Open 10am-6pm

What’s On


We have a range of exciting events lined up over the weekend.

Please click the day that you are attending below for a full timetable of talks and workshops.

Mad Hatters Day! (Friday 16 June 2023)

Another new innovation for 2023 is Mad Hatters Day on Friday 16 June 2023. Make your own ‘hortitcultural’ hat decorated with flowers, veg or foliage. Or bring your own hat and get help from the Flower Farmers or from CAFRE Greenmount College, to decorate it.

The Judging Panel compered by Pamela Ballantine and including:

  • Marie Staunton, model turned horticulturist
  • Marie-Claire Ferguson, horticulturist turned milliner
  • Diarmuid Gavin, garden designer extraordinaire

will decide on the winning Mad Hatter!

The winning Mad Hatter will receive a Hamper of Food NI artisan foods worth approx. £300.

Potty about Pots

Again a new innovation for the Show, a massive display of pots with planting created by Diarmuid Gavin and Paul Smyth plant.

Floral Displays

Massive floral displays by members of NIGFAS the NI Group of Flower Arranging Societies created on the theme of Pure Imagination by groups from all around NI.

Schools – Really Rubbish Scarecrows

Really Rubbish Scarecrows created by Primary Schools throughout NI are on display. These scarecrows are “really rubbish”, not only because they are made from re-cycled items, but also because they attract the birds instead of chasing them away!

Little Green Fingers

Planting and flower making for kids!


By Paul Moore in the grounds of Antrim Castle Gardens.

Fly Fishing

Demos and fly tipping demos.

Trees & Birds

Willow bird box making, countryside craft demos, promotion by Ulster Wildlife and RSPB.

Pooch Patch

At this year’s Garden Show Ireland Pooch Patch will really be ‘catering’ for our 4-legged friends who so love their daily walks in Antrim Castle Gardens. 

As well as offering all sorts of advice and tips to dog owners, Pooch Patch, which is run by Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary, will host a Dog Show each afternoon with yummy prizes on offer from Butternut Box!

Classes include:

  • Most Handsome Gent
  • Loveliest Lady
  • Precious Pup
  • Best Paw Shaker
  • Dog with the Waggiest Tail
  • Best Rescue
  • Judges Favourite
  • Dog most like its owner
  • Best in Show

Tasty Treats from Butternut Box go to each winner!

  • Best in Show receives 4 weeks of food from Butternut Box + Rosette
  • Winner of each class receives a large bag of treats & Butternut Box Bandana + Rosette
  • Second and third placed dogs receive small bag of Buttenut Box Treats + Rosette

And each day Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary will provide advice and assistance to all dog owners.

And of course the essentials, water and poo bags!

Houseplant Heaven

Another innovation for this year’s Show. Designed by Diarmuid Gavin, Houseplant Heaven will be ‘housed’ in a courtyard of shipping containers painted with murals. It will be a quirky trendy jungle with Houseplants to purchase and including stalls set up by local retailers.

Conrad McCormick will be doing demos and providing advice.

Plants, Plants, Plants!

Thousands of plants from specialist nurseries will be available to purchase from nurseries who not only grow rare and specialist plants but who are experts on how to grow and maintain the plants they are breeding.

Displays of plants and flowers abound around the Show!

The Food NI Food Village

The Food NI Food Village provides visitors with sustenance from local foods.

Music & Entertainment

Music & Entertainment throughout the Show with Wandering Minstrels, Martello Jazz Band and more.


A full timetable of talks can be found by clicking the day that you are attending at the top of the page.

Diarmuid Gavin Masterclass

Each day Diarmuid Gavin will host a Masterclass with information and inspiration – and a bit of fun! – on how to go about creating your own dream garden.

Visitors will also have the chance to hear Diarmuid talk to Pamela Ballantine about the creation of the Coronation Garden in Hazelbank Park.

Panel discussions

Panel discussions hosted by BBC Gardeners’ Corner’s David Maxwell will explore themes such as:

  • Gardening for Health
  • Food Empathy – the power of food growing
  • Zero waste
  • Plants of the Moment
  • Indestructible Plants
  • Creating a border from scratch
  • Year round colour

Panelists include (bios and pics can be supplied):

  • Diarmuid Gavin
  • Marie Staunton
  • Paul Smyth
  • Michael Kelly
  • Biruk Hailu
  • Klaus Laitenberger
  • Geoff Stebbings

These experts will also deliver hands on workshops and one to one advice in the Have a Go at Gardening marquee.

Flower Farmers (Talks)

Members of the newly revived Ni Flower & Foliage Association will create enormous wow like displays of locally produced organic flowers in the flower Farmers marquee.

Talks and interviews on the main stage will include:

  • Flowers for a King ! – Suzie Scott of Florestina interviewed by Pamela Ballantine
  • Flowers that dry – re-emerging popularity of drying flowers by Paula Conroy hosted by David Maxwell

A full timetable of workshops can be found by clicking the day that you are attending at the top of the page.

Have a Go at Gardening!

The Have a Go at Gardening! marquee will host a series of hands on workshops throughout each day. Workshops are led by our team of experts. The marquee will have 5 areas each running concurrent workshops on one of our key themes:

  • Plants & Planting – Paul Smyth, Marie Staunton
  • Growing your own vegetables – Biruk Hailu, Klaus Laitenberger, Michael Kelly, Brian McCarthy
  • Pots & containers for gardens in small spaces – Geoff Stebbings, Marie Staunton
  • Houseplants – Conrad McCormick
  • Flower Farming – growing and decorating with locally grown cut flowers – Andy & Aisling McCormick and members of NIFFA (NI Flower & Foliage Association)
Grow it! Eat it!

Following the sustainable trend to grow your own food, the Show will this year have a large focus on how to create organic vegetable gardens, or how to grow your own vegetables in small spaces, in backyards or in pots or window boxes.

The Grow it! Eat it! Area includes:

  • Biruk Hailu’s Concrete Garden, a small backyard garden with veg growing both vertically and horizontally and demos on ‘No dig’ gardening. Everything is organically grown.
  • A Community Garden created by New Leaf Compost which includes veg beds created by 5 community groups from around NI as well as a biodiversity garden. Also demos on soil health and how to make compost. And a biodiversity garden.
  • A Market Garden created by entrepreneur Brian McCarthy of Cork Rooftop Farm producing and selling sustainable food from the spaces he uses.
  • ‘Green Vegetable Seeds’ will have organic vegetable seeds to purchase and will host demos by renowned vegetable gardener Klaus Laitenberger on seed sowing and propagation.
Flower Farmers (Workshops)
Members of the newly revived Ni Flower & Foliage Association will create enormous wow like displays of locally produced organic flowers in the flower Farmers marquee.

They will host workshops and demos on:

  • Wearable floral creations
  • Foraging for table arrangements
  • Sustainable floristry techniques
  • ‘Blooming great for kids’ – hands on workshops for kids