As part of their Level 5 Major Award in Horticulture myself and the students from Donegal ETB & National Learning Network visited the Skipton Estate in County Derry, now called the Beech Hill, and home to the multi award winning Beech Hill Country House Hotel
As part of our Soil Science module the Fetac Level 5 Horticulture students from Donegal ETB were given a tour of the Living Green Compost manufacturing facility located in Quigleys Point in County Donegal. Living Green is a massive success story not only are they Irelands largest wormfarm but they also produce Irelands only certified organic compost, which is available in retailers the lengths and breadth of Ireland.
This visit was part of our focus on organic matter, and its role in soil health (after all it is UN Year of the Soil 2015). Organic Matter is hugely important within soil for many reasons - including Providing valuable micro nutrients to plants, making major nutrients available to plants, improving soil structure, preventing compaction, stabilising pH, creating a buffer capacity in the soil, reducing pets and disease in the garden and so much more! Living Green Compost contains all the above, but also Humic Acid...which plants just love!. If you get a chance pick up a bag and see the results for yourself.
Combine looking at fabulous naturalised displays of Snowdrops, with homemade buns and cakes....is there a better day out ??
On Saturday 21st Feb from 10.30 Nancy Robinson will be hosting a Snowdrop Tea at her garden - Drumbuoy, Newtowncunningham, County Donegal....
Full details on the poster file below
Join Gareth Austin on the 31st January from 10am at Gillespie Polytunnels showsite in Killygordon for a great seasonal workshop on all things Fruity. This practical workshop is aimed at folks who already keep some fruit and wish to improve their success.
Topics which will be covered include:
Seasonal Pruning of Top and Soft Fruit, training Top and Soft Fruit, Feeding and managing soil pH on all fruits, variety selection, improving pollination, growing vines, pest and disease prevention & controls, growing tender fruit in the polytunnel and unusual fruits that are worth growing.
The workshop will run from 10-2(ish) and will be hands on, so please dress appropriately. To reserve your spot please contact Gillespie Polytunnels on 074 9149211 / 086 3760448 or via their FB page Gillespie Polytunnels , cost for the workshop is 40 Euro, refreshments provided.
I was delighted to have joined John Gallinagh and his son Connor on a tour of their nursery in Stranorlar - Finn Valley Nursery. John runs the only independently owned tree nursery in County Donegal. The Finn Valley Nursery is a real family affair, with 3 generations of the Gallinagh men coming together to provide a wonderful product, much acclaimed tree and forestry exert Tony Gallinagh founded the nursery many moons ago and now John and his son Connor run the nursery. John grows many hundreds of thousands of plants on site, ensuring that the plants he offers are fully acclimatised to the Donegal conditions, which in turn he sells the lengths of Ireland via the Finn Valley Nursery website . Indeed when I was there Connor was busy selecting 1000's of Oaks for a planting project in county Mayo, indeed every tree was being inspected for quality before they were bundled and bagged.
Connect with the Gallinagh men on the Finn Valley Nursery Facebook Page
Great selection of bare root hedging was heeled into a dispatch area on the area, awaiting collection/despatch by courier.
It was a cold morning, and after I left John was away to cut some more fresh christmas trees from his on-site plantation....no better way of getting a good fresh tree...than having it cut for you then and there!
Finn Valley Nursery can be contacted through the Finn Valley Nursery Website and via the Finn Valley Nursery Facebook Page.
Tony Gallinaghs garden is open to the public, check it out here
Great news that FAS have a new Horticulture programme listed for the Gweedore area of Donegal.
Another FETAC Level 5 Major Award in Horticulture is due to commence in January of 2015, this will be a 43 week full-time course...full details can be seen here
This level 5 is an ideal course for people with a good understanding of Gardening/Horticulture or with an existing level 4 Horticulture qualification.
For enquiries and for more information you can contact FAS Gweedore by following this link
Recently we enjoyed a guided tour of the gardens of RosBan in Raphoe by owners Ann & Bob Kavanagh. The Gardens at RosBan are opened through the year as part of the Donegal Garden Trail 2014. Previous gardens we've visited such as Oakfield Park, Dunmore House, Glenveagh Castle, Salthill House and Cluain na d'Tor are also included in the Donegal Garden Trail 2014.
The best way I can describe RosBan gardens is 'A Multi sensory experience', the gardens are a horticultural cavalcade of medicinal plants and horticultural education. Ann & Bob Kavanagh have a real passion for alternative medicine and for using their garden to educate and inform, whether it be about medicinal uses for plants, or on rock scructures/butterflies/grasses/edible plants/poisonous plants they have information displayed throughout the garden on all these subject...without it being an overly 'teaching garden' it just kinda happens...
At every turn in RosBan there are plants yearning to be touched, tasted or discussed. I kid you not RosBan is a garden which for me has been a real eye-opener, its different from every garden in the Donegal Garden Trail 2014, its a real thought provoking garden, from the way be could be using more natural remedies from the garden, to the way the garden is a space which exists on a fine line between taken over by nature and being this cultivated personal garden...I don't know...there's something third-level about this place...listen, don't listen to me yamming on about it....go and see for yourself!
Ros Ban Gardens in Raphoe can be contacted through the Donegal Garden Trail 2014, the gardens are open from Dawn to Dusk Easter to Autumn.
A slideshow of pictures from throughout Ros Ban Garden in Raphoe, part of the Donegal Garden Trail 2014
I was fortunate enough to enjoy the great company of Pat Pitt from Chelmsford in Essex when I visited Salthill House in Mountcharles....and it got even better when the owner of the garden Elizabeth Temple gave us a guided tour of the garden...it was just amazing, to have the company of these two plants women for a few hours...discussing plant varieties, propagation techniques and such topics as cold induced cholrosis on hardy Hibiscus...I was in Horticultural Heaven.
The amazing gardens of Salthill House, Mountcharles, County Donegal are opened now as part of the Donegal Garden Trail .
Expect a barrage of posts over the next few weeks covering the plant range in Salthill House!! And I'll link them all here
The organic heaven which is The Oaks based in Whiteoaks is having a super open day this Saturday from 2pm.
On the day head gardener Mick Verspuij will lead a walk around the Celtic Priory Garden and then around the organic farm.
afterwards tea and coffee will be available in the on-site cafe....
No need to book....just turn up!!
Glenveagh Castle Gardens were bursting at the seams with colour, the Rhododendrons, Viburnums, Camelias, Alliums, Poppies (amongst others) were in full show, the perfume was amazing from the Azalea Mollis collection....I hadn't been to Glenveagh since the snowdrops were in colour....below is a wee slideshow from around the garden taken this week...enjoy
see more pots about Glenveagh castle and gardens here
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond