Antrim Antics

Some of the scarecrows

There have been no posts for a few days but that is because I have been working at Garden Show Ireland in the grounds of Antrim Castle. I have been working at the show, judging and giving talks, since 2007 but there has been no show since 2018 so this year was very special. Claire Faulkner, who invented and ran the show since the start, passed responsibility for the show to Antrim Council this year but is still at the heart of the event and works incredibly hard.

The show site was enlarged this year but all the usual events took place including the scarecrows, team garden challenges and more. This is very much a family day out and I am always impressed with the community involvement – it is unlike any other show I have attended in the past and one reason why I am always so pleased to continue to be involved. I usually give a comprehensive account of the event but I am playing fast and loose this year.

Trees cuddling in the castle grounds

The show always gets a big celebrity* involved and this year Diarmuid Gavin was Show Ambassador and my goodness did he work hard. I have never really met him before but what a nice man he is. He had been at the show ground for a month or so creating a garden, but more of that later. Throughout the event UTV’s Pamela Ballantine was presenting and interviewing and is a force of nature. I don’t know what vitamins she takes but I want some! It was also a pleasure to work with Klaus Leitenberger again, organic garden expert, and his lovely family.

A heron watching from a tree by the river

This year the show was blessed with a dry April for set up but, inevitably, although Friday was sunny, it rained on Saturday and Sunday morning but, as I was doing my last talk on Sunday I could see the sun come out, through the doors of the marquee. Of course I didn’t mention it till the end of my talk or I would have lost most of my audience!

School children getting their prize

But enough waffle. Diarmuid Gavin reprised his Clockwork garden that was originally shown at a Chelsea Flower Show and then, for six months, at Dundrum shopping centre in Dublin. But this time, in the historic grounds of Antrim Castle, the garden is permanent. It can be seen after the show is closed, for years to come. For this reason the planting is a bit less ‘packed’ than you would see in a show garden – this is for real. Every fifteen minutes the garden comes to life and it really is quite magical. I am happy to be an old grump but this really is a joy to behold. Well done Gavin and your team.

Spot the celebs: Diarmuid Gavin, Pamela Ballantine and Claire Faulkner

The video below (if it works – it did last time I checked) lasts about three minutes and I suggest that you turn the sound up to get the full effect.

*I don’t count

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6 Comments on “Antrim Antics”

  1. Mitzy Bricker
    May 2, 2022 at 1:47 pm #

    Looks like a grand show. The video of the garden is magical!

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  2. Paddy Tobin
    May 2, 2022 at 4:09 pm #

    A pleasant break!

    • thebikinggardener
      May 3, 2022 at 1:31 pm #

      It was, but glad to get back and see what some rain and three days away can do!

      • Paddy Tobin
        May 3, 2022 at 6:52 pm #

        Beautiful rain and a burst of growth!

  3. ThingsHelenLoves
    May 3, 2022 at 12:31 pm #

    That garden is wonderful- made me smile to watch the video. Cheered up an otherwise gloomy morning, appreciate it!

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