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2017 Allianz Garden Show Ireland - Fabulous Festival of Flowers, Food & Fun

2017 Allianz Garden Show Ireland - Fabulous Festival of Flowers, Food & Fun

2017 Allianz Garden Show Ireland runs from 5th-7th May at the stunning Antrim Castle Garde...


The Totally Terrific Tomato Festival returns to Killruddery House and Gardens


Calling Tomato lovers - the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival returns to Killruddery House & Gardens this September for another celebration of the diversity and flavor of the not-so-humble tomato. With contests, exhibitions, recipes and a host of guest speakers, the festival is not just a tomato enthusiast’s dream - it’s the best possible opportunity for those new to growing to gain some valuable experience and hear advice from renowned experts.

The festival is comprised of four aspects:
1. Genetic Diversity Display
2. Contests
3. Talks
4. The Walled Garden Project

Genetic Diversity Display
The highlight of the festival will be the impressive Genetic Diversity Display Table, co-ordinated by garden writer and tomato lover Jane Powers. There are over 4,000 known varieties of tomato and last year we managed to round up 138 of them, heirlooms, old favorites and F1 hybrids alike! If you’d like to contribute your own tomatoes to this year’s display, contact Jane to tell her what varieties you are growing to have a place of honor reserved for your tomatoes. A tasting table will also be available if you’re curious to sample some of the many specimens.
Contact Jane at - tomatodiversity@killruddery.com

We’ll have contests for tomatoes of all categories and classes, as well as for tomato-based recipes, judged by our special guest, award-winning vegetable grower Medwyn Williams. There are prizes to be won for every contest - and we have a few unusual categories thrown in there too!

Tomato Class Categories:

1. Classic medium round ‘Moneymaker’ type — dish of 5
2. Continental beefsteak type — dish of 3 
3. Cherry or cherry plum type — dish of 5

All of the above to be judged on both appearance and flavor.

4. Best complete truss of tomatoes — any type.
5. Heaviest tomato.
6. Ugliest/weirdest tomato.
7. Best tomato-themed costume or bonnet

Recipe Categories:

1. Any tomato dish - to be served at room temperature
2. Tomato chutney

If you’re interested in entering any of these competitions, now is the time to get your crops ready!

Visit the Library to hear talks from guest speakers on the history of the tomato and its incredible genetic diversity, presented by Dr. Matthew Jebb. Festival founder Nicky Kyle will be speaking on getting the most from growing and cooking your own tomatoes, and our special guest Medwyn Williams will give a talk on his journey from growing vegetables with his father to winning multiple awards at the Chelsea Flower Show and beyond. Several informal talks will also be taking place in the Farm Market during the day.

The Walled Garden Project
The staff at Killruddery will be getting involved, with our own head kitchen gardener Frank Jesper giving tours of the Walled Garden throughout the day and discussing his tomato-growing year so far in Killruddery. We will also have a children’s Seed Saving table to encourage the little ones to get digging!

Farm Market
Several of our Farm Market friends will be in attendance with lots of delicious accompaniments to your tomato dishes. Stallholders will include Le Skinny Chef, Corleggy Cheese, and Grass Roots Nutrition. Visiting stallholders include Dearbhla Reynolds from The Cultured Club, Freda Wolf of Intelligent Tea and The Herb Garden’s Denise Dunne. 

If you want to enter the festival but fear you’ve left it too late for seed sowing, our friends at Quickcrop have just the solution! Their six-to-eight-week tomato seedlings are ready to place in your greenhouse right away, in plenty of time for the festival. As well as all the usual favorites, Quickcrop also stock a few uncommon tomato varieties such as Ananas Noir, Green Sausage and White Wonder which are bound to catch the eye.
Pick up a seedling tray here: 

Special Thanks
We would like to extend our thanks to friends of the festival Nicky Kyle, Jane Powers, Dr. Matthew Jebb, Colm Warren Polyhouses, Kathryn Marsh, Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds, Quickcrop, and all our competition prize givers. Thank you for your support!

Bio - Nicky Kyle
Nicky Kyle has been growing all of her own food organically for over 40 years and was one of Ireland's first certified organic commercial growers. She was a director of the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA) and was also co-founder and director of The Organic Trust. She regularly speaks and writes a blog about organic gardening, poultry, wildlife, healthy eating, and cooking - www.nickykylegardening.com.

She also writes a monthly column in The Irish Garden magazine and is co-presenter of the popular 'From Tunnel to Table' feature on LMFM Radio's award-winning Late Lunch Show with Gerry Kelly. She was the original founder of the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival, with the aim of promoting awareness of the importance of preserving genetic diversity. 

Bio - Medwyn Williams
Medwyn Williams is the president of the National Vegetable Society, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit and Vegetable Committee, and eleven-time gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show. He is the founder of Medwyn’s of Anglesey Exhibition Vegetable Seeds, which he now runs with his son and grandson. Medwyn has been growing vegetables from the age of eight and is also the holder of the prestigious Tudor Rose prize, awarded to him for the best display for the Royal Horticultural Society at Hampton Court, nine Gordon-Lennox trophies for best vegetable display, and two Lawrence Medals for the best horticultural display of the year. 

Bio - Matthew Jebb
Dr. Matthew Jebb is the Director of the National Botanic Gardens. After studying at Oxford University, he was Director of the Christiansen Research Institute in Papua New Guinea for five years before taking a two-year post-doctorate position at Trinity College. He has described several species of carnivorous plants with Dr. Martin Cheek.

Source: HortiTrends News Room

Featured Event


11 September 2017 - 13 September 2017

The NEC @ North Ave, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT, UK

Glee Birmingham 2017

Join us at Glee 2017 to see the launch of hundreds of new products, discover the future customer buying trends and seize the opportunity to meet over 500 suppliers!

At Glee we bring the most exciting exhibitors together with the most powerful and influential visitors and buyers in the industry. Spread across 8 select show sectors Glee offers three jam-packed days of networking, selling and purchasing which are not to be missed. Whilst discovering the latest in innovative products, you can also meet hundreds of new and existing suppliers all under one roof. Taking place at the perfect time of year to re-stock your shelves just before Christmas, Glee is the most crucial garden trade event in any retailer’s calendar.

Offering thousands of the newest and most inspirational garden retail products from over 550+ suppliers, Glee welcomes all kinds of exhibitors from across 8 carefully edited show sectors. If you have your own brand, garden centre, shop or make or grow your own products, we have a spot just for you. With visitors from multiples, independents and online retailers, it’s the perfect opportunity to launch and showcase your product collections, nurture your existing relationships and grow new ones.

Date, Time & Location
11 to 13 September 2017

The NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT

Mon 11 Sept - 9:00 - 18:00
Tues 12 Sept - 9:00 - 18:00
Wed 13 Sept - 9:00 - 16:00




Featured Event


05 May 2017 - 07 May 2017

Antrim Castle Gardens @ Antrim Castle Gardens, Randalstown Rd, Antrim BT41 4LH, UK

2017 Allianz Garden Show Ireland - Fabulous Festival of Flowers, Food & Fun

Antrim Castle Gardens will be bursting with colour from 5th - 7th May 2017 as Allianz Garden Show Ireland returns to the beautiful venue for a three-day festival of flowers, food, and fun.

With a renewed focus on gardens this year there will be more to entice and inspire every level of a gardener with a warm welcome being extended to Joe Swift from BBC Gardeners World, who will be sharing his extensive knowledge during a series of interesting talks on Friday 5th May.

Commenting on the return of the Show to Antrim, Allianz Garden Show Ireland Director Claire Faulkner stated,

“Thanks to the on-going support of our sponsors and partners, the 2017 Show will be bigger and better than ever before and I am delighted that Allianz joins us once again as title sponsor. This year will be a celebration of this country’s rich local heritage, a theme embraced by participants throughout the Show. So it is particularly fitting that the event is staged in Antrim Castle Gardens which is in itself a living museum of four centuries of local heritage”.

Local Northern Irish heritage is the influence behind the Show’s stunning large feature garden designed by Belfast-based Architect and Landscape Designer James Purdy who takes his inspiration from the Mournes, while the community focused team challenge gardens will celebrate CS Lewis and draw inspiration from Narnia.

Damien O’Neill, Group Head of Marketing for Allianz commented,

“Allianz is delighted, once again, to be title sponsor in 2017. Last year’s event was a huge success and this year looks set to be better again. Allianz is committed to the sustainability of the environment and we recognize the big part that our gardens can play in achieving this goal. We know that the Show not only brings communities together but also showcases the very best in the world of gardening with all its attendant benefits. We are very much looking forward to all that this year's Allianz Garden Show Ireland has to offer.”

Gardening enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to learn at the Show with a wealth of talks and demonstrations running throughout the three-day event including talks from GIY (Grow It Yourself) founder Michael Kelly, expert gardening writer Geoff Stebbings and local expert and former director of Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, Reg Maxwell.

Food also continues to be a major part of the Allianz Garden Show Ireland with the Food NI Kitchen showcasing the very best of local artisan produce as well as lively demonstrations from the much loved local food author Paula McIyntre. Paula will be joined on Saturday 6th May by the hugely respected food writer and cook Thane Prince who will be performing demonstrations and sharing her experiences through a series of talks. The Food Garden will offer visitors an exciting range of local farm produce to enjoy in one of the many quiet spots throughout the Antrim Castle Gardens.

New to the Show this year will be a series of Art in the Garden events including a collection of wall hangings specially created for the Show and made by a talented group of quilt makers from around Northern Ireland. The Art theme continues with a range of musical offerings including talented young singers from Sestina, a brass ensemble from the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra and the Sing for Life Choir as well as the ever popular Martello Jazz Band.

Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey, Cllr John Scott is also looking forward to welcoming the Show back to Antrim,

“Following the huge success of last year’s event, I am delighted that the Allianz Garden Show Ireland will be returning to Antrim Castle Gardens this year. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase this stunning and unique venue to the thousands of visitors who travel from throughout Ireland and far beyond to the Show each year. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is extremely proud to support this prestigious event, which contributes so much to the economy of the local area.” 

Returning to the Show bigger and bolder than last year will be the Flower Arranging Pavilion which will welcome massive floral displays created by members of NIGFAS as well as a series of demonstrations and workshops from Gold Medallists Therese Quinn and Roberta Orr.

The family focused event has, over the last number of years, engaged with schools province-wide ensuring that the Show is eagerly anticipated by all the children who take part in the Allianz supported schools challenges. Primary Schools will be displaying their garden containers under the theme of ‘Enchanted Gardens’. Allianz Scarecrow Avenue meanwhile will come alive with scarecrows created by primary schools in the integrated sector who will be creating a ‘Legends of NI’ avenue.

Set in the stunning Antrim Castle Gardens the Allianz Garden Show Ireland continues to draw record crowds each year and this year and with extensive local parking and a short travel time from Belfast it really is an accessible day out for all.

Festival of Flowers & Gardens

Garden gurus galore!


Allianz Garden Show Ireland brings together all the gardening expertise you need to get those garden questions answered!

Celebrity Gardeners will be offering advice and sharing some of their experiences with Show visitors. Joe Swift, a familiar gardening face having been a regular presenter on BBC Gardeners World since 1998 and anchorman for BBC’s coverage of Chelsea Flower Show, joins us on Friday 5 May to talk about ‘Making your dream garden garden come true on a budget’.

Hear about the ups and downs of growing your own from GIY (Grow It Yourself)Ireland founder, Michael Kelly. Michael suggests the Top 5 Veg you absolutely have to grow! And our team of experts will be there to answer all your gardening questions in the Garden Talks Tent which this year will be beautifully decorated by the NI Flower & Foliage Association.

Gardens and displays abound in this year’s Show with ideas and inspiration on how to achieve the results you want in your own garden space. A feature garden, created by young gold medal winning designer, James Purdy, takes centre stage and will be a ‘WOW’ with its wacky ideas! Taking its theme from the Show’s 2017 ‘Heritage’ theme, James’s garden “Heritage of Place” is inspired by the Mourne landscape which was Tolkien’s inspiration for his Lord of the Rings novels.

Hundreds of plants from the specialist nurseries in the Growers Pavilion and Plant Mall will be on display and to purchase. The growers themselves are on hand to share their knowledge and give expert advice on planting and growing. And visitors will be able to choose their favourite display and be in with the chance of winning a 3D landscape design package worth £300 kindly sponsored by AG(Acheson Glover).

Demonstrations and workshops on how to create stunning flower arrangements in the Flower Arranging Pavilion run each day. In 2017 the new expanded Pavilion will feature stunning floral artistry created by members of NIGFAS from around Northern Ireland.

Festival of Food

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The Food NI Pavilion will be the focus for foodies at this year’s Festival!

Resident Chef, Paula McIntyre will be creating imaginative recipes for ‘Outdoor Dining!‘ and will be making use of all the local produce around her from Northern Ireland’s rich edible heritage. Paula will be sharing her superb knowledge of cooking with vegetables, herbs, and plants of all sorts including the creation of mouth-watering dishes from the produce you grow in your garden or in a hanging basket outside the kitchen!

On Saturday 6 May, the Food NI Kitchen hosts food judge from BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge, Thane Prince. Thane, who appeared as a regular chef on Ready, Steady, Cook, set up the acclaimed Aldeburgh Cookery School and has written extensively on food and cookery.

Gardens and displays around the Show will have experts on hand to provide advice on how to achieve the results you want in your own garden space to grow the herbs and vegetables you’ll really taste!

Indulge yourself in the Food NI Food Market! Local produce from cider and cheeses to chutneys and cupcakes, there’s mouth-watering local produce to buy.

Farm producers with locally reared beef, venison and fresh organic salads in the artisan food stalls are just some of the tempting delicacies on offer around the Show so visitors can relax and enjoy a delicious meal during their visit – or indeed share a cream tea with friends listening to the Jazz Band in the Punjana Tea Pavilion!

Festival of Family Fun