Hi! My name is Hazel and I am responsible for the gardens at Gortnalee House.
I come from a family where the women all seem to garden so its not surprising that I have the bug too.
My first garden in 1968 was a long-neglected garden in a London suburb and my first lessons in gardening came as letters of advice from my mother far away in Dublin. I learned to prune roses and discovered that the roses I pruned had been prize winners in past years!
The next garden in 1973 was a football field in suburban Dublin with concrete walls all round. I planned the whole thing with plants to flower each month and searched far and wide to locate exotic plants with limited success - and just when it was beginning to look like a garden we were on the move again.
1980 - The garden in Coolmine was designed to accommodate football-playing children, and then evolved into easy-care as my return to studies left me with little or no time to garden.
And now there is Gortnalee. The garden of our dream house was begun in 2009 as a blank canvas with a great "Borrowed Landscape". I am a sometime artist and since coming to Gortnalee my artistic outlet has been the garden. Designing it has been a real labour of love.
The heavy clay soil of the garden made me design a garden with lots of paths so that most of the garden could be accessed all year round.
A temporary clover Lawn was planted in 2009 in the woodland areas in front of the house to help to improve the soil.
This is one of the entrances to the Native Woodland area where Oaks, Ash, Birch and Hazel all encourage wild life into the garden.
Gravel replaced the Clover Lawn when a cattle break-in ploughed up the front gardens.