Woodville House and Garden
Woodville House and Garden is located on the outskirts of the town of New Ross, County Wexford on a working farm owned by Gerald and Helen Roche. The Victorian house was built in 1810 and originally owned by Gerald’s Great Great Grandfather, a grain merchant from Enniscorthy who bought the property in 1877 so he could use the deep water harbours at New Ross and Wexford for the shipping of his grain overseas to England and Scotland.
A large bulk of the grain went to Isle of Isla in Scotland for making Whiskey. Gerald, the 5th generation of the Roche family to own this beautiful estate, moved into Woodville House with his wife, Helen, and their three children in 2003. As custodian of this inheritance, Gerald and Helen are focused on preserving its originality, unique garden and woodlands, plant species and content for future generations.
The entrance to the farm and garden is off the R700 through an impressive gate with Gate Lodge. As you drive down the long meandering avenue you get the first glimpse of the parkland planted with specimen trees that include cyprus, cedar and pines. Nearing the house in a magnificent weeping birch, flowering shrubs and towering over the tennis court is a beautiful Eucalyptus tree with its silvery bark and leaves contrasting against the blue sky. When I visited in May, the Azalea bush on the driveway was in full bloom, a solid mass of deep pink colour against deep greens and a backdrop of the striking Victorian house.
This mature Victorian Walled Garden, 1.2 acres in size, is to the rear of the house and in the words of Gerald, “is a gardener’s garden”. It’s functional with an array of vegetables and a herb garden providing fresh produce for the household, several varieties of fruit trees such as apples, pears cherries and flowering plants and shrubs. Gerald’s mother, Irene, loved her roses and there are several old varieties in the garden including a unique plant with a variegated leaf that she had grafted.
The original box hedge runs through the garden neatly dividing the garden into sections creating some directive to the planted areas. Large pear trees cling to the impressive thirteen foot high stone walls held together with lime mortar and form the boundary to the south and west side of the garden maximising on the sun / heat coverage. On the east side are the original Messenger Glass Houses built there in 1890.
In 1936, Gerald’s Grandmother, Gwendalline (born 1925), planted a mixture of 30 cooking and eating apples purchased from Loxton Brothers of Bath, in the UK for £30 with a delivery cost of 9 shillings. A lot of these trees are still producing and have the original “tree tag” still on them.
Gerald’s mother and father, Irene and Peter Roche, moved into Woodville House in 1954 and took over the role as curator of this garden. Irene was a keen Gardner and had a reputation for flower arranging. His Dad, Peter, was a keen bird watcher and was President of Bird Watch Ireland, Irene sadly passed away in 2014 transferring the responsibility of this garden to Gerald and Helen to care for generations to come
The Messenger Glass Houses house rare and difficult plants to grow and propagate. One such plant is the “Forget Me Not” from Chatham Island off New Zealand. There is a huge “Bird of Paradise” plant, massive cacti and an “Asparagus Fern” that has been in the same pot, in the same corner of the glass house for over a 100 years. Hanging from the glass ceiling are grape and pear vines. The floor was covered in young plants, propagated from seeds and cuttings from the garden. In a corner of the garden there was the “friends garden” where cuttings are swapped between gardeners helping each other to strengthen their individual stock plants.
Wandering back to the front of the house and towards the perimeter of the farm looking north, is a heavy mature woodland covering up the route of the old railway that ran from Macmines to New Ross. It was decommissioned in the 1960.
As you walk down the gentle slope of a well maintained lawn to the front of the house, planted with colourful shrubs, including camellias and rhododendrons, is the twin tennis courts. To your left, you pass under the mature Weeping Larch. Stop a while under its embracing drooping branches and absorb its beauty. This leads to the Water Garden, a tranquil haven of shade and water loving plants, the quiet only broken by the soothing sound of trickling water as it cascades down the bank to the wetland below. The pool, originally built by Gerald’s mother and father as a dip pool where one could cool off on a hot summer day has now been taken over by local nature as tadpoles and frogs populate this wet reserve as do the dragonflies and butterflies quenching their thirst. There was a number of colourful maple and Rhododendron trees which were in full colour when I visited.
This woodland is original, with magnificent mature hardwood trees like Oak, Ash and Beech and softwoods like Douglass Fir and Scotch Pine. When I was there in May, the Blue Bells and Wild Garlic carpeted the forest floor and in the tree tops the Ravens were competing with one another with their rocus calls. To the lower end of the woodland was a marsh area and Gerald tells me that it is frequented by wild duck and otters. Other wildlife that frequent the area are woodpeckers, buzzards, lizards, pine martins, fox, red squirrels, badgers and of course an abundance of songbirds.
Address: Woodville House Garden, New Ross, Co Wexford, Ireland
Telephone: 051 4229057 , 097 9709826 (Gerald Direct)
Sat Nav: 52.41980 -6.93443
Web Site: https://woodvillegardens.ie
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