Friday, 22 June 2012

Terra Nova Garden Visit

Thai hut at Terra Nova
On Thursday after two failed attempts I finally got the Gardening class at Fedamore to Terra Nova near Bruff for a visit. The day had been promised diabolical, you might not have noticed but that's three diabolical Thursdays in a row.We were extremely lucky though -our umbrellas went unused and we even had warm sunshine by 5 o clock. Everything in the garden looked amazing (as always) and Martin, along with a ridiculously friendly white cat and a funny little dog who seems to have no lower lip so you can see all his teeth (you know the type I'm taking about, small posh dogs, the likes of which celebs cant live without) gave us a great welcome.

For anyone who is a beginner, living on a site about half an acre or less battling with winds, drainage problems and heavy clay soil (and even more so if there is only yourself gardening, maybe with a reluctant other half, and you are trying to garden whilst working and rearing kids/dogs/cats) then this is the garden for you. Especially if you say things like;

 "nothing grows around here"
 "I have bad soil" or more hilariously "my garden is too old"(!!!) I was told this once, it cracked me up)
"It's too windy"
"I haven't got the time"
"I cant afford to hire the help I need " and all the other bullshit excuses you can come up with.

The Fedamore girls blocking a view of the pond!!

Deborah and Martin couldn't grow anything when they started. And by the way didn't know anything either, they had no formal training. Trees rotted in the waterlogged soil, plants were thrashed by the wind, it was all very disheartening.
Over time they improved the drainage. They learnt which trees would tolerate heavy wet clay and put in a shelter belt which lost them their lovely view but gained them a warmer more agreeable micro climate in which to grow the plants that they most wanted. Plants failed and were dumped in the ditch, others were tried out and moved around to find the best spot-it was all just trial and error.

Martin made those bricks by hand!
They were sensible with their projects, one a year, start to finish, before moving on to the next one. Can Irish people really do that? I think we have the attention span of houseflies when it comes to seeing a job out to the end. Motivation flags in the middle, fed-upness sets in and we get a great idea about another project we could do! and off we go, job half done....

They built the pond first and took it from there. My favourite feature is the bridge that Martin built from the ruins of an old stone cottage. Its so sweet and so beautifully done with the pond below it. The photo album in the tea house shows the progression of the projects from year to year. This years project was a remake of the Southern corner to a fab raised bed near a seating area. The irony of this garden, and many others is that the people who do all the work are rarely the ones who get to sit down and enjoy it.

Hoblins and fairies hide in the garden

Deborah and Martin are doing a series of Public open days this summer if you want to go visit. You don't need an appointment on these days, just show up. Entry is a fiver, bring more than that as they have a tiny little nursery with cool and unusual plants, and you might want to pay a visit to the cosy tea house while you're there. The next Public day is Saturday 30 June. For more info check out this link;

and on facebook


  1. Thanks very much for that Marie. You just brightened up a very dreary winter-like June evening. You're a right little ray of sunshine :)

  2. You're most welcome! Everyone really enjoyed it.they always do!