A Plant Lovers Journey through Powerscourt Gardens in Wicklow

Article by David Corscadden

As a fully-fledged, card holding plant lover, I always find myself revitalised and inspired when I visit the gardens at Powerscourt. The many great plants around the grounds are constantly evolving and changing each time you visit. I think it is impossible to go to the gardens and not find something new and beautiful to admire and covet.

The last time I visited, I went on a mission to find some new plants that I could use in my own garden to inject some colour. This is a dangerous mission for a person like me though. I tend to get carried away and think I have room in my own garden for a Dolphin Pond or a few redwoods trees down the end of the garden! This time though I controlled myself slightly and found some great plants that I thought I would share with you.

Powerscourt Gardens

My journey was nearly hampered however by the fact it was the start of rose season at Powerscourt and the glorious display of roses has started to put on its theatrical show of colour and fragrance. When I visited the flowers were just starting to emerge but by mid-summer it will be just one of the best sights imaginable.


I eventually tore myself away from the roses to find an even more delightful sight, the herbaceous border within the walled garden had become a circus of colour. For me at that particular moment there was one flower that I could not keep my eyes off, the poppy.

I have been captivated with poppies this year. It is important now for me to point out that I am not talking about the poppies that spring up along the sides of roads at the first sight of sun. I am talking about glorious poppies with flowers the size of side plates and in every shade of colour imaginable.

Poppy resized 600

I was so envious of the poppies that adorned the borders within the walled garden. They just looked amazing! They were not to be outdone however by the great show being put on by the peony flowers. While my own got a quick death from turbulent wind when they opened, the ones here are more protected and look spectacular.

describe the image

As I moseyed through the grounds stopping what seemed like every ten seconds to the people who came with me to take more photos, I was amazed to see how so many of the rhododendra are still in flower. It seems like ages ago I first took photos of them, yet here they are still putting on a fantastic appearance.

RhododendronFlower resized 600

As I made my way into the Japanese Garden, descending from above the waterfall, I was stopped in my tracks by a shrub. Crinodendron hookerianum, or as I found out later is more commonly called the Chilean lantern tree, is quiet a beauty. The evergreen shrub has the most astonishing red flowers that really do hang down like lanterns that have been delicately placed on the branches.

ChileanLanternTree resized 600

On my way back out of the Japanese Garden I just had to admire the towering trees that surrounded me and cast dappled shade over the paths leading to Triton Lake. In particular, the mighty Oak trees look super set against the crystal blue sky.

OakTree resized 600

While some gardeners view red valerian flowers as weeds or pests to have in a garden, I happen to love them and think they are quiet special. I especially love how they are growing between the cracks in the wall of the boat house at Triton Lake. Their colour is contrasted perfectly against the pale stone. If only it was possible to recreate this in my own garden but I don’t think it would look as organic or as beautiful as it does here.

RedValerian (1) resized 600

After having admired more plants than I could handle, I decided there was one last thing I needed to do before I left on my way home. I needed to climb to the top of Pepperpot Tower and enjoy the views. The last time I visited I never made it up the tower but this time I was not going to miss the opportunity to enjoy the views.

The climb up the winding stairs was well worth it as when you burst out of the darkness in to the bright sunlight at the top and are met with such a breath-taking view. I think it is only when you are up here that you appreciate the size of the trees that are dotted around the gardens. It may have sunk in at this stage that an Oak tree might be a tiny bit too big for my garden! I found solace however in the fact I get to enjoy them in beautiful settings like this instead.

ViewFromTower resized 600

If you do venture up the tower on your next visit, make sure to admire the many picture perfect snap shots you get through the windows of the tower as you descend the stairs.

Window resized 600

David Corscadden

David is a regular contributer to the Powerscourt Estate blog. From County Kildare David is a graduate of horticulture from University College Dublin and a self-proclaimed plant lover! Having spent a childhood playing in his grandfather’s garden he has grown up with a passion for gardening and affection for nature.

David recently finished an internship with Gerry Daly at The Irish Garden magazine and caught the garden writer’s bug. You can follow his journey with plants here on the Powerscourt blog and on his own blog: beyondthewildgarden.wordpress.com.


Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Powerscourt Estate

*COVID Update – April 2021* 

Further to the government announcements, the Powerscourt Estate team is pleased to inform you  that from Monday 12th April we will be able to welcome visitors from the rest of County Wicklow, and those living within 20km of Powerscourt Estate.

In line with the latest Government guidelines, we can welcome back visitors and annual members to enjoy the Gardens, Waterfall and Riverwalk (members only). The Garden Pavilion is also open for essential retail. The Golf Club will reopen to members from the 26th April.

During April the Gardens are open from 9.30 to 17.30 and the Waterfall from 10.30 to 17.30, with last admission 30 minutes before close.

The Avoca Food Hall is open 7 days a week (9.30 am – 5.30 pm). Avoca Outdoor Hatch is open for takeaway coffee, toasted sandwiches & treats 7 days a week (10.00 am – 4.00 pm). Avoca Pizza Van in the Courtyard is open Fridays, Saturday & Sundays from 12 noon – 3.30 pm.

The following facilities will remain closed for the duration of the latest restrictions.

Avoca Café Restaurant
Avoca Retail (Visit avoca.com for details)
The Design Loft
Neptune by Global Village
Powerscourt Hotel
Powerscourt Distillery
Cool Planet Experience

To keep you and our staff safe we continue to facilitate social distancing, hand sanitizing and other safety measures.

Further updates will follow in the coming weeks as guidelines are adjusted.

Best wishes, ⁠⁠

Powerscourt Management⁠