The Men’s Shed Steeple Antrim in Action

The Team Garden Challenge, supported by the Enkalon Foundation has become a firm favourite within the Allianz Garden Show Ireland, both for the participants and also the crowds who visit the Show.

Louise Jones, Project Officer for the Men’s Shed Steeple Antrim, has shared some insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes for the Team Challenge.

The Men’s Shed Steeple Antrim has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Allianz Garden Show Ireland team challenge for the last two years.

2015 was our first year to give the challenge a try and we really didn’t know what to expect.

A group of men from the Shed got together, and with the guidance of our art tutor, came up with a plan based on the theme of an old garden Shed. We titled our garden “Not on the scrap heap yet”. As we got going with our design, our ideas began to flow and before we knew it 10 men were involved, using their own unique skills and talents to make the garden happen.

From using willow to weave a chair, to making a set of walls from papier-mâché and paint, we were surprised by what we could achieve when we worked together as a team. The guys with woodwork and art skills co-ordinated with the men who had green fingers and before we knew it the whole design came together.

The day before the Show, we assembled our garden on our plot at the Castle Grounds. Many hands made light work that day and the sun shone making the whole experience fun and filled with anticipation.

The overall highlight of the challenge for us that year was the reaction we got from the people attending the Allianz Garden Show Ireland the following three days. The whole weekend was spent chatting to folks as they paused to look at our garden. We had a real sense of pride in what we had achieved.

The next year we couldn’t wait to get started on our garden and as soon as the theme was announced we began to plan again. Similar to the previous year, we had fun as we used our skills and worked together and this time we had more confidence.

Our garden was based on Peter Rabbit and his friends enjoying the theme of the competition that year – “Eat, drink and be merry” in our vegetable patch. A highlight for us in 2016 was the set up day. The craic we had with each other and the other teams who were also setting up was really good.

It was great to see the competition grow, with more teams getting involved; including a local Primary School that we have links with. There was a real community feel about the whole weekend.

So far our 2017 garden is taking good shape. Our Narnia themed garden is going to look very different from our previous gardens and we can’t wait to see what the judges and the public think of it!

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