Put some spring in your step

A scene from the very successful Mallow Homes and Garden Show, which has now become a premier show-garden event, featuring permanent displays, free seminars, and rare plant sales.

I DEFY anyone, even die-hard old gardeners, not to be moved by the utterly ravishing newness of January! Those who don’t garden may know it as the month of aches and pains, sniffles and catarrh, but in my book it’s the ‘New Year Gate’ which opens to let in the lengthening daylight. One could admire from the window, the remains of our late lamented summer — or, the reluctant gardener could take note of the many flower shows, seminars and open garden events marked in for the months ahead. This morning I outline a few for your perusal.

SEMINAR; Snowdrops and other Spring Treasures is the title of one-day seminar to be held at Sandbrook House, one mile from Altamont Gardens, Co Carlow on Saturday February 4, beginning at 9.30am with registration, tea coffee and biscuits. The first lecture entitled From Old to Gold will be given by Alan Street of Avon Bulbs, to be followed by Richard Bramley of Farmyard Nurseries (Wales) who will give an illustrated presentation on Heavenly Hellebores. After lunch at Sandbrook, Jim Almond will speak on Special Snowdrops and How to Keep Them before the group visits nearby Altamont Gardens to view the snowdrops and other spring bulbs with Paul Cutler (head gardener). Early booking is advisable. Contact Hester at 086-8654972 or Robert at 087-9822135.

RARE AND SPECIAL PLANT FAIR; This annual event takes place just outside Drogheda on the Boyne on Sunday, May 13, at Beaulieu House, Garden and Car Museum. Entry is €7.50 which includes access to the 4-acre walled garden. See www. beaulieu.ie. Do not confuse this fair with the Fota Rare Plant Fair which takes place at Fota Arboretum on Sunday, April 22.

MALLOW HOMES AND GARDEN SHOW; The very popular and successful Mallow Homes and Garden Show takes place this year from Friday, June 22, to Sunday, June 24. A full article on the attractions will appear on this page nearer the dates outlined.

RHS SHOWS; This year’s Chelsea Flower Show in London will take place from Tuesday, May 22, to Saturday May 26, inclusive. In Birmingham, the BBC’s Gardeners World opens on Wednesday, June 13 and concludes on Sunday, June 17.

NATIONAL COUNTRY FAIR; There can’t be many family days out in Ireland that offer visitors the chance to spend time with Cossack horsemen, medieval knights, dogs and ducks, horses and ponies and even pot-bellied pigs! But that is what the thousands of people who will attend the National Country Fair in Borris House, in south Carlow, on August 4-5 can expect. It’s an occasion where all ages and backgrounds can try their hand at sports such as clay-pigeon shooting, archery, falconry and fishing, as well as equestrian and gundog events, horses and hounds, birds of prey displays and children’s pet shows.

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