Mount Stewart's world-class gardens

The fountain depicting Lady Mairi as a child in the Mairi Garden at Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart is one of the most spectacular and idiosyncratic gardens of Western Europe and universally renowned for the 'extraordinary scope of its plant collections and the originality of its features, which give it world-class status' - excerpt from Mount Stewart's listing on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage tentative list.

The Sunk Garden
The Sunk Garden at Mount Stewart

The Sunk Garden

The Sunk Garden west of the house was the second garden compartment Lady Londonderry embarked upon after the Italian Garden. Centred on the Little Dining Room or Breakfast Room and Lord Londonderry’s bedroom above, it and the Shamrock Garden beyond are the only part of Lady Londonderry’s design which relate directly with the ground floor of the house. The planting is based on a sketch in one of nine garden notebooks, dated 1922.
 
Don't miss: The unique view of Mount Stewart house across the lawn
 
Read the story of the Stewart family through our topiary
The Shamrock Garden at Mount Stewart

Shamrock Garden

Lady Londonderry was fascinated by Irish mythology; the Red Hand of Ulster, The Formorians - a race of half human half demons and a children’s story in topiary on top of the shamrock hedge. The family friend and artist Edmund Brock worked with Lady Londonderry to craft the figures inspired by Mary Queen of Scot’s Psalter or prayer book. The artist himself is depicted holding a bottle of whisky in the curragh bringing the Stewart family to Ireland, with the macaw, Edward on his shoulder!
 
Don't miss: The new Fomorian topiary
 
Walk among beautiful plants in the Italian Garden
The Italian Garden at Mount Stewart

The Italian Garden

There is a richness to the Italian Garden unequalled elsewhere, in its architectural detail, its planting and a humorous allegory. Lady Londonderry was known as Circe, the sorceress goddess Odysseus’ sailors meet on the most westerly Isle the Greeks knew of. Circe turned half of Odysseus’ crew into pigs and their faces and that of Circe are depicted on the herms on the southern wall. The planting is derived from an article Lady Londonderry wrote for the RHS Journal in 1935.
 
Don't miss: The Dodo Terrace
 
Large Cypress hedges line the edges of the Spanish Garden
The Spanish Garden at Mount Stewart

The Spanish Garden

The arcades of Cypress designed by Lady Londonderry were inspired by an early 16th-century description written by a Venetian traveller who described how similar arcades were used by the Moors to line the water parterre of the Garden of the Generalife near Grenada. The colour palette comes from the blue/green hue of the Casita tiles and the salmon pink limestone of the decorative well head, which was bought by Lady Londonderry at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1926.
 
Don't miss: The tall wall of Cypress hedges surrounding the garden
 
Visit the fountain in the Mairi Garden
The Mairi Garden at Mount Stewart

The Mairi Garden

Lady Londonderry founded and directed the Women’s Legion, a voluntary organization which placed women into the work place during WWI and whose emblem was a stylized Tudor Rose. Lady Londonderry gave this emblem the Stewart family colours of blue and white. Today, the Mairi Garden has a succession of blue and white flowers. A bronze statue commemorates the birth of Lady Mairi in 1921, surrounded by bells and cockle shells based on the nursery rhyme.
 
Don't miss: The Mairi fountain
Garden at Mount Stewart

Garden history

All gardens are to a greater or lesser extent, an outpouring of artistic expression. In this regard, Mount Stewart excels. Find out more about this special garden.