On Wednesday morning 12th September thirty members of Foxrock Garden Club met bright and early for the final garden visit of the 2018 season.

We set off for Co. Wicklow on a lovely Autumn morning to visit the gardens of two well known gardeners namely Jimi Blake of Hunting Brook near Blessington and T.J. Maher of Patthana in the village of Kiltegan.

Visiting Jimi is always a treat as he is so generous with his knowledge and as his garden constantly changes there is always something fresh and new. This visit did not disappoint as Jimi had totally changed the design of the front right hand side of the garden removing all the grasses and tall plants that were there previously and had planted a whole new scheme with lower planting that highlighted the outstanding view. As it is Autumn time the orange and red colours predominated and these were intermingled with pale yellows and dark blues made up of single flowered Dahlias grown from seed and much loved by the bees, healthy Salvias and also adding rhythm to the display a Marigold “Calendula Indian Prince”. This marigold was also grown from seed and was planted throughout the length of the bed and it was interesting to see the effect this simple plant had on bringing the whole colour scheme together. Coffee and cake sitting in the sun completed this perfect garden visit.

Returning to the coach already filling up with interesting plants and cuttings we enjoyed the countryside as we drove to Kiltegan where we were warmly greeted by artist T.J. and his partner Simon.  T.J. is the gardener and Simon was working away preparing our tasty lunch which finished with the most amazing Banoffi pie all served on vintage china.

Patthana is a gem of a small garden designed cleverly around old stone buildings and walls and the garden sits so comfortably with the house. The use of colour and the planting in pots is outstanding and one plant in the pot collection making a strong statement was Coleus “Campfire”. The correct use and placing of pots is so important in small gardens.

The shady area is created on different levels and features old stone and cobbles and is planted creatively with different textures and leaf shapes. The star of this corner was Bergenia ciliata “Wilton” with its hairy grey pink leaves which grow to 50cm across. On climbing the steps to the terrace a beautiful specimen of Eleagnus “Quicksilver” enhances the entrance to the next part of the garden.

We returned home with the storage area of the bus filled to overflowing having had a really lovely day, a charming bus driver and thank you to Bobbie Campbell for organising the trip.

Carol Bone