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Dillon Garden, The


Stunning garden with constantly evolving design, dramatic water feature and unusual plants

45 Sandford Road
Dublin 6
Dublin City
website Contact Dillon Garden, The
Tel: +353 1 497 1308

Please mention when enquiring.

Dillon Garden, The

Opening Months: March, April, May, June, July, August, September
Opening Days:
Opening Hours: daily, March, July, August and Sundays only in April, May, June and September
Admission Charge: €5. Groups 10+ by arrangement €10 to include short talk in drawing room, tea/coffee biscuits
  • Appointment Only
  • Admission Charge

The Dillon Garden is deservedly one of the most revisited of Irish gardens. It isn’t just the wonderful parade of plants unfolding through the seasons in this stunning garden that draws visitors back again and again. You simply have to keep on returning to see out what garden writer and plantswoman Helen and husband Val Dillon have done next. For this is an evolving garden, where new design ideas are introduced every year so that in the space of a decade almost every inch of the garden has been rethought.

One of the most daring changes of all involved replacing the verdant rectangle of lawn surrounded by exuberant borders in the back garden with a 30 foot long canal. Featuring a series of five shallow cascades, its edges paved in granite, the canal acts like a Baroque ‘mirroir d’eaux’, reflecting silvery light and establishing formality amid statuesque plants as vivid as a chorus line up. Blues and lilacs with frou frous of delphiniums, salvias and galega are offset by the glaucus foliage of Melianthus major and silvery Salix exigua, then face an opposing dance of carmines, pinks and scarlets.

It isn’t just the structure of the garden that has altered, the way plants are used changes by the season. Tall plants and grasses have insinuated themselves into the scheme of things: choice salvias, Pseudopanax, the ginger lily Hedychium forestii (hardy yet as showy as any canna) and shimmering grasses like Chionochola conspicuahave become the new stars of a collection featuring several thousand plants. Clashing effects also strike a new note with vivid magenta dahlias vying with coral salvias and pink fuchsias.

Helen removed the last area of grass in the garden from under a venerable apple tree. In its place stately Helianthus‘Lemon Queen’ heliopsis, inula, peusdopanax and paulownia now throw long legged shadows in a gravel garden.

Embarking on a new bed is one thing, revamping whole sections of an existing garden requires courage. The changes are part of Helen’s search for a different approach to gardening,”What I want is mobility in the garden, it’s very static when there are treasures that need to be kept in isolation, I’ve done that and I now have the guts to take things out, I’m always lecturing people on taking things out. And I have to shut my eyes and do it!”

Another dramatic transformation took place last autumn when the raised front garden, with beds of treasures like cherished celmesias, was swept away in favour of the calm green effect introduced by a grove of birches under planted with forms of ferns like Polystichum setiferum and Onycium japonicum.

Around the perimeter are a series of small gardens within a garden, and an enclosed area with raised scree beds is filled with plants requiring TLC, like the autumn snowdrop Galanthus reginae-olgae. Individual plants like the silver foliaged Crataegus lanciata, Cestrum parqui (stinky by day and perfumed by night to attract moths), Strobilanthes atropupreusbehaving like a shrub, and Desmodium eleganscatch the eye. But of course they may in time be replaced by something equally fascinating!

Best time of year to visit: March, June, July, August, September

Groups & Tours

  • Groups Accepted
  • Groups Need Appointments
  • Accept Only Groups
  • Guided Tours

Minimum Group Size:


Tour Days:

Tour Times

Garden too small, but one or both of the owners are usually here



The Dublin Garden Group





Other Facilities

Unsuitable for children under 10 years; Refreshments and House viewing only for groups

The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
The Dillon Garden - Ranelagh Dublin 6 Ireland
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Southern suburb of Dublin, near church at intersection of Sandford Road and Marlborough Road. See website for detailed map

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