There is no nicer way to spend a day than exploring nature. What you get at Mount Usher Gardens is more than that. The landscape is an example of a Robinsonian garden with its relaxed informality and natural layout. BBC gardener Monty Don rated it as one of his favourite gardens anywhere.
Paths wander in and around trees, bushes and shrubs. Wide colourful vistas of rhododendrons and azaleas suddenly appear at this time of the year. And always nearby is the gurgle of the Vartry River, making its mountain water way to the sea.
Follow the map and you will find unusual trees, all marked, and some marked where they fell in this big storm or that. Even the history of the trees is important in Mount Usher. Not forgetting the many head gardeners who spent their lives tending this wilderness. Each is commemorated by a plaque in the gazebo, and some had more than 50 years’ service.
Founded by the Walpole family
The gardens were founded by the Walpole family in the mid 1800s and were in their stewardship for 150 years. In 1979 the gardens were bought by Madeleine Jay. She devoted the next 37 years to maintaining and improving the wild landscape.
In recent years, the gardens have been in the stewardship of Avoca Handweavers. They have enhanced the experience with the lovely Avoca Garden café and the Bakery Food Market. There is a selection of country theme shops. such as Strawbridge, Oska, Rhinestone Country Clothing, the Flower Power for beautiful bouquets and the Art Box.
There is also the excellent Walled Garden shop with a great variety of plants to buy, many of them Irish grown, and some unusual ones too.
The gardens are open every day and from 10am – 5.30pm in summer. There is parking but it fills up early at weekends. Tickets cost €8 for adults, €7 for students and OAPs and €4 for children; mountushergardens.ie.