Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Dillon Garden, Dublin. July 2013

There are some gardens that you visit that you just can't wait to see again, The Dillon Garden is one of them.

The garden is the creation of Scottish born Helen Dillon and her husband Val, located in Ranelagh, south Dublin.
Helen is famous among plants people as a connoisseur of amazing, stunning plants. The thing is, although she grows so many unusual things its not your usual plants nut's garden, so often we fall into the trap of creating a collection of plants rather than a thing of beauty. Rather, Helen has an artistic eye and combines colours and different forms beautifully.
Sadly the battery on my camera died so I had to resort to taking pictures on my phone.....

The front garden is quite restrained, a breathing space, cool and sophisticated.
However in my eagerness to see the back garden I rushed through without taking proper pictures.

Before, when visiting the route to the back garden was down the side of the house but on this occasion I went straight to the front door. 
The sight that greets you when looking out the long windows of the drawing room at the rear of the house is stunning, and probably one of the most photographed views of the garden.

Entry to the garden from the rear of the house is via a raised deck which has been attached to the house below which is nestled a lush sheltered seating space.

I was amazed at the sheer number of flowers on the Nicotiana mutablis, simply amazing:
The secret, I have been informed by Helen, is to overwinter cuttings taken from the base of first year plants and overwintered frost free, then when planted out in year two you get an avalanche of candyfloss pink like this.

Along the base of the house wall various potted succulents spend the summer months basking in the Irish sunshine. (Irony alert!)

Looking across the end of the canal

The green firework explosions that are the heads of Cyperus papyrus

Sonchus fruticosus growing in one of Helen's famous containers.

I have intense greenhouse envy, and Dasylirion envy

Begonia luxurians and Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba' 

I've been informed by Helen that the sultry dark Pelargonium below 'Lord Bute', 

A particularly dark Pelargonium which looks like sidoides, (and I've been told that for those of you growing sidoides in the British Isles, what you have probably isn't sidoides at all but a hybrid!)


Canna 'Durban' and Pelargonium 'Ardens'

Canna 'Erebus' one of the glauca hybrids created at Longwood gardens.

A nice unnamed red which Helen got in India (at least I think that's what she said)

Looking back towards the glasshouse.

Dianthus 'Chomley Farran', it's amazing, I'm not one to lust after Dianthus but this one I've got the hots for!
I couldn't detect a scent but you can't have everything, eh?


Succulents growing perfectly in a raised bed, looking impeccable despite the high rainfall we get in Ireland.

Aloe polyphylla

Agave bracteosa

The stark but beautiful canal set in Irish limestone, exuberant colour bordering each side.

The rear of the garden is planted lushly with cool greens of ferns, grasses, Astelia and numerous Aralia.

Cautleya spicata

Look at the Woodwardia unigemmata, freakin' amazing!!!!!

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Leycesteria formosa 'golden lanterns' and the stunningly foliaged Rosa glauca. Why has this rose not been used to create hybrids with better leaves?

A cloche keeping the wet off Mandragora officinarum

So that's it, a brief tour of the Dillon Graden. I could have taken pictures of hundreds of plants and vistas so perhaps my lack of camera was a good thing!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Autumn harvest

The last of the tomatoes have been picked, I say that last but they're also nearly the first as they were so late going in that they took some time to get going (I'm a terrible and neglectful vegetable grower)

There's all sorts in there beefsteak, the two stalwarts of the tomato world, 'Gardener's delight, and 'Ailsa Craig' as well as a couple of cherry types.
The keener eyed among you may note the banana stem sticking up from their midst, the idea being that its presence this should help ripen them faster as it yellows and releases ethylene gas.

This is the first year that they haven't suffered from blight which is always a problem for me despite being grown in the greenhouse.

He's like a little ugly fat green pumpkin:

They've spent a few weeks ripening in their bowls and have been combined with roasted peppers, cumin, red onions, paprika, ginger and waaay too many chillis to make a few jars of 'Blow your socks off chutney'.

and just cos they're there, some of the last of the summer's flowers....