The Dillon family have lived at the Grove since the 1700 and farmed mostly cattle and sheep. We were originally tenants of the Rothwell estate, in 1903 my grandfather, also named Pat bought out the lease and demolished the original house.
He built the existing house in its more colonial style rather than Victorian or Georgian.
We have a family tree going back to 1790 which has be
en updated by each generation to the present day. There are five of us in the family today, Pat, Therese (Parents) Ben, Lucy and Joe (siblings).
All the family take an active part in the running of Grove Gardens and Open Farm.
For your parties, picnics and gardening, our services can fulfill all your needs.
Tel: 046 9434 276
Grove Gardens• A fun day out for all the family
The gardens at Grove have been open to the public since 1992 and that was the direct result of the passion and skill of Patrick (Pat) Dillon.
Pat started clearing a small vegetable patch when I was about eight years old in 1962 roughly 2 sq metres and grew lettuce and radish. From there the garden got bigger and bigger, digging and clearing vast areas of scrub, mainly briars, nettles and an array of weeds.
It became an obsession for Pat, working before and after school.
In the beginning it was extremely hard work, nothing but a wheelbarrow and spade. However, with dedication and care, the gardens at Grove became well known for the colour, tranquillity and excellence.
The lawns were laid out and flower borders created, roses were planted and the vegetable garden extended, so that today there is no finer example of horticultural excellence in Ireland.
Groups have visited the gardens from France, England, Germany, Holland, America, New Zealand, and Australia to mention but a few.
The Gardens evolve with every passing week and the dedication and skill that has been shown by Pat will ensure that there is no finer example of gardens to visit in Ireland.
I started growing vegetables here in a nettle patch at a very young age (8 yrs old in 1962), lettuce, radish, etc. in 2 sq mtrs and from there it got bigger every year.
I moved the vegetable patch about four times and has now settled in its final location In 1988 I decided to section off an area in the adjoining field and planted a beech hedge around the area and erected a series of raised beds with paths, keeping in mind wheelchair access.
I incorporated a lot of well rotted compost and started to sow and plant with success which I never had before. The maintenance and growing became a pleasure, easy and fun. I would recommend this system to everyone.
Additionally we organize events, fun days out for the family, day trips, summer tours and many others…
The tropical bird garden and mini zoo is a recent addition to the Grove Gardens. A large variety of exotic and rare breeds of birds are housed in purpose built aviaries designed to become part of the gardens and create a unique setting for such a facility.
Come and feed the lambs, talk to the donkey, ask Joey the Parrott a question all in the surroundings of the Meath countryside.
• Tea rooms
• Picnic areas
• Shop and garden centre
• School tours
• Birthday parties
A Word with Pat Dillon
There were never gardens, formal or informal at the Grove, but we were blessed with mature trees, beech, oak and copper beech. My grandmother, Annette, planted the copper beech in 1908. The house and trees were always crying out for a garden. I started clearing a small vegetable patch when I was about eight years old in 1962 roughly 2 sq mtrs and grew lettuce and radish. From there the garden got bigger and bigger, digging and clearing vast areas of scrub, mainly briars, nettles and an array of weeds. I suppose it became an obsession, working before and after school. In the beginning it was extremely hard work, nothing but a wheelbarrow and spade.
The amount of times that the barrow toppled over with the weight does not bear thinking about, but as the years passed and I got stronger the task became less. A JCB was working on the farm and I asked my father to give me the use of it for two days, well there was more cleared and dug in the couple of days than there was with all the hard work for six years. I then started to lay out the lawns and create flower borders, plant roses and extend the vegetable garden. I had great advantage with the mature trees in so far as when an area was cleared and lawns set out, it was mature looking. People visiting the gardens think that there were always gardens here. In 1992 friends were saying to us that we should open to the public, and that we did.
I don’t think looking back the gardens were ready, but it made me strive and improve with more vigour. We have had garden groups visiting the gardens from France, England, Germany, Holland, America, New Zealand, and Australia to mention but a few.
As visitors arrive from all parts of Ireland on a daily basis to relax and stroll through my creation, I hope that I will live long enough to complete everything that I envisage it should look like but then again, gardens are always changing and there will never be a time when one is finished.
I could not imagine a morning without my walk through the gardens and wonder at nature (of course with a little help) every day there is something new out to admire. You must become one with nature and help each other only then, will you become relaxed in your garden. Always remember, a stitch in time saves nine, nature works 24 hours per day.
I am proud to say, after all my years in creating the gardens, RTE, The Garden show filmed here twice with Helen Dillon, once with Dermot O’Neill and I presented one show myself. Nationwide presented one of their shows from here too. BBC also filmed here for their Pet Set Show presented by Susanne Dando.
The Irish Independent Magazine listed the garden as one of the top ten places to visit in Ireland. The gardens have also featured in Marianne Heron’s Book “Hidden Gardens of Ireland” volume one and two, also Georgina Campbell’s Book “Ireland for Garden Lovers” and numerous other books around the world. I won the An Taisce Ellison award in 1996.