Dhu Varren Garden Located in Milltown, County Kerry provides all the elements of a botanical garden within its 1 hectare of land.
There’s a marvelous variety of plants from around the
It is a botanical garden developed by Mark and Laura Collins since 2001 to illustrate the diversity of the plant kingdom. The garden includes a Japanese garden with a bridge and a tea house, herb garden, wild garden, fernery and cactus house.
Dhu Varren Garden - named after the birthplace in Co. Antrim of the co-owner Mark Collins - began its development in 2001 and it was the site of an old farmyard up to that time. Each year new areas are established and enhanced and rare plants are constantly added for variety.
Since then it has grown to contain one of the largest and most diverse plant collections of any private garden in Ireland. This continues to grow as new and exciting plants are sourced from around the world. It has been described by visitors as 'Kerry's Botanical Garden'.
The 2.5 acre site, formerly the remains of a farm holding, has been extensively landscaped to create the correct environments the diverse range of plants require.
The relatively mild climate in County Kerry facilitates the cultivation of exciting plants from around the world which would not usually be found at this latitude.
To further expand the plant collections, two large landscaped glasshouses have been constructed to house more tender collections. One of these is home to tropical butterflies in high summer.
To add further interest, a large Koi carp pond is the centre piece of a Japanese Garden. The fish can be enjoyed from the adjacent teahouse, arched bridge or raised formal deck which gives the visitor spectacular views of the garden.
The garden is fully accessible on wood decking or natural stone paths, with numerous places to sit and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. The glasshouses are ideal to shelter from a passing shower.
Many of the plants are labelled and either Mark or Laura are always available to answer any questions relating to the garden. Guided group tours, for those wishing to learn more about the plants, can be arranged in advance.
Plants found growing in the garden are also available for sale in the nursery.
Mark has given presentations to garden groups on the garden and botanical field trips to New Zealand, Mexico, Arizona/California, etc. These can be arranged by contacting Mark directly.
Plants of Note
Palms, Yuccas, Aloes, Aeoniums, Tree Ferns, Tropical plants in tropical house, Cacti, Succulents, Magnolias, Bamboos, Acers, Grasses, Restios, Nothofagus, Sequoias, Aralias, Rhododendrons and many rare species of plants.
You will never see so many different lovely spaces created in such a small garden I could happily spend a few hours reading a book in any of the secluded spots or in the lovely pavilion or tea room.
Two large landscaped glasshouses provide both subtropical and arid plant displays. The former features tropical butterflies in high summer.
Outdoors, landscaped palm and succulent gardens with rock features have been created. Subtropical beds, alpines, fernery, water gardens, an herb garden, yucca avenue and more provide variety.
The water gardens in particular are a wildlife haven for birds and insects. An arboretum of choice trees, shrubs and bamboos provide contrast.
There’s a marvellous variety of plants from around the world;
- a corner known as Red Rock Canyon has beautiful palms and cacti
- Yucca Avenue has plants from the deserts of the U.S. and Mexico
- There’s a Japanese tea-house over-looking a pond with the biggest Carp, (ornamental fish) I’d ever seen - as big as any salmon in the Killarney Lakes.
- The Cacti Glass House has amazing cacti, some with the most beautiful flowers. Mark was saying that he doesn’t have to water them from September to March - the type of plant that would be ideal in many houses
- For me the highlight was the Tropical House. You are surrounded by luxurious growth. The big colourful butterflies really give the whole thing a real tropical experience.
To add further interest, a large Koi carp pond is the centrepiece of a Japanese garden. The fish can be enjoyed from the adjacent tea house, arched bridge and raised formal deck, which gives the visitor spectacular views of the garden.
The garden is fully accessible on wood decking or natural stone paths, with numerous places to sit and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. The glasshouses are ideal to shelter from a passing shower. Rare and special plants are available for sale.
I guarantee you will love the garden and everything about it and marvel at how the owners can grow so many exotic species in our Irish climate. The succulents are a real eye opener and the greenhouses are something to die for. The thought and planning in this garden is a credit to the owners.
Address - Knockreigh, Milltown, County Kerry, Ireland
Opening times - May to August - Friday to Tuesday - 11am-6pm. Other times by appointment
Website - Visit the Dhu Varren Garden website