Ballymaloe House, renowned for its culinary prowess, held its first two-day Garden Festival on the last weekend in August.
Situated in a 400 acre estate in east Cork, Ballymaloe is just a few miles from delightful coastal scenery.
The Festival promised much.
A line-up of speakers on subjects as varied as Growing Food in Cities to producing An Award Winning Show Garden.
The only difficulty was what to choose?
Good running shoes and a bottle of water are good tips, as one darted from the Grainstore to the next event in the Kitchen Garden.
It’s always a risk getting specialists, untrained public speakers, to hold an audience’s attention for perhaps an hour or more.
However, seasoned raconteurs like Helen Dillon entertained us with her tales of 40 years gardening at her wonderful Dublin garden.
Gerard Mullen guided us through the process which led to his Best in Show garden at the Bloom Festival in June – from the wild natural landscape which inspired him, through to the actual build.
His Show Garden at Bloom combined his love of Irish native plants, contrasting with modern materials .
There were talks on bees and birds and making compost and a tour of the kitchen garden with the Head Gardener, Susan Turner.
And of course, if you were peckish, you could pop along to the Big Shed where there were more choices to be made…
The sun shone, there was a relaxed atmosphere, and some picnicked in the lovely setting of east Cork.
Inside the Big Shed, local craftspeople displayed their wares..
Brown Envelope Seeds’ lovely stand, its organic open-pollinated seeds are grown in West Cork.
Madeline McKeever gave a talk about The Forgotten Art of Seed Saving.
Next year, Ireland has been chosen to host the 11th World Flower Show, “A Floral Odyssey”, 18th-22nd June at the RDS, and there were people on hand to make sure we made a note in our diaries – really looking forward to hearing more.
But what would a Garden Festival be without the presence of nurseries?
Very few returned home without a tray of veg seedlings from Hennessy Nurseries….
… 0r perennials from the tempting display by Caherhurley Nursery
There were musicians and falconry displays,
and a fun children’s education area.
and a raffle to win Gee-up’s manure soil enricher – look forward to trying this.
As the afternoon wore on and the sun continued to shine,
weary legs found a place to perch for some tea, berries and cream or one of the craft beers or ciders.
Or a quiet place in the garden…
This had very much the feel of a local event – most of the visitors I spoke to came from the locality.
But there was much to tempt those from further afield, with a line-up of speakers such as Geoff Stebbings, Joy Larkcom and Brian Cross, and several workshops.
Building on its success, it is likely to become an annual event.
A lovely way to see in the first days of Autumn, and to kickstart the garden planning to be done for next year.
(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back)