Blog and photos by Kerry Gordon
Alex Slazenger, Head Gardener at Powerscourt Gardens, is a passionate gardener and horticultural innovator with a wealth of knowledge. It was with great fortune that I joined his guided walk and talk set in the vibrant herbaceous border within the walled garden in Powerscourt Gardens. It was to be two wonderful hours learning, enjoying and chatting about the wonder of this border created many years ago and now being nurtured by Alex and his team.
The restored Venetian Gates where Alex played as a child
At the entrance to the herbaceous border Alex showed us the stunning Venetian Gates which have been painstakingly restored to their optimum beauty. They are magnificent and perfectly frame the beauty of the plants inside and the renovation of the gates has opened up the garden which truly emphasises that this is the biggest herbaceous border in Ireland. With a twinkle in his eyes Alex told us how as child, for his family have owned Powerscourt House and Estate for many years now, he used to climb inside the gates. It was a delightful glimpse into what it must be like to grow up as a child with one of the world’s most famous gardens as your playground.
Great questions and chats
The stunning herbaceous border within the walled garden is 120 metres long with over 700 varieties of plants, many introduced from around the world in the late 19th century. There is a strong theme of purple within the border which is balanced with underlying yellow bursts of colour and a rainbow of plants of all colours, shapes and sizes that creates a beautiful and soothing environment. In the time of the Viscounts it would have been predominately a kitchen garden with many of the flowers cut to be displayed in Powerscourt House. The border naturally flourishes throughout March to September but with clever techniques Alex and his team are able to extend the seasons. Many of these plants thrive due to the Irish climate creating this stunning herbaceous border.
Alex was a passionate guide and explained how gardens evolve, learning by your mistakes and the process of planning your garden. His advice was invaluable and his willingness to answer every question asked was very charming. He is a great advocate of biophillia and talked passionately about the benefits of feeling the soil and earth in your hands. here is clearly a great passion amongst Alex and his five permanent staff who cultivate and maintain this historic part of our heritage that is truly one of the world’s greatest gardens.
Vibrant colours along the border
Heavenly herbaceous border
Alex, Head Gardener at Powerscourt
A Eucomis, more commonly known as a pineapple plant or flowers
Alstroemeria are often used for cut flower displays in the house as they are a long lasting flower
Meet Roger as Alex and the team call their Rodgersia!
Rosemary who is usually found hard at work nurturing the border
About Kerry Gordon:
Kerry Gordon lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow, Ireland with her daughter Molly and greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall, walking in Powerscourt Gardens, followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea in Avoca at Powerscourt House. Kerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @kerrymgordon on Twitter.