Ireland’s Most Romantic Garden

There is a lot to live up to – it’s in Monty Don’s Top 10 Gardens; Gardener’s World Magazine  voted it “Best” and “Most Romantic” garden in Ireland.

Will the garden live up to the hype?

Mount Usher Aug 2013 019

I hadn’t visited it for some years ….. but, I needn’t have worried.

Mount Usher’s special atmosphere envelops you imperceptibly and draws you in, to while away the hours in idle reflection by its riverbanks or admiring the towering collection of trees.

Time doesn’t seem to matter.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 096

The River Vartry

Water is of course a wonderful asset in a garden.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 088

What is particularly clever here is the contrast – at first , its stillness and reflective qualities.

Move upstream and you have the rushy sound as it spills over the weirs.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 045

Along the riverbank, subtle plantings are reflected in the tranquil waters.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 047

In the company of Sean Heffernan, Head Gardener here for the last 8 years, one shares his enthusiasm for Mount Usher’s remarkable collection of trees.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 072

Liriodendron tulipfera – the oldest specimen in Ireland

One notices the detail, like the fish-tail leaves on the Camellia x williamsii “C.F.Coates”

Mount Usher Aug 2013 081

As well as the statuesque :

Mount Usher Aug 2013 070

The Cathedral-like Eucalyptus Grove

There is a booklet guiding you through this arboreal wonderland, but just wander along its meandering paths and marvel as it unfolds.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 050

Since becoming Head Gardener, Sean has regenerated the garden and opened up views, so that the visitor is constantly delighted by subtle glimpses of layered planting, the old millstream or a striking tree.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 054

Subtle touches are just as important as the broad canvas in a really good garden.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 057

When asked to define Mount Usher’s special quality, Sean puts it down to its “naturalistic planting – it’s easy on the eye”.

The planting is described as “Robinsonian”, after the Irish gardener who blazed a trail in 19thC and early 20thC England, advocating a more natural way of planting in the Victorian era of  tightly controlled bedding schemes and “Italianate” gardens.

Of course many garden visitors expect the requisite Herbaceous Border and this one, best encountered through the beech hedge at the end of your visit, doesn’t disappoint.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 040

The air is heavy with the scent of lilies …

Mount Usher Aug 2013 109

.. and a haze of bees and butterflies.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 111

The planting is effusive.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 110

A wonderfully colourful contrast to the subtle greens and russets of the woodland walk.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 036

In late summer, key plants are Eupatoriums, Cleomes, Cosmos and Japanese Anemones.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 035

Cleome hassleriana

Each season has something to offer – the mass of spring-flowering bulbs, followed by the vibrant colours of the azaleas and rhododendrons; and then the late-summer flowering of the Eucryphias (the National Collection is here).

Autumn is particularly lovely with the striking foliage of Liquidambers and Maples.

This is a garden to be explored softly. It is not a manicured showpiece.

It is so much more.

Mount Usher Aug 2013 085

Follow the meandering paths, pause awhile by the river and daydream.

Let Mount Usher’s tranquillity restore your spirit.

http://www.mountushergardens.ie/

(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back)

21 thoughts on “Ireland’s Most Romantic Garden

  1. Pingback: Ireland’s oldest coaching inn and its lovely garden. | Jardin

  2. Pingback: My Garden of 2013 | Jardin

  3. Pingback: 10 Best Garden Photos of 2013 | Jardin

  4. Pingback: 10 more Best Garden Photos of 2013 | Jardin

  5. Pingback: Jardin gets a new look. | Jardin

  6. Pingback: Five favourite gardens near Dublin. | Jardin

  7. Pingback: Ireland’s Ancient East. | Jardin

  8. Pingback: A stroll in the Garden of Ireland. | Jardin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s