Get Lost In Our Gardens And Maze

Step Into The Botanic Beauty Within Our Walls

The historic gardens at Seaforde are situated both within and adjacent to the old walled garden, whose structure dates from the early half of the 18th century. The hidden, micro-climate gardens boast Ireland’s oldest living maze and support a truly illustrious collection of plants, many semi-tender and carefully collected and curated from distant corners of the world thanks to the travels of keen plantsman Patrick Forde. The gardens also include an arboretum containing champion trees and rare species.

Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Maze

The Maze Garden

The centrepiece of the Seaforde garden is Ireland’s oldest living maze, planted in 1975 to mark the occasion of Patrick and Lady Anthea Forde’s 10th wedding anniversary and growing in both reputation and stature since then. Planted with hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) hedges and providing maze lovers with a beautifully confusing challenge to the centre. With access from north and south, find an opponent and challenge them to maze triumph.

Nearby and planted against the central wall are a noteworthy range of uncommon trees and shrubs carefully collected from the wild by Patrick Forde or lovingly sourced from other growers.

Seaforde Maze, Gardens and Butterfly House Northern Ireland

Mughal Tower

Continue along the wall to discover the fairytale ‘Mughal Tower’. Loop up through its spiral staircase and you’ll find yourselves on a raised viewing platform. The altogether perfect spot from which to survey the walled garden and watch the maze runners as they weave to and fro.

Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum

Botanic Beauty

Herbaceous highlights include the Crinodendron patagua, Olearia x 'Zennorensis', Paulownnia fargesii and Rosa forrestii.

Look long across the lawns to the two commanding avenues of Eucryphias. Seaforde holds the UK National Collection of Eucryphias with over 20 glorious species and cultivars grown here. Boasting specimens of Eucryphia x nymansensis, E. cordifolia and E. x intermedia ‘Rostrevor’, botany lovers can look out for these white or pink flowering southern-hemisphere trees at their most spectacular in late summer and autumn. The more delicate pink-flowing forms of Eucryphia lucida ‘Pink Cloud’ and ‘Ballerina’, along with E. milliganii ‘Whisper’ were originally collected in Tasmania by Patrick Forde, who is recognised as the first to grow them in Ireland.

Seaforde Maze, Gardens and Butterfly House Northern Ireland

The Pheasantry

Continue your exploration of the grounds, through the arched gateway at the southern wall and find yourself in the ‘Pheasantry’. In the early 19th century the family kept ornamental pheasants in this area but between the years 1856 – 1902 this part of the garden was planted extensively under the direction of Colonel William Forde, an enthusiastic plantsman, who worked closely with his head gardener William Allan to develop the arboretum at Seaforde. Presently this garden contains towering conifers and striking rhododendrons, many well over 100 years old.

Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland

Growing Grandeur

Seaforde is famously home to some of the very first Sequoiadendron giganteum (or Wellingtonia) to be grown in Ireland during the 1850’s and 1860’s. Planted by Colonel Forde and Mr Allan, these stately giants are some of the most impressive trees to be found in the Pheasantry.

With 150 years of growth, one champion tree in the Pheasantry is the formidable, vertically branched, Crimean pine (Pinus nigra caramanica), which stands over 100 foot in height. Family tradition has it that Colonel Forde’s brother, Thomas Douglass Forde (who fought in the Crimean War with the Heavy Brigade), brought back a souvenir tree from his travels. The tree was transported either as a seed, cone or sapling which was then lovingly planted, nurtured and has grown into today’s champion.

Competing in grandeur are the Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sinensis’, with their distinct red trunk and companion sucker trees.

Seaforde Maze, Gardens and Butterfly House Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Maze
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum
Seaforde Gardens Northern Ireland Arboretum

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See what we've been up to this season at Seaforde Gardens...

Instagram post 18053611582196862 Lots of butterflies to be seen for one more week only🦋🦋!! The Butterfly House closes for the season on September 30th. The gardens and cafe will stay open Wed-Sun throughout autumn/winter...
#butterflies #photoopp #instabutterfly #seafordegardens #thegardenhousecafeseaforde #discoverni
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Instagram post 17898753826371879 And so begins the short 12 day life of this lovely forest queen butterfly (Euxanthe wakefieldi). So many beauties on show in the Butterfly House until the end of September...
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Instagram post 18042080341196421 #seafordegardens #seafordetropicalbutterflyhouse #saturdaychill #lovethisone 🦋☕️🍰❤️
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Instagram post 17916694594309867 Blue clipper butterflies hanging out on a banana leaf in the Butterfly House...
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Instagram post 18085820344010564 Bloom in transition. Hydrangea emerging in the Maze Garden. It’s that time of the year #seafordegardens #irishgarden #hydrangea #walledgarden #discoverireland #discoverni #countydown #flowerhead
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Instagram post 17850737665484282 The wonderful symmetry of nature...swallowtail butterflies mating.
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Instagram post 17852311831470357 Maze freshly clipped and ready #seafordegardens #bringbackthesun #irishgardens #irishgarden #discoverni discoverni #discoverireland discoverireland.ie #countydown #maze #lost #walledgarden #irishcountryhouse #gardendesign #gardenstructure #mazerunner #amaze #lostinamaze
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Instagram post 18046251118152585 #sayhallow#cockatoos #takeabow. ##performance #dramacockatoo#. #seafordegardens #beautiful_world #naturephotography
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Instagram post 18039471043135192 Day 53 #100daysofwalking #peacock on a #belltower #seafordegardens #butterflyfarm #bankholidaymonday #drenched #northernireland #ireland
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Instagram post 17864557939389050 Had wondered where all the ladies had disappeared to! First sighting of mother with 6 well camouflaged chicks seafordegardens
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  • Seaforde, County Down
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