Saturday, June 20, 2009

Only 24 hours in Ireland

It’s embarrassing. I realise that it is 27 years since I was last in Ireland. *o**! and my son’s called Kieran an’ all. And I just went for only 24 hours, to give what felt like a very successful workshop on designing with foliage for the Garden and Landscape Designers Association. I hate doing FIFOs (Fly In, Fly Out is the polite version), but schedule doesn’t allow much else at the moment.

Dublin is in a post-tiger-economy hangover, but the coastal strip looks great. Fantastic seaside exotic-looking gardens. Interesting to talk with people about what you can do/grow and what you can’t do/grow. Generally too cold and windy to sit out and treat the garden as an outside room for one thing. Reports that late herbaceous stuff like solidagoes just don’t perform – so little warmth, so little seasonality. Would be interesting to hear from other people about that. People’s complaints about the weather reminded me of Mark Twain about San Francisco, and the worst winter he ever had was a summer there, in that famously cool but never cold all the year round city.

Ok, this isn’t California, but there are similarities with the amazing range of exotica which does so well – practically anything from the Atlantic Islands and NZ, and a lot of South African. Just so long as it doesn’t want either a proper winter or a proper summer. Gardens can look really exotic, and echiums and Geranium maderense naturalise.

Met up with Oliver and Liat who run Mount Venus Nursery, which has an amazing range of plants. They’re German, not that you’d ever believe Oliver was anything but Irish – Liat sounds like Nico though). Trained with Dr.Hans Simon near Würzburg – owner of the world’s most untidy nursery. So were thoroughly grounded in all the right way of garden thinking. Catalogue looks very exciting.

Must go back.


EB said...

I love the "owner of the word's most untidy nursery" tag. Maybe I could go for the same in a garden, but I suspect competition is intense.

Ireland must vary hugely within itself, I should think, as well.

Peter Holt said...

Noel Kingsbury!

I picked up a copy of your latest book this week and it's downright stunning. Well done. Wow. Thanks so much.

Chance Gardener

Peter Holt said...

Rita said...

I was just recently tending a garden where the solidago was absolutely stunning I almost didnt recognize it. It was down in Cork city....the one thing I have learned about gardening in ireland is that you just never ever really know how things will grow...the inconistsency is very similar to the weather, the road systems and the government

Meriel murdock said...

My Soldago (unknown cultivar- ht 5'with small,tightish flowerheads - any suggestion as to a name?) was better this year than the past 10/12 years - just as I was about to dig it out. All the rain this summer helped I think, though the dry spell in Sept-Oct unfortunately meant it went over very quickly. I'm going to try it in a new position next year.
I've been a convert to a wilder type of gardening for some years and greatly enjoyed your book 'The New Perennisl Garden' & Piet Oudolf/Henk Gerritsen's 'Planting the Natural Garden'. I've also been enjoying recent contributions to Gardeners Illustrated. I grow quite a few Rugosas which are good in my very poor and dry soil.