Huntingbrook Gardens

by Ciaran Burke

Jimi Blake is a serious plantaholic, but I guess you can have worse and much more unhealthy addictions, and most of his visitors to Huntingbrook understand his affliction. The majority of those that make the trip up Lamb Hill at Tinode near Blessington, Co. Wiclow, are also seriously suffering from garden related addictions.

This is one of the best places for plant alcoholics to indulge their passion. Each time I visit, for I am also afflicted, Jimi always has something new, exciting and rare to show.

Our group arrived as the cloud hung low and a breeze blew down the hill. Gerry our driver parked the coach by the allotments and we walked up the road to the gardens. As soon as the first people entered they stopped to examine plants and ask the names, it is apparently an international condition, this plant obsession.

Jimi led us through the woodland garden, situated in a seventh century ringfort. Blue poppies, Meconopsis bectonicifolia, beautifully displayed against a background of glaucous foliage of Beberis temolaica, gathered much praise.

Aralia echinocaulis planted en-masse always looks stunning, the borders beneath them recently replanted are already full of colour and promise of later beauty. Dark foliage of Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ contrasts with fresh green fern fronds in the adjacent border beside the house.

We were followed constantly by the cute and cuddly Minnie, one of Jimi’s brace of cats. She purred loudly as she was repeatedly picked up for cuddles. Fred, the dog looked on jealously.

As we had tea and coffee in the conservatory, Jimi pointed to a climbing plant on a pillar outside. The evergreen leaves composed of numerous leaflets clothed the twining stems while ivory white bell flowers hung in clusters. Holboellia chapaensis is my new favourite plant. It has gone straight to my very long wish list. That always happens after a trip to Huntingbrook.

Photos below- from top:
Walking up Lamb Hill to Huntingbrook; Meconopsis bectonicifolia, blue Poppies, in front of the beautiful glaucus shrub, Bereberia temolaica; dark foliage of Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ with ferns and lush green foliage; Minnie enjoying the attention of Hanna and Anu (our fabulous tour guide); ornamental grasses under Aralia echinocaulis; Holboellia chapaensis (HWJ 1023) a plant from the nursery Crug Farm in Wales, the flowers smell like cucumber!; Hanna wears Holboellia flowers on her hair; Lupins flower beneath Aralia echinocaulis.

One Comment to “Huntingbrook Gardens”

  1. Thank you so much, glad they enjoyed it even in the cold. Mini has requested a family holiday to Finland in the next few years………..

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