A PEACEFUL PLACE
' The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth'
This verse by Dorothy Frances Gurney is appropriate when sitting in the newly restored walled garden in Maghera. The redevelopment of the garden was a cross community initiative which aimed to promote reconciliation in the area and bringing together people in a calm, tranquil and peaceful oasis, away from the pressures and distractions of everyday life.
The site is located in the grounds of the Church of Ireland . The original garden site dates back to 1820. Despite extensive investigations no trace of the earlier garden design could be found but Griffith maps of 1847 to 1867 show a cruciform plan, so the restored garden used this as a basis for the path layout. The original garden provided the house with fresh produce and today this is reflected in the provision of allotments which encourage schools and the local community to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
The garden design was influenced by the Irish gardener Wiliam Robinson (1838-1935) and his 'wild' and informal approach to gardening was to use natural looking planting with hardy perennials and native species and dramatic herbaceous borders. Creepers and rambling roses clothe the pergola and a herb garden has been established with thyme, rosemary, lavender and dill which all would have been grown in the past. The raised beds are filled with vegetables.