Carlow Garden Festival

Carlow Garden Festival

Friday July 21st – Sunday July 30th 2017

Gardening icon Monty Don returns to open the Carlow Garden Festival on Friday, July 21st at Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven and will reflect on how his famous garden at Longmeadow has evolved over the last twenty five years and the many lessons he has learned along the way.

The Carlow Garden Festival continues over 10 days and promises to be the best yet with a busy programme offering a variety of gardening workshops and talks set to inspire every level of gardener. The 2017 programme features an appealing mix of world-class UK gardeners combined with the very best of Irish garden broadcasters, writers and new trailblazers in Irish horticulture.

This year’s highlights include a master class in gardening at Altamont Plant Sales featuring Roy Lancaster, Paul Smyth and Joe Swift. This is a rare opportunity to catch three speakers of such high calibre in one venue, on the same day, at a very reasonable price of €35. On Tuesday, July 25th John Anderson discusses what it’s like to garden for the Queen of England in his role at Windsor Castle, in Hardymount Gardens, near Tullow. Oliver Schurmann, whose stunning garden scooped the overall prize at Bloom 2017 visits the Delta Sensory Gardens in Carlow town and the gardens of artist Philippa Bayliss in Myshall. June-Fearnley Whittingsstall, twice winner of a gold medal at Chelsea pays a visit to Newtownbarry House and Huntington Castle and Gardens leading two informative and interesting garden tours.

Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal Winner, Mary Reynolds presents two special talks around the stunning grounds of Shankill Castle and Borris House and Demesne where a host of activities including house tours and estate walks can also be enjoyed on the day. The noted architectural and garden historian Terence Reeves Smyth also gives a talk on the illustrated history of walled gardens in Ireland in Borris House on Wednesday, July 26th 2017.

A truly wonderful afternoon and evening is promised on July 27th with UK gardening expert James Wong, botanist, writer and broadcaster, who in an intimate gathering at Kilgraney House and Herb Gardens will highlight how to Grow for Flavour. Later that evening learn How to Eat Better at his talk in the wonderful setting of the VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow town.

Those making a welcome return to the festival include Dermot O’Neill, one of Ireland’s best loved gardening experts who speaks about his top ten plants at Rathwood, Tullow and later at Rathvilly Garden Centre where he shares his best tips and tricks on growing roses. Another highlight will be the return of Neil Porteous, head gardener at the outstanding Mount Stewart Gardens in County Down who gives a talk in the charming environs of Burtown House and Gardens, Athy, on Sunday, July 30th, where he will be joined by Dr. David Rae, Director of Horticulture and Learning at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Fionnuala Fallon, author and Irish Times gardening columnist pays another visit to the Delta Sensory Gardens to talk about growing cut flowers seasonally and sustainably.

A new addition to the garden festival this year is the inclusion of Patthana, which has been described as one of the best small secret gardens in the country situated in Kiltegan village, where Jimi Blake, the noted horticulturist, teacher and plantsman gives a talk on Sunday, July 23rd at 5.30 p.m. Another talented gardener participating in the Carlow Garden Festival is Mary Keenan owner of Gash Gardens in Laois who visits Newtownbarry House and Gardens and Huntington Castle and Gardens for a garden and tree trail. Parks Superintendent with the OPW Paul McDonnell promises an exciting journey through the historic setting of Altamont Gardens with its fine plant collections, Robinsonian style landscapes, man-made lake and ancient oak woodland.

Suitable for all the family, Melissa Doran, well-known as the illustrator of the number one bestseller of Irish children’s non-fiction book Naturama leads a special nature drawing walk along the magical setting of the River Barrow. Prepare for your senses to be captivated and explore the flora, fauna, plants, animals and birds along the river. Bring your sketchpad and pencils – this is the perfect afternoon for all the family!

Speaking about the event, John Murphy, Chairman of Carlow Tourism stated:

We are very excited and looking forward to welcoming internationally acclaimed gardeners from the UK and Ireland and delighting visitors with what promises to be a world class garden festival, the only one of its scale in Ireland. This unique festival is run over ten days and will bring together leading gardeners sharing their expertise and knowledge. The Carlow Garden Festival showcases the diversity of the Carlow Garden Trail which has a collection of over twenty different gardening attractions which range from great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, to smaller gardens and award-winning garden centres. The Carlow Garden Festival aspires to cater for everyone from novice gardeners to garden connoisseurs and budding garden designers.