Booking … A ticket to access the gardens at Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden, Co Waterford, which open on June 9, from Tuesday to Sunday. All visitors must pre-book and are guaranteed a visual treat. The gardens are noted globally especially for their Rhododendrons, 75 varieties of Astibe, 90 varieties of Hydrangea, abundance of roses and so much more (a bamboo garden, Magnolia lawn and walled garden …). Estate Manager Ray Sinnott tells me, “The gardens are looking beautiful at the moment and we have put a lot of work and effort into carrying out some much-needed maintenance during the closure period along with ensuring all safety measures are in place for our re-opening.” A new map has also been created to help navigate the 70-acre gardens with the help of local artist Anouschka Joyce. As for refreshments, The Cafe will also be open for teas and coffees, snacks and sandwiches, as will the outdoor Harvest Shop. Extra outdoor seating has been put in place and Thursdays are dedicated to those who are cocooning. www.mountcongreve.com
Planting … my geraniums and pelargoniums in one of Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic’s new on-trend wicker tray planters, available from Dunnes Stores (there are double or single planter options). These are part of her new summer collection which comprises other inspiring floral designs. www.dunnesstores.com
Reading … Carl Dellatore’s classic book Garden Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from The World’s Finest Designers on the Art of the Garden, (Rizzoli). Now in its 5th printing, essays by experts include Arabella Lennox-Boyd on borders, Carolyne Roehm on the pleasures of a vegetable garden, Charlie McCormick on the cutting garden and Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg on innovation. Spanning styles and genres, principles and tenets, you’ll find design advice grouped under one of six themes (Theory, Process, Style, Structure, Elements, and Inspiration). Ultimately, whether you put into practice the tips or not, this is a beautiful form of escapism.
Exploring … the gardens at Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry, Co Cork which are open each day from 9.30am – 5.30pm. Beyond the main cookery school building (once an old apple store), lie several captivating gardens – some carefully designed and highly ornate, others allowed to grow wild. Each space has a unique personality and a special story of its own. If visiting on a Saturday, I recommend you combine a tour with pre-ordering a takeaway pizza from the Cookery School: the best I’ve tasted outside Italy. www.cookingisfun.ie
Burning … a Bergamot and Thyme candle – the result of a collaboration between boutique lifestyle store April and the Bear and the Cork-based design studio Somas. “We wanted to create a candle that captures the magic of an Irish summer,” explains Siobhan Lamb. “A candle that embraces the deep, soft scent of thyme layered with the fresh tang of bergamot.” Mission accomplished. Available from June 12, the natural wax candle can be purchased online for €27 and burns for 50 hours. I can also recommend the Velvet Peony & Oud candle. www.aprilandthebear.com
Painting … walls in “Iris Bloom” from Colourtrend’s Contemporary Collection, which celebrates Irish meadows exploding with flowers and bustling summer hedgerows. It’s the perfect balance of pastel and wild, a colour that is not only is relaxing in evening light, but bright and elevating in warm sunlight; www.colourtrend.ie.
Taking … an innovative 360 virtual tour of The Gerard Byrne Studio, Ranelagh, Co Dublin. For those who love lush foliage and greenery this is a chance to see Gerard Byrne’s recent paintings and his recent exhibition “Botanical Fusion: Singapore to Dublin”. Byrne travelled to Asia where he painted en plein air in the Singapore Botanic Gardens – part of the commemorative 160-year anniversary celebrations of the Gardens. The paintings not only show a different quality of light, strong shadows and deep colours, but also the energy of the surroundings. To mark its first virtual gallery experience, the gallery is offering free shipping nationwide for the month of June for those who decide to extend their art collection. www.gerardbyrneartist.com
Exploring … The Sea Gardener package at Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford which is especially aimed at young families and is all about sea foraging on the beach. This family-friendly offer includes two-nights in a seaview room, dinner on one evening in The Bar Restaurant, a 2-hour sea gardening “Talk and Walk” and a beach picnic. There’s also a seaweed tasting, when guests will learn how to identify edible seaweeds, pick up some cookery and gardening tips as well as learn more about the skincare benefits of seaweed. The package costs from €1,218 for two adults and children. www.cliffhousehotel.ie
Putting … my feet up after a day of weeding. The Ellie floral banquette footstool, €279, available at DFS, is just one of its new collection of pretty florals which range from traditional prints to more exotic jungle vibes. Order in-store or online at www.dfs.ie.
Making … a Red Berry Bramble to sip on the patio after doing the watering using the Ice House Hotel’s recipe.
- 50ml Conncullin Gin (local gin)
- 50ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 10ml Agave Nectar
- 15ml Creme de Mure Liquor
- 15ml Chambord Liquor – Black Forest Fruit Liquor
- Red Berries and Lemon Twist to garnish
- Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice, and then strain the cocktail into an short glass or balloon glass over crushed ice.
- Top up with fresh crushed ice, add the garnish glass. www.icehousehotel.ie.
Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.