Our Journey

In the late 1800s, Lady Ardilaun redesigned the gardens in the Ashford Estate to provide fruits, vegetables and ornamental flowers in the estate gardens. Echoing in the estate's rich history, in late 2019, the development of Ashford Castle's kitchen gardens began on the original two-acre plot near Squire Danagher's.

Presently, our Head Gardener, Alex Lavarde, and the garden team are completing the kitchen garden, aiming to offer fresh, organic, and locally grown produce reminiscent of the 1800s. Tours and hands-on experiences for guests are integral to Ashford's vision for the garden's role in connecting food from garden to plate to promote our commitment to sustainability.

Our Produce

Spanning 50 annual beds, 20 perennial beds, and 50 berry beds, our garden is a diverse tapestry of produce. Adding to this richness, we have a mini apple orchard, a truffle grove, a wild fruiting hedge, beehives, a propagation tunnel, and a well-equipped tool shed. These elements collectively contribute to the vibrancy and productivity of our garden, allowing us to cultivate a wide variety of crops throughout the seasons.


There are three polytunnels at The Lodge at Ashford Castle: a herb tunnel with rosemary, thyme, lavender, and more; a berry tunnel with raspberries, loganberries, strawberries with hopes to plant grapes in the future; and a Mediterranean tunnel for warm crops like heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. Edible flowers and annual herbs are intercropped in all tunnels, used by the kitchen and bar for dishes and cocktails. Chef Jonathan Keane and his kitchen team harvest their own ingredients from the polytunnels.

Changing Seasons


Spring is bustling with seed sowing in the propagation tunnel for late spring and early summer planting. In our polytunnels, oriental greens, chard, spinach, and some winter cabbage are still harvested, along with small herb harvests. The kitchen garden yields ready-to-harvest winter-sown broad beans as well as rhubarb which is used in desserts, chutneys, and jams. Spring is also ideal for foraging wild garlic, wood sorrel, and primrose for the pastry team's presentation needs.

Vegetable Garden at Ashford Castle


Summer is when the garden is in its prime. Lettuce, spinach, radish, turnips, carrots, beetroot, leeks, asparagus, cabbage, raspberries, gooseberries, currants and blueberries provide plenty to choose from. The polytunnels are in full swing, yielding fresh herbs, raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and cucuamelons. At this time of year, we also forage for some elderflower. 


As days shorten and temperatures drop, the garden continues to yield a diverse range of produce for the kitchens. Autumn crops like pak choi, Chinese cabbage, chard, black radish, and horseradish thrive. Root crops such as beetroots, carrots, turnips, and radishes remain consistently abundant. As spring-sown crops conclude, green manures are sown for winter, replenishing nutrients and providing ground cover. Foraging in autumn is fruitful for elderberries, blackberries, sloe berries, rosehips, and mushrooms and we hope to be able to harvest truffles in 2026. 


As garden productivity wanes, it offers an ideal time for review and preparation. Detailed crop planning for the upcoming growing season becomes crucial for efficiency. Despite the decline, the kitchen garden sees ongoing harvests of spinach, chard, black radish, and daikon radish. Polytunnels sustain production of oriental greens, spinach and chard, providing a continuous supply. This period allows our garden team to assess, plan and ensure a productive transiton to the next season.