Tag Archives: Ireland

Rock and Gravel Garden Feature

Sloping seaside gardens provide the opportunity to include a rock and gravel garden feature.   This cottage garden by the sea in Ventry, Kerry, Ireland, includes species plants which are close cousins to those that occur naturally.   The rocks are mainly local sandstone with a few with white quartz.

Slope for Rock and Gravel Garden

The previous garden had an irregular sloping lawn. The garden was re-landscaped to have a gently sloping lawn and a steeper but even slope for the rock and gravel garden feature.   We took care to arrange the rocks in a natural way and use them to retain pea shingle.   Moisture retention is crucial with drying salt winds and sandy soil . The pea shingle is therefore laid over geotextile to provide a mulch and weed barrier for low maintenance.

Rock and Gravel Garden

Local rocks arranged with pea shingle and marine plants

Plants for Seaside Rock and Gravel Garden

We chose Eryngium planum (tall blue sea-holly), silene schafta ( pink sea campion), armeria maritima ( sea thrift), different thymes, lavender and stipa tenuissima as the main plants.   It gives a lively and natural feel to the rock and gravel feature. They are all salt tolerant and low maintenance.

Lavender, grasses and sea holly

Lavender sets off the rock garden below.

Spring Flower Jewels

Spring is coming and some of the loveliest early spring flower surprises are the little flower jewels that we had forgotten from last year.  They appear unexpectedly in bright and striking colours.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata 'J.S. Dijt' lovely jewel colurs

The jewel colours of Iris ‘J. S. Dijt’

These are so gorgeous. Two I love are : Iris reticulata ‘J.S.Dijt’ –rich purple with a central yellow/orange mark surrounded by indigo and white dashes on each fall  and Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ – the palest blue with dark blue dashes and yellow markings. Find a sunny, well drained spot in your garden for half a dozen of these flower jewels. They are only 10-15 cm tall.

Iris 'Katharine Hodkin'- delicate blue flowers in early Febrary

Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’- delicate blue

Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)

Eranthis hyemalis and Galanthus nivalis

Bright yellow winter aconites and snowdrops

A bright yellow flower jewel on a frilly green collar provides a welcome ray of sunshine. These do well in a dry, sunny area under deciduous trees and associate well with tiny snowdrops.  These are very short, about 7.5cm tall.




Helleborus foetidus

There lots of hellebores that associate well with spring bulbs but the unique appearance of Helleborus foetidus is of special merit.  It has narrow dark evergreen foliage and a profusion of small pale green bells with narrow purple rims that last from mid winter to mid spring. It grows to about 70cm tall.  Hellebores prefer dappled shade and a rich soil.  Plant clusters of bright flower jewels between them to create a lovely effect.

Pale green bells with red rims

Pale green bells hang prettily on Helleborus foetidus

Erica x darleyensis ‘Furzey’

Erica x darleyensis 'Furzey' winter heather by the sea in Kerry, Ireland.

‘Furzey’ winter heather by the sea in Kerry, Ireland.

Here in Kerry, Ireland this winter flowering heather adds such a note of cheer when all else has died back. ‘Furzey’ is a jewel with lilac pink flowers which deepen to mauve pink.  It associates well with junipers and low growing mountain pines. It’s a wonderful plant for a country garden or a rocky area.