Step into a world of pure imagination as Garden Show Ireland announces its return to the historic Antrim Castle Gardens for a three-day gardening extravaganza that promises plenty of flowers, food and fun in true Wonka fashion.
Now in its 19th year, the show runs from Friday 16 – Sunday 18 June and is expected to attract some 30,000 visitors across the weekend.
Billed as Northern Ireland’s largest gardening festival, the horticulture showcase is bigger and better than ever before with a blossoming programme that caters for family, friends and the garden enthusiast alike.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross, said: “From our famed Jubilee Garden to our Coronation Garden, Antrim and Newtownabbey is an area of remarkable natural beauty. These creations further elevate the immense potential of our public realm and celebrate a rich horticulture tradition. Garden Show Ireland truly exemplifies this tradition and aligns with our ambitions to transform our public spaces and create a vibrant environment to work, play and visit.”
Taking inspiration from acclaimed garden designer Diarmuid Gavin’s magical, mechanical Jubilee Garden, this year’s show is adopting ‘Pure Imagination’ as its theme for 2023 as weird and wonderful exuberance meets gardening excellence.
It will see some ‘Really Rubbish Scarecrows’ greet visitors on their arrival at the show grounds. Designed by local primary school children, the creations reimagine what a scarecrow can be as they construct their figures from recycled household waste with a view to attracting native bird species and pollinators.
Diarmuid Gavin and distinguished plantsman Paul Smyth get potty about pots with their enormous plant pot display, a centrepiece of the show that must be seen to be believed.
Flowers and fashion collide as visitors don homemade horticultural hats and strut along the show’s ‘Hatwalk’ in a bid to find the event’s best dressed gardener. On the opening day of the show, Friday 16 June, the ‘Mad Hatters Day’ event invites participants of all ages to get creative with flowers, veg and foliage to decorate their hats and stage their creations in front of a celebrity judging panel, including fashion icon-turned-horticulturalist Marie Staunton.
Alongside the weird and wonderful the show boasts a bustling craft and food village. In partnership with Craft NI and Food NI, visitors can expect a delicious selection of artisan food, fantastic local crafts, live music and much, much more.
Serving up plenty of ideas and inspiration for your own garden, green-fingered veterans and budding gardeners can soak up expert advice from the industry’s brightest, uniting with specialist plant growers to celebrate this year’s bloom and share creative insights across a range of workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses on topics ranging from flower farming and growing your own produce to pots, planting and gardening for small spaces.
Show ambassador Diarmuid Gavin said: “I’m so excited about this year’s Garden Show Ireland which is going to be different to any other Show. We invite you to have a go at gardening and we show you how to do it.
Garden Show Ireland is a real celebration of all things green, indoors and out. It’s a Show packed with pure gardening imagination and whether your garden is a windowsill, a suburban plot or acres of country garden this is a festival for you.
We’re potty about pots and mad about plants, we’ve flower farmers and indoor jungle experts, grow your own displays and a floral hat competition. I’ll be running a series of Design Your Own Garden masterclasses and will be joined by gardening greats across the weekend keen to share inspiration and insights. There really is something for everyone!”
Tickets for Garden Show Ireland cost £10 and can be purchased online at gardenshowireland.com. Children under 16 go free.