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See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

October/November 2011

To see a sample of the current issue of Ireland's best-selling gardening magazine, click the image below.

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Mary Davies stands and stares

Walking the dog, there is pleasure in gazing as we pass into every garden, elaborate or simple. And as the seasons move on, there are particular gardens where an outstanding show can be first anticipated and then enjoyed. One garden never disappoints, filled as it is every summer with a vast array of dahlias in every shade of yellow, orange and red; another heralds the approach of autumn with a wild mingling of tall prairie flowers and grasses. The garden of a friend has a huge Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas, its bare branches covered in February with tiny yellow blooms, something to look out for even when I am not turning into the gate.   

Weekender 2011

Urban surroundings have their plant delights too. For many years a tiny front garden in a local town had a magnificent climbing geranium on a house wall only a few feet from a busy pavement - a show of bright pink blooms all summer long that I craved to emulate. With the passage of time the geranium has gone, but the same town has another seasonal street-side pleasure - a great spread of blue agapanthus within the grounds of a central church. Grey granite walls provide a sober backdrop to the exuberance of the scores of spherical flower heads on tall stems, while a spread of red fuchsia against the railings adds to the gaiety of the late summer scene. I am not the only one who stands and stares.

These agapanthus were planted many years ago, so long ago that even elderly local residents remember them as always being there. One story is that they may have been donated by a particular wealthy family; another that it was perhaps the gardener from a big house a couple of miles away, a regular worshipper for many years, who brought in the first plants. At any rate they have had time to fill more than one border with their strappy leaves.
I too grow agapanthus, though on a much smaller scale, white as well as blue. Although I never tried them in my mountain cottage days, large pots of white agapanthus on either side of the front door of my farm friends flourish despite frosty upland winters. And there is a public building on one of my dog walking routes that has embellished its forecourt with a scattering of both white and blue agapanthus aligned along a pair of narrow beds. At present these grow sparsely dotted in single file; in the future they also may multiply to give some of the vivid richness of the church's display.


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