Sunday, July 27, 2014

Secret Gardens of Sligo.

Since we returned to Ireland we have been promising ourselves trips to the Secret Gardens of Sligo, these are small and some not so small privately owned gardens which the owners open to the public on just a few days a year. There is no charge but donations are received for various local charities, to date well over 17.000 euros have been raised for the charities.
There are twelve gardens in all, one is well known to us as it is owned by friends, just outside of French Park.  One of the  other gardens is owned by an X near neighbour of ours when we lived in Sligo, we will look forward to visiting this one as when we left the area eleven years ago there was no garden.
One of the many herbaceous beds.
 Today we visited a beautiful one acre garden in Screen, which is in the Ox mountains, owned and lovingly  tended by Ann and John Preston, mainly herbaceous beds which are a riot of colour, and so many must have plants! We have come away with a long list of plants to track down for our own garden.
Unfortunately I only took one photo of the flower beds and we missed the wonderful views from this garden as it came on to rain very heavily , another day maybe.
There are several more garden open days coming up and we will try to visit some of them this year. It's lovely to see what other people do and grow in their gardens and makes a great trip out.
                               Driving through the Ox mountains there are some superb views,
Harebells, now rare enough.
lovely wild flowers, the landscape so ancient and unspoilt by humans, the odd cottage, some still inhabited, the only noise, baaing of the mountain sheep and babbling streams.
One of the many streams in the Ox mountains.

Our garden is now bursting with the latest crops, today we have picked the first runner beans,
                                                  the first tomatoes
First of the carrots.
and the first carrots, Courgettes, French beans and the Mangetout peas can't be kept up with, I haven't dared look at the cucumbers, I know there will be a lot waiting to be picked. Hopefully we will have a second crop of Strawberries, the plants have all come back into bloom.
One small disaster, our Peach tree was so weighted down with fruit that the top third of the tree snapped, unfortunately this part of the tree contained the most fruit, thirty four peaches have been lost, we had intended to prune the tree in the Autumn, nature did it for us,
                      but there are still seventeen peaches left so we will still have a feast.
Our flower garden is still full of colour, plenty of flowers for the bees and for the house.
The weather is now a little cooler, we have been putting off killing the Hubbard table birds as it has been too hot to hang them but hopefully this job will get done this week, the birds are all far heavier than we would have liked, many will have to be jointed rather than left as whole birds for roasting.
Convolvulus, it might be a weed but it's still beautiful.


  1. I so enjoyed your garden tour and the picture of the Ox Mountains. Your garden pickings look wonderful. I still have green tomatoes but lots coming, the blueberries are so good and I have some radishes We had another terrible rain storm which left 6 inches of mud in the barn, it looks like you are getting some of those storms too. My best to you

  2. We always loved the Ox mountains, Sligo will always seem like home to us. The veg has all done well with the exception of radishes, for some reason they just don't do well for us. The weather thankfully has cooled a little but no rain storms at all.

  3. Such beautiful pictures! The ox mountain snaps are stunning. Love the idea of open gardens. I remember going to some in Norfolk with my mum when we were younger, we started eating someones strawberries and were thrown out...embarrassing! We were just kids though mum wasn't too pleased.

  4. You're not supposed to eat someone's garden! The lady's who's garden we visited was very generous with her cuttings so we came away with more things for the flower garden, plus a very long list. Will have to build yet another flower bed to accommodate them all.

  5. I love open gardens - Your crops look great.

  6. Thanks Ian, that's a real compliment coming from you considering how wonderful your garden is. I wish we were as neat and orderly as you and Luis are. I love looking at your garden, there's always so much going on.

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