The Kitchen Potager
A path through a thick, pine scented grove of trees to the gate of the Potager which was created by Darina Allen in 1989 on the site of a former haggard, is hidden behind a screen of trees with a wicket gate to exclude the flock of free-range hens. It is laid out in a series of diamonds and squares with herringbone paths of old brick, laid by local craftsman Frank Walsh, who also maintains the stone walls surrounding the estate. The vegetable garden is one of the Kinoith's treasure stores, not only providing fresh salads and flowers for the Ballymaloe Cookery School but also displaying that vegetables can be ornamental, colourful and fragrant.
A couple of rustic scarecrows by Norbert Platz stand guarding the crops. This organic garden produces a variety of vegetables and edible flowers. Globe artichokes, sea kale, squash, 'cut and come' chillies and oriental vegetables grow happily side by side in season. Seakale and asparagus also grow well in this garden. The globe artichokes planted on the north wall are an old variety brought from Myrtle Allen's family garden at Monkstown. The edible flowers include lavender, marigold, nasturtium and cornflowers. Crops are rotated each year and the gardener, Eileen O'Donovan practices companion planting whenever possible.
The formal layout of the garden shows just how decorative vegetables can be. A variety of lettuces and salad leaves create a pretty effect in a boxwood parterre. Vegetable varieties are carefully chosen for flavour. Ruby chard, sprouts and ornamental cabbage provide winter colour. There is a collection of old potato varieties like Pink Fir Apple and Sharps Express which are cultivated each year for the house and mulched with seaweed from Shanagarry strand. Old roses from Richard Wood's garden at 'Rockrohan' are planted along the bank.
The trellis structure and seat were added in 1983. Beech hedges are being carefully and painstakingly trained over the structure to create a beech summer house from which a wonderful view of Knockadoon Head may be glimpsed.