Waterford Garden Trail

Waterford Garden Trail set to attract record numbers this year

 

EXHIBITIONS of paintings and photos as well as poetry readings have been added to an extended Waterford Garden Trail programme this year in an all-out drive by the owners of the region’s historic homes and amazing gardens to further boost the numbers enjoying the beauty and majesty of the now established Trail over the coming months.

The 2016 programme kicks off within days as Lismore Castle  hosts an exhibition of paintings entitled ‘A weed is a plant out of place’ on April 2.  The same day, Blackwater Garden Centre hosts a basket making event with Cathy Hayden. It runs from 10am to 5pm. Refreshments on arrival, light lunch and afternoon tea are provided.

Curraghmore House
Curraghmore Estate on the edge of Portlaw, one of the many gems on the Waterford Garden Trail

April 30 is a big day on the Trail calendar for 2016 with three events running at different times at three top gardens on the Trail.

The day opens with a photographic competition and amateur photographer’s workshop at Tourin from 10am to 1pm. Pre-booking is essential.

The same afternoon, Dromana opens its doors for a very special event from 2.30pm onwards entitled ‘Grand Designs – Houses, Gardens and Landscapes of the Blackwater Valley’.  It will be addressed by Dr David Edwards, Senior Lecturer, School of History, University College Cork as well as Dr Finola O’Kane Crimmins, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University College Dublin. Again, pre-booking is essential.

The same evening, Lismore Castle hosts a talk with award-winning garden designer, landscape designer, journalist and TV presenter, Dan Pearson. Further details and bookings through Lismore Castle. The marathon day has been organised to allow enthusiasts easily move from one venue to the other for what promises to be an amazing experience.

Dromana House
Barbara Grubb (Dromana), Sir Charles Keane (Cappoquin) Emily Villiers-Stuart (Dromana) seated in the wheelbarrow and Kristin Jameson (Tourin) looking forward to Waterford Garden Trail Events for 2016 Photo: Patrick Browne

Other events include a literary evening of poetry reading in Tramore’s stunning Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens on May 7.  ‘Souls in Flight’, The Butterfly Imagery of Lafcadio Hearn and Sean Dunne will  comprise of readings, song and dance, based on a theme drawn from Hearn’s essay “Butterflies’, published in his most famous book ‘Kwaidan’, which inspired Sean Dunne’s poem ‘The Butterfly Soul’.

There will be readings from Lafcadio Hearn’s essay and Sean Dunne’s poem by Julian Walton and Clodagh Beresford Dunne. The event will also feature Vanessa Whelan as “Madam Butterfly’ and The Vicki Graham Junior Stage School.

The public is also invited to learn to build a clay oven on May 7 and 8 at Blackwater Garden Centre. Join Gary Dalton, experienced Electric Picnic clay oven builder for a fun, 2 day course in clay oven building. Enjoy refreshments on both days to include welcome treats, lunch and afternoon tea as well as your own, homemade pizza! See www.blackwaterplantsplus.ie for details.

Curraghmore House
Pictured at Curraghmore ahead of the launch of the Waterford Garden Trail programme 2016 were .
Barbara Grubb Dromana House and Gardens, Sir Charles Keane Cappoquin House and Gardens, Lord Waterford of Curraghmore, Kristin Jameson of Tourin House and Garden, Sarah and Peter Raven of Ballyin. Picture; Mary Browne

Dromana runs its annual Herb Day with Ann-Marie Reilly on Sunday, May 22. Another key event on this year’s Trail calendar is an evening with Kevin Myres at Dromana entitled ‘Sons of the big houses and sons of the mud cabins – Munster and Ireland at Waterloo’ at Dromana on May 29.

The Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens will be celebrating the first anniversary of the opening in late June on a date which has still to be confirmed. The event will mark the 166th birthday of Lafcadio Hearn. A Gala Event featuring the Island of Ireland Peace Choir – in presence of the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland should not be missed. Further details to follow closer to the event.

Lismore Castle hosts a Wild Flower Meadow Workshop in July and a cluster of gardens will also be open for a day the same month. Again, dates will be confirmed closer to the event. The Trail programme continues on August 20 at stunning Salterbridge with a talk by Mathew Jebb, Director of National Botanic gardens, Glasnevin.

Events for 2016 draw to a close on October 8 back at Tourin, home of the Jameson whiskey family, on October 8 with the opening of an exhibition of the amazing art works of Tara Jameson which were inspired by the gardens at Tourin.

Garden festival spokesperson Krisin Jameson said while the weather has been unseasonably wet and cold, the gardens have never looked better. “We’re delighted to offer something for absolutely everyone this year – be they an established gardener with a keen interest in the history of this stunning region – or someone who wants to pick up a few tips on landscaping.

“We’re thrilled too to open the trail up to those with a keen eye for art and photography. The Trail encompasses some of the most stunning natural landscape in all of Ireland and we’re delighted to add new features to this year’s programme.

“Our Trail continues to grow in popularity and the secret of our success has been the fact that our group includes everything from historic gardens to a garden centre, smaller garden attractions to a community garden and garden attractions. We’re delighted to be facing into another busy season ahead and would encourage groups or individuals to come visit us and see for themselves the diversity of gardens right on our doorstep here in Waterford,” Kristin added.

Dromana House
Stunning Dromana House & Gardens on the Blackwater. Major festiviites are planned there from July 2-5 to commemorate 800 years of the FitzGerald clan.

The Waterford Garden Trail offers something special for both the novice and experienced gardener. Many days can be spent enjoying a rich variety of flora and fauna species, all of which contribute to the uniqueness of the gardening attractions on the trail. A number of the older gardens have been lovingly restored through the years, while the smaller ones are maturing beautifully with time.

Among the gardens on the trail are Abbey Road, Ballyin, Cappoquin and Curraghmore, Dromana and Fairbrook, Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Lismore Castle, Mount Congreve, Salterbridge, Shady Plants and Tourin.

       For more, log on to the Garden Trail Website

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