Tales of the Unexpected

A search for a book on gardening and horticulture brought me to the Rathgar Bookshop. I had heard that they did a good line in gardening books, and the potted plants outside reinforced this impression, but not so much as the sheltered, peaceful and wholly surprising garden out the back. I took my newly purchased book and a coffee and sat under the trees in dappled sunlight, together with some other browsers who were in the know. And I got the feeling that sipping tea and coffee in the sun was a large part of the draw of the place. Now it’s not that Rathgar is a heaving metropolis, but it is a busy junction, and the contrast between the front and back of the bookshop is striking. The garden, in some form or other, must have been already there, but most people would probably not have seen that it had as much potential as a key part of the shop. And it didn’t really require all that much – a decked area, some new plants around the edges, furniture and a little sign. There’s no stone, no “water features”, nothing superfluous. Even from the back of the bookshop it’s not obvious that the garden is there – which all adds to its “secret garden” charm.

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