More than your garden variety fare

Bloomin' Beautiful: More than your garden variety fare


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GREEN WITH ENVY: The impressive lawn at Powerscourt Gardens in Ireland. Photo: Paul Lucas

GREEN WITH ENVY: The impressive lawn at Powerscourt Gardens in Ireland. Photo: Paul Lucas

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Garden style vary, and there's something there for everyone.

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THE FREE online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines a garden as "a planned space - usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation or enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature".

In general terms, this is fairly accurate. Gardens can be a few plants on a balcony to a vast acreage - or anything in between.

I'm sometimes asked what is my favourite garden. That's easy: my garden. But there are many wondrous gardens around the world, each with their own charm. What appeals to one person might not to another.

Different styles include cottage, Australian native, formal, parterre, Spanish, Japanese and so on.

Included can be rose gardens; cacti and other succulent plants; bulbs; annuals; water features such as ponds, lakes and fountains; and even statues.

National Geographic recently named its top 10 gardens, with the Chateau of Versailles in France in the top spot.

Second is the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England and number three is Powerscourt House and Gardens, which we had the chance to visit on a recent trip to Ireland.

It is an enormous 19-hectare country garden with a splendid mansion and golf course.

The house is used as an upmarket hotel and the garden is open to the public. It has a lovely view across the valley towards the Wicklow mountains and there are huge expanses of very green lawn.

An Irishman once told me the reason his country has 40 shades of green is because it rains all the time - and he is right.

Glorious wrought iron gates lead into various parts of the garden - a rose garden, herbaceous border, a forest of very old and interesting trees, a Japanese garden, pet cemetery, wonderful gift shops and much more.

The Powerscourt setting is wonderful and the garden itself will appeal to some and not to others.

I think when making any assessment it's important to consider the criteria that is being used when giving a judgement as to which thing is the best. Without that, you can't make an intelligent decision.

Having said that, it is worth visiting if you happen to be in the area.

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