Belfast Telegraph

Snap up a share of our garden cash pot £4,000 on offer for most inspirational entries in Tele's competition

By Linda Stewart

Feast your eyes on these scintillating colours and intriguing spaces – the entries into our Blooming Marvellous gardening competition are giving us a severe case of garden envy.

And there is still one last chance to get your garden entered into the competition before the deadline at 5pm today.

Grab your camera, get out there and take a few pictures if you want a chance to win part of our £4,000 prize fund.

We've had everything from ultra-modern outdoor rooms with clean lines and architectural planting to wistful woodlands drifting with swaying foxgloves. It doesn't matter what size your garden is, as long as you love and cherish it.

For example, Pauline Cowan describes transforming a plain pebbledashed house built on a shelf dug out from the side of the Gleno Valley in Co Antrim into a haven that her daughter's friends dub 'The Weasley House' after the Harry Potter location.

"Walks from the cultivated parts lead to a native hazel and ash woodland, which is alive with wood anemone, primroses and bluebells in spring," she says.

"Its a green garden and the colour mainly comes from pots of bedding, and my much loved hostas. My daughter's friends call our home 'The Weasley House' and the garden is a bit of a Weasley Garden – brambles and goosegrass are known to visit, dogs and cats are welcome and I have given up keeping the hens out – they love the hostas too."

And Jonathan and Karen Boggs have transformed a small Belfast garden into a formal garden with dramatic circular lawns leading into a woodland area awash with swaying foxgloves.

"We are so lucky to have a garden enclosed by such fabulous trees right in the city. Although the site is not large, we think the use of the circles in the patio and the two lawns leading to the third lawn at the very back has created a real feeling of space," Jonathan said.

The Belfast Telegraph wants to find the gardeners whose passion and skill have resulted in the most inspirational gardens in Northern Ireland. Entries must all be in by 5pm today – which means there is still time if you hurry.

We are offering an incredible £1,000 worth of gardening products for the winning garden in each of our four categories. You can enter your garden in Small Urban (which includes balconies and courtyards); Urban Garden; Small Country Garden; and Large Country Garden (over half an acre).

All you have to do is photograph a few views of your garden, add your name, address and contact details and email your photos to us at the Belfast Telegraph. If you want, you can include a brief outline of a few paragraphs describing your garden, but this isn't compulsory.

Then just email your entry to

Our judges will draw up their shortlists next week and the final judging – and garden visits – will take place later this month. Judging of the small urban and small country garden categories will take place on July 18 and judging of the urban and large country garden categories will take place on July 21 – so pencil those dates into your diary.

Once we choose our winners, they will be interviewed and featured in a special Blooming Marvellous gardening supplement free with the newspaper in August.

  • Email your entry to

Entries so far

David Johnston has transformed the "bare field" where his house was built near Loughgall in 1991. His full-time job as a plant breeder at Loughgall and the home farm across the road meant easy maintenance was a priority and he was able to use a special slow-growing grass mix of fescue and bent sourced at the agricultural college.

Noelle and Ian McKeown bought their property in Dundrum just over a year ago and have made their mark on a well-stocked garden that had been neglected for a few years, bringing in plenty of colour to add a bit of "flounce" and adding a burgeoning vegetable plot.

Since their home was built on a shelf on the side of the Gleno Valley near Larne, Pauline and Frankie Cowan have tried to soften its environmental impact by coaxing a garden from a rocky strip of land around the house and by developing the surrounding natural woodland. Walks from the cultivated parts lead to a native hazel and ash woodland, which is alive with wood anemone, primroses and bluebells in spring.

Judy Boal says her dad Denis practically lives in his Bangor garden which he has transformed over 25 years – "I need a tracking device to find him at times!" A pergola separates the pond area from the lower garden which is home to the glasshouse and the fruit and vegetable areas. An old orchard lies above the water garden and this year he has created a new wild garden.

Joanna McBurney and her son Alfie moved into a new house in Kilkeel following the death of her husband Andrew from cancer a year ago and she had the garden dug up and landscaped with the help of Colin Christie of Christie Construction. "I don't know a lot about plants but I spend quite a lot of time in the garden," she explains.

Belfast Telegraph


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