Historic Loughgall invites visitors to enjoy its secret gardens

Residents of a picturesque historic village are preparing to give visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy more than 20 normally hidden gardens this weekend.

Loughgall in Co Armagh is renowned in the horticultural world. Growing apples and vegetables is the mainstay of local business and its floral displays have led to many competition successes over the years.

These ‘well-kept’ and floral display competitions are judged on front gardens as seen from the street but Loughgall has, until now, kept its back gardens secret.

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The Secret Gardens weekend - Saturday, June 18 and Sunday 19 - will be a chance to see behind the scenes into all those hidden corners when 24 private gardens in the village will be open.

Loughgall residents will be opening some 24 private gardens to the public this weekend.

The gardens themselves vary from tiny enclaves offering peace and privacy up to sizeable ornamental and kitchen gardens. Many of them have features built from the attractive local limestone. Some are long-established mature gardens, others are recent or being actively developed.

Refreshments will be on offer at St Luke’s Church Hall and other venues and there will be stalls with items such as plants, books, information about hedgehog rescue, bric-a-brac, and wood turnings.

The event is the brainchild of the Loughgall and District Improvement Association. Vice-chairman, Rev Pete Smith, said: “It has been my great pleasure to have already witnessed many of the beautiful gardens in Loughgall in my role as rector. This great community event will provide a wonderful opportunity for others to also discover an impressive variety of hidden gems within the local area”.

Kathleen Orr, one of the organisers, says everyone involved is busy preparing.

Three charities will benefit from the Loughgall Secret Gardens weekend.

“The community is really looking forward to welcoming neighbours and friends from near and far. Even the locals will find surprises in our gardens, and those from further afield will be able to enjoy a leisurely stroll through our historic village”.

The gardens will be open from 11am - 5 pm on Saturday and 2 - 5pm on Sunday.

Tickets can be bought in advance (£4) from Loughgall Village Store, or on the day(£6) at three points in the village (£6) - St Luke’s Church Hall (on the approach from Armagh/Moy); Mervyn Walker’s yard (in the village centre), or 37 Old Road (on the approach from Portadown).

Tickets take the form of a passport with full details of the opening arrangements and a map of the gardens. Each open garden will be signalled by a red wellie at the entrance.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of beautiful private gardens in Loughgall this weekend.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to three charitable causes: Children’s Heartbeat Trust; St Luke’s Church; and Loughgall and District Improvement Association.

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Loughgall's special garden event takes place on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday 19.