This month I have been out and about and was delighted to be invited to the launch of Erica Devine’s Botanical Plaster Art Exhibition at the wonderful Knockrose House and Garden in South County Dublin. Erica is a member of the Glendarragh Artists’ Studios in county Wicklow and using inspiration from the natural world, immortalises plants both ornamental and native using Plaster of Paris. In order to preserve the plant specimens, each are painstakingly arranged on the soft substrate ensuring every minute detail is captured as the plaster sets warm to the touch.
Some casts have delicate splashes of colour such as the gold painted on the petals of the sunflower or the hint of mauve on the foxgloves. Others however, are left untouched with the exquisite detail of their natural features drawing the viewer in as you scan over the incredible detail only this medium can capture. No other form of botanical art illustrates the plants with such finesse highlighting the beauty we encounter daily in our garden favourites but may escape our gaze when surrounded by companion plants. The exhibition is open until July 28th on Friday and Saturday from 10-5pm and other days by appointment. For further information about Erica’s work visit https://collectioncare.wixsite.com/erica-devine/about
Knockrose House and Garden
After lapping up the amazing art exhibition what a treat to take the time to wander around the oasis that is Knockrose Garden. Nestled 500m above sea level in an area known as the Scalp or An Scailp meaning “chasm” or “cleft” it really is a wonderful garden worth the trip. In preparation for my visit to the exhibition I thought best to ring ahead to see what the lay of the land was so I could plan to bring the little one. I chatted with Tom who along with his wife Trish own this wonderful spot. The garden or should I say land has long been in the possession of Trish’s family with the house dating back to 1750.
Located at the back of the house, the garden is planted in the cottage garden style and is packed to the brim with elegant, romantic flowers each singing away in the heat of the summer sun. The colour palette is soothing and calming to the eye with plenty of little nooks and crannies to entice the visitor further into this relaxing space. The plant collection was really special with many favourites of mine including irises, geraniums and poppies of all shapes and sizes. Around every corner there was an unusual plant including the dazzling white of Dianthus with its lacey, fringed blooms that just glow in amongst the various shades of green to the beautiful pink spikes of Francoa and the orangey-red tubular flowers of Desfontanea spinosa the Chilean holly. The garden truly is a place where reflection and mindfulness are at its core.
The healing benefits of the garden were known as far back as WWI when injured soldiers were regularly brought to experience the cleaner air and peaceful surroundings to aid in their rehabilitation. Although modern life has continued apace in the city, it's easy to see why those who had seen the harsher realities of life would gain great solace visiting such an inspired place. Having chatted with Trish it became apparent that I had in fact met Tom at a book launch two years ago and I had intended to visit all this time. I can definitely say this willl not be my last visit, I’m just disappointed it’s taken me this long to get here in the first place! For further information about the garden visit their website at www.knockrose.com
This month I will be giving a talk at the RHSI Garden Show at Russborough House, Sunday July 28th. I will be talking with a great line-up of speakers all about biodiversity in the garden. Hope to see you all there!
As always, Happy Gardening Folks!