A Visit to a Victorian Walled Garden
Dublin is a great city to gain gardening inspiration. One of the best places to gain inspiration for vegetables and growing them has to be the Victorian walled garden in the Phoenix Park. The walled garden is found at Ashtown Demesne which is home to the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre and Café.
This area is also found at the heart of Bloom which is held every June Bank holiday. It makes a fitting place for Bloom to radiate off from as the area celebrates our gardening heritage, as the show promotes modern garden design and practices.
The walled garden has been extensively restored by the Office of Public Works (OPW) since the 1990’s. The OPW has worked to restore the walled garden to its former glory of when it was originally built during the Mid-Victorian age. It is a very traditional walled garden with strong geometry and straight lines. A central walkway runs from the main gate to the back wall of the garden. On both sides there are extensive herbaceous beds full of colour year round.
The beds always seem to be a riot of colour every time you visit. In spring a wash of colour from spring bulbs then in summer it comes to life with a rainbow of hues radiating from an endless list of herbaceous plants. All the plants used are very traditional cottage garden style plants such as geraniums, dahlias, bellflowers and aquilegia. Some of my favourite plants are the dahlias and also the collection of hostas which offer vivid splashes of green among the colours of the bed. As well as offering colour and interest to human visitor they also attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden to aid the pollination of all the fruit trees which are grown up the walls.
The garden is then split in four with another pathway bisecting the main walkway. This helps to create four main beds in which all the vegetables, fruit and herbs are grown. The vegetables are all grown organically and crop rotation is carried out to maintain healthy soil also to reduce pests and diseases. Every crop imaginable seems to be grown in these beds with something from all the main crop families found within the walls. Everything from towering stalks of corn to large plump pumpkins to rows of aromatic herbs.
I don’t think I could do justice to just describe the magic and vibrancy of the garden with words alone so I hope the photos I have included show you just how brilliant the place is. I would strongly recommend you visit the garden behind the walls if you find yourself at Bloom this year. Even if you find yourself in Dublin looking for something to do the Victorian Walled garden is well worth a visit.