The Powerscourt Blog

Powerscourt Gardens appoints new Head Gardener

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Aug 25, 2015 9:53:05 AM

Renowned Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow has appointed Alex Slazenger as its new Head Gardener. Slazenger has over 10 years’ experience in the horticultural industry, ranging from landscaping to estate garden maintenance. He recently completed a B.Sc. in horticulture at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, specialising in the tree collection at Powerscourt Gardens.


New Head Gardener for Powerscourt Alex Slazenger pictured with Sabina Higgins. 

On his appointment Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate said: "The Head Gardener at Powerscourt is key to the ongoing success and development of Powerscourt Gardens and we are delighted to welcome Alex to the management team. He is already familiar with the detailed maintenance of the gardens having worked with the existing team for the last year replanting the magnificent double herbaceous borders. Alex brings not only great expertise and a love of the estate but also first class credentials from the National Botanic Gardens, as one of the top qualifying students from their horticultural degree programme."

Alex Slazenger said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Head Gardener of Powerscourt Estate. It has been my goal since I started my horticultural career. I have a great love of the gardens and hope to share my passion for them with everyone that visits Powerscourt. It’s a fantastic challenge to both maintain and develop the gardens further and I am really looking forward to my new role.”

Alex will soon be a familiar face to visitors at Powerscourt as he will lead guided walks throughout the coming seasons highlighting plants and trees of interest and the best places to visit in the gardens.

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens

Making up for Midsummer at Powerscourt's Fairy Fest!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 16, 2015 2:32:23 PM

I usually make a big fairy fuss at Midsummer, and for the past few years I've brought the girls on a magical picnic to 'the Fairy Forest' to celebrate. This Midsummer past, however, saw me chasing the sun into the west instead and not spending it with my girls at all! As I drove, I promised myself I would make it up to them as soon as possible. As luck would have it, the opportunity presented itself last week, when we were invited to attend the Fantastical Fairy Fest in Powerscourt Gardens 
We were looking forward to it immensely, but when the time came to leave last Sunday the weather looked like this:
There was rain. But not just a summer shower. There was full-on, torrential downpours with some thunder thrown in for good measure. We ran to the car anyway, with raincoats flung over our flower-crowned heads and crossed our fingers that some fairy magic might do the trick and bring back the sunshine.
Fairy Cousins Waiting for the Festival
As it happened, the good folk from Imaginosity, who were hosting the event, had had convinced the fairies to relocate their garden party indoors - into one of the beautiful rooms in Powerscourt house. There, we were welcomed by three fairies who helped their little guests to practice their fairy moves, make fairy soup, play rainbow games and make little wishes to tie to the wishing tree in the garden.
Lile, Sábha and their little cousin Elsie were absolutely enthralled throughout. 
They excitedly sought out the ingredients for the fairy soup under toadstools, sprinkled fairy dust, tickled toes under the rainbow parachute and carefully considered their wishes. 
After the fairy work was done we were escorted outside to hang our wishes on the fairy bush... in what we assumed would be more torrential rain - but no! The fairy magic had worked and there was glorious sunshine and gorgeous gardens to greet us. 
We spent the rest of our afternoon looking for water fairies in the lakes and fountains, looking for woodland fairies among the trees and and having a very lovely time indeed. 
We rounded off the afternoon with an ice-cream from the little kiosk in the courtyard and the three tired fairies went home very happy.
Powerscourt runs a year-round events programme including treasure hunts, guided walks, gardening workshops, bug hunts, theatre evenings and much more that all the family will enjoy. The Fantastical Fairy Fest event was a 30 minute interactive 'show'. It had a snappy pace that kept the sizable crowd of young children moving and engaged throughout. The event price also included entry to the gardens. My girls really enjoyed themselves and it was a gorgeous Summer 'day-out' that will be fondly remembered.
For more information about Powerscourt Gardens, one of the world's greatest gardens click HERE.
And check out their events page HERE
To read more things about Powerscourt that I have shared on this blog, click HERE and HERE.
To learn how to make a flower crown, like the ones my girls are wearing in the photos, click HERE!
This blog article is kindly re-produced from its original blog with permission from author Sadhbh Devlin. Check out Sadhbh's parenting blog where she writes about seasonal celebrations, simple craft projects and the adventures she has with her girls. 
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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Guest Blog, Events, Powerscourt House

A Review of Chapterhouse Theatre Company's 'The Secret Garden'

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 3, 2015 3:58:00 PM

Blog Post by Kerry Gordon

Open air theatre is a wonderful and intimate way to be up close and personal with a play. The cast of 'The Secret Garden' are such accomplished performers that you feel like a character in this enchanting story rather than a spectator.


It helps when it is set in the walled garden of Powerscourt Estate, with the house looking magnificent in the background - you really do feel like you are in a secret garden!


We saw this production last weekend when Chapterhouse Theatre returned with to Ireland with 'The Secret Garden'. The atmosphere was wonderful, luckily in the sunshine, with champagne corks popping and families of all generations spread out on picnic blankets.


The music and singing was an unexpected joy in this new take of an old classic and the puppetry is a trademark of Chapterhouse and its brilliant actors.



The show itself was funny, touching and engaging and in such a beautiful setting it was impossible to not be taken away and drawn into the storytelling.



Kids were enthralled by the acting from beginning to end and I would highly recommend it as an introduction to any new theatre goers.


There was even time to pop to the Avoca shop to get some of their famous scones and tea during the interval.


Make sure you come and see them next summer. It's a really lovely afternoon which I would recommend unreservedly!


Until next time ...



Chapterhouse Theatre Company is a professional open-air touring company committed to creating innovative, accessible productions of classic texts and stories and presenting magical theatre in magical surroundings. The wonderfully talented cast of 'The Secret Garden' includes: Luke de Belder, Matthew Christmas, Graham Hill, Laura Kent, Eve Niker, Bryony Tebbutt


About Kerry Gordon: Kerry Gordon lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow with her daughter Molly and greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall and then going to the gardens followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Guest Blog, Events

What's in Bloom at Powerscourt Gardens?

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 17, 2015 10:57:44 AM

Powerscourt Gardens is open year-round and visitors can enjoy our magnificent collection of plants, flowers and trees throughout the year.

Here is a list of what you can expect to see in bloom when you visit Powerscourt Gardens! Enjoy :)


  • Skimmia Jap Rubella
  • Winter Flowering Jasmine
  • Bergenia 'Pink Salmon'
  • Viburnum Tinus 'Eve Price'
  • Mahonia Japanese 'Belai' and 'Charity'
  • Hamamelis Mollis 'Intermedia' - Witch Hazel
  • Erica Calluna and Darleyensis - Winter and Spring Heathers
  • Iberis 'Border' Small White Flower
  • Daphne 'Mezereum' and 'Jacqueline Postill'
  • Cornus alba Sibirica 'Dogwood' and other varieties
  • Holly Variegated
  • Prunus Sub Autumnalis
  • Galanthus (Snowdrop)
  • Crocus Tommasinianus (Early Crocus)
  • Narcissus (Daffodil)
  • Camellia
  • Rhododendron
  • Helleborus - Christmas Rose and Lenten Rose
  • Polyanthus
  • Viola
  • Abies Koreana (korean fir)
  • Taxus fastigiata aurea (golden yew)
  • Picea pungens Glauca (blue spruce)
  • Acacia (mimosa)
  • Prunus cerasifera nigra (pink cherry plum
  • Hamamellis (witch hazel) in variety
  • Garrya elliptica
  • Corylus avellana contorta
  • lonicera standishii
  • Pulmonaria angustifolia
  • Helleborus niger (christmas rose)
  • Crocus tommasinianus (early crocus)
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Erica darleyensis (winter heather)



  • Forsythia
  • flowering quince (chaenomeles speciosa)
  • Viburnum Carlesii/tinus
  • Erica carnea
  • Camellia (in variety) 7-10 different colours
  • Rhododendron (in variety) many colours
  • Acacia dealbata
  • Alnus glutinosa
  • Bergenia abendglut
  • Amelanchier
  • Cornus mas
  • Berberis thunbergii
  • Arbutus menzies
  • Ceanothus cascade
  • Cercis chinensis
  • Narcissus/daffodil(daffodil meadow on the eastwing of the gardens)
  • Tulip(in variety)
  • Winter bedding - wallflowers,panseys,polyanthus,viola,myosotis,bellis flowering till may time



  • Cyclamen coum
  • Pieris japonica
  • Acer rubrum (red maple)
  • Erica darleyensis
  • Salix lanata
  • Helleborus orientalis
  • Magnolia (many varieties,purples,pinks,whites)
  • Wisteria florabunda
  • Laburnum watereri vossii
  • Ribes sanguneum
  • Prunus (cherry blossom,apple blossom)
  • Azalea (in variety)
  • Lavateria rosea
  • Cytisus praecox
  • Verbascum
  • Agrapanthus (african lily)



  • Daphne retus
  • Qsmanthus buckwoodi
  • Rhodendron species
  • Ceanothus
  • Genista hispanica
  • Syringa vulgaris
  • Viburnum carlesii
  • Viburnum mariesii
  • Pieris mountain fire
  • Lavandula spica
  • Acer chitoseyama
  • Rhodendron gibraltar/baden baden
  • Exochorda(the bride)
  • Deutzia rosea
  • Philadelphus belle etoile
  • Cistus
  • Fermontodendron californicum
  • Lonicera pericymenum
  • Sorbus aria lutescens
  • Photinia red robin
  • Laburnum adamii/vulgare
  • Malus red sentinel
  • Prunus shirotae
  • Embothrium coccineum
  • Cornus capitata
  • Alnus cordata
  • Magnolia soulangeana
  • Crataegus monogyna
  • Dicentra spectabilis 
  • Convallaria majalis
  • Viola in variety
  • Myositis
  • Bellis pink buttons
  • Spring pansies
  • Erysimum cheiri-wallflowers
  • Large variety of late april early may tulips
  • Papaver orientale
  • Anemone coronaria
  • Iris germanica
  • Saxifraga umbrosa
  • Aquilegia vulgaris
  • Euphorbia
  • Japaneese primula
  • Dicentra Formosa



  • Achillea
  • Alchemillia Mollis (many other varities on the border)
  • Allium
  • Anthemis (white lily)
  • Armeria
  • Astilbe (in variety)
  • Senecio
  • Buddleja davidii
  • Ceanothus buckwoodii
  • Choisya
  • Clematis
  • Cornus
  • Dianthus
  • Fox glove (digitalis)
  • Fushia
  • Lavendar
  • Escallonia
  • Embothrium (chiliean fire bush)
  • Echinops
  • Hydrangea (in variety), lacecap/mophead
  • leptospernum (NZ tea tree)
  • Hebe (variety)
  • Hypericum
  • Lonicera (honeysuckle)
  • Paeony
  • Dahlia (large displays,very unusual colours)
  • Philadelphius
  • Pyracantha
  • Papaver
  • Osmanthius
  • Oleria
  • Nepeta (latmint)
  • Myrtus luma (chiliean myrtle)
  • Spirea japonica
  • Choisya
  • Vinca
  • Weigelia



  • Achillea
  • Acanitumn
  • Crocosmia (in variety)
  • Canna (lily)
  • Chaenomeles
  • Banksia
  • Iris
  • Lilac
  • Orchid
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Sedum (many varieties)
  • Sunflowers
  • Phlox
  • Rudbeckia
  • Skimmea japonica
  • Pieris japonica
  • Spirea
  • Lysmachia
  • Hyacinth
  • Gypsophila
  • Ilex in variety
  • Mahonia



  • Prunus serrula
  • Pinus bungeana
  • Eucalyptus niphophila
  • Betula ermanii
  • Metasequoia glyptostroboides
  • iris unguicularis
  • Hakonechloa macra
  • Brassica oleracea
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Mahonia
  • Skimmea
  • Ilex
  • Bergenia
  • Garria elliptica
  • Cotoneaster
  • Jasminum
  • Sarcococca
  • Euonymus
  • Erica carnea
  • Aucuba Japonica
  • Snowdrops
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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Gardening

Fantastical Fairy Fest in Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 10, 2015 2:30:14 PM

Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum, will soon be spreading their happy magic with a Fantastical Fairy Fest in Powerscourt’s Walled Gardens in beautiful County Wicklow! Creating an enchanted atmosphere for children and adults, this event will be filled with fairy dust, magical pathways, fairy games and activities.

There will be a best dressed fairy competition in each session for all magical folk who attend, including mammies and daddies! Children will also work with magical fairies to design and create their very own fairy wishes to take home and keep!


The event takes place on the 5th of July from 12.30pm onwards and is suitable for children aged 3-10. Included in the ticket price is entry to the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens.

With over 47 acres to explore, children will love playing and walking along the winding pathways and rambling walks of Powerscourt.

Advance booking is essential; you can book online through the Powerscourt Website:

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events

Powerscourt Gardens awarded 2015 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 9, 2015 4:36:00 PM

Recognised as a Top Performing Business as Reviewed by Travellers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

We are thrilled to let you know that Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall today received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award! Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great l reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience. We are absolutely thrilled with the news!

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. The reviews over the past year have been really positive and we want to say a big thanks to all of our customers who have reviewed us and helped us to achieve this wonderful result!


“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Powerscourt House and Gardens and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

"TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travellers on the site,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

To see more customer reviews of Powerscourt, please visit our website. Many thanks again to all of our visitors. We look forward to welcoming you to Powerscourt again soon!

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens

Nature Detectives at Powerscourt Waterfall - A Review!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 8, 2015 12:58:59 PM

I love Powerscourt Waterfall and have been there a few times over the last couple of years with the children; however, we haven’t been there as a family for over four years. So I was delighted when we were invited to attend the Imaginosity event ‘Nature Detectives’ at Powerscourt Waterfall yesterday!


We intended on arriving early and having a quick play at the playground before meeting up with the Imaginosity team by ‘the big tree’ as instructed on the ticket. Of course, best laid plans meant that we arrived breathless and just in time. I was smiling brightly and trying to ignore the - ‘I am too old for this’ and ‘talk about a good walk ruined’ comments from our eldest and Mr Dad.


Quite aptly for the weekend that was in it, the meeting place was clearly marked by a bright rainbow coloured parachute which was laid out on the ground. Martina - one of the three Imaginosity staff present - welcomed us all warmly and chatted animatedly about our plans for the day. You could not help but be infused with a little of her boundless enthusiasm (which was still there at the end of the day, even when some brats children were getting  a little rambunctious).


All the children were given a sheet of clues and a pencil, told where to start and what time to return and then we were off! It was all a bit crowded and manic at the start but by the time we had reached the third clue we had all spread out and were happily going at our own pace. Everyone, that is, except my boy Conan who is nothing if not competitive. He was bailing along following the trail and ticking off all the clues without a backward glance to us. Paul had to catch up with him and encourage him to wait for the rest of his team (a.k.a. his family) to catch up!


Caoimhe, who was ‘too old’, didn’t take long to get into the spirit of things and was soon caught up in the trail and discovering a few fun facts that were laid out along the way. Did you know the air up at Powerscourt Waterfall is negatively charged, so breathing it in promotes a refreshed and relaxed feeling?? I do now!


We fairly powered through the nature trail and discovered a few things that were not on the list, such as the Fairy Tree which was pointed out to us by Martina – the staff didn’t rest on their laurels but popped up here and there along the trail to keep us on track. Importantly, they also gave us space to enjoy ourselves as a family.


The trail ended at the waterfall where we hung out for a while, climbing and exploring, before meeting back with the rest of the crew at the appointed time. Martina and crew had some samples of wild flowers and plastic insects and bugs which were laid out for the children to examine with magnifying glasses. Caoimhe and Conan delighted in putting  the bugs in the magnifying jar and examining them in great detail.


The best part of the event, according to my children, were the games at the end; they got to have sack races and play organised games with the parachute, laughing and giggling throughout. The best part according to me was that the children really did stop to look at and examine the natural world around them.


Then it was time to say goodbye to the very popular Imaginosity team who really did deserve medals (or at least an ice-cream). Our day didn’t end there. We headed up to the fantastic playground where the children played happily for a good hour before we shared a tub of candy floss and headed home, tired but happy.  We will definitely be making a few trips back there over the Summer!


Disclaimer: We were invited to attend ‘Nature Detectives’ for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and words are my own.

Aisling Lyons

Aisling is a blogger for Powerscourt Estate who writes about our family events throughout the year. Aisling runs a parenting blog which you can follow here.

Bio: My name is Aisling Lyons, stay at home mother of three, and sometime radio pundit ;).I have over 20 years experience in the childcare sector, starting out as nursery nurse before moving into nannying, and then returning to work in creches for over 14 years, twelve of which were in creche management. I managed a private creche "Johnstown Kiddiecare" in Kilpeddar, Co. Wicklow, and then moved into Dublin to manage the nursery on-site in Trinity College Dublin. I finally left that position to open my own creche "Aisling Childcare", which I ran for seven years. I closed the creche when baby number three was imminent as I really wanted to focus on motherhood. I am passionate about children being given the very best opportunities to allow them to grow up to be happy and confident. I set up a blog to help any parents struggling with the little and large problems that parenting young children can bring! I really hope that some ideas I bring will help families thrive and forge ahead!: )

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Guest Blog, Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

Discover the Secret Garden at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 26, 2015 2:13:39 PM

Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company in the magical surroundings of Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow as they present The Secret Garden in one of Ireland’s most stunning open-air venues. The event takes place on Sunday 28th of June at 1.30pm and is a family friendly production suitable for children of all ages.


Meet young Mary Lennox on her journey of discovery as she travels to her uncle’s house deep in the Yorkshire countryside, where unexpected friends and very magical creatures help her unlock the mystery of the secret garden. Alive with music and song and an array of especially designed puppet creatures, Mary’s story and The Secret Garden promises to capture the very spirit of summer and to be one of the highlights of the open-air garden theatre season.


This most enchanting story, loved by children and adults alike, will be enjoyed by all the family. Bring along a picnic and soak up the views while you relax in one of Ireland’s most beautiful gardens. To book visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Events, Wicklow

Practical Herbs for Health with Isobel Jordan Keeling

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 18, 2015 10:58:00 AM

Practical Herbs for Health with Isobel Jordan Keeling

Celebrate National Herb Week at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion in Enniskerry County Wicklow on May 26th at 11.30am and help a local charity, the Wicklow Hospice. All funds raised at this talk will go to the hospice.

In this talk fully qualified and practicing herbalist, Isobel Jordan Keeling will introduce all the families of herbs that a herbalist uses, and the ailments which can be treated using these herbs. Isobel will demonstrate various home remedies and home recipes that we can all use as part of our own family health care. You will learn about the best times to harvest herbs, and how to prepare teas, oils, tinctures, creams and compresses.


The cost per ticket is €5 and advance booking is required. For more information on this event visit

Isobel Jordan Keeling is a qualified Herbalist and Naturopath practicing in Windgates, Greystones. She treats clients with a wide variety of ailments, and has a particular interest in the prevention and complimentary treatment of cancer. Isobel leads foraging walks and demonstrations of how to use the wild herbs in teas, creams and much more.


About Wicklow Hospice

Wicklow Hospice Foundation is a voluntary organisation set up by the People of Wicklow for the People of Wicklow. Its aims are to improve and promote Palliative Care services in the Community, to bring a Consultant on board and to build a stand-alone specialist unit for the people of Wicklow.  In order to bring this project to fruition they need to raise €2.5 million. 

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Topics: Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events, Gardening

Guided walking tour of Powerscourt Gardens with Sara Waldburg

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 14, 2015 4:44:16 PM

With thanks to Kerry Gordon for this review!

"As a long time visitor to Powerscourt Gardens it was interesting to take a guided tour with Sara Waldburg, an expert on all things houses, castles and gardens in Ireland!


A charming host she met our amiable and chatty group with a surprise up her sleeve that – Alex Slazenger, one of the younger generation of the Slazenger family that owns Powerscourt Estate  – was to join us.  Alex turned out to be great fun and one of the gardening team so his insight, especially about the herbaceous border, was very interesting.


As you can see from my photo blog we wound our way around the Estate looking at the breathtaking array of statues, gates and fountains carefully picked by the Wingfield Family.











The Powerscourt blog is full of wonderful historical information and you can read the fascinating story of how this wondrous garden is now here for us to enjoy.



Information on the statues can be found here:

Read more about the Gates of Powerscourt:

Read about the Italian Gardens, the Terraces and Triton Lake:

Read more about the Pet Cemetery:

Read about Powerscourt House:"

Until next time!

Kerry Gordon

About Sara Waldburg: Sara is the Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens of Ireland is a County Wicklow resident and a good friend of Powerscourt.

About Kerry Gordon: Kerry lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow with her daughter Molly and Greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall and then going to the Gardens followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Guest Blog, Events, Gardening

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