Wells House and the garden landscape were designed by Daniel Roberston, best remembered for designing the garden terraces at Powerscourt, Co Wicklow and Johnstown Castle, Wexford. At Wells House, Robertson redesigned the old house into a large brick faced building, designed in the Tudor Gothic style, with an elaborate landscaping scheme. The Terraced Garden and Woodland Walk have recently been reinstated and are now open to visitors.
Between 1835 and 1838, Robertson drew up plans for the rear of Wells House including Terraces, Lawns, a Radiated Garden, Arboretum and extensive Woodlands and Drives all of which were constructed and planted. All of these garden areas can be seen today. The essential garden structural works survive, as does the Woodland with its now mature oaks and designed paths. While a selection of plants in the Radiated Garden and the Arboretum are still in existence, most of Robertson’s planting on the Terraces did not survive. His original terrace plans were very labour intensive, they consisted of many small impractical flower beds with tender plants that changed seasonally. In this garden restoration, Robertson’s overall design and path layouts are reinstated, with the plants and plant combinations being hardier and more sustainable. While echoing the past, the restored gardens will be interesting and appropriate.
At the front of Wells House, Robertson was also responsible for the design of the driveway which is aligned in the Tudor manner, on the central axis of the facade of the house. This is The Great Avenue and The Circus of the Great Avenue which survive today. A number of oaks are now being replanted to restore this impressive landscape.
Daphne Levinge Shackleton of Real Gardens for Special Places is responsible for the restoration of the gardens. She has worked throughout Ireland restoring heritage gardens, many of which are open to the public, and creating artistic and inspiring gardens where interesting plants and plant combinations are especially important to the garden and client.
The remainder of the gardens will undergo extensive restoration over the coming years. We hope you will enjoy your visit to the gardens, and hope you will return to follow the progress of their reinstatement and flowering throughout the seasons.