How Does Your Garden Grow?: Robert and Dorothy Simpson

How Does Your Garden Grow?: Robert and Dorothy Simpson

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Transmission 01/12/1986


26min 16sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Philip Wood and David Wilson explore the garden of Robert and Dorothy Simpson in Ballymena, County Antrim.

Over the past 30 years, this site has evolved each year, from a bare field into a "sheltered spot, beautifully enclosed by elegant trees". Robert guides David through his garden and discusses how the idea was to create "a pleasant view from every room in the house, even every bedroom". They began this by taking advantage of cover from the north and then once a sufficient amount of both pine and birch trees had been planted for shelter, started to grow other things. 

A distinctive feature found within the architecture of the garden are large rock formations, these have been very thoughtfully planted down with only local stone used, as if you don't chose a stone which belongs "the stone won't be happy"! 


Late Philip Woods developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of botany and horticulture and bred new varieties of plants and flowers for the nurseries in Northern Ireland. Before he settled down in NI he served in the Royal Corps of Signals and saw active service in many countries around the world during WWII. After the war, Philip took up the post of manager of the Slieve Donard Nursery in Newcastle, County Down. He was also one of the founding members of the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team and was appointed as its first leader. Later when retired, he devoted his time to designing gardens and providing advice, sharing his knowledge through gardening classes, lectures, newspaper articles, radio programmes.


An Ulster Television Production. 

Produced and Directed by Ruth Johnston 



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