As a child when the word garden was spoken, to me it meant a vast meadow that flowed to the sea in a sheet of green or white depending on the season. It meant games, running, rolling in the grass, the sparkle of wildflowers, a canopy of blue or fun in the snow in winter.
The cottage garden was a less developed concept, only experienced at my maternal grandmother's in Keels, NL. This small plot bordered by a white fence and gate was the exact opposite of my usual garden experiences. It was special, protected and tended- nothing wild was allowed.
When I walked the grounds of Birr Castle, I re-connected with my early life. I kept going back to the wildflower meadow because it was here I felt a home. I loved the sculptural aspects and order of the formal garden, but I always felt like a visitor there.