Visitors to Ireland are often surprised at the 'palm trees' that make so many gardens look as if they belong in a holiday postcard. How can such exotics survive on an island that is as far north as the prairies of Canada and the pine forests of Siberia? The answer lies in the tail of the Gulf Stream - the North Atlantic Drift - which wraps around this green land on the western edge of Europe.
Its warm and watery embrace bestows the renowned 'soft' climate that allows those palm trees (in fact, New Zealand cordylines) to make their homes here - along with tree ferns from Australia and bananas from Japan. Plants from colder regions, including rhododendrons, primulas and all manner of alpines, are equally happy. So, with a range of plants that runs from the subtropical to the subarctic, and a landscape that varies from gently pastoral to savagely rugged, the aptly named Emerald Isle has some of the most romantic and interesting gardens in the world.
The Irish Garden visits over forty of Ireland's most beautiful gardens, ranging from the grand old demesnes of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy to the intensely personal creations of passionate plantsmen and garden makers. The result of a lifetime visiting, considering and writing about gardens in Ireland, and several years of dedicated photography, this is a truly comprehensive exploration of a fascinating subject.
JANE POWERS was born in Ireland to American parents, and spent her childhood moving back and forth between the United States and Ireland. Both her parents were writers.
She has been writing about gardens and gardening in Irish and British publications for 20 years, and is the gardening correspondent for The Sunday Times, Ireland. She has also written about environmental matters, low impact and ethical living, food, property, art, crafts, and life in general — but her abiding love is gardens and gardening, and the people, plants and places involved.
Her first book, The Living Garden: a place that works with nature, was published in 2011. A German translation, Living Garden, was published in 2013 (by Verlag Freies Geistesleben).
The Irish Garden is her second book. It will be the first major book on Irish gardens in well over a decade.
Jane lives and gardens in Dún Laoghaire, a coastal town near Dublin. She manages her garden organically, and with respect to the rhythms of nature.
Jane Powers blogs at onebeanrow.com
JONATHAN HESSION is an Irish photographer who specialises in taking publicity photos on film sets. He has worked on most of the major feature films that have been shot in Ireland over the last two decades. He is also a keen landscape photographer and his book, The Atlantic Coast of Ireland, was published by Frances Lincoln in 2014. He is married to Jane Powers who has opened his eyes to the world of garden photography. They live in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
' Its images are hard to resist.'
'A tour de force.'
“This is a truly inspirational book, one that will excite & inspire and make you start planning a glorious garden tour of the lush green isle.”
"worth its weight in gold"
"This book is a thorough treat. And one that delights the biggest muscle of all, the brain."
'The photographs often stopped me in my tracks, sometimes with an involuntary gasp and a mental, 'Oh I must go there'... This pair of perfectionists have produced a remarkable book.'
"the writing is fresh, informative and entertaining: the photographs are magnificent … likely to become a standard reference, which will tell you new things about gardens you know and send you off to visit those you don’t.”
“I was scarcely 20 pages into this magnificent book before I said to myself ‘I’ve got to go back to Ireland. I’ve got to go back now … a huge, heavy, sumptuous book beautifully designed and rightly extravagant with the photographs.”
"a stunning record of the best the island has to offer, in both the Republic and Northern Ireland."
"it will surely persuade many readers to visit, or re-visit, that remarkable island's remarkable repertorie of gardens"
"this big weighty tome made me utterly homesick for my native land, and reminded me what makes Irish gardens and landscapes so unique. The light, the atmosphere and the character of these places are captured magnificently in Jonathan Hession's photographs ... Jane Powers ...accompanies the fine photography with considered, informed writing ... "
"shows exactly why it is that we should take such an immense, enduring and protective pride in the remarkable gardens that are a unique but fragile part of our heritage"
"Ireland's finest gardens are showcased in stuning new book . . . a must-have for all who are interested in the evolution of the Irish garden."
"outstanding in its scope and achievement ... a book not to be missed"
"The first extensive book on Irish gardens in a long time, this big weighty tome made me feel utterly homesick for my native land, and reminded me what makes Irish gardens and landscapes so unique."
"an absorbing well-written thing of beauty ...unbelievably romantic and magical photographs."
"a synchrony of text and images that should be the blueprint for future books of this kind ..."
"a horticulturist's dream"
‘a sumptuous tome [...]lavishly illustrated with stunning photographs by Jonathan Hession’