At the weekend I headed north to Gardenworld Kilquade which hosts the National Garden Exhibition Centre. I need to do some homework and discover the history of this but for now I will just report on the place. It is off the N11 south of Dublin and is signposted from the road, going south. I must admit that, although it is only a few km from the main road I thought I was lost because the road is narrow and I thought it couldn’t possibly be the right place. When you arrive in the car park you are confronted by what look like franchises for greenhouses, chimineas and bean bags and I didn’t hold out much hope of anything inspiring. There is then a slope with garden buildings and small ‘model gardens’ and benches of plants with a large cafe ahead of you and a shop, all looking quite smart. I had almost given up by this point but if you go into the shop, which didn’t seem to sell much, you see there is an exit and a glimpse of a long avenue. Exit here and the show gardens are revealed.
The end of the avenue has a pond with an intriguing snake water feature.
Along both sides of the avenue are 20 show gardens, mostly created in about 5-10 years ago. I have to say that, in most cases, I was impressed with their variety and the standard of upkeep. Admission is free and the cafe looks very good so this is a stop off I would recommend. I rushed round but you could easily spend a couple of hours looking round and with some refreshments I would give this 3 hours. It is not far from either Powerscourt or Mount Usher and either would make a good combo for a day out from Dublin.
Here are a few of the gardens I liked. I have tried to name the gardens correctly but forgive any mistakes because I was rushing and the gardens are arranged so you walk from one to another.
Feng Shui by Harmony Gardens
Beauty and the Bees by 3Design Gardens
The Upright Garden by Doylescapes
The Gothic Garden by Damian Keane
Scents and Sensibility by Philip Hollwey Gardens
Not sure which this one was!