How Does Your Garden Grow?: Wilfie and Margaret McDowell

How Does Your Garden Grow?: Wilfie and Margaret McDowell

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Transmission 18/11/1992


25min 11sec







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 Wilfie and Margaret McDowell in Ballynahinch, County Down.

The garden is half an acre and "set amongst rolling countryside" with the plants being a very personal selection of newer introductions along with "half forgotten, or somewhat neglected past failures". All in all, the variations make this "a marvellous example of a modern cottage garden - It exudes a love of plants and like all gardens, it is unique".

Wilfie explains, as he guides Philip around the paths that when he started there was nothing here, in fact there was even a pony that grazed on the ground! He began the journey of creating a well loved garden by first putting a path in, so he had somewhere to put his plants. The rest of the plants which can now be found on the plot, are either there due to them being personal favourites or are happy accidents that have occurred through them self-seeding.   


The 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.


A UTV Production



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