Sensational Summer Colour With The National Trust


Summer is here in County Down!  With striking colours, perfumed scents and relaxing spaces to take in the view, National Trust gardens are wonderful places to visit during the summer months.

Rowelled Gardens in Saintfield.
Rowallene Gardens in Saintfield.

It’s time to make the most of nature and enjoy vibrant displays of flowers on long, refreshing days. Celebrate the arrival of summer and visit some of the charity’s top gardens in bloom.

Mount Stewart near Newtownards is one of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated gardens. A place of the imagination, the Formal Garden around the house is themed using an exotic choice of plants from all round the world. While the Pleasure Ground surrounding the Lake is a semi natural woodland garden containing many rare plants which thrive in the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula.

In bloom currently, the rhododendrons are a must until mid-August and then the exotic displays of the Formal Gardens take centre stage.

Rowallane Garden at Saintfield is a true plantsman’s garden with one of Ireland’s premier plant collections. The Spring Garden is full of rhododendrons while the Walled Garden once the kitchen garden for the ‘big house’ is filled with mixed shrub borders, roses and perennials for summer colour.

Castleward near Strangford.
Castleward near Strangford.

Now in bloom, the  Azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias in the Spring Garden succeeded by meconopsis, paeonies and penstemon in the Walled Garden.

Castle Ward just a mile outside Strangford has features such as the Temple Water, an early 18th century formal canal, the Sunken Garden with grass banks and Irish Yew trees and the Rock Garden created on a natural outcrop.

The parkland grounds are ideal for those interested in garden history and those wishing to immerse themselves in ‘times gone by’.

The newly renovated Rock Garden is always colourful and the herbaceous border in the Windsor Garden is a mid-summer treat and is in bloom.

The herb garden at the pretty 17th century ‘Plantation’ home of Springhill, is designed around a scented Camomile Lawn – a long tradition in ‘big houses’ to enjoy the sweet fragrance that fills the air as you walk on the soft, springy camomile. Situated on the edge of the picturesque Sperrin Mountains, this charming house is also home to a series of small walled gardens.