Fountains and blooms are the hallmarks of the Mallow Homes and Garden Show

Peter Dowdall reflects on some of the visitors to the Mallow Home and Garden Show over the years. 

Enjoy a day out here and bring the children for they go free. Also free is ample, adjacent parking.

This is its last year as a teenager and having gone through the changes that occur during the teenage years the Mallow Home and Garden Show is growing towards adulthood as a fine, well-developed and attractive annual event.

I think I’m right in saying that only one of the original gardens created in 1998 is still in existence and that is the Gallarus Oratory, designed by Dominick Cullinane, which has matured so beautifully into its surroundings. 

In a way, it is the perfect backdrop to a show such as this, lending an air of maturity to what is otherwise all showmanship.

All of the other 20-something garden spaces have been through several reinventions since then. They don’t change every year like every other garden show. 

This is Cork and so it has to be a bit different and one of the main ideas behind the original show when it was first mooted, was that the show should have permanent gardens which could developover time and people could see reality if you like, they could see how the gardens matured over the years.

It was then that the show organisers went in search of a home for the show that could house such gardens and that’s how it came to be in Mallow. The idea came first and the location second and it was a great idea. 

It is relatively easy to create a show garden to look fantastic for show week, but a bit more challenging to create one that will look well for years to come. This year sees Thomas Richardson, a landscaper from Mallow create a new garden focusing very much on the use of stone and water.

Darren Drummond, the man behind the mammoth task of maintaining and reinventing the space each year has taken over ‘The Kettle’s On’ Garden this year and is creating a woodland garden complete with stream and upcycled decking area made from old scaffolding boards.

I’m looking forward to seeing his results as I, along with so many others have enjoyed ‘The Kettle’s On’ for many years since Dominick Cullinane first built it probably about 15 years ago.

Also on display this year will be composite decking from Cork Builder’s Providers which will provide the visitor with the other extreme. In one garden, you can admire a bit of ingenuity and upcycling and in another you can admire the latest in product development with the composite product.

Paul O’Flynn of Sublime Landscapes has been part of the show for several years now and his top class work and attention to detail will be further shown off as he is introducing some new paving material and ideas into his garden — another one I’m looking forward to seeing.

Previous winner of Best in Show, Larry Lynch focuses always on the plants in his creations and for that reason I always enjoy what he brings to Mallow, as I am a huge fan of his plantsman’s eye.

O’Neill’s Stone of Ballincollig will be at the show once more, as they use Mallow as the ideal place to showcase their fantastic range of natural stone and slate mulches. I’m a huge fan, as anything that keeps the weeds down, reduces the need for watering and looks so attractive can only be good in my opinion.

Add to all that the fact this slate mulch is now proven to reduce slug and snail activity and I’m surprised that there is a garden in Ireland that doesn’t use it.

Finbarr O’Neill was telling me that they will be creating a fairy garden at the show this year and also about the range of natural stone features and animal statues that he is bringing to Mallow Show this year which will be strategically placed around the show grounds.

I will reserve judgement as I haven’t seen them yet. Think not of garden gnomes in size, more Alice in Wonderland- scale rabbits. As I say, I will wait before I comment and report back.

Ballyseedy Home and Garden are further developing their presence in Cork with a garden that will be built by Co Kerry-based landscaper Tommy Laide of Designer Landscapes. 

Based in Carrigtwohill in Cork and Tralee in Kerry, Ballyseedy are now one of the strongest national brands in the world of garden centres and garden design.

Don’t dare sleep for the next few weeks because it really is show time, the world of show business meets gardening at the biggest and the best, RHS Chelsea which starts on May 23.

That week finishes off with the Mallow Home and Garden Show which runs from May 26 to 28 and then on the June Bank Holiday Weekend, all roads will lead to Bloom in the Phoenix Park.

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