Explore the work of the Gardeners
Our nursery has had a clear out, with rhododendrons which were propagated some years ago being moved into new homes in the garden. Some are up to 1.8m (6ft) tall and similar in width. We had to bring in a small digger to lift them as they were not in pots but growing in holding beds where they are happiest. Look out for them in the Pleasure Ground and Avenue Ground .
The path network is also expanding, adding to the Pleasure Ground path which was created in 2012 when the café and information area opened in the house. You can now walk from the Pleasure Ground to the Woodland Walk which opens up the lovely informal young woodland running between the Rock Garden Wood and the Farmland.
Highlights for May include the rhododendrons, magnolias and lots of herbaceous plants such as primulas, blue poppies and paeonias. In July and August the garden will be moving into its summer mood with climbing plants in the walled garden such as Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma), hydrangeas, and magnolia vine (Schisandra), and shrubs such as the mock orange (Philadelphus), dog wood tree (Cornus kousa) and roses in flower.
The cycle of herbaceous plants like phlox, aster and day lily will be coming into their season too.
There is a host of native wildflowers nestling alongside trees and shrubs from around the world. The meadows come alive with the tiny white Pignut in spring alongside the Bluebells, and then followed by smatterings of yellow in Kidney Vetch and Birdsfoot Trefoil. Starry whites of Eyebright and Chickweeds appear with the pale pink spikes of the common spotted Orchid arrive on mass in July. Sometimes the soft creams of the Butterfly Orchid and the unusual greeny flowers of the common Twayblade Orchids make an appearance if the conditions suit them.
Earlier this year we also planted another 10,000 snowdrops, ‘planting in the green’ when this year’s flowering was finished. This work was sponsored by the Belfast Members Association, whose support is very much appreciated. We look forward to seeing the wonderful white carpet next spring.