This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Garden Show Ireland Inspiration

Lots of inspiration and gardening tips at this year's Garden Show Ireland held at Antrim Castle Gardens during May. 

The show featured lots of ideas that could easily be incorporated into smaller gardens, which is something I enjoyed seeing. From growing veg in 'trugs' to creating a little piece of paradise outside your back door and using splashes of colour and a variety of pots (and no grass to mow) - there were lots of tips that could be adapted. Here are some of the designs that caught my eye... 
The winner of the Eppy Schierbeek Cup, sponsored by Friends of Antrim Castle Gardens and supported by the Enkalon Foundation, was the Men's Shed Project. This little garden definitely has a man's touch and uses lots of recycled materials (tins, old stove/wood burner, tools, etc). This is the 1st garden the group has ever designed and they did a great job! Gold star for creativity / theatre!

Above and Below: It's great to see a design concept on paper, and then the finished product. This is one of the professional show gardens on display, called 'My Space' by Ryan McGee. It had a little water feature (the circle with pebbles) and has features that look as if they could be incorporated into an ordinary back garden (with a good joiner/ woodworker and bita cash!)

Above: Another professional show garden, by James Purdy from JP Architects and Landscape Design.  

Above and Below: More great ideas for the small garden - raised beds for growing herbs, flowers and veg (no more sore backs!). I love the bright orange garden furniture and lime green plant pots - a little splash of colour is always welcome in Ireland to brighten up our rainy, overcast days! 

Of course Monty Don was the main feature of the garden show this year. I was impressed that he took time to autograph books, chat with people and he posed for numerous photos.

Monty gave a very inspiring talk to a packed out audience. For those outside the UK, Monty features regularly on TV and in numerous magazines. His talk was on the theme of 'easy gardening' and included the importance of the soil (feeding the soil not the plant), growing things you're good at and suits the growing conditions (not fighting against nature). He talked about how the best tasting potatoes are 'earlies'. He gave lots of other tips and insights, and he received a roaring applause from the local crowd (I've never seen such a happy lot after listening to Monty - who is much more humorous than I'd ever imagined!)  If Monty happens to come across my blog... Monty, please return to Antrim next year!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. It looks like you had a good time, I enjoy looking at the different small gardens at shows like this x

  2. The only issue that I have with shows is the choice of plants in that they are contrived to flower together. I'll never forget seeing Sambucus Nigra used as a bedding plant?

    1. Good point Sue. The gardens may look pretty at shows but aren't necessarily practical, and often aren't affordable.

  3. Looks like you came home with lots good ideas. Are going to use any of them? Monte John gave some good advice. We don't know him here. Our garden still has not gone in because of such wet weather. I thought today would be sunny, but, no, it looks like clouds with a chance of rain--again. Great photos of the garden show. My dream: travel the Western Civilization visiting gardens. Have a great week end.

  4. Oh there are some lovely ideas and designs there Kelli - lots of inspiration to be borrowed for our own gardens.

  5. It looks like a great day out. There's always lots of inspiration to take away from shows like this.