Belfast Telegraph

Cool urban gardens: finalists have planted seed of inspiration

By Linda Stewart

It's enough to make you green with envy – the gorgeous oases of tranquillity in the heart of our towns and cities.

Our judges have painstakingly trawled through scores of stunning entries to our £4,000 Blooming Marvellous garden competition and we can now announce the shortlist for our Urban Garden category.

Our readers have shared some incredible gardens, but these are the verdant spaces that really captured the judges' attention.

At the age of 87, Denis Boal is a passionate gardener and has transformed his plot over the past 25 years, according to his daughter Judy who entered him in the competition.

"He has always loved gardening and now at 87 he practically lives in it – I need a tracking device to find him at times!" she said.

"He landscaped the pond area in the early Nineties and a pergola with grapevine separates it from the lower garden where he has a glasshouse, and below it an area where he plants vegetables and fruit. At the other side of the centre path is a lawn surrounded by shrubs.

"An old orchard lies above the water garden, which is mostly lawn with an ancient pear tree in the centre. There are beds planted out with trees and shrubs here and this year he has added an area to create a wild garden."

Our next finalists are Victor and Roz Henry, whose garden on the outskirts of Newtownards was a blank canvas when the house was built in 1996.

Their garden is filled with a variety of plants, including southern hemisphere species such as cordyline and phormium, along with cottage garden favourites like Meconopsis, phlox, delphiniums, agapanthus and alliums.

"While the garden is not large, it contains a wide variety of plants, a pond for wildlife and goldfish, a gazebo, a greenhouse, and a brick pillared rose walk clothed in the rambler Frances E Lester while Rambling Rector spreads along a fence," Roz said.

Meanwhile, James Logan's stunning Moorish-themed garden in Portstewart, designed following a visit to the Alhambra in Granada, has already appeared in the Belfast Telegraph's Blooming Marvellous coverage.

The garden features a long central tiled rill with a fountain and a gentle flow system. Two tiled pavilions with draped ceilings add to the Moorish feel, as does the intricate mosaic work.

James explained: "Some years ago my work took me to Granada in Spain and I visited the Alhambra on many occasions so 10 years ago when I came to design my most recent garden I drew my inspiration from the famous Generalife gardens in the Alhambra.

"Harmony, balance and perspective were key in the design and I have tried to create, not only an interesting garden, but a place that has a calmness and tranquillity at its core."


Urban garden finalists

  • Denis Boal, Bangor
  • Victor and Roz Henry, Newtownards
  • James Logan, Portstewart

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