainly in red and the other in shades of blue. Behind the borders pathways lead into garden rooms. A recent addition is a gravel garden planted with many exotically-leaved members of the Araliaceae family. Our next visit is to the gardens of Corke Lodge. The house was built in the 1820s to designs by William Farrell as an Italianate seaside villa and a Mediterranean grove was planted with a Cork tree as its centrepiece. In the remains of this romantic wilderness, the present owner designed a garden punctuated by a collection of architectural follies salvaged from the demolition of Glendalough House , an 1830s Tudor revival mansion built for the Barton family by Daniel Robertson who designed Powerscourt Gardens. The ancient garden of box parterres is punctuated buy melancholy gothic follies and emerges eerily from the dense boskage of evergreen oaks, myrtles and a writhing cork oak tree with deeply corrugated bark. Avenues of cordyline plans and tree ferns, dense planting of sword-leaved New Zealand flax and clumps of whispering bamboos lend a magical atmosphere to this rampantly imaginative creation. We return to the hotel in the evening where dinner will be served.
This morning, after breakfast, we visit Hunting Brook, home of Jimi Blake, the former head gardener of Airfield Gardens in Dundrum. Hidden in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains near Blessington, the garden is a plantsman’s paradise with contemporary borders, creating a fusion of prairie and tropical planting in a natural setting. With something for everyone, from lazy woodland walks through the ancient glacial valley to the remains of a 7th century ring fort, where an extensive range of woodland plants are grown, many of which were collected on various trips around the world. Hunting Brook is now home to Ireland’s largest collection of ornamental grasses with over 200 different species and cultivars. Following our visit we continue to Jimi’s sister's garden at June Blake's Garden and Nursery. June is a passionate plantswoman who grows from seeds sourced all over the world. Her garden is extensive and sits in the old cut granite farmyard of Tinode House. It is surrounded by majestic old beech and chestnut trees which provide a sheltered environment in which she grows a unique mix of bamboos, ornamental grasses and perennials with many plants offered for sale in her nursery. Finally we travel to Powerscourt Gardens, Ireland's most famous gardens which first began to take shape over two and a half centuries ago. Enjoy the charming walled garden, the striking terraces, fine statuary and varied trees which are linked by carefully designed walks and are all set in the magnificent surroundings of the Wicklow mountains. We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
This morning after breakfast we check out of the hotel and head to the airport stopping en route at our final visit, Mount Usher, a lovely informal garden which dates back to 1850. The garden was inspired by Irish gardening maverick William Robinson who eschewed formal Victorian bedding schemes in favour of a more naturalistic style. There are approximately 5000 different species of plants, shrubs and trees originating from all over the world, including some exceptional species from the southern hemisphere, such as the wonderfully scented Japanese Magnolia obovata and collections of eucryphia and eucalyptus. In the summer months the herbaceous and sub-tropical plants should be in full flower, providing a fitting climax to our tour. We continue to Dublin Airport in time to check in for our return flights.
The hotel's facilities include a restaurant, cafe and bar, and a juice bar. All rooms have en-suite facilities with TV, telephone, iron & ironing board, safe, hairdryer and tea/coffee-making facilities.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6701.