Garden visit to Castle Dobbs on 30th June
In dazzling sunshine, a great turnout of members and guests were treated to a wonderful garden visit to Castle Dobbs, near Carrickfergus, County Antrim. The house itself is a beautiful mid-18th century Palladian mansion, overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Down shore across the lough. The demesne was established in the 16th century and there is remaining evidence of the formal gardens for the former 17th century house, now in ruins adjacent to the later house.
The present layout is in relation to the 18th century house and takes the form of a landscape park, with a lake, bridge and cascade. The whole demesne contains fine mature trees in shelter belts, parkland, woodland and avenues. There are informal glen-side walks, with recent planting by the lake and ornamental areas near the house. One walled garden is no longer cultivated but another, to the west of the house, is fully maintained and the potting sheds are still in use. Within this walled garden, there was a beautifully laid out and very productive vegetable garden, a fabulous rose garden and gorgeous double herbaceous borders.
Some of my favourite plants were a hoheria tree, Cardiocrinum giganteum (Giant Himalayan Lily), bright blue amsonia (Bluestar), the lilac aster-like flowers of Olearia ‘Henry Travers’ (also known as Olearia semidentata, New Zealand Daisy Bush) and numerous penstemon, iris and roses. Many thanks to Lady Carola Dobbs for allowing us to visit and to IGPS member David Ledsham, who gave us a guided tour of the gardens.
Report and photos by Barbara Kelso