Re-design of the Garden
Prior to the commencement of restoration works a decision was made to redesign the Vandeleur Walled Garden for the 21st Century rather then recreating the original. The redesign does incorporate the old path system but now contains many unusual and tender plants that thrive in the area’s uniquely western latitude microclimate. In keeping with the modern theme there is a contemporary and dramatic red theme (eg. red pillar water feature, red summer house) throughout the garden ensuring colour all year round.
The Re-development of the Garden began in 1997. In Spring 2000 the replanting of the borders that line the wall began. It was first opened to the public in September 2000 with the first paying visitor in May 2001.
Planting on the West Wall Border-North End
The west wall border-north end is planted mostly with white flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants ilncluding Eucomia bicolor, Pseudowintera colorata, Libertia grandiflora, Galega officinalis and Leucothae walteri. At the entrance to this border is a Sarcococca confusa, the first plant to be replanted in the garden by Peter & Wendy Vandeleur, Australia.
During the Vandeleur times this was part of a storm drain that came through the garden. The well was catchment area for water for the garden.
Planting along North Wall West End and East End
A south facing wall, this wall has a distinctive curve in it to maximise the area where a large amount of plants can be planted and benefit from full sunlight both in front and against the wall. Consequently there is a selection of tender plants along this border such as Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’, Musa basjoo (Banana), Cestrum roseum ‘Illnacullin’, Echium pininana, Melianthus major, Correa backhousiana, Euphorbia mellifora, Leptospermum scoparium, and Accacia pravissima.
There are still remains of plaster on the North wall. This marks the location of a lean-to heated glasshouse from the Vandeleur time and would have been the only internal building in the garden. We know about the heating by the fact that there are some old iron pipes coming out at the other side of the wall where the boiler would havbe been. Fruit and cut flowers would have been grown in this glasshouse.
With the garden's microclimate, a display of more tender species was planted here. These species of Hebe's are a native of New Zeeland. It is quite tender to frost but resistant to salt air.
The outline of the circular bed and both triangular beds were discovered when restoration of the garden began. It is thought that an ornamental display of plants rather than vegetables would have been planted in these beds in the original garden. Planting in these bedding displays now reflects the red theme in the garden.
These are a new addition and would not have been there in Vandeleur times.
Planting along the East Wall and South Wall
Planting along the East Wall is dominated by red flowering plants complimenting the red pillars of the Summer House. This wall provides ideal conditions to display a selection of tender and semi-tender plants. It is hoped that the exuberant growth in the rich dark reds and vivid greens will transport visitors to the tropics. Plants in this area include Musa basjoo ( Banana), Tracycarpus fortuenii, Lobelia tupa.
In contrast the South Wall is quite shaded. Indeed in winter it gets hardly any sun at all. Consequently shade loving plants are planted along this border including a range of Sinanundinaria murielae, Athyrium nippanicum, Geraniums, Hydrangea, Ferns and Irises.
This is a new feature introduced with the redesign of the garden. It offers visitors an escape from the sometimes inclement Irish weather, is the perfect location from which to reflect on the history contained within the walls and enjoy the many views of the garden. It is wheelchair accessible.
The Horizontal Maze is a little unusual in that it is on the flat, whereas normally a maze is upright. This area also services as a focal point for outdoor events.
The Beech Maze is a more traditional mazeplanted with beech trees.
The false red door half way along the South Wall border would have been the main entrance into the garden from Kilrush House. (There would also have been entrances in the south and north walls). This entrance is now blocked up and instead the Beech Walk now defines the pathway that would have led the Vandeleur Family into the garden. These Beech trees have been trained in the espalier fashion. This espalier training is more common with fruit trees.
Planting along West Wall South End
Planting along the West Wall South End is dominated by a range of plants the have yellow flowers or variegated foliage including Hammellis xintermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ (Witch Hazel), Mahonia lomariifolia both of which are strongly scented in spring.
An Arboretum is an area where a collection of trees is planted. The Trees planted in this small Arboretum are Taxus baccata, Acer davidii, Eucalyptus, Pinus pinnata, Cherry, Mountain Ash and Oak. These trees have been chosen for their bark and autumn colour. Latest additions are a Monkeypuzzle Tree and a Sweet Chestnut Tree.
As part of the redesign, the Vandeleur family crest was incorporated into this port hole feature. The name of the bird on the crest of the arms of the Vandeleur Family is a Martlet purp holding in its beak a trefoil.