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Field of dreams, and award of glass for gardeners

AN OMAGH couple who transformed 14 acres of unloved rural wasteland into a haven for colourful wildlife and plants in Tyrone have been presented with a very prestigious award.

Husband and wife team, Sir Bob and Lady Rosemary Salisbury recently won the ‘Environmental Initiative of the Year’ category at the annual Sustainable Ireland Awards, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Fittingly naming their project ‘Field of Dreams’, the couple’s project features vegetable gardens a network of ponds and streams which provide habitats for water birds and a diverse range of wildlife, which had been absent from the area for many years.

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The couple accepted their deserved glass award during a glittering ceremony, compered by television and radio sports presenter Adrian Logan, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Belfast which was attended by hundreds of guests and leading figures from the waste management, energy and environmental sectors.

Organised by the Hillsborough based publishers of Sustainable Ireland, the event, with 15 separate categories, is widely regarded as Ireland’s premier platform of recognition for those operating across all sectors of the industry.

Though the pair modestly describe themselves as ‘enthusiastic but amateur gardeners’, the judges commented that the ‘Field of Dreams’ project represented the family’s phenomenal commitment to the natural environment and in seeking to create spaces which enable wildlife and native plants to thrive.

“The transformation of an area of 14 acres into a haven for biodiversity has been achieved through the vision and perseverance of two people,” the judges said.

“The fact they have done so much of the planting and continue to manage the areas themselves is extraordinary.

“The area represents a beautiful balance between more formal and vegetable gardens close to the couple’s house, getting progressively wilder as you get further away.

The Salisbury’s infectious enthusiasm means their influence is spreading to neighbours, who are also planting native trees and making space for wildlife, creating connected spaces and wildlife corridors.”

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• To read about how Sir Bob Salisbury and Rosemary transformed an rural desert into a thriving, renowned wildlife garden in Tyrone, visit www.blackstaffpress.co and pick up a copy of book, ‘Field of Dreams’ for £10.

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