Often referred to as the jewel in Ireland’s garden crown, Altamont Gardens are worth a visit, especially in early spring, to see previous owner Corona North’s impressive collection of snowdrops. The old beech trees that line the so-called nuns’ path provide a stately backdrop for the tiny snowdrops, hellebore and cyclamen that nestle beneath. Rhododendrons will delight you in late spring and roses are heavenly in mid-summer. Altamont is now operated by OPW and includes 40 acres of oak trees, a moorland garden, an Ice Age gorge and a tranquil lake.
2. Mount Stewart, Co. below
The gardens of Mount Stewart were created by Lady Londonderry a hundred years ago and are world famous. The layout is formal, although the lush planting mitigates this considerably. This 70-acre garden includes Italian, Spanish, sunken, and shamrock themes combined with elegant topiary and whimsical animal statues. The garden has its own microclimate thanks to the Gulf Stream flowing into nearby Strangford Lough and is home to many tropical plants. Spring is particularly beautiful when the many rhododendrons and magnolias are in full bloom, with carpets of bluebells, wild garlic and primroses galore.
3. Bodnant Gardens, Conwy, Wales
The National Trust Gardens at Bodnant in Wales cover 80 hectares and include a ravine garden, waterfall, hillside walks, conservatory, lily pond and terraced gardens. A spring visit will delight you with daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossoms and a national collection of rhododendrons and magnolias. Visit in June to see the famous golden rainbow, roses and magnificent flowers of Yucca Gloriosaor September to see the forest lit up in autumnal hues.
4. Patthana Garden, County Wicklow
This garden gem has exquisite plantings of springtime delights, summer surprises and autumnal splendour. From May to November, it’s a colorful riot against a backdrop of shrubs, trees and borrowed views of a nearby church tower. Midsummer is glorious, with a mix of perennials, annuals and greenery creating an exceptional color palette. Tulips, sage, coleus, alliums, dahlias and echinaceas take turns delighting in an enchanting and ever-changing canvas. The recently added Torc Garden brings a welcome extra dimension, with a lawn also planned for this year.
5. Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway
With stunning lakeside walks and Ireland’s largest walled garden, Kylemore Abbey has a fairytale atmosphere. The 6 acre walled garden includes colorful herbaceous borders, formal flower gardens and herb and vegetable gardens with restored greenhouses and espalier fruit trees. A summer visit would not be complete without a stroll along the lake to see the neo-Gothic church, which resembles a mini-cathedral and was built as a loving tribute to the late owner’s wife.
6. Keukenhof, Netherlands
Open only eight weeks a year (March to May), Keukenhof is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime visit. With seven million spring bulbs in bloom, each bed is more beautiful than the last. Tulips of all colors are the main show, but it’s also famous for the flow of blue muscari. Twelve buses leave the airport every hour for the Lisse Gardens just outside Amsterdam.
7. Japanese Gardens, Co. Kildare
The Japanese Gardens and the adjoining St Fiachra’s Garden are beautiful at any time of the year. Highlights are the maples with soft tones in summer and fiery tones in autumn. The white astilbes in June are also spectacular, and the sweeping lake and river views are natural and serene. It’s worth booking a tour for an entertaining history of the gardens and the National Stud itself.
8th. Ardan Garden, Howth, County Dublin
Part of the Dublin Garden Trail, Ardán Garden is an absolute gem. An eclectic mix of glorious herb planting, this is a shady corner of woodland interspersed with whimsical sculptures. The mass planting of hydrangea’Annabelle’ is spectacular in August, and the cool blue of the asters contrasts with the hot colors of the Helenium, Rudbeckia and Cannas. The 0.2 hectare garden is terraced and divided into different areas, each with a different mood, making it feel both intimate and enjoyable to explore.
9. Kilgar Gardens, Kilkock, County Meath
Kilgar is spread over three acres of immaculately manicured gardens with seven garden rooms to delight the eye. Visit us in June to see magnificent roses, poppies, alliums and catnip in their summertime glory. Dahlias and romantic hydrangeas dominate in late summer and the fine selection of trees, topiary, grasses and pots ensure there is always something to look at. End your tour with delicious coffee and cakes in the tea rooms for a perfect day.
10 Hilly Conservatory, Hampshire, England
Hillier Winter Garden in Hampshire is at its loveliest from November to March. Mass plantings of ‘Midwinter Fire’ dogwood combine beautifully with the peeling bark of Acer griseum, while the air smells strongly of daphne, witch hazel and Christmas box. Other winter gardeners such as hellebore, snowdrops, mahonia and early camellia prove that winter gardens can also be beautiful.
If you do one thing… to create softness
When planning a new patio area, consider more mulch or gravel and less hardscaping. Balance really makes a difference. with more softness,
You can have more plants in the gravel that will help wildlife. It’s a simple way to think softly without losing visual design. LC
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/gardens/four-seasons-of-inspiration-10-gardens-at-home-and-abroad-you-simply-have-to-visit-41456043.html Four seasons of inspiration – 10 must-see gardens at home and abroad