as Toby says "these 'behind the scenes' style tours showcase the efforts of the staff and volunteers that often go un-noticed"
Whilst the glen woodlands/arboretum themselves were the created vision of the
Earl Bishop. What has become the formal gardens developed from the efforts of
the eccentric Jan Eccles who into her nineties created the bog garden and the
main features. into her old age and after her death the Gardens gradually became
overgrown. After a confirmed Fireblight infection in some of the plant stock in
the gardens this gave us the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and
kick start the gardens restorations. Over the past 5 years Staff and volunteers
have been building plant stock propagated from original plants removed in 2007.
Lots of hard graft and plenty of mud involved when we got (literally) stuck into
the bog garden. As the years have progress we've been working outwards from the
bog garden to continue the restorations. We have a particular approach that
favors a more natural side. Embracing natives such as foxglove, honesty,
rose-bay willow herb and other plants that are great for insects which has
positive knock on effect up the food chain for birds and mammals.
- Toby Edwards National Trust
My thanks to Toby and John from National Trust for a most enjoyable day, and thanks to Jonathan Todd for the pictures.
If you can folks, get up to Downhill, park at the Bishops Gate and go enjoy some of the most amazing drifts of snowdrops I've seen anywhere in County Derry.... visit the Downhill official website here for opening hours etc, learn more about the Invasive species removal work at Downhill here