Pictures: Bloomin’ marvellous as National Garden Scheme expands with 21 new NI attractions

The National Garden Scheme is delighted to announce the expansion of its garden visiting portfolio to Northern Ireland in 2022.

By Claire Cartmill
Friday, 21st January 2022, 6:00 am

For the first time since the National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927, private gardens across six counties in NI are being included in the 3,500 gardens that open for charity.

“We’re delighted to welcome the team from NI and 21 gardens in this inaugural year,” says chief executive, George Plumptre. “Starting with snowdrops in February the gardens will open through to late summer showcasing a wealth of gardens large and small.”

NI area organiser Trevor Edwards, continued: “A small group of local voluntary garden enthusiasts have been working for the last two years to establish an open garden scheme in NI. We are thrilled and excited by the fact that we have formed the National Garden Scheme NI. It would be remiss not to acknowledge the professional, efficient, and friendly support of all the staff of the National Garden Scheme Head Office. After the challenges of 2020 and 2021 the NI Organising team are looking forward more than ever to opening and visiting gardens in 2022 and hoping for some return to normality.

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Ardreigh House, Holywood (June 11 and 12)

“However, we must prepare for possible disruption and restrictions which might be imposed at short notice. If this happens our website will always carry the up-to-date information about the gardens.”

The new NI gardens and their open days include: Billy Old Rectory, Castlecat, Bushmills (opens February 12 and 13), Benvardin Gardens, Ballybogy, Ballymoney (February 12 and 13), Holly House Garden, Crumlin (June 18 and 19), Clayburn, Ballymena (July 2 and 3), Beechmount House Garden, Ballyclare (July 23 and 24), Oak Gardens, Londonderry (July 2 and 3), Guincho, Bangor (May 7 and 8), Grovehill, Craigavon (May 21 and 22), Clandeboye Estate, Bangor (May 29 and 30), Ardreigh House, Holywood (June 11 and 12), Helen’s Bay Organic, Helen’s Bay (September 10 and 11), Tattykeel House Garden, Omagh (April 23 and 24), Kilcootry Barn, Omagh (August 6 and 7).

There’s also The McKelvey Garden, Newry, Adrian Walsh Belfast Garden, Stranmillis, 13 Ballynagard Road, Ballyvoy, Barley House, 3 Brooklands Park, Newtownards, Linden, 24 Raffrey Road, Killinchy, Mitreicari, 3 Whitepark Road, Ballycastle, Old Balloo House and Barn 15 - 17 Comber Road, Killinchy, and 10 Riverside Road, Bushmills.

Many of the gardens in the booklet are open to all comers on the specified dates. However, for logistical and people management reasons some are only open to those who have pre-booked online. Others are only open by appointment.

Trevor continued: “We would wish to thank the dedicated and generous garden owners for their trust and support in this inaugural year of NGS NI. “Apart from the joy of visiting gardens, between us all we will provide meaningful financial support to the health-related charities supported by The National Gardens Scheme.

“We are grateful to local company Westland Horticulture who have generously supported the team with the production of NI booklet. With its distinctive climatic conditions NI boasts greenery in all seasons and a host of wonderful gardens to explore. Opening these fabulous gardens in NId as part of the National Garden Scheme is hugely exciting for the charity, the local organising team and the garden owners.”

George added: “With our iconic eye for gardens of quality these 21 new gardens are a hugely welcome addition to our portfolio.”

All the gardens opening in NI will contribute to funding the nursing and health charities supported by the National Garden Scheme including Macmillan, Marie Curie, Parkinson’s UK and Horatio’s Garden. In addition, many of the garden owners will also raise funds for their chosen charity by offering teas and refreshments.

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Ardreigh House, Holywood (June 11 and 12)