Delighted to have gotten the chance to visit the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, although (as you'd guess) the cookery school itself held very little interest for me...it was the gardens and grounds that I wanted to take in
The grounds are a mix of ornamental gardens, art, and then the commercial organic farm (certified by Organic Trust) to the rear. All are accessible with good footwear.
Having followed @BlarneyGardens (Head gardener Adam Whitbourn) on Twitter for a few years I was hugely looking forward to visiting the acclaimed gardens of Blarney House and Gardens....and boy are they special.
The castle is famed for the stone you can kiss....but the gardens are special, really specially....wonderful mix of parkland, forest trails, designed gardens, lush planting and Arboretum area....with features and artwork throughout the grounds.
I spent 4 hours just in the gardens, not including the castle, house or tea rooms, so if your visiting give yourself lots of time!!
For more on the wonderful castle and gardens please visit the website Blarney Castle & Gardens
The Bible garden in Cobh was a lovely spot, a small garden to gather some head space amongst the hussle and bussle of the busy town of Cobh, and due to Cobhs location it had the now-common sight of tender plants benefiting from the warm soils and beneficial climate - including a magnificent Mimosa tree...
The Fitzgerald Park in park was busy, lots of families out in the playground, folks sitting out in the cafe terrace drinking coffee and enjoying buns....you'd hardly believe its the first week in November!
I'd had Fitzgerald Park on my visiting list when I first knew I was coming to Cork, I wanted to see how the 2011 Chelsea Gold medal winning garden by Diarmuid Gavin was incorporated into the park, and how user-friendly it all was.
The garden was alive with families enjoying all the stainless balls, although I seemed to be the only one interesting in the planting schemes...
Its great to see public money being put to a use that so many families can engage with and get direct benefit from.
Doing lots of visiting here in Cork when I'm down! Today I visited the Ballincollig Gunpowder Trail, which was an interesting example of how industrial heritage can be used as a visitor attraction, with the site now being a popular walking trail and nature park.
Its a good example of how nature reclaims a space. The site was eerie and all I could think was how great a Halloween Trail it would make!
For more details on the Ballincollig Gunpowder trail download a leaflet here
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond