video, 52 minutes, $29.95
"Is there an Irish garden style?" That's the question asked by our charming Irish guide as he leads us through a variety of Irish gardens. By the time we have finished our tour, that question is still unanswered.
Some say Irish gardens are nothing more than land, water and stone, and that may hold true for some of the windswept gardens on the Irish wild and rocky west coast, such as the Burren. But then there are the lush, naturalistic gardens warmed by the Gulf Stream, with their collections of tree ferns and rhododendrons imported from Tasmania and the Himalayas; the tiny cottage-style gardens with their terraced lawns, reflecting pools, beech hedges and stately allees; the heritage gardens that preserve Ireland's ancient artifacts; gardens designed to reflect the natural world; urban gardens; gardens as a place to display contemporary art; and greenhouses full of orchids and other exotic tropicals.
Trying to describe an Irish garden, one gardener suggested that they were a bit wild, a little mad, and always a place for fun. Obviously, Ireland's gardens are as varied as the people who do the gardening. I found listening to these people as interesting as looking at the gardens themselves.
— Jim Kemper