May 5th - Bangor Walled Garden.

David Kirk.

The first field trip of the Summer Programme was a visit to Bangor Castle Walled Garden. The Ward family designed the Castle Park Walled Garden in the 1840s. It was never open to the public and was considered by many as a secret garden. North Down Borough Council has restored the Garden and opened it as a visitor attraction.

We were met there by David Kirk, gardener North Down Borough council, who conducted us around the newly restored garden. David’s knowledge of the planting and his enthusiasm, coupled with his humour, made it a memorable visit. Although it was early in the season and many of the plants had still to flower there was decided wow factor on entering the garden due to its design and layout.

The 2 acre site was originally a vegetable garden in four sections and still retains vegetables in one section. The Victorian planting scheme of single plants in straight rows is gradually being replaced and there was much to admire. It is an ongoing project and we heard about the plans for the development of the site. This includes making the original peach house into an

ornamental greenhouse where already an apricot tree is doing well.

As well as the planting there were other items of interest to admire. The bandstand from Pickie has been restored and erected in a corner of the garden, there is a beautiful bronze designed by Diane McCormick and an interesting fountain by Fredrick Normandale depicting the flax flower and the local fishing industry.

David was more than willing to answer questions about the plants and give us tips on cultivation so that we left the garden with information about growing rhubarb and hints on how to move Peonies. Club members vowed to return to see it as it continues to develop.

Joan Semple (Excursion Secretary)


Photos Joan Semple

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