Tyrone gardens open for charity

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Two spectacular Co Tyrone gardens are set to open their leafy gates, with proceeds supporting the work of conservation charity the Woodland Trust.

Saturday May 20, from 11am to 5pm, is the date for the garden lover’s diary.

With summer just around the corner, the gardens are in full bloom and visitors are in for an uplifting treat – a riot of colour, scents and sounds.

Janette Wickens is the Woodland Trust’s regional development officer and says: “Both gardens, while quite different, are equally stunning and the only challenge will be deciding which one to visit first. Thankfully, they’re fairly close to one another, so you can easily make a day of it. From perfectly manicured lawns to wildlife-friendly landscapes, this is a chance to enjoy a breath of fresh air in the most peaceful and enviable of settings. We’re so grateful to the owners for making this special day possible.”

The garden open day is courtesy of Mr Uel Henderson in Newtownstewart, and Sir Bob and Lady Salisbury, near Omagh.

The Henderson garden is at The Old Methodist Manse, 52 Moyle Road, Newtownstewart, BT78 4JT. Mr Henderson is the proud owner of two acres of beautifully manicured gardens, 40 years in the making. Members of the public will have a chance to feast their eyes upon dazzling stretches of rhododendrons, over 70 different types; not to be outdone by azaleas and magnolias. Masses of beautiful bluebells, plus a stream and tiny waterfalls lined with water-loving plants, complete the idyllic scene.

The Salisbury garden is at The Fod, 46 Drumconnelly Road, Omagh, BT78 1RT. Sir Bob and Lady Salisbury have worked hard to transform this previously bleak landscape into a natural paradise. It’s a refuge for wildlife and adored by those lucky enough to set foot here.

The two have created formal gardens, wildlife-friendly gardens, an orchard and small lakes; collectively covering 17 acres.

Some 5,000 trees, planted a few years ago, complete the picture and already tower over the tallest of walkers.

The various habitats – all joined by paths, steps or grassy areas – are home to a plethora of birds (57 species), insects and mammals including the Irish hare and otter.

The cost is £5 per adult per garden, or £8 for both gardens.