Home England-Wales-Ireland 2017 Tour

England-Wales-Ireland 2017 Tour

Second Wales-Ireland tour begins in brilliant sunshine

After the Chelsea Flower Show, which was magnificent and so much fun, we headed back to Manchester to meet our new group to start the second garden tour of the Lake District and North Wales and Ireland. Manchester, of course, was a much more sombre place because of the tragic event of last week than when we were there for...

Fewer feature gardens but Chelsea Flower Show still fabulous

It is always a joy to attend the Chelsea Flower Show. This year's show was no exception. It was a delight in every way with stunning display gardens and immaculate plant exhibits and a stunning array of garden sculpture and quirky decorative accessories. There were fewer main display gardens than in previous years - eight compared to 15 or more...

Top new plants and flower displays at Chelsea Flower Show

It's always tricky to decide what are the key plants at the Chelsea Flower Show because there are literally thousands on display. But it did appear that purple and blue were favoured for flower and foliage colours with sprinklings of white, particularly white flowers of lychnis and ragged robin flowers. Irises are always a popular pick by designers along with verbascum...

Quirky, whimsical and imaginative touches at the Chelsea Flower Show

There are dozens of quirky, whimsical, imaginative items on display at the Chelsea Flower Show. The pity is that you can't buy some of it and get it home, although some retailers do ship. But here are a few of the more interesting items that caught my eye at this week's show. Copper garden sofa. This was part of a display...

Last day in Dublin: Book of Kells, Guinness and literary pubs

Our last days in Dublin were spent making a few important visits - one to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, another to tour the Guinness factory and a few key sights around the cit. We ended our time in Dublin with a magical literary pub crawl that involved being guided through the streets to quality pubs by...

From Waterford to the glorious garden of Mount Usher

Waterford, which is said to be Ireland’s oldest town, dating back to the time when it was a Viking settlement, was a delight. We toured the famous crystal factory and saw some amazing crystal pieces. We wandered the town and found some fantastic little pubs and great eateries. Waterford is a very cute, calm, mid-size town with population of 50,000-plus. It...

A plantman’s paradise and Ireland’s jewel garden

On our way to Waterford, we stopped at one of the cutting-edge new plant gardens in Ireland, Hunting Brook, owned by Jimi Blake, one of horticulture’s new generation of plant cognoscenti. Jimi met us at the gate and immediately began pointing out some of his fantastic plant treasures, starting with what he sometimes calls his signature plant, Aralia echincaulis. We immediately...

Into two beautiful, old, magical Dublin gardens

Great gardens are not just beautiful but have other special qualities, such as the ability to relax and heal and rejuvenate. Others have the ability to transport you to another place and time and give a powerful sense of transcendence and other-worldliness. We travelled to the outskirts of Dublin today to visit two unique, beautiful and much loved gardens that...

Into fantastic Powis Castle garden

Today, we travelled from Portmeirion to the town of Welshpool on the Wales-England border to visit the famous garden of the 13th century, Powis Castle. Powis is not a castle like others we have seen at Harlech and Criccieth; it is more of a grand country mansion that acted as a medieval fortress and has castle-like walls and turrets. Unlike...

From Llandudno to Portmeirion

After visiting Bodnant Garden, we travelled to the seaside town of Llandudno and checked in to one of the stately, old-world Victorian-style hotel on the promenade. I had been here with my father when I was 10 and I had very fond memories our time together there. I was worried a little that this popular seaside town that was at...

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