She has it looking lovely!


So my visiting companion said as we were driving out of June Blake’s garden this afternoon and, of course, the conversation continued as we drove: “I loved that lipstick pink phlox…and that new dahlia in the lower part of the garden…and that blue geranium near the house – what was its name? That monkshood was a great blue and that double blue delphinium with it was fabulous. There was great colour in the red and orange border and great use of the crocosmias; they can be a blasted nuisance but when you see them used to well you’d be inclined to use them a bit more. It’s better with those trees gone – leaves in a lot more light and that corner looks a lot better now. Imagine Primula florindae still looking so well; they’re well gone at home! I love the outer parts of the garden – a great contrast and a great rest from the intensity of colour in the main garden; it’s lovely to sit and look down on the garden from the top” And on and on it went!

This is the way it usually is after any garden visit, comments and comparisons, highlights mentioned, disappointments aired (none today!) and plans made to search out such a plant or to try an idea in the home garden.

Approaching the garden entrance 
A thriving border bursting with energy and colour 

The central area of June’s garden, the herbaceous beds near to the house, simply continue to get better and better with each passing year – a tweaking of colour combinations and plant selections – and I doubt we will see a better example of colour combination and planting in the country.  Other areas of the garden have developed wonderfully – the grass area at the entrance, previously an area of wildflowers, is now an undulating lawn with a winding path which slows the visitor down and prepares one to be leisurely in the walk around the garden and encourages one to admire the border leading to the entrance where the heartiest of rodgersias thrive in the rich soil that only farmyard manure can provide.

An iconic tree and view. 


Fabulous colour in the borders.

Above, beyond and around the garden, the sweeping areas of grass have developed to become the perfect balance to the intensity of colour nearer the house. There is a peace there, quiet green and distance from the hub. The view over the garden from the perfectly placed seat encompasses not only the garden but allows views to the farmland and hills beyond. We sat there for a considerable and enjoyable time, the time to take it in, to savour the experience and to watch the gardener busy at her work.

It doesn’t all happen by accident – there’s a lot of hard work involved and the end result shows this so well. 

Enjoy the slideshow of images from the garden today but better to visit and enjoy it yourself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook


Oh, She’s a Colourful Lady

June Blake, and her garden, will feature in the September issue of the Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine, The Garden. And it will feature prominently with a photograph of the garden on the front cover. The magazine hasn’t arrived in the post yet but June’s son, Dara, has shown it on Facebook – advanced copies for those featured, I imagine.


I am delighted, for several reasons, that the garden is featured. I feel it is wonderful that it is an Irish garden which adorns the front cover of such an important and significant publication as it will bring the beauty of Irish gardens to a much wider audience and I am especially pleased that it is June’s garden which features as, quite simply, I believe she deserves it.



June seems to me to be one of the very few who are continuing that wonderful gardening tradition of planting in the garden for colour impact and colour combination. This is something which is completely beyond me. I may as well be colour blind and leave all plant combination decisions in our own garden to Mary. However, when we visit June’s garden her colour choices and combinations strike me immediately and I don’t think there is a better garden to visit to see this practice, especially towards the end of summer and into autumn, though it is wonderful at all seasons.



RHS members will shortly receive their copy of The Garden and we can delight that one of our own has been recognised for her beautiful garden creation. However, we  have the a fabulous advantage over all other readers – we can go and visit the garden in the flesh!

Read more about June’s garden on her website:

Enjoy a few photographs from earlier this  month!

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook