The Carlow Garden Trail
Carlow is a treasure trove of wonderful gardens to visit. The Carlow Garden Trail currently features 16 different gardening attractions with an additional two gardens in the surrounding counties of Kildare and Wexford. The trail includes great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and smaller gardens which are maturing beautifully with time. Award winning garden centres and forest parks complement the joy of a visit here. The Carlow Garden Trail ranges from small to very large gardens, garden centres and forest parks and from old to new, so there is something to interest both the novice and experienced gardener. Known for its mild and temperate climate, County Carlow is the ideal destination for your gardening trip.
Celebrating its 11th anniversary in 2012, the Carlow Garden Festival 28th July – 5th August is a flora, gardening and nature extravaganza, hosted by some of Ireland’s best known TV and radio experts and leading garden designers.
Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres. The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees while lawns bisected by sculpted yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons. This leads in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees. A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney.
An unmissable highlight of a visit to Altamont Gardens is the Walled Garden situated within the grounds of the estate and run privately by gardener and nurseryman Robert Miller. The area consists primarily of the Corona North Commemorative Border planted to honour the late Corona and Altamont Plant Sales and Nursery. Each border has its own individual theme and colour from striking reds to cool white and blues, romantic pinks and warm yellow glows. Altamont Plant Sales has not only grown in size in the last few years, but more so in reputation as a place to acquire seriously good garden plants. Altamont Plant Sales can also boast of having one of the largest collections of old shrub roses available for sale to the gardening public year round.
Spacious and well laid out, the Arboretum Lifestyle and Garden Centre guides visitors through elegant displays of garden furnishings, pot plants, outdoor plants, an extensive gifts section, hand crafted furniture and lots more. An entire day can be devoted to the visit, wandering through the fantastic range of items available, seeking expert advice from friendly staff or enjoying a delicious meal or cup of coffee in the tranquil setting of Rachel’s Garden Cafe. Bord Bia Garden Centre of the Year 2011.
Arboretum Lifestyle and Garden Centre has created a new and exciting display garden to inspire the modern day customer. Helping visitors to create their own dreams while showing them that gardening is both stylish and fun, this new showpiece allows people to see that gardening can be enjoyed in any busy lifestyle. The concept behind this design was to create a garden that is easy to care for, demands low maintenance and delivers endless enjoyment.
Designed to inspire visitors on planting schemes and solutions, Arboretum Inspirational Gardens offer endless ideas that can be easily recreated in gardeners’ own homes. The team at Arboretum have also included a children’s maze which is a maximum height of 1 metre. This is located beside the new terraced area of Rachel’s Garden Cafe so that children can play while parents enjoy some fine locally sourced produce and home baking. Families can also pay a visit to the fun mud hut or visit the friendly koi who live in the pond. A visit to the garden is a treat for the amateur or the enthusiast who will enjoy seeing the themed planting, use of colour, texture and form.
Conveniently situated close to the town of Bagenalstown in an open country setting, Ashlawn Garden Centre is a family run business where excellent service and advice is on hand in a friendly and informative manner. Our plants are our pride and joy and there is something for everyone here, catering for the expert gardener to the complete novice with specially selected ranges to suit different needs and budgets.
Ashlawn Garden Centre offers a wide range of healthy trees, shrubs, roses and perennials at outstandingly good value while the new 3,000 square feet shop stocks a large selection of sprays, sprayers, terracotta and glazed pots, tools, pet accessories, fountains, lights and bird baths, seasonal bulbs and seeds. A selection of giftware, oak barrels and decorative stone in bulk and bags is always available.
Eloquently described as an oasis of peace and tranquility, Delta Sensory Gardens consist of a series of interconnecting gardens of a multi-sensory nature covering 2.5 acres (1 hectare). The gardens are the first of their kind in Ireland with a therapeutic focus to benefit people of all abilities. Visitors can delight in a mix of formal and informal landscapes and the gardens offer something for every season from thousands of daffodils and tulips in spring to the abundant double flowering gorse in summer and the rustic colour of the many trees and beech hedges in autumn and into winter.
Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country. In recent years the walled gardens have been restored and the beds and borders re-instated. Duckett’s Grove Design – Craft and Gift Emporium is Carlow’s premier showcase for the collective work of locally based and talented craft makers. The venue which is located in the courtyard of the Duckett’s Grove Estate contains a vibrant mix of high end art, craft and giftware products in the delicately appointed central retail exhibition space, together with four individual craft workshops producing products on site including stained glass, jewellery and wood turned items.
The Upper Walled Garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses, a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies, a great variety of hardy and tender perennials and choice flowering shrubs. The Lower Walled Garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a selection of fruits, including figs and historical varieties of Irish apples amongst others. The borders also contain a variety of shrubs and perennials all echoing the past history of the gardens and people associated with Duckett’s Grove. Restored paths and the repaired sunken stone bridge plus plantings of oak, lime, hazel, spindle and laurel rekindle the spirit of the Georgian Pleasure Grounds.
Hardymount Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow
T: 059 9151769
One of the largest Spanish chestnuts in the country greets you on arrival to 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of lawns and shrubs surrounded by magnificent beech and oak trees. A wonderful walled garden behind the house contains many unusual plants and flowers in the herbaceous border. The grass paths take you past the pond with lilies and fish to espaliered apple trees, a pergola clothed with wisteria and under planted with hollyhocks and foxgloves and on to a vegetable garden. A summer house at the end of the garden in a sheltered corner provides a quiet area for rest and relaxation.
Consisting of a series of interconnecting herbal gardens there is a large kitchen garden, a tea walk, a medicinal herb courtyard, a medieval monastic herb garden and a garden of aromatic and fragrant herbs.
The enclosed kitchen garden consists of gravel paths and eleven raised timber beds of varying sizes grouped to form a modern rectangular ‘’potager’’. Next to the kitchen garden is the tea walk, a short gravel path lined on one side with plants suitable for infusions and herbal teas. The medicinal garden, set in a granite courtyard, consists of nine raised beds in Irish oak timber. Each bed is planted with herbs suitable for treating a particular part of the body. In a lower courtyard is an aromatic garden planted with herbs for fragrance and also for their usefulness in cosmetic preparations. In an adjoining courtyard there is a modern interpretation of a medieval monastic herb garden with four oak raised beds surrounded on two sides by an oak timber cloister. A circular cosmic garden helps to explain and facilitate our understanding of the ancient belief that there is a connection between people, plants, planets and constellations.
These gardens were mainly laid out in the 17th century by the Esmondes who built Huntington Castle in 1625 and include the French limes on the Avenue, the “parterre” or lawns to the side of the house, the fish ponds on either side of the centre walk through the wilderness and the Yew Tree Walk. Larger plantings have resulted in Huntington possessing a number of great Irish trees including four varieties of hickory, a cut leaved oak, a Siberian crab and buckeye chestnut. A lake at the bottom of the wilderness was built for ornamental purposes but next to it is one of the earliest water turbine houses in Ireland, providing Huntington with its own electricity as early as 1888. The River Derry flows along the bottom of the wilderness, providing a pleasant setting for woodland walks. The guided tour also features a visit to Huntington Castle.
Leighlinbridge – The Garden Village
Leighlinbridge Improvement Group
T: 086 6027751
Leighlinbridge enjoys a range of gardens, built and designed by the local community to commemorate various aspects of village life over the years. These include the Millennium Garden, seven small individual gardens, each with its own theme represented by trees, shrubs and stones. The Vivaldi Garden is based on Vivaldi’s musical concerto The Four Seasons while the Garden of Remembrance commemorates important occasions in the history of the village. These include the visit by the Canadian Prime Minister, a World War 1 memorial and the Entente Florale Gold Medal Award. The Sculpture Garden is dedicated to three of Leighlinbridge’s most famous sons – Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran, John Tyndall, the mountaineer and scientist and Captain Myles Keogh, second in command to General Custer.
Based on the outskirts of Carlow Town, Morgan’s Garden Centre is a family run business which has developed and grown rapidly in recent years to become recognised as a leading garden centre. This award winning garden centre features a well-stocked shop and extensive covered plant sales area for summer bedding and seasonal plants, most of which are grown in the adjoining nursery.
All trees, shrubs, roses and heathers are sourced from leading Irish nurseries ensuring high quality plants. Visitors are guaranteed something for every season – bedding and patio plants for spring and summer, pottery, stoneware and water features with bulbs, hedging and trees for autumn. Advice is provided by trained and experienced staff who will give ideas and tips for your garden and answer all your gardening queries. Service is guaranteed to be friendly, helpful and efficient.
There are few locations which could rival the beauty and tranquility of Oak Park Forest Park. Ideal for leisurely strolls and walks, a visit here is a relaxing and pleasurable experience and a must for any visitor to Co. Carlow. Colour coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent accessible surfaces and easy gradients make a visit here an enjoyable experience for young and old alike.
The park is a mature, mixed species woodland of over 120 acres with a predominance of beech, oak, scots pine, silver fir, larch and sycamore. The proximity of the walkways to the extensive collection of ferns, mosses and woodland flora provides the visitor with an ideal opportunity to interact with nature.
Rathvilly Garden Centre
Baltinglass Road, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow
T: 059 9161594
Rathvilly Garden Centre is a family run business, operated by Dermot Byrne who prides himself on offering a comprehensive range of home grown bedding plants and shrubs for the gardening enthusiast.
This country garden centre is set on 5 acres (2 hectares) with a 1 acre (.5 hectare) amenity garden with picnic and children’s play area.
A large covered plant area also includes a fine gift shop which stocks pottery, candles, houseware, glassware and innovative gift ideas. The garden centre features a range of bulbs, seeds, garden tools and a large selection of trees, shrubs, container pots, fruit trees, patio slabs, outdoor pots, moss peat, trellis and fencing.
Rathwood is a multi-award winning family owned centre, located on the Carlow/Wicklow border, with everything you need from home interiors to ladies clothing and shoes to plants, paving and activities for the family. Everyone from the green fingered to the new home owner are guaranteed to get inspiration, practical advice and a friendly service. Visit Woodlands Falconry and Birds of Prey Centre and hold Gizmo the Owl and his friends. Lunch at Rathwood’s country style restaurant with fresh, wholesome food and home baking. Combine a lunch or afternoon tea stop at Rathwood with your visit to Altamont Gardens. A ride on the Rathwood train, walk in the forest or visit to the Chocolate Factory makes Rathwood a joy to visit. With shopping, gardening, restaurant and children’s play garden, there is something for everyone this summer at Rathwood.
The serene and tranquil woodland trails of Rath Wood offer gentle walks for all ages from a short leisurely wheelchair accessible path to the longer looped Molloy Walk. Rath Wood offers a sanctuary for many mammals, birds and insect species within its 185 acre boundaries. It is home to red deer, rabbits, mink, foxes, pheasants and dragonflies among others. The forest contains a great variety of tree species including beech, oak, sitka spruce, norway spruce, birch, douglas fir and alder. Take a pleasant stroll through the natural beauty of Rath Wood and discover a landscape rich in geology, archaeology and wild life. The entrance to this forest is from Rathwood’s carpark. The historical feature of Rathgall Hillfort which dates back to 800 BC is located nearby. Call into Rathwood’s reception for brochures on all of the above or check out our website www.rathwood.com