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Mount Stewart gardens wins climate mitigation award

by | 26 Jun 24 | Garden Design, News, Sustainability

The National Trust’s Mount Stewart in County Down receives the European Garden Award for Climate Mitigation Measures in the Parks or Gardens category.

A rare Arts and Crafts garden, Mount Stewart was created by Edith, Lady Londonderry, in the early 20th century. It is recognised around the world for its plant collection and architecture.

The effects of climate change pose a significant threat to the area, with warmer summers, wetter winters and rising sea levels already altering the gardens located on the shore of Strangeford Lough, Northern Ireland.

Modelling warns the Formal Gardens part of Mount Stewart is likely to be consumed by salt and rainwater sometime in the century.

The National Trust team have been devising plans to safeguard the gardens. This includes introducing plants that are more resilient to windy and salty conditions, collaboration with partners to understand localised climate impacts and maintaining the nearby sea plantation.

Head gardener, Mike Buffin, says the plans will ensure future generations to come will be able to enjoy the gardens.

“Over time, we’ll create a new garden in the spirit of the existing Formal Gardens, further into the estate. We’ll use trigger points, such as storm events, to guide our decisions, and propagate significant at-risk plants so they can be planted in a new, safer location.”

The Trust says climate change presents the single biggest threat to the places in its care and the single biggest challenge to achieving its mission.

Director of gardens and parklands, Andy Jasper, adds;

“We don’t have all the answers, but we know the likely impacts and that the time to act is now. We’re using all the skills, knowledge and talent at our disposal to find opportunities and take positive action. It’s our responsibility to make sure that extraordinary gardens like the one at Mount Stewart have a future and can keep enriching the lives of everyone who visits.”

The garden was one of three to be awarded first prize in the category, which was introduced in 2022.

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