Ballymaloe Garden Festival


More than Thirty Events For Seasoned Experts, Late Bloomers, Families and Foodies

East Cork will be a bloom as the first-ever Ballymaloe Garden Festival unfurls on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September.

A packed programme of workshops, talks and garden walks is planned with most events taking place in Ballymaloe Grainstore, the beautifully restored 17th-century former farm building located steps away from Ballymaloe House.

The Ballymaloe Garden Festival will be distinguished by both calendar and content: It’s more of a harvest festival, taking place at the end of the summer rather than in the spring, and there is an emphasis on wildlife, sustainability and education. (This we like)

The Festival will offer inspirational information and conversation to put to use in the kitchen, the home, the vegetable patch, the flower bed and the forest. Among the topics are edible hedgerows, seaside and urban gardening, seed saving, foraging, herbal medicines from the garden, garden design, garden restoration, flower arranging with native flowers and natural materials, and the whys and wherefores of attracting wildlife to your garden.

The Big Shed,will be transformed into a welcoming wilderness of food, drink, flora and family fun. Those who don’t know a radish from rhubarb will find plenty to keep themselves – and their children – entertained and well-fed.

The weekend will kick off on Saturday morning in Ballymaloe Grainstore with Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School and Michael Kelly of GIY Ireland on “Growing Food in Cities – How Urban Growing Can Create Food Empathy and Save the World,” in which they’ll explore the positive practical, political and environmental impacts of growing your own.

Horticultural luminaries include Helen Dillon who will talk about the evolution of her worldrenowned Dublin garden; Brian Cross of Lakemount Gardens in Glanmire on seaside gardening;

West Cork “gypsy journalist” Joy Larkcom on how she has brought once-exotic vegetables into the Irish vegetable bed;
Ballymaloe Garden Festival - Joy Larkcom,  credit Roger Phillips

Most of the talks and workshops will be given by Irish experts, however the UK will be represented by garden writer and TV presenter, Alys Fowler, and acclaimed author and landscape designer, Geoff Stebbings, among others.

Garden lovers are invited to “Venture into the Wild” with Gerard Mullen, Gold Medal Winner at Bloom 2013, who will talk about designing a contemporary garden with native materials. For novices, Tom and Johann Doorley will demystify vegetable growing with “Easy Growing, Lovely Cooking.”

On the fauna front, keep an eagle eye out for Jim Wilson, bird expert and contributor to RTE’s “Mooney Goes Wild”; Michael Woulfe of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers on the facts of life about bees; and Chris Wilson, ecologist, author and broadcaster on attracting butterflies and moths to the garden.

Susan Turner, head gardener at both Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School and a Festival organiser, will share important ideas on creating wildlife pond habitats for endangered amphibians. Susan and her team will also lead tours of both gardens.

Food from local market heroes and drink including the best of Irish craft beers and ciders will be available all day, and into the night, in the Big Shed. There will be a stalls selling plants, seeds,tools and machinery; children’s education area; arts and crafts; musicians; basket weavers and much more.

The Garden Festival begins on both days at 10am, with final events starting at 4:30pm. A garden party with a twist will rock on in the Big Shed until late.

And even better Sarah and Alan will be at the show with our own Secret Garden stall, looking forward to meeting new and old gardening friends.

Scroll to Top