June Blake’s Garden and Nursery

by Ciaran Burke

Some things run in families, madness is one. Salivating and shaking with excitement at the sight of a rare plant, obsession; all symptoms of being a gardening nut. June Blake shares a madness for gardening and plants with her younger brother Jimi. Their mother is a keen gardener too.

Her garden has undergone a transformation in recent times, in a state of constant evolution, the one thing that remains constant is June’s sense of style and a good designers eye.

Unusual plants, many propagated from seed provide the intricate detail to the greater composition that is her garden master piece. Although a young garden, it appear surprisingly mature. Steps formed with warped railway sleepers leads to a viewing mound, a feature added less than a year ago, provides an overall view of the formal layout.

When it comes to planting, formality is eschewed in favour of lush herbaceous perennials. Persicaria ‘Fire Dragon’ is a dark beauty, Persicaria polymorpha is big fluffy and white, while the oriental poppies are bright and blousy. Primula alpicola fragranced the air, bamboos rustled in it while the ornamental grasses moved with it.

One of June’s intricate details intigued some members of the tour, while it mystified me and the name escaped June, the label having gone a miss. Orange tubular flowers hung in clusters in this miniature plants whose leaves emit an obnoxious odour. I knew the plant from before but could not think of the name. Over lunch in Russborough House it annoyed me, the name still alluding me. Dessert helped me forget about it, the power of cake! When back on the bus a word entered my mind, glumicalyx. I googled it; Glumicalyx flanaganii is the mystery plant, I am relieved, I will be able to sleep tonight!

Photos below – from top:
Buxus sempervirens hedge snakes through the border; the house ith oriental poppies (left) and red lupins; warped sleeper steps lead to viewing mound; view of garden from the mound; dark foliage of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’; big fluffy Persicaria polymorpha; yellow stemmed bamboo with side shoots trimmed; Primula alpicola; Glumicalyx flanaganii.

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