Creating these gardens was a flight of fancy for me as it allowed me to indulge in my own personal tastes as a landscape designer. Damien Keane became “the client”, commissioned to design, build and restore two gardens, one over seven acres and the other a show garden. As the Victorian era with its intriguing tales of Bram Stoker and with the gothic architectural revivalist movement capturing my imagination, I decided to design fantasy garden spaces based around this movement.
I drafted plans with strong contrasting details; dark and lonely shaded areas heavily planted with semi-hidden statues and a broken bottle wall in contrast to bright colourful areas with mass planted herbaceous perennials, drifts of grasses and topiary. Strong gothic and Georgian architectural features were added to the gardens and included a belvedere, Victorian styled walled garden, a folly gothic arched ruin standing by a mirrored pool complete with sunken gargoyles and exuberant planting.
These projects became a real labour of love for me as I carried out much of the stonework, planting and landscaping aspects of the gardens. The most enjoyable aspect of my work in the gardens was the restoration which I found very interesting as I had to be mindful of the original layout and planting of the gardens but still be creative.