Mount Stewart is situated about 5 miles south-east of Newtownards, Co.Down, Northern Ireland, on the north-east coast of Strangford Lough. It has two main attractions: firstly the stately home, former place of residence of Lord & Lady Londonderry, and secondly, the gardens, which include many mature rare & exotic plants (although not nearly as many as could be grown in the mild marine climate on the shores of the lough).
Palms unfortunately are limited to trachycarpus fortunei and chamaerops humilis. However there are many mature trachies and a couple of mature (in fact quite old) chamaerops. Tree ferns (from small specimens to very tall ones) are everywhere. There is also an impressive array of varieties of cordyline australis, most of which are huge, and some really superb cordyline indivisa. There are many huge eucalyptus, some bamboos and a large clump of bananas (musa basjoo), although when I visited last in April 2004 these had only just started to grow the first leaves of spring.
Mount Stewart is open all year round, but the opening times and accessible areas may be more restricted in the winter. As a National Trust property, there is an admission charge for non-members.
Here are some photos of the gardens (unfortunately the weather was slightly less than perfect during my visit - well it was Easter Monday after all!):
General view of the gardens
Two cordyline indivisa
Trachycarpus fortunei (a few of many)
Dicksonia antarctica - a few of many
Left: musa basjoo (spring growth just starting). Right: echiums
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