I was born in Glencree, Co Wicklow just 3 miles from the beautiful picturesque village of Enniskerry. As a child I remember playing around the Enniskerry Clocktower waiting for my Mum to collect me from the bus. Then and up till 8 years ago the Tower was planted in many varieties of Roses. The Roses had been there for as long as I can remember and were in poor condition. The poor condition was probably due to Rose sickness which Roses pick up after being planted in the same spot for over 12 years. Rose sickness is a physiological disorder not fully understood , but is thought to be caused by the build up of a certain type of Nematode in the soil. The Clocktower is situated in an elevated position, at the very centre of the village, has seating, gives a lovely view and is a great place to relax, read a book or enjoy a coffee.
After completing my Degree course in Horticulture at Leeds university and returning to Ireland I could see the possibility of enhancing this important space. It took a further 10 years of running my own business, completing many Landscaping contracts and gaining experience in Garden design for me to finally draw up ideas about what could be done. I first drew up a planting plan inspired by the formal parterres of the Powerscourt Gardens the owners of which actually built the clocktower many years ago. I then approached Andy King of Garden World Nurseries, Kilcoole, also from the area to see if he could help in providing the plants. Armed with the planting plan and a source for plants at knock down prices I approached The Enniskerry Traders Association to see about funding the project. I also had to get permission from Wicklow County Council who own the space. Eventually I got the go ahead with a budget for the plants. All labour, removal of existing plants, preparation of beds and planting was provided free of charge by me.
As the clocktower is a public space the first consideration with the planting was to choose plants that were tough enough to put up with the conditions. The second was low maintenance going forward. The third was to try and create a room effect as you entered the area and the forth was to create all year round interest.
The planting beds on the clocktower can be broken down into 3 separate areas.
1st: The outside beds 2nd: The three circular beds 3rd: The two raised water troughs either side of the tower itself.
The first planting area of outside beds consisted of Ligustrum dealvayum standards 3 meters apart creating that room effect, underplanted with Lavandula hidcote, the toughest of the Lavanders.
The second planting area of three circular beds consisted of one large central Photinia fraserii ‘Red Robin’, underplanted with Hosta spp. further underplanted with Narcissus spp. The circumference of the bed finished with Buxus semperviren hedge
The third planting area consisting of two raised granite troughs either side of the Clock Tower planted with two Photinia fraserii ‘Red Robin’, underplanted with Alchemills mollis, further underplanted with Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’
Landscape contracting and designing gardens is a tough job but the reward you get back is through arriving at a space and making it look beautiful. Every day now I get to admire my work and watch as my ideas bear fruit. The area is now heavily used by tourists and locals, wedding photos are now regularly taken within the space and you see it being used in ads on TV. The area is in constant flux whether it be in the morning sun when the colours are at there best or the changing character through the season.
The all year round interest was achieved by careful plant selection, first the Photinias with there beautiful young red foilage, then the Daffodils coming into flower, followed by the Hostas with there variegated lush foilage and tall upright flowers, then Alchemills mollis with its soft greenish flowers and finally the Lavanders with there blue fragrant flowers. The whole space is given definition and held together with the formal topiary of the Photinias, Box hedging and the surrounding Privet lollipops.
All in all the area turned out a fantastic success, providing a beautiful centre piece to the heart of the village. If you require a Wicklow landscaping contractor for your Wicklow garden design.
Contact Kevin Baumann on 086 8198444