Ulster Tatler Interiors

Published in Tatler Interiors in Nov 2011

Danger - do NOT visit Gardens……………Unless!

As an almost lifelong horticulturist it is my moral duty to advise you of the perils and dangers of VisitingGardens! DO NOT visit gardens unless you are capable of withstanding the Joy, Happiness, Relaxation and Inspiration that the visitations will inevitable evoke.

Seriously, it should be obvious that I would be a strong advocate of visiting gardens in a variety of locations and for various reasons. Over the many years there has only ever been one garden that I vowed I would never returned to. It was much too frivolous for me! However if it makes someone smile and encourages an interest in horticulture then perhaps it has a place in the spectrum of gardens!

As a “gardening” professional every time I enter a garden I metaphorically wear two hats (at least two, I love hats). The first Hat is as a keen gardener in search of relaxation and for new ideas, plants, tips and techniques which could be adapted for incorporation into my own small garden. The second exciting Hat is a much more complex fashion accessory. This one is used as the repository for the multitude of garden style variations which are logged into the memory for used in current & future client projects. At the same time the history and development of the garden is logged to allow me to map out the consequences for such things as the ongoing maintenance requirements & program together with cost implications. Garden History is something very special to me. (www.nihgc.org) Whether it is in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Holland, Italy or the USA etc there is an intriguing thread of influence going through all gardens. In Ireland we are blessed with a plethora of Historic Gardens, Parks & Demesnes as well as many “up and coming” modern gardens (and Gardeners) destined for their place in History! Thankfully the Nat Trust’s Ulster Gardens Scheme provides us with golden opportunities every year to visit private gardens in Ulster. (www.ulstergardensscheme..org) In August of this year my wife and I spent an enjoyable few days on the Lough Derg Garden Trail starting in Portumna (http://www.loughderggardens.com). In October we continued our study of the Gardens of Italy. This time in the South were we experienced the magic of Ninfa, San Michele (Ischia), La Mortella (Capri), Villa Ruffullo to name but a few of the 12 gardens we appreciated. We felt blessed and privileged see the gardens and to meet so many interesting and charming garden professionals.

It is good to revisit gardens in every season of the year so don’t let the onset of winter put you off.

So many gardens not enough time!