18 Aug 2022

Carlow Garden Festival to get under way this weekend

Plenty right on the doorstep for Kilkenny folk


Carlow Garden Festival

Gardening gurus from across Ireland headline the Carlow Garden Festival programme for 2021, which gets under way this weekend. 

The festival features an appealing mix of workshops, garden tours, specialist talks and Q&A sessions located along Carlow’s Garden Trail. Events in Shankill Castle, Borris House and Kilgraney House and Herb Gardens and Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven will be of interest to readers.

Headlining the festival this year will be gardening personality Diarmuid Gavin who makes a return along with gardener Paul Smyth, at a much-anticipated talk at Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven on Saturday, July 31.

“The Carlow Garden Trail Committee is delighted to be able to host the garden festival in 2021, albeit over a shorter time period and with strict limits on event numbers. The festival will be operating to strict Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of all attendees to the festival and staff," says Chairperson of the Carlow Garden Trail Robert Miller.

The festival kicks off on Saturday, July 24 with a garden tour of Delta Sensory Gardens by Paul Martin, a gold medal winner at the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows.

An entertaining day, suitable for all the family takes place on Sunday, July 25 as environmentalist and RTÉ personality Éanna Ní Lamhna leads a special nature walk along the magical setting of the River Barrow in Leighlinbridge. Éanna also provides some useful tips to address climate action and biodiversity using examples of works completed in Leighlinbridge. Two walks
have been scheduled to take account of expected demand at 2 and 4pm.

Gardeners Mary Keenan of Gash Gardens in County Laois and Patricia Tyrrell of the Garden and Landscape Designers Association (GLDA) visit Delta Sensory Gardens and the Meadows Garden on Monday, July 26. Patricia explores planting for maximum effect for the longest possible period, without too much maintenance.

Klaus Laitenberger is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed vegetable gardeners having authored three books on the subject, restored the gardens of Lissadell House in County Sligo and worked as Head Gardener at the Organic Centre in County Leitrim.

During his visit to the vegetable garden in Shankill Castle on Wednesday, July 28, he covers how to grow your own organic vegetables, salads and fruits by choosing the right varieties, the best sowing dates and preventing pests and diseases. That
afternoon Arthur Shackleton visits Burtown House showing examples of his design approach to gardens he has worked on in the past along with providing a detailed overview of Arthur’s own garden – Fruit Lawn – in Abbeyleix, County Laois and his choice of plants there.

A Tree Trail of Borris House can be enjoyed in the gregarious and knowledgeable company of arborist Thomas Pakenham on Thursday, July 29, where some of the beautiful specimen trees on the estate will be presented along with other highlights of a visit here including the Lace Garden, the woodlands, the Stew Pond and the original Victorian laundry.

Fiann Ó Nualláin makes a much-anticipated return to Kilgraney House and Herb Gardens in the afternoon explaining how gardening can lead to a longer, healthier and happier life and the wonderful transformations that happen as gardeners toil outdoors.

These are just some of the events listed for the festival, which is an opportunity for budding and experienced gardeners and nature lovers to obtain practical advice from a range of informative workshops and talks while visiting the many beautiful gardens in the county.

Visitors can explore premises on the Carlow Garden Trail throughout the festival. Tickets for each event can be booked on

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