We have established a phenological garden in the north-west corner of the Observatory's estate, between the Stone Calendar in the Astropark and the Observatory Bungalow. The site is exposed to the south and west and partially sheltered from the east. It has all the qualities required of a good site for a phenological garden in this area with more than adequate space for several specimens of each of the 15 International Phenological Garden (IPG) recommended species as well as other native plants.
The site lies to the west of the Stone Calendar in the direction of several important vistas relevant to the Astropark. These include the setting points on the horizon of the Sun at mid-winter solstice, mid-summer solstice and the equinoxes, and dramatic views of the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland cathedrals on neighbouring hills in the City of Armagh. The lines of sight to these buildings and to the calendrical markers are to be left free of obstruction. Further dramatic views of the Roman Catholic cathedral from the Observatory Drive should also not be obscured.
A 1-2m wide grass path will eventually link three planted blocks. It will connect to the tarmac path around the Stone Calendar, to the garden at the rear of the bungalow and to the main public car park. This will enable the meteorological observer to make a short detour through the phenological garden from his current daily walk between the met station where the readings are taken and the bungalow where they are entered into the computer. A second path with a more moderate slope will be provided in due course for disabled visitors. The area between the plants and path will be established as a wild flower meadow with the sward cut only once or twice annually and the mown grass removed. No fertiliser or weedkiller will be used in the phenology garden.