Good Golly Gash!

Gash Gardens are situated a few kilometres outside Castletown, south of Mountrath in Co. Laois. It is now Mary Keenan’s garden though I am of an age that I still recall its days as her father, Noel’s garden. Noel was an odd man among farmers for few would give over several acres of good dairy land to the making of a garden – I still recall an aunt on her deathbed regretting that they could never spare the ground for her to have a garden! Noel gave four good acres to his gardening passion and went on to develop an excellent garden, to establish a successful nursery and to welcome visitors from all corners of the island to come and see his corner of heaven.

Views in the upper garden:

The garden is now in Mary’s capable hands and I say “capable” for I know that on all farms or family businesses she would have been hands-on involved since she was a child but it was this second generation idea which ran continuously into my mind while I walked the garden during the week. Noel was a great man for trees and his plantings are now mature and I wondered if they were dominating – both in the physical sense but also in the sense that Mary might be reluctant to undo what he had done, to remove some if she wished and thought necessary or if she felt a reluctance to “interfere” with what he had planted – was it a hindrance or a help to inherit a mature garden, I wondered.

Views in the lower garden:

In today’s view, it would be sexist of me to presume that the trees were planted by Noel and the softer perennial flowers were Mary’s contribution and it was also obvious that this was not the case as new trees have been added, new areas developed, new concepts explored and the garden now has a very balanced feel to it of maturity, continued development and innovation. It is an established garden but not a static garden; it has solid structure and layout and a softness of planting to contrast with and supplement that feeling of being firmly rooted in its place. Noel didn’t finish the garden; he simply handed it on to Mary and it continues to develop beautifully, a large country garden gentle in its style, easy in its setting and moving ahead under kind and understanding hands.

Plants and plant combinations:

So, as you may have gathered, I enjoyed my visit to Gash Gardens and hope to return again before too long. Aside from the garden, there was the great advantage of the interesting selection of plants on sale. When plant production has become a big business and many retail outlets carry the same selection, it is always a treat to visit a small nursery which propagates its own selection of special plants, things you wouldn’t come across everywhere. My highlight plant of the day was Philadelphus microphyllus which stopped us in our tracks with its delicious fragrance – I’d describe it as pineapple, warm and sweet, absolutely incredibly delicious. Thanks to Mary’s kindness, a small plant came home with us as a gift.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bungundy Lace’, Rosa floribunda ‘Hot Chocolate’ and Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’ were all planted out in the garden, reminders of our visit to Gash Gardens. Good memories!

Watching over the garden!

6 thoughts on “Good Golly Gash!

  1. Another one for my expanding list, Paddy! Thank you so much. My brother and I got back to Kilmacurragh yesterday. It’s so great, as you say, to finally get a proper day out.

    Liked by 1 person

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