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See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

October 2007

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A wrong turn!

Sandra O'Hagan and fellow club members went visiting

My sense of direction is pretty poor and I often feel very car-sick when travelling as a passenger - combine that with an inability to follow directions and you can probably understand why I rarely volunteer for navigating duties. On our last club visit I somehow assumed that, firstly, I knew exactly where we were going and, secondly, that if I didn't, someone else would definitely know. Cutting the proverbial long story to a short enough sentence, it turned out to be Newcestown, not Enniskeane, and our party of five was very late indeed. I was embarrassed but mainly relieved to have both feet on the ground again.

Thankfully Kitty was very forgiving and cordially invited us to wander around her beautiful garden. The weather was fine and the recommendation we had been given was spot-on. Neatly trimmed beds, perfectly cut grass, Kitty's garden was a lesson in restraint. In between the well thought-out planting, both in colour and form, any bare soil was weed-free and smoothly raked. All her own work, except for her enthusiastic garden apprentice son, she is a mighty woman although quite small in statue. For a less than an acre plot there were endless nooks and cranny's, so much to see and nothing had gone to waste.

As hard-core garden visitors, it is hard enough to get our creative juices flowing, especially the cynics amongst us.

The group planting of half-a-dozen white-stemmed birch was wonderful and the boundary of tightly shaped Leyland cypress, towering above us, could definitely inspire a new trend for the much-maligned species. Winding paths and a large round bed all worked really well. For the lovers of old sink troughs there is an affordable solution, this tip thanks to Kitty. Slabs of stone buried into the ground to form rectangles filled with soil and planted with herbs, alpines or whatever you fancy. Her use of gravel was interesting and growing plants in pots in amongst it was a good way of avoiding invasion. I'd say everything that she had done was very unique including a water fountain and several interesting seating areas. Even the tiny glasshouse, showing off neat rows of lettuce was a feature in itself.

As hard-core garden visitors, it is hard enough to get our creative juices flowing, especially the cynics amongst us. Most things we have just seen too many times before, it was therefore very refreshing to get such a buzz. Living proof, that it is well worth checking out your local gardens that annually open for charity. After our inspiring walk, at least twice, around the garden Kitty happily gave us its history. She used to be a ‘cram it all in and see what happens' kind of girl but then one day just decided ‘Enough!'. We all admired her self-discipline and secretly hoped some of it would rub off on us. To top the evening off Kitty had laid on a wonderful spread in her beautiful conservatory. I'm not sure we deserved the best china, after mucking her about so much at the start of the night, but we all dived in, unable to resist the great coffee and delicious baking. A perfect end to one of this year's garden club highlights.



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