A Hillsborough garden described as a compartmentalised paradise will feature in the new BBC 1 three part series Greatest Gardens, which starts this Monday, June 1 at 7.30pm.
Dawn and Ken McEntee’s interesting town garden at main street sits at the rear of the old Barrack House, a former police station built in 1922 which runs to the original high stone walls of Hillsborough Castle and divided into three different areas, leading to a formal pond in a hidden garden.
Amongst the mature planting is a Gunnera manicata beside the pond, a magnificent Cornus controversa – the Wedding Cake tree – and a ‘Rambling Rector’ rose. The couple has occupied the house since 1987, and Dawn spends what time she can in her magnificent garden. Their home still has an old 18th century range and two cells in the basement. There is even an ancient orchard with unique old Irish apples. The Royal Horticultural Society even includes the garden as part of their tours.
It is evident that Dawn loves her gardening. From the moment she gets up she will don on a coat and wellies over her nightdress and take her breakfast with her to spend time tidying her garden as she makes her way back into the house.
“I go out every morning and I weed for about an hour,” Dawn said. “I will go down again with a cuppa and spend a few hours a day doing what needs to be done whether it is pruning or cutting until I feel that it is more or less ok. I dont do all the work my husband helps too with the digging or sawing.
“While other women have a passion for clothes or shoes I have a passion for plants. I will buy some and then hide them from my husband. When he asks where I got them I lie and say that I always had them.”
The presenters of the programme are Diarmuid Gavin a former Chelsea Flower Show winner and Helen Dillon a distinguished gardening lecturer and writer.