One of Ireland’s best loved gardens has closed its gates

One of Ireland’s best loved gardens has closed its gates

One of Ireland’s best-loved gardens has closed its gates for the last time as celebrated garden writer Helen Dillon hangs up her secateurs and leaves her Dublin home after 44 happy years.

Helen Dillon

Her half-acre garden in Ranelagh has been open to the public for 25 years and became celebrated around the world for its exuberant displays of perennials grouped around an elegant formal water feature based on a Moorish fountain and canal. They included tender and hardy plants from five continents, grouped in exotic and colourful combinations.

Among favourite plants were hagenias, a tree from Ethiopia, light and dark coloured agapanthus planted en masse in a blue border, lilies and campanulas. A typical combination was pink brugmansia, magenta alstroemeria and royal blue Tibouchina urvilleana for a pool of saturated hues which justifiably made the garden one of the most talked-about in Ireland. Other features in the garden included a hand-built aviary, and two small greenhouses packed with regal geraniums and ferns.

A Fond Farewell

Helen Dillon wrote several books about the garden and made regular appearances on TV gardening programmes. Now in her 70s, she plans to downsize and create a new but smaller garden – though she says she has no plans to open it to visitors.