Celebrating its 10th birthday, Northern Ireland’s premier gardening event today, (Wednesday 26th February), launched its 2014 programme in the Show’s stunning new venue – Antrim Castle Gardens. Running from 9th – 11th May, an expanded new look Garden Show Ireland will be packed full of all things gardening including appearances by Channel 4‘s River Cottage team, Alys Fowler from BBC Gardeners’ World, Ireland’s world-renowned plantswoman and broadcaster – Helen Dillon and much more.

With thousands of specialist plants ready for spring planting, great garden shopping, garden designers and expert plantsmen, show gardens, a craft village, a free design clinic, artisan food stalls, live music, garden gourmet, challenges for community groups to create a garden, a dedicated kids zone and more, the event promises to be the ultimate garden show experience for gardeners of all ages and experiences.

Following the completion of the largest ever historic garden restoration undertaken in Ireland, the 400 year old gardens at Antrim Castle are an historical gem and provide the perfect new backdrop as Garden Show Ireland Director, Claire Faulkner explains, “We are delighted to be launching the 2014 Show in our new home at Antrim Castle Gardens. The Show has grown and has many new elements this year. These gardens offer great space and superb facilities and the central location makes it accessible to a wide catchment area. The restoration work is simply breathtaking and we are excited and privileged to be working in partnership with Antrim Borough Council to present our 2014 Show in these stunning surroundings.”

Mayor of Antrim,Cllr Roderick Swan is looking forward to welcoming the Show to Antrim for the first time. “Hosting the garden show within Antrim Castle Gardens is a perfect fit and the beginning of what we hope will be a long partnership between Antrim Borough Council and Garden Show Ireland. This prestigious event will not only attract many visitors to the Borough from across Ireland, but will also provide an ideal opportunity to celebrate the restoration of this historic place”.

Reflecting the rise of the kitchen garden movement this year’s show will focus on ‘Grow your Own’ and the big attractions for 2014 will include a gardening double bill as BBC Gardeners’ World and kitchen garden expert – Alys Fowler will be on hand alongside world-renowned plantswoman, writer, lecturer and broadcaster – Ireland’s Helen Dillon. Plus, River Cottage Head Chef and Head Gardener will share their passion for home grown produce and their drive for improving the eating habits of a nation as they host numerous demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Show Gardens will once again be a centre piece of the weekend and the introduction of a UTV Magazine Show Garden Design Competition is set to raise the bar for this year’s event. The Show will also witness the debut of a specialist Garden Design Clinic organised by GLDA (the Garden Landscape Designers Association) offering free garden design ideas for visitors from qualified professional designers.

In addition, children of all ages will be encouraged to get involved with a dedicated Little Green Fingers zone for the youngest gardeners, Allianz Scarecrow Square created by primary schools from the integrated sector, the Edible Containers Competition for Primary School children and the Allianz Schools Garden Challenge for Secondary Schools.

The Team Challenge supported by The Enkalon Foundation will be encouraging community groups, charities, groups of friends and work colleagues to get their gardening gloves on and design and build a garden in a day. Green-fingered or beginner gardeners alike can enjoy browsing the many exhibitors’ stalls for creative gardening ideas and outdoor purchases.  Home baked treats, fresh coffee, strawberries and cream and fizz on the lawn can all be enjoyed whilst listening to the Martello Jazz band and more.

Eddie Rowan, Events Manager at Northern Ireland Tourist Board, a key supporter of the show, said: “NITB is pleased to sponsor Garden Show Ireland in its new home at Antrim Castle Gardens.  I have personally attended the event in previous years and have always enjoyed the experience and the professional organisation of the show. We wish the organisers every success for 2014 and beyond at this stunning new location.”

The 2014 Garden Show Ireland will run from 9th – 11th May at Antrim Castle Gardens and is open daily from 10am-6pm with parking adjacent. Adults are £10 (concession £8) and the event is FREE for children under 16. There is a reduced rate for online booking and for more information visit www.gardenshowireland.com.

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