Our Story

Hillside Nursery Centre was established in 1921 by Robert Hugh Kirkpatrick, the great uncle of the present owner. The Kirkpatricks were milk farmers in Co. Antrim and during the recession after the First World War they looked for ways to diversify in order to make a living. After building an acre of pitch pine glasshouses,they went into the growing of tomatoes in Summer and chrysanths in Winter. Robert Hugh had a great interest in horticulture and cross-bred different varieties of tomatoes. The most well known of these was ‘Hillside Perfection’ which was much loved locally for it’s size and flavour. He also bred many varieties of Dahlia and grew around three acres of Roses.After his death in 1961 the business was carried on by his nephew, Robert Hugh Rankin who had grown up at Hillside. He continued growing tomatoes and chrysanths and during the 1960s started to containerise shrubs and trees, opening Hillside as a Garden Centre in the late 1960s. Due to ill health he passed the business on to his son Brian in 1982. Brian had the vision to take the business forward and expand into all areas of gardening. In 2006 we completed a major redevelopment which included a new shop and a Coffee Shop. Hillside is now moving forward in the hands of the fourth generation of the family and looking forward to further expansion.