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See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

March 2013

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

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Malahide Castle and Demesne

I last visited Malahide Castle in north County Dublin about two years ago and the gardens were, as always,
beautiful. But a recent visit was nothing short of revelation. The great leap
forward was evident from the outset. The old stable block has been transformed
into a museum of this remarkable garden.

Malahide Demesne became famous
under the care of Lord Milo Talbot of Malahide, the last in a family line
stretching back to the twelfth century. He was a talented and knowledgeable
gardener with business interests in Tasmania and Australia. When he inherited
Malahide in 1948 he saw its great potential, building up a handsome and
important collection of plants from the Southern Hemisphere. He was a great
recorder of his work and the museum benefits from the thousands of photographs
and written records he made as he developed the garden up to his death in 1973.

Other improvements can be seen. A new greenhouse, erected around an older, degenerating one, has just been completed. The new house will provide plants like Banksia serrata and beautiful, scented Luculia grandiflora with protection long into the future.
Everywhere, paths through the woods have been widened and improved so that
people can explore the entire garden as never before.

Judicious removal of undergrowth
has re-opened views lost under the inevitable encroachment of borders and
shrubberies. New fern plantations have been laid out under the trees around the
West Lawn. Spring gardens of hellebores and bulbs have also been developed
under the mature trees. Walking through the walled garden, an unnamed cornus
had fruited for the first time in the eighteen years head gardener Barbara
Cunningham has been here.

We looked at the smartened up Auricula House, and the sunken Dutch House, which is due to be given an
overhaul. Only some of the elegant eucalyptus trees that once towered high in
the walled garden still stand after the recent cold winters. But for every loss
there is a gain and the gleaming Victoria House in the centre of the garden is
like a delicate, gleaming jewel. Malahide Castle and Gardens and the wider
Demesne Park are restored and maintained by Fingal County Council and are well
worth a visit.


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