Ballyrobert Garden is close to Ballyclare in County Antrim, Northern Island. It Is a family run affair, open to visitors and a Royal Horticultural Society Partner Garden which the owners try to blend into the local surroundings, both horticulturally and culturally. They cite influences on the garden design and philosophy from Vita Sackville West, Christopher Lloyd and Irish-born William Robinson, author of The Wild Garden and others.
The garden contains an extensive collection of plant varieties; over 4000 at last count.
It began as a small farm around 300 years ago and existed in that form until the present owners came along in 1994 and started to dig beds and add trees. Then it became a garden, a nursery, and a small farm. The site was quite rich in wildlife and had a bit of history. After a lot of thought they planned to garden in a way to fit the local landscape being as careful as possible to blend their love of gardening with the rich built and natural history of the site. The entrance to the property in 1994 consisted of a nondescript tubular gate. A search of the local area soon revealed what a traditional entrance ought to look like and so they copied the design for the pillars and the gate.
We began our walk around along the woodland walk
where autumn crocuses were beginning to emerge.
And some fungi in the grass.
The lake was very dry and empty of water after the recent hot, dry weather.
In normal times dragonflies, reed buntings and wagtails can be seen there. There are several bridges across the streams in the garden and this stone one has nest boxes built into it.
The station lawn has its name because there once was a station across the road. The gate from the front garden leads through to it.
The old hay shed is now reception and it and the other buildings are close to the front garden.
Behind the buildings is the nursery
which grows plants which they sell.
I was interested to see for the first time, discounted mis-labelled plants.
There are many wonderful plants in the garden and although it was a little too windy for macro photography, I did manage to catch a couple of insects on some of the flowers.
The rowan trees had ripe berries on them.
It has been suggested that the warmer weather due to climate change might bring autumn colours and leaf drop sooner. We had a coffee in the self-service cafe before we left. I was delighted to see one sculpture amongst the foliage.
In another area an earthenware pot sat beside some of the trees and plants.
It would be interesting to return in different seasons.