June, July and August are the months for garden visiting here in Ireland. Gardens are at their best and the weather is usually ok. The weather was’nt great this past weekend but, undaunted, a friend and I decided to visit Saffron Thomas’s garden in Ardsoran, about 6 miles from Boyle. This garden is part of the Secret Gardens of Sligo initiative which sees gardens open to the public to raise funds for charity.
The garden is set on a south facing slope and the site is bordered by mature trees giving it a lovely secluded feel. Big wide borders filled with a combination of old favourites and rare and unusual plants make for an interesting peruse. This lovely border filled with blues, pinks and purples sweeps down to one of the ponds.
I love gardens with ponds, so beneficial for nature and of course they add an interesting extra dimension to the garden.
No chemicals are used anywhere in this land. The result is a beautiful garden filled with the humming of bees and busy with insects flying hither and thither. A feast for the senses.
A little wooden bridge leads to a path that takes you on a walk around the perimiter of the big field at the back. Already planted with so many varieties of trees, the long term plan is to have another very large pond on this as yet undeveloped part of the garden. This is a garden that is continually expanding. Every year Saffron collects, plants and nurtures thousands of seeds, resulting in thousands of plants needing planting areas. With a total of 7 acres there is lots of room for expansion.
Several sculptures are set amongst the plants adding extra interest. This is a piece of found bog oak set atop a lovely piece of wood decorated with a spiral. I really like that!
There are also 2 polytunnels and a small orchard here. One polytunnel has just been erected, the other has been there several years. The long standing tunnel is so filled with plants it has a jungle feel. Vegetables, flowers and shrubs being brought on for the garden all together make for an interesting feast for the senses. Plants like the climbing Snapdragon above and many more that I did’nt know existed keep one’s interest.
If you are in the Sligo/Roscommon area do check out the Secret Gardens of Sligo. It raises money for charity and opens up gardens off the beaten track that are varied and interesting. They also have a Facebook page.
Click on pics to enlarge.