Plant guru, horticulturalist and teacher JIMI BLAKE tells us about his colourful, theatrical gardens at home in Co Wicklow …
I started designing the gardens at Hunting Brook 17 years ago. I originally wanted to have 20 areas to build up my plant collection and experiment with growing plants from all over the world – it’s now one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants. I also planned from the start that Hunting Brook would be an educational centre for people to learn about gardening, healthy eating, yoga and all things holistic. I practice what I preach and at the end of the working day I like nothing better than to meditate or do some yoga outside, weather permitting.
I have three areas up around the house, where the most intense planting is, and this is where I create a tapestry of planting with flowers. I am particularly interested in colour, form and texture. Then there are extensive woodlands, meadows and a valley. I garden it all organically so it’s a real sanctuary for wildlife.
Recently, I have created a large area of new planting using an apricot, peach, orange, burgundy and silver colour scheme which I am having a lot of fun with. At this time of the year, I am gardening all day – keeping the garden looking as good as it can in full flower.
I am also working on our own garden tours to the UK and other parts of Europe for 2020. We have lots of courses – from a beginners gardening day, to postage stamp gardening, indoor gardening and vegetable gardening. Coming up in August is a special masterclass on Monday August 12 and a Sunday event on August 18.
Need to Know: Hunting Brook, Lamb Hill, Blessington, Co Wicklow is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11am – 5.30pm. Look out for Jimi’s new book A Beautiful Obsession which will be published in September. For more information about this and the gardens visit www.huntingbrook.com.
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