We often took the Baltinglass Road to Wexford especially when we moved to Naas in 1981. A few kilometres past Blessington was Kiltegan, a picturesque little village that had won the Tidy Towns in 1973. Its only shop was our midway stop on the journey where last minute supplies could be bought for the hols and also a 99 (with a flake) to placate the travellers in a hot car.
Now 40 years later, it’s June 2021 and rather than sun myself for the day in my back garden, I decided to take a trip to view the Patthana Gardens in Kiltegan which until a fellow feltmaker wrote about them on Facebook, I never knew existed. Shirley Lanigan, a regular writer for the Irish Gardens magazine described Patthana as “the garden I wished I’d created” in her book, 100 Best Gardens of Ireland.
A new area is being added from which you can see Kiltegan Church against the Wicklow Mountain backdrop. There are plants for sale, each with free advice from TK as to where to sow and how to mind. My only criteria was that they would survive in spite of me.
The garden certainly deserves high praise. Situated behind a two storey granite house opposite the village green and a Michael Dwyer plaque, it is one of the nicest small garden I have seen. There is no indication from outside of the treasure that awaits you through the double wooden door entrance into the courtyard. As you walk up granite steps and along paving slab paths, there are nooks and crannies filled with floral magic and sculptural distractions. Bees and birds are all round you and you need to keep a watchful eye for the tortoise who lives there. He had gone into hiding on my visit. The garden is small and yet it is worth spending time in this oasis of peace. There are garden seats and chairs placed strategically so that you can sit and take in the sights and sounds of the garden. Each vista is like a painting so it’s not surprising to find the designer TK Maher is an artist and painter.