Garden Tour

June Blake’s Garden

It’s a gem of a garden extending over three acres of exciting herbaceous borders, shade areas with beautiful ferns, woodland plants and bamboos, a shallow linear reflection pool, formal beds and a small nursery with many of these plants for sale. June’s beautiful restored Victorian Steward’s house forms the perfect backdrop to this amazing garden.

Naturally, I had to make some purchase….. the marigold annuals that were around the gables and also in 32, self seeding June told me, but to be sure, I’ll collect seed heads and plant in pots

A Sunday visit to Patthana

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.

Know Your 5k

I have to say that the KNOW YOUR LOCALITY course I’ve just completed, courtesy of Kildare Heritage Office, was inspiring. It was ably delivered by Dr Stephen Mandal (MIAI PGeo EurGeol) with interesting illustrations and explanations of many features from around the country. Naturally, there was an emphasis on Kildare.

The course was delivered through five online evening (7pm – 8.30pm) workshops over two and a half weeks. It began with an examination of the very bedrock under our feet, examining the geological processes and glacial events that shaped the landscape and formed the soils. The focus then moved to the impacts of humans on that landscape over time, from pre-history to the last century.

Workshops comprised two parts. The first portion of the workshops focussed on a different aspect of geology, the landscape and archaeology, from the formation of Ireland to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland. The second part of the workshops presented wonderful online resources and explored their use to develop a set of online research skills. Finally, Workshop 5 outlined how these skills could be used to make a submission to the ‘Know Your 5k’ initiative by the Heritage Council and National Museum of Ireland. A comparison was made to the National Folklore project of the 30’s with the hope that a new archive of these submissions for our county as a key outcome of the course.

A comprehensive list of resources/links was sent to all the participants so that we could study our own locality.

Perhaps the appeal of the course has been complimented by my continued amazement and excitement at my new found mobility. My walks now include a historical element – looking for echoes of the past.

Naas was by-passed by the Great Southern and Western Railway’s Dublin to Cork line in 1846. In 1885 it gained a service and a station when the Sallins to Tullow line was opened. The last train ran in 1959. Now all the remains is the name “Railway Terrace”, the old railway bridge on Friary Road, the Railway Storehouse and the Railway Line Walk, one of my new exercise routes.

I can now extend a walk around the lakes to a route along the bypass, by the hospital and workhouse cemetery ending up with coffee at Swans on the Green.

The Naas Union workhouse was erected in 1840-41 to accommodate 550 inmates at a cost of £5500 plus £950 for fittings.