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Garden Category: Republic of Ireland Gardens
The gardens, created by Henry Mcllhenny from Philadelphia, are part of Glenveagh National Park. Wood gardens and pleasure grounds, Italian and Belgian gardens, terraces with antique sculpture and terracotta pots, all these different themes have been skillfully interwoven against the wild and beautiful Donegal landscape. This, one of the most celebrated of Irish gardens, contains an important collection of trees and shrubs, some rare, some tender.
In 1929 Lucy and Arthur Kingsley-Porter became the new owners. They were also keen gardeners and Mrs Porter introduced the dahlia seed from which was grown the unique cultivar known as Dahlia ‘Matt Armour’ to Glenveagh.
The last private owner, Henry P McIlhenny began to develop the gardens in the late 1940’s with the assistance of Jim Russell of Sunningdale Nurseries and Lanning Roper his Harvard classmate, both well-known garden design consultants. From the late 1950’s through to the early 1980’s the design and layout of the garden was developed and refined to include the Gothic Orangery, the Italian Terrace, the Tuscan Garden, an ornamental Jardin Potager and the development of the plant collection.
Glenveagh is well known today for its rich collection of trees and shrubs specialising in southern hemisphere species and a diverse Rhododendron collection. Displays of Rhododendrons are at their best from late March to the end of May. A large collection of old narcissi varieties from Donegal gardens fills the walled garden in March and April. Displays of colour in the Walled Garden are at their best through the summer months. Fine specimens of the white flowered Eucryphia adorn the gardens in late summer. Dramatic autumn colour follows in October.
The National Park covers 40,000 acres and takes in a beautiful valley occupied by Lough Veagh and Poisened Glen, a marshy valley enclosed by dramatic cliffs. The park also protects the largest herd of red deer in the country. Glenveagh Castle stands on the southern shores of Lough Veagh and is reached only by a healthy hike or by the park supplied shuttle bus.
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