Hunting Brook Gardens are as boldly idiosyncratic as their creator, who gains his inspiration while bouncing up and down to 1970s club classics.
Jimi Blake doesn’t just love plants. He really loves plants. And after half an hour in his company so would anyone else.He is a colourful character with an even more colourful dress sense, and the garden he has created at Hunting Brook, near Dublin, has earned its place on the grand tour of the Irish greats, alongside Mount Usher and the National Botanic Gardens.
In the lush green landscape of County Wicklow, Jimi combines tropical rarities with the best of the prairie plants in high-octane combinations that take your breath away. Creatively innovative and technically expert, he is also passionate about communicating his enthusiasm to as many people as possible.
This horticultural high profile will come as no surprise to those who knew Jimi as a boy. “I grew up on my parents’ farm with five older brothers and sisters [he is the youngest by 12 years] and I was always mad about plants,” he says.
He had space to make his own little garden and at weekends would set up a stall at the end of the drive and sell the plants he had propagated to passersby. There was one disastrous incident when he accidentally put petrol in a paraffin heater and burned down the greenhouse (and very nearly the house as well), but life at home was generally idyllic.
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