Mark is originally from Northern Ireland and Laura from County Tipperary, but they chose to live in the mild south west of the island so that they could cultivate the extensive range of exotic and unusual plants that Mark covets.
Since 2001 they have built their garden on this wet two and a half acre site which was originally a farm small holding in a previous life.
It has come a bit of a way since then......
The area to the front of the house is very naturalistic in appearance, there's a pond surrounded by Gunnera and reeds and a stonking big four meter high triple headed Dicksonia antartica.
This behemoth has been through quite a lot, during a cold snap Mark and Laura arrived home from a trip to find that it had fallen into the pond and was trapped under a thick layer of ice. When the thaw eventually came they had to enlist the help of a local farmer who managed to haul it back into an upright position with his tractor. It looks none the worse for wear despite its ordeal.
There are no dwarf conifers and Heathers in this rockery, spikies are the order of the day.
These Trachycarpus fortunei will add an exotic canopy as they mature.
Cistus line the path that snakes along the 'valley' floor.
A Furcrea, probably parmentieri
Spikey and arid, yet still manages a lushness that I really enjoy seeing.
Some exotic enthusiasts
The detail was amazing, imagine the water flowing through each of these on its way down during a rain shower.
Schefflera delavayi, who couldn't love this plant?! Mine has some way to go being only six inches high...
A new addition since my last visit, perhaps a more traditional looking rockery but the plants used are anything but ordinary.
Schefflera taiwaniana, rock hard in most coastal areas of Ireland and unbeatable in shade.
This is another lust worthy plant, and I'm now on my third attempt with it. They're hard to track down but I've managed to find another and had it shipped over from the Netherlands to be
I'm determined that this time I will finally succeed!!!!!!!
Look at the spines on the leaf surface of this un! Seriously cool plant! Zanthoxylum laetum
I think I'd chop them like I did with mine, though I know their natural tendency is to rocket straight up.
You have to feel the felted leaves of Sinningia leucotricha, the closest thing I can liken them to is a Labrador puppies ear. You gotta love this plant, growing from an enormous swollen caudex. Coming from a seasonally dry climate, the leaves and stems are discarded over winter leaving the woody swollen tuber in view.
I'll get my hands on one of these some day, when I have appropriate overwintering facilities.
Mark is eyeing it up as a potential space for yet another glasshouse......