Coolwater, one of the undiscovered gems in Irish Gardens, a new garden of half an acre but looking illusionary much larger, is completely unique in style, flowing effortlessly from one theme to the next with interest at every turn.
Don't expect lawns and normal borders in Coolwater. Starting in the West Garden woodland section, with trees from Tasmania, mainland Australia, South America together with bamboo groves and featuring a standing stone and several staddle stones, the trail leads into an area covered with red sandstone flags. The flags, brought in from Co. Kerry, are interspersed with evergreen alpines in the joints, ponds with newts, a combe dawdling from one pond to another; then through wooden arches, one comes upon a Japanese Maple bed, leading in turn onto a raised Juniper bed constructed from yellow Corronoher Sandstone. Through another arch there is a surprise of Lewisia beds under a towering Atlantic Blue Cedar.
Connecting the West Garden to the Watergarden are more than fifty Alpine Plant troughs, around the house, containing many choice Alpines, ferns, etc in little, mini landscapes utilizing different types of rock: slate, shale, sandstone, limestone and aggregate. Some specimens have been planted directly into Tufa Rock, obviously enjoying the maritime climate in Coolwater. When rounding the back of the house one gets their first view of the Watergarden, ninety feet in length and smothered in the summer with water lilies.
Alongside the main patio, there's the Arid bed, with plants from Mexico and South Africa including cacti, agaves, yuccas, beschornerias and other succulents. Overlooking the Watergarden, they are protected from rain by glazing on the roof of the pergola.
The next patio, beyond the Arid bed, gives an expansive view of the water whilst being cosseted by a Jungle section to the side. Around behind the Jungle area, one comes across a many specie_d fern dell, presided over by Loquat, Cordylines, Trachycarpus Wagnerius and Japanese maple. Further on is another bamboo area featuring a yellow flowered, Magnolia, which lights up the area in the Spring.
Opposite here is the “wild” part of the pond, planted with local plants and inhabited by Lizards, Newts, Frogs and Dragonflies. It is home to Wagtails and in the summer, Swallows, who feast on all the Whirlygig beetles.
This in turn leads onto a gravel drive down the south side of the Watergarden with its eclectic range of plants: bamboos, heather beds, phormium beds, Trachycarpuses, Cordylines, Loquat, ferns, sempervivums, topped by a tall, striking, ferrous sculpture and a large, water-worn limestone rock.
Railway sleeper steps then lead up, past Alpine troughs, onto the main patio with its Japanese, copper-roofed, pagoda overlooking the water and encircled by more mini landscaped containers.
There are numerous benches and seats for people to sit on, relax and imbibe the calmness and peacefulness to be found here.