"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful."

~Abram L. Urban

The Story of the Garden

In late 2007 Brendan and Hazel moved in to their newly built Passive House at Gortnalee. With a blank canvas to work on and a challenge set by Brendan, Hazel set out to design a garden that had no lawns! The area of Gortnalee is over half an acre - 0.6 acre to be precise!

Hazel recalls "Brendan and I had fallen for the site because of the sweeping view across the valley but we hadn't taken into account the difficulties of gardening on such an exposed site with the SW winds blowing almost non-stop."

Heavy clay soil and a healthy population of rabbits added to the difficulties. The first decision was to make lots of paths so that it would be possible to walk in the garden all year round. The planning and implementation of this part of the design took all of 2008 so it was early 2009 before the real planting began. I hope you will take the time to visit the garden and see how it has progressed since then!

About Gortnalee Enterprises

We open the garden for visitors by appointment from April to September. We provide Garden Design services and run workshops in aspects of gardening

Groups are welcome as well as individual visitors. You can have a guided tour of the garden as well as time to browse ar your leisure. A small selection of plants from the garden is also on offer for sale.

Presentations and Talks

I am available to talk to Gardening Clubs or other groups on my experiences in creating Gortnalee and other relevant topics.

Sample Courses

Gortnalee features some Willow Structures and fences and courses creating these unusual features are available.

Practical skills like making compost and pruning roses can be taught on a one-to-one basis or to groups.

Get in Touch

  • Mobile:
    +353 (0)86 285 8067
  • Email:
  • Address:
    Gortnalee House
    Donaghmore, Co. Laois
    R32 C8 K0