At Home at Gortnalee

The Gardener

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.

May 2009

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.

May 2011

A temporary clover Lawn was planted in 2009 in the woodland areas in front of the house to help to improve the soil.

May 2013

This is one of the entrances to the Native Woodland area where Oaks, Ash, Birch and Hazel all encourage wild life into the garden.

May 2015

Gravel replaced the Clover Lawn when a cattle break-in ploughed up the front gardens.

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