I was extremely grateful that two very very busy men, Head Gardener Martin Timony and Assistant to the Head Gardener John Wallace agreed to give a tour to some of the Donegal ETB Fetac 5 Horticulture crew of the gardens and grounds of the 5 star Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel, located just outside Donegal Town. And I mean it when I say busy, these two men are responsible for the 40+ acres which make up the gardens and grounds around Donegals only 5 start hotel. The students were interested in how the management of the gardens accommodated the hotel guests, how the team manage the historical parkland and how they manage the modern menace of invasive species. The group were also treated to Martin giving an insight into what his development plans were for the gardens, with new planting schemes being planned to further enhance the visitor experience at Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel.
Visits like this are a wonderful way for the students to meet industry professionals and to discuss management issues and real-life scenarios. These all help to put the theoretical learning into practice. And I am extremely grateful for guys like Martin and John sharing their enthusiasm and experience with the group.
I was delighted to have passionate plantsman Pat Murphy give the Donegal ETB Fetac Level 5 Horticulture Students a tour of the fabulous gardens of Harveys Point Hotel, located just outside Donegal Town on Lough Eske. Pat has been Head Gardener at Harveys Point Hotel for 9 years and cares for the gardens as if they were his own, with a range of plants and attention to detail normally seen in a plantsman garden! We were visiting the grounds, not just to admire the plants but also understand more about matching landscape to the use, and also to learn more about the role of a gardener in such an establishment.
as we walked about Pat was able to tell backstories to his choices of plants, but also give a great insight into the role of the gardens as part of the Harveys Point success story (. Phrases such as 'We cut the lower limbs from these trees to that users of the Reading Room would have a better view of Lough Eske', 'This hedge was lowered so that there 2 rooms would have better views of the lake', 'This small areas of colour was introduced to create a pleasant view for these 4 windows', 'We use Seaweed fertiliser to make the grass greener for the summer wedding photographs','Its difficult to maintain but I think colour in winter is important, as it adds to the visitors experience walking around'....a great example of how gardens and grounds are managed to add value to a property/experience.
and in addition to all of these many acres of gardens, Pat also grows all the seasonal bedding for Harveys Point Hotel and plants all the window boxes and hanging baskets for seasonal colour in a large polytunnel located nearby....Pat is one busy man!
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond