About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Irish Gardens & Gardeners -- Lakemount, Co. Cork

Since March is the month to celebrate all things Irish, I thought I'd share some photos of Ireland's gardens. In 1998 I spent a couple of weeks with a Horticulture Magazine gardening group visiting many different styles of gardens--cottage, city, cooking school, estate, castle, stud farm, historic--throughout southern Ireland. And if you're beginning to think about what you'll plant in your own garden this year--look at these photos and weep! Or, get inspired. We'll begin the tour in County Cork:

Lakemount Gardens, Glanmire, County Cork -- The gardener/owner Brian Cross (second from right in wellies) plants with an artist's eye--blending a wide variety of plants, shrubbery, trees, and stonework. Everywhere you looked, plants were used like an artist's palette. Lakemount sets on the hill above Cork with views of the River Lee from the sloping, perfectly groomed green lawn.

By the way, most gardens
came with a dog. Meet "Violet"
Lakemount's resident pooch
and assistant tour guide.

Cork is situated on the southernmost tip of Ireland and gardens benefit from moisture off the Celtic Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south west. We visited Lakemount in May when a great many flowering plants and shrubs were in full bloom, aided by the constant moisture from surrounding waters. However, like all good garden designers, Brain Cross planned his garden for a full display in every season.

Garden Closeups:

1. Mixed shrub border--6-8 ft. wide running in front of the house. To the left and right of the house there were herbaceous borders as in the photo at the beginning of this post. Hydrangeas, azaleas, and rhododendrons provided color for the various plantings.

2. Wall borders, iron and stonework -- plantings close to the house were protected from wind coming off the waters by stone walls. Borders along the walls were intensively planted with the same wide variety of shrubs and blooming plants. Notice the blood red grass in the corner and the wilder plantings on the other side of the wall. Loved the simple iron gates and the slate pavings and steps.

3. Terra cotta pots and lichen-covered stone troughs -- Cross incorporated terra cotta pots--some empty, some planted--throughout the garden as an invitation to look closer. Again, his artist's eye was evident as in this combination of bronzy red grass and terra cotta pot and the lichen-covered stone trough planted with small jewels.

4. Long Views -- one trick that Cross used very effectively was that of making a particular arrangement of plants to entice you down a garden path. On the left, he has an ornate terra cotta pot at the very end of a high, clipped beech hedge. Follow the slate pavers for a closer look. On the right two beautiful hostas and a clematis vine with burgandy blooms invite you to enter the greenhouse to inspect a special plant on a stone pedestal just inside the door.

So, hope you've enjoyed this tour of Brian Cross' private garden--the garden of an artist. Next stop Ballymaloe Cookery School and Gardens--you might call it Ireland's answer to Martha Stewart.


Debs said...

Thank you for such beautiful photos. My grandparents on both sides (apart from one) all came from Ireland - Kinsale and Cork.

I've never visited, but really must do so at some point.

Jan n Jer said...

How beautiful n lush! Always wanted to go to Ireland. Maybe one day. Thanks for the tour. BTW...thanks for asking about Jer.. he has determined his condition is vascular. So back to the Vascular Dr. and hopefully get some kind of relief effort in place. Its down to quality of life now and Jer is not ready to sit in one place for long. Have a great weekend Faye...Happy 1st day of spring to ya!

KittyHawk said...

I want a mixed shrub border like that one.

The Church Lady said...

I am green with envy over that garden! I like the use of the terra cota pots. Very interesting. I only wish my garden looked half as good as this one. Oh wait. I wish I had a garden!

Cousin M said...

Gorgeous! I only wish I still had the energy to plant & care for that much stuff. I especially liked the picture of Violet, since she's a black & white version of our liver & white Hazel, who protects us from all marauding squirrels.

Faye said...

debs--could your gardener husband be enticed to check out Irish gardens? Saw several wonderful greenhouses.

janis --quality of life makes a lot of medical decisions easier to make. Good luck to Jer.

kittyhawk--it was the most fantastic border--so many shades of green, so many varieties.

church lady--the terra cotta pots were perfect in this garden whether by themselves or planted. I hear you about no garden--I just have mowing to look forward to. . .

cousin M--amazingly Lakemount was a small house and garden. I didn't see any gremlins around with rakes and trowels--I'm sure they existed though. Violet had a lot of personality. Stay tuned for other Irish garden dogs--most places had at least one.