cactus heading

The Collections


The garden features plants naturally found in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical environments around the world. The latter two are housed in the glasshouses or grown in pots which can be protected during the Winter. Outdoors, plants are located in the areas of the garden best suited to their cultivation and in keeping with the overall aesthetic design of the garden. Plants are not compartmentalised into rigid geographical zones.  The collections can best be described as follows;


Asian Collection

Asia is one of our favourite areas of the world for providing rare and unusual garden worthy plants. A plant hunter's "hot spot" over a century ago, it has re-emerged recently as a second wave of plant hunters explore Southern China, Vietnam, Taiwan etc. Though the climate is typically sub-tropical, exploration of high altitude environments has revealed spectacular foliage plants with a degree of hardiness, making it possible to grow them in favoured temperate regions. The garden has a notable Schefflera collection from this area. A growing collection of species Rhododendron, many grown from wild collected seed is featured in the garden. Deciduous rarities such as Mallotus japonicus, Nyssa sinensis, Styraxobassia, Poliothyrsissinensis, Salix moupinensis are also to be found in the woodland.  A collection of Mahonia is another feature. Asia also has a diverse range of bamboos, which prosper in the mild wet climate found in South West Ireland. The bamboo collection of species and forms exceed seventy at present. Notable among them are Borinda papyrifera, B. lushuiensis, B. macclureana and B. albocera.  A large collection of the genus Viburnum is featured, both species and cultivars. Examples include Viburnum cylindricum, V. furcatum, V. cinnamonifolium, V. lucidum. Many possess either quality foliage, scented flowers or colourful berries (when group planted).


Australasian Collection

This consists of plants from Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and many of the smaller surrounding islands. Trees represented in the collection include several species of Pseudopanax, Phyllocladus,Nothofagus and more obscure species, e.g. Athrotaxis cupressoides, Athrotaxis laxifolia, Eucryphia moorei and Lagarstrobus franklinii.  Tree ferns up to 8 foot tall are also to be found in the garden, including Dicksonia antartica, D. squarosa and Cyatheadealbata. Other New Zealand choice ground ferns are to be found in damp shady places.  Not all garden worthy plants need to be giants - throughout the garden, smaller gems from this area can be found including Celmisia, Scleranthus, Raoulia and Astelia.


Central and South America Collection

This includes plants from one of the most diverse climatic and topographic regions of the world - Mexico, Chile and other South American countries. Hardy species are to be found growing outside in the garden. Trees include more Nothofagus, Maytaenus boaria, Fitzroya cupressoides, Pitavia pinctata and Laurelopsis philippiana. Drought tolerant plants, e.g. species of Agave, Beschorneria,Ochagavia are to be found in the Red Rock Canyon. A choice collection of trunked Yucca from the region offer an avenue of spiky foliage plants. Giant specimens of the mountain bamboo from this area include Chusquea culeo and C. gigantea. The tropical house features giant tree daisies and other foliage plants from the steamy jungles of South America.These include Rojasianthesuperba, Podachaeniumeminens and the giant aster Bartlettina sordida.  To complement this theme, South American butterflies of various Heliconius species are introduced in high summer. Cacti from this area are to be found in the Cactus and Succulent House.



Mediterranean Collection

The term is used here to describe a particular climatic zone that experiences warm dry summers and mild wet winters. Though the climate of South West Ireland is wetter and experiences less sun, it is still possible to grow plants from this region provided a sunny site is selected and perfect drainage provided. The garden has a large collection of plans from the Canary Islands including Aeonium, Achryson,Echium, Cistus, Sonchus etc. More tender examples are to be found in the Cactus and Succulent House. The Herb Garden also features Mediterranean plants such as Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, etc.


South African Collection

Another botanical "hot spot" in terms of endemic biodiversity, South Africa provides many garden worthy plants of the bulbous, herbaceous and woody variety. Kniphofia are well represented including the giant of them all, Kniphofia northiae. South African grasses, known as Restios are given prominence. Species include the giant and difficult to find Cannomois virgata. Bulbous Watsonia, Crocosmia,Dierama and other delights such as Agapanthus are found throughout the garden. The carpet forming, sun-loving, succulents, Mesembryanthenium, are a huge family of plants some of which can be grown outdoors. More tender examples are to be found in the Cactus and Succulent House.


Special Collections


There is a lot more to this family than Aloe vera. This is a favoured succulent plant in the garden and a significant collection endemic to Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula has been acquired. Nearly all plants need to be cultivated in pots, as they would not thrive outdoors. The collection now numbers approximately one hundred and notable examples include A. polyphylla, A. thraskii, A. helenae,A.eminens, A. ortolopha, A. macroclada, A. sabaea,  to name a few. In time a more permanent residence will be required for their continued cultivation.

Cactus and Succulent Collection

This is to be found in one of the Glasshouses. Many of the larger Cacti are more than thirty years old. The drought tolerant Aloaceae of South Africa/Madagascar and Aeonium of the Canary Islands are also featured. The beautiful flowering Azorina vidalli from the Azores is gaining in size. Miniature South African succulents camouflaged as stones can be found among the stone dressing.

Alpine Collection

The Alpine collection is mainly displayed in two areas of the garden. These are, a long feeding trough - a remnant of the old farmyard - and a much larger, specifically constructed rock garden utilising 40 tonnes of local rock and scree. The plants in these two locations are suited to sunny, well-drained Alpine regions around the world, including Europe, New Zealand, North America and elsewhere. Both species and cultivars/varieties are cultivated. Some examples include Sedum, Androsace, Lewisia, Saxifraga, Celmisia, Phlox, Auricula and many more. Planting continues in these areas with new species being acquired from South America and elsewhere. No Winter protection is provided. Many of the plants are labelled.

Important note

It is not intended to provide information on every single plant species found growing in the garden. This would be almost impossible such are the numbers involved! Instead, a small selection has been chosen to give a flavour of the diversity and quality of the plant collection which can be further discovered upon visiting the garden.