As West Cork slowly opens up again, we welcomed the news that the Heron Gallery in Ahakista was once again serving food in its wonderful garden setting. The only excuse we needed to head over to the Sheep’s Head!
This garden is one of those on the West Cork Garden Trail and most of them are opening now, late this year, of course. According to Trail President, Jean Perry, Like many of us, garden owners have had lots of time on their hands this year and the outcome is that gardens of the West Cork Garden Trail are to an exceptional standard and have never looked better!
I can vouch for the truth of this as regards the Heron Gallery. There is nothing more delightful than to linger over one of their delicious lunches, or just a latte and cake, seated outside by the pond, and then to wander through the garden.
Annabel and Klaus have been working on this garden for about fifteen years. It was just a field when they took it over – that’s hard to imagine now. For Annabel, it is a haven and an inspiration. Take a look at her website and especially at her blog where she writes about the nature all around her and her latest projects.
The garden is a paean of praise to both the natural and the cultivated. The traditional herbaceous borders are at their most colourful right now and feature clever little inserts of sculptures and objects of metal, pottery and wood.
Wander through the more formal garden and you come to the wildflower meadow – all native plants, most of which have simply volunteered, although Annabel has also carefully introduced harebells and local orchids. I spent most of my time here, observing the mix of flowers and grasses.
By the time we left the cafe was busy with lunch service. This is a garden that adults and kids both love. The piggies are a universal favourite, but sharp little eyes will discover many hidden delights.
The gallery is devoted to Annabel’s art. She works in a staggering variety of media and sells her paintings and products all over Ireland, as well as in her own galleries, here and in Kenmare.
Many thanks to Annabel Langrish and her team for creating this spectacular little oasis on the Sheep’s Head. It was just what we needed this week and we look forward to more visits over the summer.