Stretching from Antrim right around to Donegal we have eight great Partner Gardens
waiting for you to explore!
Seaforde Gardens, Rowallane Garden and Mount Stewart are south of Belfast in Co Down,
with Ballyrobert Gardens and Benvarden Garden to the north in Co Antrim. Then across to
Oakfield Park and Salthill in Co Donegal and last but not least to Killyreagh Garden in Co
Fermanagh. A suggested tour for a few days but the choice is yours!
Seaforde Gardens are part of a historic demesne with lots to enjoy including its Tropical
Butterfly House, Ireland’s oldest living maze, rare and venerable trees and a Herb Garden
with a Mughal Tower. The National Trust’s Rowallane Garden and Mount Stewart House
and Gardens, within a half hour of each other, are among the most beautiful and prestigious
gardens on the island. Along with the many horticultural treasures at Rowallane, are the
summer roses and perennials including The National Penstemon Collection. Meanwhile
Mount Stewart’s Arts and Crafts-style designed gardens and huge plant collection are the
jewels within their larger demesne.
By contrast, about a half hour north of Belfast, Ballyrobert Gardens comprises six acres
of charming gardens nestled into the countryside. Informal herbaceous planting around the
old farm cottage gives way to an orchard, woodland, meadows, streams and a lake. There is
a cottage-garden plant nursery attached. Heading on up towards the northern coast is
Benvarden Garden, near Ballymoney. Enclosed since the 17th century, the restored walled
garden has a formal area with a central fountain, box parterre, rose arches, herbaceous
borders, and a well stocked adjoining kitchen garden. There is also a woodland area leading
down to the banks of the River Bush.
Thence over to Co Donegal and Oakfield Park in Raphoe. This 18th century Georgian
Deanery has won several national awards for the restoration of its gardens and buildings. On
the 100 acre estate you’ll find beautiful parkland, formal gardens man-made lakes, walled
gardens, follies, parterres, and much more! Heading south to Mountcharles, on the edge of
Donegal Bay is the romantic Salthill Garden. The circa 1 acre walled garden behind a
Georgian house and old farm buildings has its own microclimate with a profusion of
perennials, roses, shrubs and vegetables woven between winding grass and gravel paths.
A 50 minute drive south along the scenic shores of Lower Lough Erne brings you to
Enniskillen and nearby Killyreagh House Garden. From the front of the listed Georgian
house this peaceful and tranquil garden leads down a sloped lawn to a pond and beautiful
views beyond over the surrounding fields and hills.
Free or reduced entry to RHSI members on presentation of current membership card.
It is essential to check with each garden by email/phone or their own website before
visiting. Some are by appointment only. Full information on these gardens is in the
Partner Garden section of the RHSI website. The full-size map is very useful to
visualise garden locations.
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