A Remarkable Garden
There can’t be many finer ways of spending a soft April morning than in the foothills of The Mournes in the company of venerable trees, lovely plants and knowledgeable gardeners.
And that’s where we were recently, on a visit to Castlewellan’s National Arboretum and the Annesley Garden, better known to you and me as Castlewellan Forest Park.
There is something immediate about the atmosphere at Castlewellan and it hits you as soon as you go through the elegant wrought iron gates, which lead the way into a wonderful place full of giant trees and wonderful vistas.
It’s a garden with presence and a sense of history, but it is also a garden which is holding it’s breath as it waits for the next phase in it’s story.
Although the Arboretum still includes a magnificent collection of trees and shrubs, with ancient specimens and champion trees, in recent times the gardens have sadly fallen into a state of disrepair, a situation which a group of like-minded local people are hoping to help to put to rights.
With us on the day of our visit were garden designer Simon Moore, originally from Castlewellan, who is championing the drive to re-invigorate Castlewellan and Michael Walker, also from Northern Ireland, but these days gardens manager at the award-winning Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire.
Simon and Michael took us on a truly inspiring walk through the gardens and we were joined en route by Averil Milligan from the equally atmospheric Rowallane Gardens in Saintfield.
May we wish Simon and the local gardeners who have been working so hard to maintain Castlewellan and keep it in the public eye, every success with the next phase in the life of this remarkable garden.
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