The Last Hurrah

Garnish Island is located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, in Southwest Ireland. Garnish has amazing gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and it has some stunning specimen plants which are rare in this climate.

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Leaving Glengarriff by ferry

This was a final trip our Tutor Michael had organised with the college. We have finished all the exams and it was great to be able to meet up together for one last time and enjoy this unique horticultural experience right on our doorstep.

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Michael asking for directions from one of the locals

There is never a “best” time to visit Garnish as there is always something to see. At this time of year their collection of Rhododendron and Azaleas are stunning.

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Originally there were plans to have a big country house on the Island but it appears they ran out of money. there is an Italian Tea House which is like a summer pavilion which divides the tennis court and formal pool.

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I have been to Garnish a few times to have a look round but it was a new experience touring the garden with my fellow students and Michael with his knowledge of plants and a trusty book.

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There are so many different rare and unusual plants and some were hard enough to identify.


Any ideas what this is? I’m thinking CLIANTHUS puniceus

There are some great views from the Island here is one looking towards the Kerry mountains.

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There are plenty of paths and routes to explore and something different around every corner.

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A cruise liner full of French visitors

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Tree Ferns which have suffered a little with an unusually cold winter

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More treats inside the Walled Garden



A chat with the Head Gardener. Everyone knows Michael! It has been a slow spring and growth is as much as 4 weeks behind. there was quite a lot of damage cause by Storm Ophelia and the Island lost some of its protection from the Easterly winds, this will be difficult to replace quickly and has a knock on effect to the garden.

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We were all very impressed with the motorised wheel barrow, on my Christmas list!

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So that pretty much brought to an end both our trip to Garnish Island and my Horticultural College experience. I am sad to see it pass as I have very much enjoyed both the learning and the social side of things but I am also pleased to have completed the course, a few of our group never made it this far.

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I am already applying so much of what I have learnt to both my own garden and to our Community Garden and the tunnels and I am hoping for a good summer being led down the garden path.



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