A host of private Ulster gardens not normally open to the public are opening their doors to visitors this summer under the National Trust’s Ulster Gardens Scheme.
The scheme raises funds for special projects in National Trust gardens in Northern Ireland through the opening of privately-owned gardens to the public in a series of open days. Over the years the money raised has paid for restoring statues and garden buildings, supported training courses for new gardeners, and most recently, funded the use of mycorrhizal fungi in propagating rhododendrons at Rowallane.
This year seven gardens all over Northern Ireland are holding open weekends right up until the middle of August. Many more gardens are open by appointment only, so visit the website at www.ulstergardensscheme.org.uk to arrange your visit.
This year you can enjoy the lovely views over Larne Lough from Kilcoan Gardens in Islandmagee, near Carrickfergus, a cottage garden with orchard, vegetable area, cut flower fields and a woodland walk. Tall Trees Cottage in Crumlin, Co Antrim, is opening for the first time in 18 years – a wonderful opportunity to admire the rose garden and four-acre woodland garden. Opening next month is Azeem in Dungannon, a wonderful landscaped garden boasting four fountains and two waterfalls awarded ‘Best Garden in Ulster’ in 2000 in the Shamrock All Ireland Garden competition.
Garden visiting is a wonderful way to pick up ideas and inspiration for your own garden; you’ll often find the owner is very happy to pass on growing tips or share a favourite plant with you. So take a notebook and pen along to take notes, then bring all your ideas back to us here at the garden centre in Listowel - we’ll be happy to help you recreate them in your own garden, and who knows, one day you might be the one welcoming visitors through your garden gate!