The Flower Terraces

MJM_8837The terraced flower garden was completed in the early 1850’s by Lady Louisa Tighe.

It comprises three long terraces, formerly devoted to annual bedding schemes. The central path was aligned upon a very fine circular conservatory designed and built in 1853-56 by the famous Dublin iron master, Richard Turner and has been described as one of his finest works. Flanking the other end of the terrace was a semi-circular wrought iron seat, also by Turner. There is no knowledge of a professional garden designer being involved and it seems most likely that most of the work was largely planned by the then head gardener, Pierce Butler who died in 1858. The garden had to be created by making three level terraces in the gentle slope of the hillside, rising above the Walled Garden. The completed work was c.340ft (c.103m) long and 90ft (c.27m) wide overall.

The central or middle terrace was aligned upon the conservatory and was flanked each side by gravel paths. The flower beds between these paths were of a classic Victorian chain of circles consisting of a series of double concentric circles enclosed by low box edging running down the centre. The inner circle of each was filled with bedded annuals and the outer ring with red and white coloured gravels obtained from the demesne. An extract from the Irish Farmers Gazette in 1863 described the flower terraces as ‘a very extensive chain border of very beautiful design and execution. Set in grass, planted with rich scarlet pelargoniums and other bedding out plants in full bloom and the walks covered, as is now the fashion, with different coloured gravels (by-the-bye a fashion we don’t admire!).