These compact gardens were created between 1800 and 1820 and lie along the River Bush, which leads to the famous Bushmills Distillery. The Montgomery family bought it in the late 18th century and Hugh Montgomery lives there with his wife, Valerie, today.
Described as one of the best Irish gardens in private hands by Irish writer Terence Reeves-Smith, the walled gardens at Benvarden are about two acres in size and have a variety of beds and borders. Though they look deceptively small from far away, the brick walls are 10 feet in height and hide a tempting variety of fruit and vegetables such as melons, vines and tomatoes, as well as lavender beds and fruit trees. You can buy some of the vegetables in the Stable Yard at the entrance, which also serves as a coffee shop to fuel weary walkers.
Venture outside the walls to the woodland pond, which has been in the grounds since 1865 but it was only re-discovered recently.. The Montgomerys have replanted the area and you can admire colourful azaleas, camellias and, in spring, snowdrops and bluebells dotted among the trees. Crossing over the Victorian iron bridge on your way there, it feels like very little has changed since the 19th century.
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