Garden Projects at Johnstown Castle Estate

2023 has seen a second phase of garden projects unveiled at the historic Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens.

The sunken garden, historic glasshouses and walled gardens have all undergone substantial renewal and replanting over the last three years. Work continues on the glasshouse restoration and new planting schemes.

Walled Gardens

These gardens were originally laid between 1844-1851 and are now being redesigned by our team led by Ciarán Fitzgerald and assisted by Irish Heritage Trust garden volunteers.

Phase one of the three-year project includes a new pathway system and 2023 is the first season of the new herbaceous border display. 3,000 new plants have been grown on site using organic peat free compost aligned with Irish Heritage Trust sustainability objectives.

Renowned 19th-century landscape designer, Daniel Robertson, laid out the walled gardens at Johnstown Castle Estate. He was also responsible for gardens at Powerscourt Estate and Wells House. However, with changes over time, the only original feature left are the walls themselves.

The new layout leans heavily on the principles of the original designers while also offering a highly functional space with ornamental borders and edible woodland.

Richardson Glasshouses

The magnificent 50-metre lean-to Richardson Glasshouse in the walled gardens had fallen into a poor state of disrepair. Conservation work included its unique vent and the Temperate House along with restoration work on the flagstone floor.

A second smaller Richardson glasshouse in the yard is also undergoing restoration works. It will be used for propogating plants grown from seed in the large glasshouse and will also hold gardening demonstrations and events.

Sunken Garden

Another highlight for garden lovers visiting Johnstown Castle Estate Museum & Gardens is the re-designed sunken garden. It was originally designed in an ornate baroque style which included the use of box hedging and ornamental flowers. Over the centuries its purpose changed to include a tennis court and a grass picnic area.

The new design is a nod to the ornate nature of the original design whilst bringing it up to date in form and function with the creation of newly shaped lawns and a shallow pond of reflection. 

These projects were funded from the following sources:

Ticket sales; 7,000 Irish Heritage Trust members; Irish Heritage Trust philanthropic funding; Teagasc – the owner of the property; Department of Rural & Community Development under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund*; Capital Grants Programme from the Department of Housing, Local Government Heritage.

*The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a €1 billion investment programme established under the National Development Plan. The Fund supports large-scale, ambitious projects that can achieve sustainable social and economic development in rural areas.

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