The gardens at Burtown are made up of several areas, including large herbaceous borders, shrubberies, a rock garden, a yew walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden and a large woodland garden surrounded on all sides by water. This woodland, known as the Nutgrove, hosts a fine collection of candelabra primulas, hostas, ferns and iris, amongst other plants. There are many old roses, peonies and clematis, and a walled vegetable garden that has been in continuous production for over 150 years.
A Garden for all Seasons
Map of Burtown Gardens
Illustration by Rosalind Jellet
Isabel Shackleton (married to the present owner’s great grandfather and first cousin to the explorer Ernest Shackleton) is responsible for the original layout, but over the last 20 years it has been greatly enlarged and reclaimed by the present owners, artist Lesley Fennell and her son James Fennell. Many of Wendy Walsh’s rare plants were moved to Burtown over twelve years ago from her home in Lusk, Co. Dublin, and form a good collection of interesting specimens that have been painted by Wendy Walsh throughout her career.
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The gardens come to life in February with a spectacular show of winter aconites and snowdrops, followed by many varieties of daffodils, hellebores and trilliums in the spring. May and June are peak months for variety and colour, especially in the planting along the stream. After a strong summer show of irises, roses, peonies, clematis etc. the colour continues with many varieties of crocosmia and phlox into autumn, There are over 12 acres of gardens, park and woodland, and 180 acres of farmland, which will be eventually accessible via farmland walks punctuated with art and sculpture.