Posted by: brigid benson | October 16, 2014

Postcard From: Dublin; Helen Dillon’s Inspirational Garden

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Helen Dillon’s townhouse in leafy Dublin

I am a passionate gardener, happily cultivating my own plot and taking great pleasure in visits to inspirational gardens around the UK and beyond. Among my favourites is Helen Dillon’s Georgian townhouse garden in Dublin.

Welcome, take a seat!

Welcome, take a seat!

From the moment you enter the front garden you know you are in the hands of a master:  a heavyweight rustic bench, surrounded by delicate airy flowers in a glade of elegant birch trees, invites you to pause.

The visit is entirely informal, you are most likely to be welcomed at the front door by Helen’s charming and witty husband Val.

On my recent  visit he welcomed me warmly as ‘a stray’ – a solo visitor ahead of a coach party of Germans due later that morning.

You may even be introduced to their beloved dogs before being shown ‘the best view of the garden’ – from the sitting room.

Inspirational!

Inspirational!

To me the garden is a masterclass in creating narrative through different moods, colours and textures in a small and carefully considered space.

The devil is in the detail – always!

Stepping outside onto the elevated deck

Stepping outside onto the elevated deck

 

The garden positively invited you to explore

The garden positively invites you to explore

In this modest space carefully planned yet not too rigid paths weave their way through the gardens many zones of hot colour, cool colour, workspaces and water. It’s a great visit throughout the year yet late summer is my favourite season. The dahlia, verbena, daisy and cosmos combinations are spectacular.

Rampant dahlias

Rampant dahlias

 

Late summer gold

Late summer gold

Fearless fuchsia pinks

Fearless fuchsia pinks

Bold colour palettes

Bold colour palettes

Warm tones

Warm tones

 

Cool tones

Cool tones

Helen’s planting is extraordinary and inspirational. Away from the riot of colour she manages to find space and refuge in lush green tones and architectural foliage.

Growing sculptures!

Growing sculptures

Jungle sensations

Jungle sensations

Seating areas are cool and inviting, away from the colour drama.

Lush and relaxing

Lush and relaxing

 

A quiet scented retreat

A quiet and scented retreat

Helen’s delight in using dustbins as stylish containers is evident.

A refined rose thriving in a dustbin!

A refined rose thriving in a dustbin!

Sunlight is captured beautifully as it plays throughout the garden

Sunlight is captured beautifully as it plays throughout the garden

Plan and container groupings that are witty and wonderful

Plant and container groupings are witty and wonderful

Attention to detail throughout the ‘story’ of the garden is evident, from the table of collected pots to the tastefully closed off areas and attractive work zones.

A barrel water butt; Helen is keenly aware of careful use of water in the garden

A barrel water butt; Helen is keenly aware of careful use of water in the garden

No Go...yet so nicely presented!

No Go…yet so nicely presented!

Handsome glass house

Handsome glass house

Here's where much of the planting begins

Here’s where much of the planting begins

And here's where much of it ends!

And here’s where much of it ends!

A visit to the garden feels to me like a journey to a wonderland. The water features recall the exquisite Alhambra palace cum fortress of  Granada in Spain.

Water magic

Water magic

 

Simple & dreamy; a shallow reflective pool

Simple and dreamy; a shallow reflective pool

There are surprises too, not least Helen’s aviary and Val’s pride and joy – the seashell loo!

Sweet birdsong in the paradise garden

Sweet birdsong in the paradise garden

The devil's in the detail...everywhere!

The devil’s in the detail…everywhere!

Simply beautiful

Simply beautiful

The garden invites you to linger and when you reluctantly say goodbye, even the last glimpses are designed to be beautiful; an inspiration to carry away with you.

The scene as you leave

The scene as you leave

Closing the gate.  Back to the real world!

Closing the gate.
Back to the real world!

This hidden Dublin gem is simply one of the best gardens I have ever experienced.

I urge you to visit the inspirational Helen Dillon Garden 

…And the jewel of Granada, The Alhambra

 


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