An Irish Garden with Monty Don 2018

4 Days

From £395pp

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Ireland has been dubbed as The Emerald Isle for good reason: blessed with a temperate and mild climate, the county is a plantsman’s paradise where trees, plants and shrubs from all over the world can grow and coexist in perfect harmony. To begin your horticultural expedition on the Emerald Isle, there is no better place to start than the rolling green vistas surrounding the capital. Indeed, Dublin plays host to some of Irelands most highly regarded gardens, both those open to public and those privately owned. Thus, making it the perfect base for a behind-the-scenes garden tour.

Come with us and visit some of Ireland’s most breath-taking gardens on this exclusive 2018 tour. Based in Dublin, Monty Don – the presenter, writer and general horticultural mastermind – will join us for a day in visiting some of his personal favourite Irish gardens, plus giving an intimate talk on his career and passion for the natural world. Not to mention also joining us for dinner, where there will be the opportunity to pick his botanical brains for advice, tips and tricks for you to take home with you.

Traveling with like-minded gardeners, this Irish education will see you immerse yourself in the floricultural delights of places such as Talbot Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin’s spectacular National Botanical Gardens and Powerscourt Gardens. Not to mention also meeting the great garden makers Helen Dillion and Jimi Black and being personally shown around their private collections, you’re sure to come away inspired to try something new in your garden at home.

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Day 1

We depart London Gatwick airport on our direct flight to Dublin. Upon arrival, we will make our way by coach to our first visit, Malahide Castle. Here we will visit the Talbot Botanical Gardens, the ornamental gardens adjoining the castle which were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot. As an enthusiastic plant collector, Talbot brought back specimens from all around the world to create these gardens. As a result, Malahide’s gardens are best described as a small jewel of a Botanic garden and proudly display over 5000 difference species and varieties of plants present. We will have time to enjoy lunch here (not included).

From here, we proceed to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin which are a complete floricultural triumph housing over 300 endangered species from around the world - six of which are already extinct in the wild. Orchids have a special place at Glasnevin, and it was here in the 1840s that orchids were first grown to flowering stage from seed by the then curator, David Moore. The orchid house has been restored along with the great Palm House and both will certainly be key highlights of this visit.

Once we have finished at Glasnevin, we continue by coach to our comfortable hotel in Dublin, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. Dinner (not included) is available in the hotel or in nearby local restaurants.

Day 2

After breakfast, we will visit selected private gardens in and around Dublin. Beginning out trail at Tyrrelstown House on the outskirts of Dublin where the walled gardens are over 500 years old and include a wide range of both alkaline and acid-loving plants and shrubs. Not to mention an organic vegetable garden and a rose garden, all set within extensive parkland. There will be time for lunch here (not included) before we head to our second visit of the day.

Our next garden stop is the private garden of Carmel Duignan, a gardening writer and former television producer. As a self-confessed plantaholic, she has amassed an extraordinary collection of plants: from old familiar favourites to those that are on the cutting edge of tenderness, rarity and current fashion. The result is that she has managed to create a beautiful garden where old and new have been planted together with flair and artistry and the combination of colour, shape and texture is quite stunning. Of particular interest is the small-flowered clematis and a good range of Pseudopanax.

Later this afternoon we will be joined by Gardeners World Editor Lucy Hall and have the privilege to meet the much celebrated Dublin gardener Helen Dillon, with the opportunity to explore her new private garden, which has featured on Gardeners’ World. Refreshments are included here.

We return to our hotel where the evening is at leisure.

Day 3

After breakfast, we will be joined by Gardeners’ World Editor Lucy Hall and presenter Monty Don as we visit Hunting Brook, home of Jimi Blake, the former head gardener of Airfield Gardens in Dundrum. Hidden in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, near Blessington, the garden is a plantsman’s paradise with contemporary borders creating a fusion of prairie and tropical planting in a natural setting. As Jimi guides us through his creation, Monty will be on hand to join in discussions. There is something for everyone here, from lazy woodland walks through the ancient glacial valley to the remains of a 7th century ring fort - where an extensive range of woodland plants are grown, many of which were collected on various trips around the world. Hunting Brook is now home to Ireland’s largest collection of ornamental grasses with over 200 different species and cultivars. Taking our time around these gardens, we will pause here for lunch where it is available to buy.

Following our visit we continue to Jimi’s sister’s garden at June Blake’s Garden and Nursery. June is a passionate plantswoman who grows plants from seeds that have been sourced from all over the world. Her garden includes an extensive and eclectic mix of flora and sits in the old cut granite farmyard of Tinode House. Surrounded by majestic old beech and chestnut trees which provide a sheltered environment, June also grows a unique mix of bamboos, ornamental grasses and perennials. There is also the opportunity to take a piece of this garden away with you where many plants are offered for sale in her nursery.

On return to our hotel, Monty Don will give an entertaining talk about his gardening life and career before joining us for dinner.

Day 4

Following breakfast this morning, we head south for our first visit of the day at Powerscourt Gardens. Sitting as Ireland’s most famous gardens, these began to take shape over two and a half centuries ago. Here we enjoy the charming walled garden, the striking terraces, fine statuary and varied trees – all of which are conjoined by carefully planned walks which are designed in such a way to allow the wanderer to immerse themselves in the magnificent surroundings of the Wicklow mountains.

After lunch at Powerscount Gardens (included), we head back to Dublin stopping at Airfield Garden where we take in the romance and elegance of the walled garden and woodland charm of the tea garden. Be sure to keep an eye out for the ornamental farmstead plants of artichoke, oregano and lavender in the sunken garden at the entrance to the estate.

Thereafter we will return to our hotel and enjoy some free time in Dublin and enjoy the opportunity to visit some of the city’s many attractions.

After reconvening, there will be time to freshen up before we head out to a nearby local restaurant for our final group dinner together.

Day 5

This morning after a full Irish breakfast we check out of our hotel and travel to Dublin Airport to catch our return flight to London.

What's Included

  • Four nights’ at the 4-star Dublin Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place, Dublin on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Two dinners and two lunches
  • Return flights from London to Dublin
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Visits to Talbot Botanical Gardens at Malahide Castle, the gardens of Glasnevin (National Botanic Garden), Hunting Brook, June Blake, Airfield Garden, Powerscourt Gardens, Tyrrelstown House, Carmel Duignan and the private garden of Helen Dillon
  • Services of Trevor Edwards as Brightwater Holidays tour manager
  • Guest appearance by Monty Don

Supplements per person

  • Single occupancy supplement £495.00
  • Optional extension to Bloom Prices on request
  • Insurance £50.00 (under 65); £100 (65-74); £150 (75-90)
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