The Woodland & Rhododendron Garden
Sometimes also referred to as the Spring Garden, it was commissioned by Sir Alfred Beit in the 1950s from eminent landscape designer James Russell, a friend from Eton days. A horticultural grandee, his personal plant enthusiasms were woodland-garden favourites such as magnolias, viburnums, hydrangeas, tree peonies and of course, rhododendrons. Russell’s considerable legacy can be seen throughout the UK but most especially at the Castle Howard estate in Yorkshire where he was involved for many years. Other Irish projects included a long association with Glenveagh National Park in Donegal.
Here in Russborough, Russell’s design combines big-leaved rhododendrons and elegantly-fronded ferns lavishly underplanted with spring flowering bulbs to create a surreal and magical oasis overlooking the mountain landscape. The setting is spectacular, but so too is the planting which sees the garden awash with dazzling colour in April and May each year. Today, with our smaller staffing than the Beits enjoyed, this area is less manicured than might be desirable, but the overgrown canopy contributes wonderfully to the otherworldly, magical atmosphere.
The Spring Garden can be found to the north of the Park, a 10 minute walk along a birch lined path. Sturdy shoes are advised as terrain underfoot is uneven. It can be enjoyed as part of our Woodland Walk and the Parkland Loop trails. View a map of our Walks & Gardens here.
The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden is hidden away beside the Pleasure Garden to the east of the front lawn and has been restored to use in recent years by volunteers from the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland.
Established in the 18th century to provide fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house, in its heyday the garden produced enough surplus to be sold at local markets. The brick-lined walls create a sheltered microclimate that allows for intensive cultivation of produce, with more exotic species cared for in the original glasshouses.
The RHSI volunteers have done a wonderful job in recreating the type of planting original to the time, and in opening the garden to the public. You can visit this hive of activity on the following days and times:
Wed & Sat 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.
For more information (or to volunteer) contact coordinator, Gillian Davidson on 087 6689381 or email email@example.com.