It’s February and a gardener’s thoughts turn to spring.
Not because we expect it any time soon – this is Ontario, Canada, after all — but because it’s at least another two months before flowers start popping up from the soil.
So – courtesy of Twitter — I head to Ciaran de Buitlear’s garden in the south of Ireland where flowers are already blooming.
In fact, Ciaran’s first crocus bloomed weeks ago, while we in the frozen north were enjoying snowdrifts, and I got a serious case of garden envy.
Then came the daffodils and hellebores.
Ciaran says he loves gardening in part because it’s “very different to the day job of working with databases in the cloud for large insurance companies. I think gardening is very Zen. It is like a meditation but without the stillness, and also gets you fit (and there are flowers).”
His love of gardening began in childhood.
“I gardened as a small child with my mother. I only recalled this recently when I saw episodes of BBC ‘Gardeners World’ nearly 50 years old. I remembered watching them with my parents as a small child.”
Ciaran is passing on his garden love to his own children. While his partner Fiona “does not have green fingers”, sons Zack and Sam love to help out in the garden.
“They do weeding, grow plants from seed, like to make things out of wood for the garden. Zack can spend hours in the garden helping me. Sam is 11 now and can get more stuck into computer games than the garden sometimes but he still does help from time to time.”
The family’s garden is not huge, but it’s prolific. Last fall alone, Ciaran planted 500 bulbs around this tree.
He grows many favourite plants.
“I love ferns — freshness, greenness, kind of other worldliness, they are so magnificent in spring.
“Japanese maples – they look great from up close and far away. The leaf detail, different colours and textures of foliage, the way they act as foils for other plants.”
Pots are also filled with spring flowers:
And there’s a greenhouse to help protect tender plants till it’s time to put them out in the garden.
As gardeners know, it all takes work, but a garden is a gift that keeps on giving.
The hellebores are blooming in different colours.
But in the weeks ahead, hosta will unfurl, hardy geranium will bloom, flowering vines will put on a show, as will the roses in the de Buitlears’ garden.
“You can never have enough roses, all kinds (but not the ones you have to spray). I treat them well, feed the soil with well-rotted manure every year. If they do not thrive, I yank them out (this rarely happens). Long flowering season, lovely blooms, use as cut flowers, colours!
“Then there are coneflowers, rudbeckia, agapanthus, allium… I could go on and on and on… I guess I am a plantaholic.”
Aren’t we all? Thanks for sharing your garden, Ciaran. It brightens up a northern gardener’s soul.
36 thoughts on “Ciaran’s Irish Garden”
Phew, what a treat! I was especially drooling over that patch of vivid (pink? fuchsia?) cyclamen. Also enjoyed seeing pictures of the gardeners, young and old. Thanks, Ciaran and Cynthia!
I know! Drooling is the right word, too! Did your mild weather continue? It’s been spotty here, and lots of snow on the ground, but yesterday was mild-ish.
Very cold the beginning of last week, but very warm by the end. What a strange Maine winter.
Yes, thank you Cynthia and Ciaran. I love seeing your beautiful garden and being reminded of the joy I had during my gardening years. Maybe one day again I’ll have a garden to tend again. Meanwhile, there are memories and other gardens to appreciate.
I know you loved your garden, Brad. I go through a whole 6 months without a garden and I feel deprived, so though I tease Ciaran for having blooms when I only have snow, I enjoy visiting his and other gardens during the cold months. BTW: Are you acting on that suggestion? I am the worst nag, so don’t get me started!
No, work and day to day are my focus, along with some soul care. Hugs Miss Naggy. 🙂
What a wonderful visit to Ciaran’s garden, Cynthia! It is always heartwarming to see the love of gardening passed down to the younger generations, too.
Well said, Lavinia. Ciaran and Fiona involve them in gardening and reading books, which is lovely to see.
It’s always great to see kids in the garden!
Especially when they love it!
We’re still buried in snow, so I enjoyed the tour through Ciaran’s garden. 500 bulbs planted around the one tree?! That must be quite a sight when they bloom.
I really enjoy his garden too, Liz. And I can hardly wait to see those blooms!
We will see in the next few weeks. I have a tweet where I have put up a lot of pictures of the “round bulb area”. The real excitement is ahead!
Yes to the excitement of bursting spring blooms!
Wow, it looks fab. Top job Ciaran! My daffs are just coming out too … and what I thought was bluebells when I moved in but turns out to be wild garlic. 🙂 Great for cooking.
Great to hear from you, MT. I will come visit soon. Hope you and the family are all well, my friend. Glad you have daffs coming out!
We are dandy. I’ve been a bit out of it myself, proofing audio books. It’s been fab, like seeing my characters in 3d! Even though it’s freezing it’s an early spring here … Go figure.
Congrats on audio books! That’s been in my mind a lot these days too. Tell me how it goes.
Will do. I’ll going to do a part in the first stages soon. 🙂
Thank you! We have wild Garlic also under the hedge I guess you have the same one – also called ramsons? I have a picture somethere….
I’m not sure what is called sadly at the moment is looks like blue bells. 🙂👍
But bluebells are gorgeous. I never managed to get them to grow here.
They are … But I meant before they cold out with that like big grass.
And thank you, Cynthia, for sharing his garden with us here!😀 Gardening is truly Zen-like, meditative and I always return indoors feeling recuperated and well. Wow! the garden looks amazing and I’m in awe of the 500 bulbs planted. No wonder there is already so much colour! Hope Spring is soon there for you, Cynthia … we have a few flowers out but so much rain over winter I fear the bulbs have drowned!
Thanks for all of the comments folks! I am glad to answer any questions…
Bee ooot TiFul! 🙂
Thanks for the smile. Your spelling, like mine of that same word, is delightfully atrocious and perfect. that is a bee-yoo-tifull garden. (Hope I got it right.)
Works for me, C! 😀😀😀❤️
All those bulbs and Hellebores make me impatient for spring. So great that he has his boys helping! Not so easy to do, in my experience!
It takes about twice as long with their help but is much more fun! Also I find I need to not sweat the small stuff, buy more seeds and everything else than I would think I need They have to learn somehow.
While we really don’t have much of a winter here in Florida, there are so many flowers that I can’t grow anymore like I did in New England…too hot. Thank you for sharing another’s beautiful garden,
Thank you for sharing their garden Cynthia, Here in the UK our daffs and crocus’s are also beginning to bloom… I have winter pansies too… And the hyacinths are pushing through along with tulips but they have a ways to go yet before they bloom… Many thanks for sharing Cynthia..
Keep focused on Spring and it will soon arrive in your hemisphere..
Love Sue ❤
Thanks, Sue. Glad to hear your garden is welcoming Spring! You must post pictures.
You have a wonderful kids and fantastic garden! I’m jealous! lol