Rowallane Gardens

Location: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland

Website: Rowallane Gardens website

Rowallane is a naturalistic rocky landscape consisting of 52 acres of plantsman’s paradise, with rarities around every corner. It has both formal and informal areas, and has a very different seasonal rhythm to formal gardens. The soil is acidic on top of rock, but rich, so we can grow a wide range of plants here. The garden is open plan, with Arboretum, natural Rock Garden and Walled Garden with ornamentals. The Avenue Ground and Pleasure Ground are being transformed after 13 acres of laurel was removed in 2011, and we have current funding opportunities for replanting and creating a new path network throughout the garden. Informal areas consist of wildflower meadows with exotics intermingling, and the Rhododendron collection of wild species. These are in the midst of a careful ongoing rejuvenation pruning and propagation programme.

You will gain experience in propagation, pruning, planting, preparing beds for planting, as well as in maintenance work such as mowing, strimming, hedge cutting, weeding, and path maintenance. We have a wide range of machinery, and have dedicated propagation with bio-security and composting areas.

You will be interacting with visitors and assisting with interpretation work to enhance the visitor experience with the wider team. You will be closely involved in project work. We encourage our students to be involved with leading and supervising our volunteers, who devote their time to help us and learn vital gardening skills and tasks in doing so.

Averil Milligan, Head Gardener: “This student placement is a fantastic opportunity for a trainee, as the garden is midway through a development project and has rising visitor numbers. We pride ourselves in training and mentoring trainees to settle in and share our passion for horticulture. Past students have gone on to further training and bursary placements or have been recruited into other National Trust gardens or botanical gardens.”


Placement opportunity: 1 year

Staff numbers:
5 full-time gardeners; 2 part-time; 35 volunteers; other students

Ease of access:
The nearest station is Lisburne (11 miles away). There is also a bus from Belfast to Downpatrick which stops at the garden. Ballynahinch (6 miles away) is the nearest town with supermarkets and other amenities.

Accommodation: No dedicated accommodation available


Rowallane Rowallane Meconopsis 'Slieve Donard' 1 Rowallane in Snow

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