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The summer holidays are finally here and many of us are heading away on beachy sun-filled breaks. Lying on the beach is the ultimate way to relax but plant and nature based holidays are proven to be a great way to de-stress and rejuvenate. One lovely nature themed package deal can be found right here in our own beautiful country.

Powerscourt Hotel and Spa have created a ‘Powerscourt in Bloom’ package which aims to give you the ultimate luxury break in the middle of Wicklow’s most impressive nature. What better way to relax than having a lovely picnic prepared and exploring the Powerscourt House & Gardens next door to the hotel which was recently voted No. 3 in the Top 10 Gardens of the World by National Geographic.

The gardens of Powerscourt have so much to explore and at this time of the year it is truly exploding with colour. One of my favourite parts of the gardens are the incredible Japanese gardens. These gardens slope into  a small rock filled valley with a Japanese Gazebo at the bottom the design. Elegant, understated and beautifully structured and maintained. This space is lovely to walk through, appealing to all senses from the scent of cool mosses at the water feature to the rustling of the breeze in the Acer leaves.

Here Azaleas, Rhododendrons flower impressively, flanked by subtle Japanese Maples and pines. One of the most subtle and elegant plants is the Viburnum. These gardens have various types of the lovely deciduous flowering shrub. There are Viburnum Tinus Eve Prince, Viburnum Carlesii, as well as the one I have pictured here-the Viburnum plicatum Mariesii.

This bushy shrub is a lovely understated addition to any small garden space, particularly spaces that benefit from a well structured design. This shrub has wide-spreading tiered branches and deeply veined deep green leaves. Most of all I love the delicate balls of flowers in late Spring to summer which are almost lace-like in structure and remind of the blooms of some Hydrangeas.

Viburnums like full sun or semi shade, so are perfect here in the semi shaded valley, and do well in moist but well drained soils. An interesting visual bonus is that the leaves turn purple in Autumn and so would be lovely planted with some Japanese Maples whose leaves also take on golden orange hues in Autumn.

This type of elegant Japanese planting is great for a relaxing atmosphere and a calming of the mind and I have to say, after leaving the gardens I felt truly chilled out. A testament to the fact that the perfect place to get away is right on our doorstep!

For more on the Powerscourt in Bloom Package go to

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