Beyond The Garden Wall – Farmleigh Walled Garden

While poking around my blog, I noticed that I had a number of posts in draft that I never actually published! So it may seem very strange talking about these gardens in the middle of winter but they were some of my favourite garden visits of 2013 so I have to share them. I also think, since it is rather dull outside, these photos will add some cheer to the day!

I have always heard of Farmleigh House on the news or read about it in the newspapers when someone extremely important came on a state visit to Ireland. I have always wondered about the house and always said it would be great to go walk around it. So you can imagine my excitement when my girlfriend Ciara told me that you can go visit it and that they have amazing gardens there too. As you can guess the minute I heard garden I was sold and had to visit!

It did however take well over a year before we visited. It was always something we said we would do but it never seemed to happen as something else would come up and we would go there instead. Luckily this summer nothing got in the way and we spent a great sun filled day walking around the gardens. It was well worth the wait as it was just spectacular and full of colour when I visited.

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The house is situated to the north-west end of the Phoenix Park and is made up of over 78 acres. The house was bought by the Irish Government in 1999 from the Guinness family and went under a massive restoration in the following years. After the enormous restoration project the house now is restored to its full grandeur and is perfectly preserved as a piece of Ireland’s architectural history.

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After walking from the main entrance of the Phoenix Park all the way up through the park to the house, I was fairly tired to say the least!! However my tiredness and any want to just sit on a bench for the rest of the evening quickly drained from my head when I started to walk up the long sweeping driveway.

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As you walk up the driveway apart from admiring the animals in the fields to your left and the trees that tower about you, the lake is a great thing to stop at and appreciate the out of this world views. When I visited the lake was just on the verge of an explosion of colour. The great vivid pink waterlilies were just starting to emerge and put on their great display.

For the plant lovers out there, the walled garden has to  be the first place you visit on a trip here. The walled garden covers 4 acres of the garden and is jam packed with colour and interest. When I walked into the garden through a set of spectacular gates, the plant addict in me went into over-drive. Just inside the main gate in there is a fantastic walkway right through the garden which is flanked by herbaceous borders on each side. The beds here are simply over flowing with every plant imaginable.

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Even though I spent so much time walking up and down the walkway here, I don’t think I saw half the plants that are on display in these two beds.

Now I will warn you, do not spend all your time in this one section as there is so much more to see within the brick walls. The greenhouses and area with the orchard and vegetable garden had to be one of my favourite parts.

This area really does feel as if it has stood still since it was built in the early 19th century. As you walk around the greenhouses and apple trees you can really feel the history and presence of all the past gardeners who worked there. I was extremely inspired by the great herb beds at the side of the main greenhouse and thought this was a part of the garden that I could easily recreate in my own garden back home.

While this side of the walled garden is more practical, it also has an extremely beautiful and ornamental side to it as well. The great herbaceous borders and great specimen trees were just fascinating to look at and dissect whether they would look right in my own garden. I fell in love with the wisteria that is grown up frames lining the walk way out of this part of the garden.

Before leaving the walled garden I made sure to follow the path around the boundary wall and was I glad I did. Along here there are some of the best plants that the walled garden has to offer. These beds are very different to the main central walk. There are a lot more unusual plants found in the beds here and an immense amount of colour. Even Ciara was glad that we walked around this section as it has an entire section designated to just purple flowers and purple happens to be her favourite colour.

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Of course with over 70 acres to explore I could not fit I seen on my trip into one blog post. Look out for a second blog post on the sunken garden at Farmleigh and share some photos with you.

Note:

It is important to note that if you do plan to visit the gardens that from time to time it is closed to public when a state visit is taking place. It is always a good idea to double check before you make the trip out. The gardens are normally open from 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.30). For more visitor information visit Farmleigh’s website

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