I wasn’t planning to write a gardening blog today but as it is March 17th and every radio station in the world is blaring out a St. Patrick’s Day message this morning so in honour of my irishness here is a short St. Patrick’s Day themed piece !
When living abroad and asked where am I from or when most people pick up on my accent and ask what part of Ireland are you from , the second statement is always “ it is so green ” and I always answer yes it is very green but the price for all that greenness is that it rains every day …. EVERY DAY IT RAINS !!
Irish Gardening what is it ? Irish gardening is essentially English gardening as we share the same climate and soil conditions and although it causes pain to say this ( as the son of an irish nationalist !) we owe our gardening tradition to the English grandees who settled here (by right of conquest generally … speaking again as the son of an irish nationalist !) after the 1641 rebellion .
They set about planting their newly acquired estates with largely the mature trees we see today and gradually our gardening education began and after independence in 1921 we started moving on from small cottage gardening to herbaceous borders to nowadays winning gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show .
Gardening Societies sprung up throughout Ireland spreading out from the East Coast around Dublin after the second world war usually chaired and led by redoubtable middle class Anglo –Irish ladies with cut glass accents generally referred to as West Brits with the odd titled lady thrown in as a figure head .
These gardening groups had their hey day in the 1960’s when I would have had my first exposure to organised gardening as a teenager … not fond memories I might add as I found them a pretentious lot who guarded their knowledge like the Holy Grail and who talked down to the rest of us …. basically full of shit …sorry fertilizer !
Nowadays this has changed …. similar redoubtable ladies in charge of Irish gardening societies but with a singular mission to pass on gardening knowledge and information …. mind you I still see the tendency to tug the old forelock with the huge interest in annual gardening trips to visit Prince Charles’s garden at Highgrove !!
I will end this article by saying I enjoy visiting gardens all over the world but I have a special fondness for visiting gardens in the UK and admire their history and traditions … there goes my street cred as the son of an irish nationalist !
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Petrovska Garden !