Belfast Telegraph

Bloomin' Marvellous: Haven just what the doctors ordered

A bullfinch is a welcome visitor to the garden of John and Noeni Bryars
A bullfinch is a welcome visitor to the garden of John and Noeni Bryars
The Lisburn oasis boasts an array of features including a bird house
An assortment of plant life

By Amanda Ferguson

Two retired doctors – who can count herons, foxes and squirrels among the visitors to their stunning garden – are enjoying their own version of The Good Life.

John and Noeni Bryars' beautiful three-quarters-of-an-acre oasis – complete with secret garden, water feature and blossoming flowerbeds – is the latest entry to our Blooming Marvellous competition.

The Lisburn couple has lived in their Lambeg home for 29 years and love nothing more than spending time outdoors birdwatching, tending to plants and picking their own fruit and vegetables.

"We have great fun in the garden," Noeni said.

"People have second holiday homes but we love where we are. I love the back part of the garden. It's so private you feel like you're in the country.

"At this stage of the year we love all the fruit and vegetables we grow, like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, artichokes, peas and beans.

"We call it The Good Life here."

Like Tom Good from the famous 1970s sitcom, John is the main gardener, with a big passion for plants, while Noeni does the mowing and keeping an eye on visiting wildlife.

"I'm the one who mows and lifts the leaves in the autumn and I'm a keen ornithologist," she said.

"John designed lots of the features in the garden including two small ponds which connect via a pump system and there is also an area which we call our 'Secret Garden' made in the woody shrubbery that kids love.

"We just love our garden and its views and have no desire to be away from it for long, especially from March to September."

The Belfast Telegraph wants to find gardeners whose passion and skill have resulted in Northern Ireland's most inspirational gardens.

The competition runs until next Friday so there is still time to get your entries in. We are offering £1,000 of gardening products for the winning garden in each of four categories, so get your camera out and get snapping.

How to enter our competition

Put the finishing touches to your balcony, courtyard or garden this June

Photograph a couple of views of your garden – we need good, sharp images

You can enter your garden in one of four categories: Small Urban (which includes balconies and courtyards); Urban Garden; Small Country Garden, and Large Country Garden (more than half-an-acre)

Email your entry to bloomingmarvellous@, including your name and contact details, garden photos, what category you are entering and a brief background if you want

Or post entries to environment correspondent Linda Stewart at Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB

Closing date is July 4, 2014

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