Text and images courtesy of Andrew Gee

Hydrangeas and meadow

On Saturday 5th August, there was a great turnout of IGPS members for a visit to the garden of Anne and Danny McCaughan.

Situated in coastal Cultra, near the shores of Belfast Lough, this is a mild, one acre garden which provides just the right environment for Anne’s enormous collection of Hydrangea and other special plants.

Upon arriving through the gates, we were immediately surrounded by all sorts of wonderful plants. Stretching almost all the way along the driveway was a huge stand of “mophead” hydrangeas which were very impressive.

Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’

One highlight of this surprisingly large genus (Anne has 115+ different varieties) was H. aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’, with dark burgundy leaves and contrasting pink sepals.

Aside from the hydrangeas, Anne and Danny have developed a variety of planting areas, ranging from a woodland area, two boggy sites for moisture loving plants, and a meadow. The meadow incorporates perennials such as Alchemilla, Astrantia and species Gladiolus which provide additional interest and seem to grow just as well, if not better, than in a conventional border.



There are numerous choice woody plants. One of which, an unidentified, late-flowering, large-leaved Magnolia, greeted us with its marvellous golden yellow bloom.

It was a treat to see indeed, as Anne explained its flowers rarely manage to fully develop.