Mount Congreve Gardens, County Waterford
Mount Congreve Gardens is made up of a staggering 70 acres (28.3 hectares) of planted woodland garden and a four acre (1.6 hectares) walled garden. This exceptionally beautifully and carefully designed expanse is the brainchild of Mr. Ambrose Congreve. Drawing his inspiration from Lionel de Rothschild and his garden at Exbury in Hampshire, England Congreve set about nurturing his own passion for Rhododendrons, Magnolias and Camellias.
He began planting in his late tens, along with his father, but it was not until 1955 that he took the big leap and started making large clearings in the woodland in order to set up the requisite conditions for an environment in which plants would thrive. In the early 1960’s, with the help of garden director Herman Dool, Congreve masterful work began on what has been hailed by the Horticultural Society of Massachusetts as the “Greatest Garden of the World”.
During the spring and the early summer months, visitors to the gardens can see one of Congreve’s great philosophies at work. He maintains that whether you’re planting 5 or fifty plants that they should be planted together as opposed to scattered around a garden. During these months you will be treated to sweeps of Azaleas, Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendron, which will take your breath away. He also believes that every garden should have surprise and good vantage points so that the garden and the surrounding landscape could be viewed to compliment each other.
Once again you can see this genius at work in the garden’s stunning vistas, which overlook the bends in the neighboring River Suir. Among the surprised include a Chinese pagoda in the center of an old quarry that is spectacular when vied from a height, a classical temple surrounded by Rhododendron and an artificial waterfall, which cascades over natural rock in three pool edged with water margin plants.
There is only so much that can be described on Mount Congreve Garden in words. A visit is essential in order to fully appreciate the sheer beauty of this magical garden and the genius, which was behind it.
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