Over the summer months, members of Fermanagh Gardening Society have enjoyed visiting gardens throughout the country, some of which have featured in magazines, television and radio programmes.

A society spokesperson said: “‘Each garden we visited has its own unique style, but all are being developed and maintained by passionate gardeners.

“There is always a planting idea we’d like copy in our own gardens, or we discover a new plant we would like to add to our wish list.”

The first garden bus trip this year was to three different gardens in the Mid-Ulster area. Here members visited the garden of well-known flower arranger, James Burnside.

His stunning garden with its beautiful plants, shrubs and trees, and the skilful placing of urns, arches and architectural plants, flows as naturally from one area to another as the original stream running across it.

Close by, the fresh new growth, late spring flowers and shrubs in full blossom looked their best in the warm May sunshine in Margaret Armstrong’s garden.

Margaret is a very knowledgeable plantswoman who shares her advice freely.

Yew Tree Cottage Garden belongs to 28-year-old gardener Philip Stewart, who has been a finalist on RTE ‘Garden Heroes’, Channel 4’s ‘UK Garden of the Year’ and a guest on BBC Radio Ulster ‘Gardener’s Corner’.

Here, Fermanagh Gardening Society members were impressed by Philip’s vision for his garden and his emphasis on biodiversity, where he has cleverly designed the garden to fit into the landscape.

He grows many of his own plants from seed for his colourful planting scheme, attracting lots of pollinators and bees for his nearby hives.

A wonderful midsummer day was spent in Co. Meath visiting Mullaghdillon House and Kilgar Gardens. 

Mullaghdillon belongs to Rosie Maye, known on social media as ‘The Insomniac Gardener’. Rosie writes in The Irish Garden magazine and is the speaker for the first meeting of Fermanagh Gardening Society’s new season on September 20.

Her three-acre garden is set in a mature site with wonderful views over the countryside and the Hill of Tara.

A stunning stand of gleaming silver birch make a dramatic impact upon entering the garden. Rosie has used some bold planting to great effect.

She finds her ornamental meadow works better for her than a wildflower meadow. In the shade of mature trees, she has planted hostas and hellebores, while roses and perennials were a riot of colour in the more open areas.

Paula Byrne’s Kilgar Gardens has attracted the attention of several magazines, and RTE’s Nationwide programme. Over the years, she has planted formal box hedges to create seven different gardens, each with their own planting scheme and theme.

As Paula led the tour through the gardens, she collected flowers, later treating the society to a flower-arranging demonstration as members relaxed on a sunny terrace overlooking the magnificent rose garden, enjoying a delicious afternoon tea. 

The final bus trip of the year took place in August and headed northwest, visiting Adrienne Kelly’s Oak Garden and Hampstead Hall, belonging to Liam Greene, ending with an all-essential trip to Dunwilley Nursery at Stranorlar in Donegal. 

Adrienne has designed this large garden by dividing it into many distinct areas, which lead seamlessly from one to another.

It is a popular venue for wedding photography, providing a romantic backdrop.

The enclosed rose garden – with its pleached lime trees underplanted with overflowing rose beds, surrounded by formal box hedges – has been the venue for small weddings.

Other features in this garden are a shady woodland area, a naturalistic pond, herbaceous borders, vegetable beds, an enclosed walled garden, rose-covered pergolas and mature conifers.

It is remarkable that this established garden has been created in 14 years – a tribute to the skill of Adrienne.

Liam Greene is the justifiably proud custodian of the historic Hampstead Hall, which dates back to 1820, and over the past 40 years has established a mature garden full of surprises with small formal gardens and rare trees.

The sunny courtyard walls, clad with Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’ and Clematis armandii, contrasts with the Japanese garden’s large pond-edged miniature trees and creeping greenery.

Perhaps the most memorable feature of the garden are the slim five metre-tall Italian cypress. 

“The garden visits are a real highlight of the year. They are carefully researched, always interesting and a guaranteed opportunity to buy more plants!” remarked a member of the gardening society.