Opening of the Dutch Garden

Picture by Bernie Brown.   Volunteer gardeners Linda and Jonathan Pitts with their 8 month old daughter Maisie.   BBC Radio Ulster's Cherrie McIlwaine visited Springhill, the National Trust property in Moneymore to officially open The Dutch Garden. Joining her was Head Warden of the Mid Ulster Group, Ian Greenaway and Assistant Warden, Sophie Atkinson. The Garden, known for its tulips in spring and roses in summer has been transformed by the team of staff and volunteers at the property. The Dutch Garden will be open to visitors for the remainder of the season. For further details visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni    Picture by Bernie Brown

Picture by Bernie Brown. Volunteer gardeners Linda and Jonathan Pitts with their 8 month old daughter Maisie. BBC Radio Ulster's Cherrie McIlwaine visited Springhill, the National Trust property in Moneymore to officially open The Dutch Garden. Joining her was Head Warden of the Mid Ulster Group, Ian Greenaway and Assistant Warden, Sophie Atkinson. The Garden, known for its tulips in spring and roses in summer has been transformed by the team of staff and volunteers at the property. The Dutch Garden will be open to visitors for the remainder of the season. For further details visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni Picture by Bernie Brown

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SPRINGHILL, the National Trust property in Moneymore recently welcomed BBC Radio Ulsters’ Cherrie McIlwaine to officially open The Dutch Garden.

Management, staff and volunteers joined in to celebrate the end of the 6-year-long project which has transformed the garden to what it is today.

After 6 years of patience, hard work, planning, over 250 wheelbarrows of leaf mould, 4 trailer loads of manure, double digging, rotavating, planting, pruning and weeding the newly restored Dutch Garden is now complete.

As part of their ongoing objective to ‘Bring Properties to Life’, The National Trust were keen to bring the garden back to its original state and so the new design was based on an old photograph and a description found in the book ‘An Old Ulster House’. The book described the garden as ‘ivy walled with gay box edged flowEr beds sloping to the south east, planted with sweetbriar, honeysuckle, jessamine and old fashioned roses…’

With this in mind, the team began with the clearing of the herbaceous borders. The flower beds were then double dug and cleared of weeds such as bindweed and ground elder before 4 trailer loads of manure were added. Cleverly designed, the garden has cool colours in the top border and hot colours in the lower border with the aim of lengthening the vista as you enter the garden, whilst creating a feeling of intimacy as you move through the garden.

The development of the central parterre began with the removal of the weeping ash tree; not an easy task when it was impossible to fit machinery into the garden through the small door so everything was removed by hand. The lawn was divided into four beds, each one dug, rotavated and ready for planting. Each bed was filled with beautifully scented shrub roses, under planted with 2000 tulips for fantastic spring colour and edged with box hedging.

The finished result is a wonderfully colourful, beautifully scented space which is a credit to the Head Gardener, John Boyle and his team of volunteers who have brought the design to life. It has created a delightfully vibrant area, abundant with colour and scent, giving visitors the chance to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Perfect also for wedding photographs, the roses are in full bloom by June, but continue to flower all summer. The tulip display is a must see; if you missed it this year, be sure to come back in March.

Springhill is open to public from Thursday through to Sunday from 12-5pm and will be open 7 days a week through July and August. If you are interested in getting involved in outdoor projects such as The Dutch Garden or becoming a volunteer please contact Springhill on 028 8674 8210.