Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

Tulips at Glenarm Castle, County Antrim

For the first time ever, I have been to Northern Ireland. A friend grew up there and extended a very kind invitation to myself and Wiltshire-based garden designer Alexandra Grey to spend three days at her family home visiting gardens. So of course we jumped at the chance. We flew to Belfast early Monday morning and hit the ground running with her indefatigable mother at the wheel of the car.

First stop was Glenarm Castle garden in County Antrim the home of Lord and Lady Dunluce. 

Walled Garden, Glenarm Castle

That is a very large fig on the wall at the right, there is a very clever glass roof over head to keep it dry(ish). The annual Tulip Festival was just finishing and we made to most of it. The tulips were all labeled clearly so were perfect for taking notes. 

Glenarm tulips

Glenarm display of tulips

Favourites on the day included the following:

Dolls Minuet

The lily-flowered Dolls Minuet

China Town

The variegated leaved China Town

Princess Irene

One of my all-time favourites, Princess Irene and this amazing single late tulip Paul Scherer

Pal Scherer

Apricot Beauty

The pale peachy-pink tulip Apricot Beauty was my favourite for the day though. Soft and fragile looking colour which would tone well with stronger purples and oranges, it has a nice shape as well.

The garden is laid out into compartments and there is a wonderful mound to climb in one section. The views from the top are compelling. 


There is too much to share for all six gardens we visited to be squashed into one post so there will be more to come in the next few weeks once Chelsea Fever has been and gone. But my visit to Northern Ireland was such fun, it was filled with the most interesting people and places. We were able to spend long lunches chatting to garden owners and had access to some very special gardens. 


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