Another Saturday and another garden open under the auspices of the National Trust's Ulster Garden Scheme. The garden which was welcoming visitors today was that at Billy Old Rectory a few miles outside the village of Bushmills.
It is a good size garden, extending to about three acres. The rectory was constructed in 1810 for some £810 by the then rector, Rev. J. Babington. The doorway to the three bay dwelling is through a doorway which is situated halfway between the basement and ground floor in the three storey bow which fronts the house. Somewhat surprisingly the stairway from the entrance to the ground floor only winds from the right hand side. A pleasant symetery would have been achieved if one could advance from either of two flights of stairs from the entrance.
There is a small gate lodge to the property which is well kept. Leading from the entrance gates is a well maintained gravel drive with extensive lawns on the right hand side. These are flanked by a mature woodland area with bark covered walks.
Behind the dwelling are the orchard, the vegetable garden and herb garden. There is also a duck pond. Sadly it seems to have a solitary inhabitant. At one time there may have been bees and chickens for company. The bee hives and chicken houses remain to provide interest but they are presently uninhabited.
A small summerhouse overlooks the lily pond. It certainly would have attractions on a summer evening with the allure of a stiff snifter seated in front of you.