Mag Mell, is a paradise, a mythical island lying to the west of Ireland or a kingdom swallowed up by the ocean. Here, every pleasure abounds. Here, happiness is everlasting, and food and drink never lacking. In many ways, it is the counterpart of the Ancient Greeks’ Elysium and the Vikings’ Valhalla.
Inspired by the world of Bosch and “Douanier” Rousseau’s jungles, and inhabited by Ireland’s mystical nature, this garden is a reflection of paradise lost, a dreamlike world enveloping and intriguing its visitors. Step into its confines and follow the wooden walkway that leads to its centre. Scraps of Paradise lie here and there along your path – extraordinary fountains and fascinating lamps fashioned out of fruits... And then, in the garden’s very heart, you come across a dome, its metal structure wrought into curving, vegetable shapes.
Step into the microclimate within. Plant life crowds around a fountain above which hovers an eternal rainbow. Luxuriant foliage, an abundance of fruits, an invigorating freshness in the air – everything a halo emanating from the benevolence of light and the song of nature. Cast your eyes over this Eden, then come on inside – you are now at one with Paradise.
Rita HIGGINS and Peter LITTLE
From studying fine art at Leeds University, in the UK and later qualifying as a blacksmith and working as a landscaper, the focus of Peter Little's work evolved to the merging of horticulture, landscape design, natural form and manmade structures. Through his creative business "Hortisculptures", over the last five years Peter has displayed his sculptural gardens at festivals and garden shows throughout the UK and Ireland, creating spaces where the viewer is able to interact with the installation and become fully immersed within the experience..
With a background in Environmental Studies and a penchant for living by the ocean, Rita Higgins has travelled all over the world working on projects ranging from agricultural diversification to renovating back gardens. The focus is always to improve our relationship with the outdoors and the natural environment. Four years ago, she and Paul Quirke jumped in feet first and started their own landscape design business, Anu Green. They are still here to tell the tale! In Rita's garden designs she aims to create peaceful outdoor spaces where every season there is something to look forward to.
For the past two years Peter and Rita Higgins have collaborated on a number of unique and celebrated projects. In 2011, including successfully winning their category and a Gold medal in Irelands most popular garden show "Bloom" they also gained a "Highly Commended" and Best Show Feature at the RHS show Tatton Park. The partnership works by combining Peter's sculpture and landscape design with Rita's planting designs to create something unique and magical. A key element for both Peter and Rita's businesses is being aware of our environmental impact, they believe awareness and education are the first step to understanding our complex relationships with the environment.
"While Mag Mell relies more on the fantastical and the idea of eternal happiness (the kind of theme that brightens up a rainy Irish winter's day), most of our installations are intent on raising education and awareness of the environment. For example, by representing threatened or endangered habitats, and highlighting their uniqueness and importance in terms of biodiversity."