Lakemount- work of art

by Ciaran Burke

Lakemount Gardens, one hectare of acid soil, on a hill in Glanmire east of Cork city, is where the work of the artist, the garden designer and horticulturist combine. Brian Cross is all of these these things, his garden overlooking the River Lee is his gallery, his exhibition, his masterpiece; Betula penduls ‘Youngii’ (left) and Japanese maple(right);

Brian and his wife Rose share the garden with their pair of English Spaniels, Viola and Poppy. Niches and larger “rooms” create intimacy, making the garden feel bigger than it is. Extrovert views look to the river, the borrowed views expanding the sense of space.

We had allowed plenty of time to visit the garden. Brian took us on a tour, we admired plant combinations, ceramic sculptures and his attention to fine details. His sense of humour us also displayed, a comical faces laughs through a hole in a hedge when moving from one garden room to another.

Plants are packed together, herbaceous perennials mix with trees and clamour under shrubs. Throughout the garden shrubs have been pruned and thinned from the base up, their canopies raised to clear space at their bases and maximise the space. It works brilliantly.

Before we left the gardens, our party was dispersed around the garden. Some soaked up sunshine on the stone paved terrace, others sat on stone benches in the green shaded crannies created by clever planting throughout the garden. I saw more than one taking numerous photos of the beautiful ceramic pieces cleverly placed in borders and in grass or just admiring plants. Wherever they sat, stood or or wandered, they all seemed content, perhaps with a little awed, aware that they were in a garden work of art.

Photos below- from top;
Ceramic pot beside pond; seats with Hakenachloa grasses; ceramic with White stemmed birch; standing stone; Betula utilis ‘Trinity College’ with Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’; Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’; Terrace with pond; fountain in pond; Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n’ Gold’ trained as a small standard with blue Campanula portensclagiana.

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