One of the Greatest Gardens

Mount Congreve Garden, created by the late Ambrose Congreve, is one of the great gardens of Ireland and, indeed, of the world. He was greatly influenced by Lionel de Rothschild, a dear friend and mentor in the early years and followed his taste for rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias as the backbone planting of the garden. It is reckoned that there are approximately 2,000 different rhododendron cultivars in the garden, 600 camellias and 300 maples – among many, many other varied trees and shrubs – and these were always planted in large drifts, never as single specimens so that the effect is quite dramatic and impressive.

Autumn colour on the maples set off the house at Mount Congreve. 

There are approximately 70 acres of woodland gardens – Ambrose Congreve cleared out the lower layers of a beech/oak woodland and planted beneath – and these look their best in spring to early summer. The Walled Garden and the Pleasure Garden carry on the show through summer and autumn with autumn colour lighting up the woodland again at this time of year.

The Pleasure Garden at Mount Congreve with large herbaceous borders in front. The glasshouse is in need of urgent repair work, unfortunately, but is still used for propagation. 
The woodlands are taking on their autumn colour at the moment and are perfect for a quiet, pleasant walk

Although the gardens are only about ten minutes from our home I hadn’t visited during the summer but determined not to allow the season to end without a walk around and this I did yesterday. It brought back to me how much I love this garden and why I have visited so very often over the past ten years – with the kindness of the gardeners allowing me access even during the closed season.

“The Temple” is on a rocky knoll in the garden and affords wonderful views to the River Suir. It is the burial place of Mr. and Mrs. Congreve. The inscription reads, “Sun and shade by turn but love always.”
The view to the River Suir from The Temple

It is one of Ireland’s great gardening treasures. At present, it is in somewhat of a management no-man’s-land. Mr. Congreve left it to the state but that transfer of ownership has yet to take effect. In the interim, the gardeners are working hard to preserve and maintain the gardens and I look forward to the days when better funding will return it to its glory.

The Pagoda, set in a quarry from which the stone was taken to make the pathways throughout the garden
The Magnolia Walk with view to the River Suir.
My favourite maple in the garden: Acer ‘Villa Taranto’


2 thoughts on “One of the Greatest Gardens

    1. It was named for the Villa Taranto, on Lake Maggiore, Italy, a garden we have visited and adored. Aside from that, it is an excellent tree with good structure and attractive foliage which colours well in autumn. We have a small tree in our own garden which was propagated from the one in the photograph – a kind gift from the gardener at Mount Congreve.


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