Garden walks

Six sign-posted Trail Maps available at reception.

The Garden Walk Trail. Orange dotted ........ line on map.
We do not suggest or estimate a particular distance or duration for the this trail.
It follows a more gentle and flexible circuit than the other trails.
On your way…. The strolls described here are of a much gentler nature and never stray too far from shelter. They can start at a variety of points but in this case a beginning will be made from the flags opposite the Visitor Centre and into the Pine Ramble at point 52. Flowers along the  garden walkOn your left a clearance lets grasses thrive, and a few spindly deciduous trees make a desperate effort to reach the light above. Hydrangea bushes have been planted here and will flower in time if they can overcome the hard frosts of late spring. As you exit the ramble you have entered the Music Garden. At point 53 you experience the Music Garden which forms a theatre over the lawn and is functional as a shelter to the shrubbery and to visitors listening to performing bands. The higher Terrace or Rose Walk commands views beyond the garden over the laboratory building to the lower lakes. The large ground covering of Geranium on the banks are of G. maccorbizum and Bergenias serve the same purpose. Many trees have been planted about the garden to provide, shape, shade and shelter. Varieties of Daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs grace the garden early in the year. Additional summer colour is added by a variety of Dahlias planted out after the frosts of spring. Berried shrubs have been planted as a source of winter food for the resident birds and animals of the Park. By walking up the lane opposite the shop you will see a series of small wooden structures ahead. You have now arrived in the Bee Garden at point 54. The old wall to the right has been planted with prostrate Cotoneasters, which is a favourite of the bees. The park nursery, which is situated just beyond, is unfortunately, not open to the public but is none the less a most important feature of the park. Quantities of wild flower seed from selected species are also produced in order to successfully reintroduce them in appropriate habitats within the Park. As you return to the Music Garden, look at the growth of various plants on the dry stone wall on your left. The fleshy leaves of Navelwort, or Pennywort Umbilicus rupestris, are obvious along nearly all its extent. The infamous “Doctrine of Signatures” prescribed a concoction of this plants leaves as a cure for stomach aches. The Irish name for this, behind the stage plant, is “Carn Caisil” The Robert Lloyd Praeger Field Studies Laboratory lies between the Music Garden and the Sensory Garden at point 55. Garden walk scene 2On display there are always various topical pieces from around the park for your inspection, a set on antlers, flowers in bloom, a discarded egg shell or perhaps a tiny bug ready for release back to the Managed Wetlands. Short films of an environmental interest are shown on the large screen here throughout the day. On leaving the laboratory you are suddenly within the Sensory Garden, specially developed to provide a flora of diverse aroma and colour to stimulate those that explore here. Its contoured path and raised flower-beds make it especially popular with visitors whom may find other walks inaccessible or arduous. The brick built “Chamomile” benches allow the sweet fragrance of the herbs to surround you as they grow and flower in the protected niche below the bench slats. Butterflies are frequent visitors here too, seeking out the blooms of Buddleias, Ice Plants and Sweet Rocket Hesperis matronalis, to sip sweet nectar form them with their long curled tongues. We do not suggest or estimate a particular distance or duration for the final trail. It follows a more gentle and flexible circuit than the previous ones but offers as much rewarding experience as any.

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