Return to Rowallane

On a sunny Friday morning a few weeks ago, I took myself off to Rowallane Gardens, a National Trust garden on the outskirts of Saintfield village, about 6 miles from Belfast. Unbelievably, it had been six years since my last visit and I was eager to visit again.

Rowallane is an inspirational garden consisting of a Walled Garden, surrounded by a large area of woodland. There are plenty of walks to choose from ranging from a 20 minute stroll around the Walled Garden to much longer walks, 50 minutes or so, through the woodland. There is also a dog exercise park where dogs can be let off lead. On this occasion, Boris was having a snooze at home so I was free to meander through the Walled Garden at my own pace.

Originally built for fruit and vegetables by the Reverend John Moore, this sheltered space was changed to ornamental planting by his nephew Hugh Armytage Moore who inherited the garden. With an eclectic mix of herbaceous plants, bulbs, herbs and climbers, this part of the garden unfolds weekly from spring to autumn.

The Walled Garden looking back to Rowallane House

Rowallane Gardens

White chaenomeles in the Walled Garden


The Outer Walled Garden is a beautiful space, feeling more secluded and is home to a glasshouse and vegetable beds.

Adjacent to the glasshouse, I discovered a white flowering currant called White Icicle. We have quite a lot of the pink variety around our neighbourhood, and in our own garden, but I’ve never seen it in white before and it looked really stunning lit up by the morning light. While I was admiring it, another woman stopped to admire it also. She told me she visits the garden around three times a week and finds it the best therapy. I had to agree with her !

Having finished my wander, I made for the cafe (as I always do !) and finished off my visit with a pot of tea and a sit down in the sunshine. I hope it’s not so long again until my next visit and I’ll think I’ll bring Boris – he seems to love the flowers as much as I do.

Back to my own little garden and I am busy sowing seeds with propagators on the go on the kitchen windowsill and in the garage. So far the sunflowers, cosmos and cornflowers have germinated well, but I’ve had less success with the rudbeckia ( I will keep on trying though!). Last autumn we installed two new beds in our back garden and the plan is to have a cut flower patch in both – one with cool, blue and white tones, the other with orange, pink and yellow. I’ve been reading Grow and Gather by Grace Alexander and this is easily one of the most inspirational yet practical gardening books I’ve bought, full of useful tips on how to grow cut flowers from seed. Beautifully photographed throughout, it’s as much about slowing down and connecting with nature, as it is about growing flowers and I don’t think you need to be an avid gardener to enjoy it.

I bought the book from Linen and Latte, a gorgeous lifestyle store close to where I live. If you are ever in Glengormley, I highly recommend a visit as it is full of botanical loveliness and I always come away with a purchase or two, as well as lots of inspiration.

Well, it is a grey start to Sunday morning here and I will heading out to my garden shortly, but first breakfast !

Have a lovely Sunday,

Paula x

Useful Links

Rowallane Gardens –

Linen and Latte and

Grace Alexander

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