The Secret Gardens of Ireland: Welcome to Fruitlawn

Ireland is supposed to be wet, overcast, and mildly cold in the summer. When making plans for this trip, I had heard that June and July were Ireland's high time for tourists and assumed—yes, assumed!—that obviously, the weather would be grand.

I was not happy to learn, upon arrival here, that it is actually the opposite that generally holds true for the Irish summer.
bad weather whaaaat?
But I was happy to learn, now that summer is in full swing, that this time, things are different. A sun streak has hit Ireland the likes of which haven't been seen in 20 years. And after a meager two weeks of this, some counties are even officially in a drought.
Watchu talkin' bout a drought?
Save the bees!
So with the heat and humidity aaaalmost reminiscent of the Georgia summers of my youth, I found myself in what must be one of Ireland's most beautiful residential gardens last weekend picking a bounty of raspberries, loganberries, and gooseberries to my heart's content.
A whole wall full of loganberries—a tarter cousin of the raspberry
I had been itching furiously for some local produce because Ireland hasn't seemed to have caught on to the fact that local produce tastes better (exception: they do know this about potatoes). So when I saw the beautiful crop of berries simply aching to be picked, I somehow conned the owners of said crop into letting John and I pick the berries for "them" in exchange for a handsome berry payment.
Garden inclusions: humongous cabbage, a few ripe heads of artichoke, a whole row of bountiful asparagus, and more!
The loganberry wall (the raspberries were kept nearby under netting to ward off sweet-beaked birds)
They graciously accepted my offer, and after a dreamy walk among the garden grounds (which are tended to by the husband and wife team/berry masters), we commenced.
The resident artist (Carol Booth) also happens to be the owner of the place along with her husband, Arthur Schackleton, who founded and designed the gardens
Somehow, this generous duo let us off with the lion's share of the berry bounty, and even ended the evening with us over a shared glass of wine (four glasses, not just one).
Final bursts as the end lurks near
I never would have thought that a tiny town in "rainy, dreary Ireland," could have hidden a garden of such beautiful imagination and proportion, but it's here: Fruitlawn Gardens in the quaint town of Abbeyleix.

Take a look...
Gotta love a topiary
Talk about inviting...
Croquet, anyone? Cartwheels, at least? Just kidding. I don't know how to do either. Damnit!
great job, Ireland!

Bart Simpson flowers
Bug's eye view (And if a certain Sukie Amory wants to tell us what type of flowers these are, go right ahead...)
With my glut of berries now in tow, I can tell you one thing for certain...


...Stay tuned!


  1. Aah, what a fun puzzler! At first I thought they might be phlox, but the flowers are more bell-shaped. Now I'm certain that it is a lovely biennial, the Campanula medium, or Canterbury Bell, a name originally applied to another campanula whose flowers resembled the bells worn by horses taking pilgrims to the shrine of Thomas a' Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. In some, the calyx is the same color as the petals -- hence the name Cup and Saucer Flower. Whichever it is, it's a beauty! I should add some to my Long Bed next year. Sukie

  2. Yes—What a fun game! You are the master. Thanks!

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  4. The Secret Gardens of Ireland: Welcome to Fruitlawn. Ireland is supposed to be wet, overcast, and mildly cold in the summer. When here

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