Ireland is considered by many to be a botanical paradise with its moderate climate, which encourages all kinds of native and non native plants to thrive. This is all due to the prevalent south west winds coming from the gulfstream and which warms the west and south west of Ireland’s isle.
In Co. Clare the famous Burren with its evocative landscape resembling a moonscape is home to many rare orchids (no picking please!). Further south in Co. Kerry, green ferns, and vibrant pink and red fuchsia are just some of the wonders that grow wild along the roads presenting a symphony of colours, particularly during August and September.
In Co. Cork its more undulating landscape has hundreds of varieties of spectacular orange mombresia growing wild; there are also some wonderful gardens to visit including Fota House Aboretum & Gardens, Lisselan Gardens and Blarney House & Gardens. In Co. Carlow a drive along the unique V is a drive to remember forever; this is where the rhododendrons put on a superb display from late Spring to early Summer.
As a lover of flowers and nature, the best place to stay is in the centre of all this botanical magnificence at The Mustard Seed in Ballingarry, Co. Limerick. This 18th century country house has a chequered history and is now one of Ireland’s best loved Country Manor House Hotels. The Mustard Seed has its own Irish country house garden with its very substantial kitchen garden providing much of the vegetables and herbs on its menu; not forgetting the hen house and run which supplies its own free range eggs. The bread, cakes and scones are all cooked daily in their kitchen and their own fruit provides for their tasty jams. The Mustard Seed has achieved six top national awards and is riding on the crest of a wave of accolades showered on them for their cuisine, hospitality and eclectic accommodation.
Within close proximity to The Mustard Seed are the exotic Terra Nova Gardens, Moanwing Gardens, Knockpatrick Gardens and Phil Boyce’s garden where there is a studio for those who wish to paint and garden classes for those who just simply cannot get enough knowledge of the joys and beauty of nature – Irish nature.