How can I help?

RHSI Garden Russborough

Opening times for the RHSI Walled Garden

Workdays will be 6th and 9th March and then every Wednesday and Saturday after that.

The August issue of The Irish Garden magazine has an interesting article by Fionuala Fallon on the RHSI walled garden in Russborough with photos of the garden and the volunteers hard at work.

The walled garden in Russborough, established in the 18th century, was once hugely productive supplying all the staff and their families living in Russborough with fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The walled garden had been largely neglected for many years when, in 2011, the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland (RHSI) took on the task of regenerating the garden under a 25 year licence agreement with the Alfred Beit Foundation.

This project is being undertaken by a group of gardening volunteers with funding by donations and grants and the sale of .plants and produce.

The area to the north of the centre path has been almost fully re-developed with double herbaceous borders, a new fruit plot, herb bed, holding rows, a new ornamental area with curved beds and wildflower circle backed by a Sweet Pea fence in summer. There are new productive perennial and rotational vegetable beds as well as both tender perennials and annual edibles in one of the existing glasshouses.

The area south of the centre path, which was home to a flock of sheep for the first few years of our project, has now been divided into four separate areas with hedging. We hope to develop these to include a Rose Garden, an Irish Garden Plant Garden and a Shade Garden.

We are always in need of more resources, both human and financial. If you would like to volunteer with us please talk to one of the gardeners or contact our Volunteer Coordinator on or 0876689381

Future Developments

RHSI Garden Russborough will be laid out along the lines of the original traditional walled garden, with eight sections, four of which will contain all manner of fruits and vegetables, with a central path flanked by billowing mixed borders and round pond at its centre. The other half of the garden will feature display gardens including a rose garden and a garden celebrating Irish Garden Plants, among others. This is an ambitious programme of develoment.

For further information on Russborough House please visit

The Garden Plan and Benefits

We believe the successful completion of our targets in restoring the garden will make our Society, and RHSI Garden Russborough, accessible to a much wider audience, drawn from throughout Ireland and overseas. Our enhanced education role will enable many young people to acquire a love and knowledge of gardening that will benefit future generations.

Advisory Panel

Anne James

A distinguished horticulturalist in charge of RHSI Garden Russborough, she holds a Masters in Horticulture from the RHS, MA in Garden History/Archaeology from Bristol University and was Executive Park Superintendent of Fingal County Council prior to her retirement. Among her achievements is the cataloguing of the entire plant collection of the Talbot Botanic Gardens, Malahide in 1982-83, following which she was curator of the gardens. Anne also managed the restoration of the derelict walled garden at Ardgillan Demesne in 1992.

Daphne Shackleton

A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where she took an Honours degree in Botany followed by a PhD, Daphne went on to practice as an environmental consultant. She managed the Shackleton garden at Beech Park in Clonsilla, Co Dublin while bringing up her family and now manages her organic farm and gardens at Lakeview, Mullagh, Co Cavan. As a botanical artist she exhibited her work in many group shows in the 1980s. For the past ten years she has combined her expertise in plants, ecology and gardens with her artistic skills in a successful garden consultancy practice in Ireland and abroad. 

Diarmuid Gavin

Garden designer, author and TV presenter, Diarmuid won an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal in 2011 and a Silver Gilt in 2012, the latter for his innovative 80ft Westland Magical Tower Garden, which won the Most Creative Show Garden prize, the first time it had been awarded in five years. He is well known in both the UK and Ireland as a presenter of BBC’s Home Front in the Garden and RTÉ’s I Want a Garden. 

Hellen Dillon

Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, Holder of the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal, awarded to persons of any nationality who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture. Helen is a garden designer, writer and broadcaster, and owner of the iconic Dillon Garden in Dublin with her husband Val. She has been on many plant-hunting expeditions, and has lectured extensively abroad, and is the author of many well-known gardening books. 

John Anderson

Head Gardener at Exbury Gardens, Hampshire, and formerly in charge of Mount Usher Garden, Wicklow. John is responsible for preserving the important collection of rhododendron hybrids raised at Exbury, as well as the outstanding collections of trees. Renowned as a plantsman, he is a member of the RHS Woody Plants committee.

Joy Larkcom

One of Britain’s most respected vegetable experts and garden writers, Joy has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, radio and TV programmes and has lectured all over the world. Her accolades include winning the Garden Writer of the Year award three times, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild in 2003, and the prestigious RHS Veitch Memorial Medal for horticulture in 1993. 

Matthew Jebb

Director of the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin since 2010, Matthew took his primary degree and PhD at Oxford University. He is an Irish taxonomist and botanist specialising in the ant plant genera. He was Keeper of the Herbarium and Taxonomist at Glasnevin from 1998, until his appointment as Director. His research interests are varied and include the origin and conservation of Irish flora, the flora of Clare Island and other small island floras.

How can I help?

"How can I help?" must be one of the most encouraging questions we can hear. Everyone can play a part, and there are many ways in which you can do so.

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