Carmel Duignan’ Garden – Shankill, Co. Dublin

by Ciaran Burke

I first met Carmel nearly twenty years ago while I was working in a garden centre. She identified an unlabelled plant for me, and I have been learning from her ever since.

Her garden is a trove of plant treasure, species from around the globe thrive in the mild maritime climate. This past winter the temperatures dipped as low as minus ten degrees celcius. Carmel was mourning the loss of a couple of Correa plants and the climber Hardenbergia violacea. Schefflera taiwanniana and her many species of Pseudopanax still flourishing.

Throughout her garden herbaceous perennials mix with shrubs and trees. Everytime one of our group asked about a plant Carmel supplied not only the name, but important cultivation tips and information of the plants origin. She is a walking plant encyclopedia.

People strolled about, admiring the plants and the layout. Some took the opportunity to sit and admire, to feel and experience the garden. The garden is truly a plant person’s paradise. Before we left we spotted new young shoots growing near the base of her beloved Hardenbergia, Carmel was delighted, so were we.

So now we are on the bus to Avoca village for lunch. Then it’s to Mount Usher. Still no rain!

Photos below- from top;
Carmel Duignan welcomes us to her garden; Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’; Schefflera taiwanniana; Pseudopanax crassifolius; two Finnish ladies sitting pretty on Carmel’s garden; Erigeron karvinskianus grows around an alpine trough.

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