Helen Dillon and St. Patrick's Day

I have a St. Patrick's Day treat for you, my dears. 

As many of you may know, I am not a formally trained gardener...err, garden designer.

I found gardening, or it found me, through a series of small, but significant (to me at least), green and wondrous epiphanies...

and floral discoveries, that, over time, through childhood

and even the awkward teen and young adult years, gave me great comfort and pleasure and expression and happiness. 

I knew nothing, NOTHING about gardening. And so, (like many of you, I imagine... I turned to books). Books with gorgeous, images.  Of gorgeous gardens. And gorgeous compositions.  Of flowers and vegetables and trees and herbs and yes..

talented, dedicated, brilliant, GARDENERS. Some of them spoke to me (and my emerging gardening aesthetic) more

than others. One of them...a rock star in my literary
gardening world...was

Helen Dillon, a Dublin, Royal Horticultural Society-gardener/designer (discover more about Helen and her brilliant gardening career) here.

In 2003, on Saint Patrick's Day, 

after sitting in the grandstand (in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, no less) to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade (yes, it was a shamrock-on-steroids kind of trip),

Husband and I made our way to Helen Dillon's Garden.  An Irish pilgrimage to Ireland's

premier gardening doyene's...

little bit of Irish heaven.

To my absolute amazement and delight...

Helen Dillon herself was there.


Most certainly, the luck of the Blarney Stone was with me!

While Husband and Val (Helen's hubby) talked compost piles and bathroom renovations,

Helen and I talked gardens...Oklahoma, Irish and otherwise...our favorite garden designers and plants and mutual bad habits (she admitted to being an inveterate over-water-er.)

I tried to put on a good show....though I was FAR out of my league.  Just a groupie in the presence of a superstar.

Just the two of us, touring her incredible garden. I had seen it so many times before.

In countless books (find some here) and magazines.

Familiar, iconic images that I had seen in print so many times.

Now manifest...on St. Patrick's Day.

I couldn't have dreamt it...

any better.

The cherry on my Irish Coffee?

Helen (because by tour's end we were BFF's) offered ever so kindly

to drive us back to our Dublin hotel.

I am happy to report that, 

like the rest of us,

her car...

had that ever-so-familiar scent of

Eau de Manure.

What I haven't told you, is that

this was my SECOND visit to the Dillon garden.  I had visited a few years before,

but in August...when the gentle clime of Dublin's gardens are in their full resplendent glory...

not just the fabulous garden 'bones' and garden architecture you see 

in these images.

Coming up? Gorgeous shots of this fabulous space in full bloom.

The proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow.  :)



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