IGPS member and plants woman Lorraine Small has taken on the challenge of restoring the one acre Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay, County Down. Barely one year into the project the garden is already supplying some of Belfast’s top restaurants and selling at local markets.   David Cameron runs an independent market gardening business from the walled garden and brings a wealth of experience having spent two years working at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons garden in Oxford.

Walled Garden Group 1
From left to right – Carol Dobson – Northern Committee (and new volunteer), Barbara Kelso –Northern Committee, David Anderson-volunteer, Lorraine Small-owner, Patrick Leonard Head chef Merchant Hotel, David Cameron –independent market gardener and Andy Bingham – head gardener Ulster Folk Museum

Members of the Northern sub-committee were treated to a visit to the garden in July where they sampled some of the organic vegetables including yellow beetroot and heritage black podded peas.

Volunteer, Owner, Gardener
Left to right Volunteer David Anderson, Owner and IGPS member Lorraine Small, Independent Market Gardener David Cameron

Lorraine says “ We are fully organic but I want to go one step further and include Irish Heritage fruit and vegetables. We already have a collection of Irish apple trees and some Irish Heritage vegetables but we are always looking out for more.”

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Owners Lorraine and James Small with Northern sub-committee members
Andy, Lorraine and Maeve
Ulster Folk Museum Head Gardener Andy Bingham , Lorraine Small, owner of the Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay and Maeve Bell, Chairperson of IGPS North.

Although a lot of work remains to be done after years of neglect, Lorraine hopes to open the walled garden and the adjoining house garden for an IGPS garden visit next year.

Pear tree
A surviving pear tree from bygone days
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Tasting some of the Josh Toombs peas. Grown by Lisburn man Josh Toombs for over 50 years and by his father before him, seeds of Carruthers peas were given by Josh to David Cameron when he worked at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

IGPS chairperson Billy McCone writes “ This is a great opportunity to explore an area of Irish Heritage plants that has largely been overlooked. I particularly welcome the interest from the Folk Museum who have already done much to help develop the Lismacloskey Rectory garden. I believe there is tremendous potential in this project and I wish Lorraine every success.”

Photographs and text from Billy McCone, IGPS Chairperson. 

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