Tom Coward and Jim Gardiner at Altamont

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29th July 2022, 11:30 am


Continuing the Magic at Gravetye Manor (11.30 a.m.) and Shrubs – Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride (3 p.m.)

Continuing the Magic at Gravetye Manor

Head Gardener Tom Coward gives us an insight into the running of Gravetye Manor, renowned as one of Britain’s most iconic garden properties.

Gravetye Manor was the home place of internationally renowned gardener William Robertson who was the inspiration behind many of Ireland’s best known gardens including those at Altamont.

This is a rare and excellent opportunity to delve inside the mind of William Robinson (1838 – 1935) and his naturalistic approach to gardening, a trend he started which continues to this day, and remains very apt in the current environment.

Shrubs – Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride

Jim Gardiner, who was Curator/Chief Curator of RHS Gardens Wisley for over 25 years will use his deep pool of knowledge gathered over several decades to talk about some of the most wonderful plants he has come across in his career.

Jim argues for a far more prominent role for shrubs in the creation of your outside space while also providing helpful tips and tricks to ensure they thrive and grow. Learn how shrubs can help to maintain structure and privacy, while providing winter interest, bringing color in spring and summer or brightening your garden with autumn colours.

Venue: Altamont Plant Sales, Altamont Gardens, Tullow, Co. Carlow R93 N882
Time: Talk 1: 11:30 a.m. Talk 2: 3 p.m.
Admission: €35 day ticket
Tea, coffee, snacks and light lunches from the on-site Café.
Contact: 087-9822135

Tom Coward

Tom Coward started his career on the Isle of Wight where he worked in several gardens and a fruit nursery. He went on to work and study at Wisley, Pershore College and Kew.

He has travelled widely including time spent working in the nursery industry in Oregon and vegetable growing for a hotel in New Zealand. In his previous job he was assistant gardener to Fergus Garret at Great Dixter, an experience which had a profound influence on his gardening.

From 2010 he has managed the gardens at Gravetye Manor and has overseen its restoration and development. He writes for several magazines and is currently writing the Plants Persons Favorites column for Gardens Illustrated

Jim Gardiner

Jim Gardiner has enjoyed a long and distinguished career having trained at the gardens of Windsor Great Park, the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden and Askham Bryan College.

Jim held various management positions, firstly as garden supervisor in the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and then as Curator of the City of Liverpool Botanic Garden and the Hillier Gardens and Arboretum. Over a period of two decades he was the Curator and Director of Horticulture at the RHS Gardens Wisley.

He was awarded The Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society Council in recognition of his contributions to horticulture. Jim has held a number of distinguished positions including President of the Magnolia Society International and is a current trustee of TROBI and former trustee of Borde Hill gardens along with sitting on various RHS Committees including the Woody Plant Committee.

He is the author of numerous books including A Gardeners Guide, Magnolias in Art and Cultivation and Timber Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs. Jim regularly writes garden articles and lectures and leds garden holiday tours.

The Carlow Garden Festival is supported by Carlow County Council under the Festival and Events Scheme


29th July 2022
11:30 am
Event Category:


Altamont Plant Sales & Walled Garden
Altamont Gardens
Tullow, Co. Carlow R93 N882
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+353 (0)87 982 2135
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