Things have really kicked off in the gardening world which means there are lots of dreamy gardens waiting to be visited all across the country. After such a prolonged cold spell, myself and my college pal decided to treat ourselves to a trip to Wicklow to visit one of the lesser known but nonetheless unsung gardening gems of this wonderful county. GPS and mobile phones at the ready, we typed in the address and off we pootled down the M50. As is inevitably always the case (or at least in my experience) google maps decided to bring us on the scenic route and boy did we see it all!
Where were you headed to, I hear you ask? Well our final destination was of course Patthana Garden, located in Kiltegan village, deep in the Wicklow countryside but our mapping system brought us across the Sally Gap! Although the tiki tour was well worth it, it didn’t take us long to realise we were in the Wicklow National Park and there was probably little chance of us finding a manicured garden located on the bog-covered mountain range. We tried our best to convince the daredevil sheep we were in fact locals and not lost tourists but they simply looked at us under their eyes, tutted and continued to graze along the roadside.
After much toing and froing and realising the garden was actually not far from Baltinglass, off the N81, we arrived in the chocolate box village of Kiltegan and entered the lush oasis that is Patthana Garden. Surrounding a beautiful period home, we entered the garden from the main street through tall wooden gates and found ourselves immediately immersed in the most exquisite space full of vigour and colour. Here we admired a superb plant collection all spread across the garden divided by levels which only added to the intrigue. We had just missed a talk on gardening with annuals provided by the owner TJ Maher, an accomplished artist in his own right and it shows in the wonderful colour combinations and textures populating the garden.
It didn’t take long to realise just how private this space was, with no obvious overlooking neighbours, which is no mean feat despite the fact that the garden was located along the main street. Immediately to the right of the entrance, we found the potting shed and having worked in some pretty loose descriptions of potting sheds over the years I have to admit, shed envy was real with this one. No point in me waxing lyrical about why I admired it so much, but you will undoubtedly see what I mean when you go visit yourself!
I have to mention the rainwater harvesting feature connected to the potting shed. This ingenious design is very simple in construction but is one I might borrow myself! Draped from the roof we saw a chain connected to the gutter, a really clever way to soften the flow of rainwater from above whilst helping to direct it into the containers below. As we started to explore, we met the resident tortoise moseying around the sunken area in front of the potting shed. This part of the garden was predominantly populated with stone but this was immediately softened with dazzling white tulips and a striking white Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ or what is nowadays known as Lamprocapnos spectabilis but who can get their head around that name change! Taking the lead from its namesake, the garden is a haven for tranquillity and the design provides both a soothing and relaxing atmosphere which has been at the crux of garden design since man first tried to tame nature.
Adjacent the house, we found ourselves on a terrace replete with a calming water feature and a beautiful Mexican orange blossom Choisya ternata 'White Dazzler', a real treat with glowing white flowers. We visited early on in May so managed to squeeze in some of the last of the tulips and the emerging alliums. Up above the terrace is where the garden proper was located but the journey up was filled with lots of eye-catching spring bulbs, wallflowers and the soft foliage of emerging geranium yet to flower. On the right-hand side we met an impressive Pinus mugo which felt like it had always been there. This was despite the fact that TJ shared that it was a relatively new addition to the collection as they had in fact had some casualties from the snow in the past on this steep bank so needed something to fill the gap.
As you rise up into the garden, the skewed lawn, which my pal noted was like the shape of an atom, was surrounded by a mix of herbaceous borders starting to burst into life. These were populated with unfurling ferns and of course the unmistakable frothy blossoms of pink cow parsley. Seating areas were dotted around the path which meandered around the periphery of the garden with changing views afforded from all different angles. Peace and tranquillity abounded only punctuated by the early birdsong we have all been looking forward to.
We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and would recommend you check it out yourself for something off the beaten track and for some inspiration you can translate in your own garden. Following developments on the gardens Facebook page it looks like it has well and truly burst into life so there is plenty more to see. The garden is open to the public each Sunday until the first weekend in October with a complimentary talk at 2pm on the first Sunday of each month.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/Patthanagardenkiltegan/ for updates on the garden.
Hope you have all enjoyed your bank holiday weekend. I have some exciting news to announce next month so don't forget to keep in touch and of course feel free to share the newsletter with any gardening friends you think might be interested.
Happy Gardening Everyone!