The Events Committee of the RHSI organise a full and varied programme of events for members and guests. Some events must be pre-booked. Early booking is advisable and bookings are taken on a first come first served basis.
Lectures take place on Wednesday evenings and during the winter months, on Saturdays afternoons. There is a fantastic range of prominent speakers from gardeners to designers and plant specialists from Ireland and abroad who share a wealth of experience and photographs.
Floral Art demonstrations also take place on Wednesday evenings. We have many well known floral artists from Ireland and occasionally from abroad who come and show us new and innovative ways of creating flower arrangements. Gala demonstrations organised at Christmas are always a sell-out and early booking is advisable.
Day tours are organised during the summer months and are extremely popular. The tours consist of visits to gardens of which many are not usually open to the general public, as well as visits to other well known gardens. Travel is by coach leaving from south Dublin but with the option to meet the coach along the route for country members is required.
Overnight tours in Ireland and abroad are arranged each year. These are also very popular and can be booked up very quickly.
All events are listed on the programme. At times a last minute opportunity for a special garden visit or lecture may arise and these are posted on the website and sent to members by email as soon as they become available.
Lectures and floral art demonstrations are usually held in Wesley House, Leeson Park, Dublin 4. Some lectures and seminars are held in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. Full details are listed under each event.
Non members are very welcome to join our events many of which must be pre-booked. Occasionally events will be restricted to members only.
For further information please contact Deborah Bailey at email@example.com
If you prefer, you can view these events in a calendar format.
RHSI Members: Please log into Members Area to book.
Spring into Action
A lecture by Maurice Parkinson who will outline what needs to be done and how, and what to admire in the spring garden; a favourite time at Ballyrobert Gardens. Maurice was formerly the Director of Parks in Belfast and currently the Chairman of the RHSI. He created Ballyrobert Gardens, a Robinsonian/naturalistic type garden in County Antrim. RHSI Members - Free on production of valid RHSI Membership Card.
RHSI Member Booking Link
Non-Member €10 Non-Member Booking Link
Willow Weaving with Annmarie Bowring
There are thousands of willow varieties that grow worldwide ranging from Arctic willows only a few inches tall to those which have been developed for biomass fuel that can grow over 12ft. in a year.
At this workshop, we will make decorative plant supports, learn how to make a Fedge and a Willow braided Belgian tree.
Annmarie Bowring runs Dalkey Garden School in her beautiful garden in Dalkey. She has qualifications in horticulture and in Garden design and has won awards for her gardens in Bloom. She is passionate about sustainable gardening and making a difference in our environment.
Floral Art Demonstration
Au Naturel with Ali Dietrich
Ali Dietrich is an AOIFA demonstrator, a professional artist and designer with an emphasis on wood. She has won bronze and Silver in Bloom. Ali aims to use as little non sustainable materials including floral foam in her designs as possible.
Booking will follow soon.
Members - Free on production of a valid RHSI membership card. Member Booking Link
Non-Members €10 Non-Member Booking Link
Designing a Potager with Annmarie Bowring
In the French kitchen garden or pottage, gardeners have intermingled vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs since medieval times. For the French, the potager has always been the country counterpart of the grand chateaux parterres. Potagers are essentially tapestries of myriad colours and shapes.
This style of gardening is very desirable today as quiet often we do not have the luxury of a separate kitchen garden.
Annmarie will demonstrate how a potager can work in even the smallest of spaces.
Full details and booking will follow shortly.
Members €20 on production of a valid RHSI membership card. Member Booking Link
Non-Members €25 Non-Member Booking Link
RHSI Members Free - Non Members €10
In a 16-year labour of love, Bob Salisbury and his wife, Rosemary, have transformed a barren corner of County Tyrone into a wildlife haven.
“When we acquired the first five acres, it was a rural desert, neglected and devoid of birdsong. It was nothing like the landscape Rosemary recalled from her childhood here, when there were skylarks, curlews and many small birds. We decided to try to turn the clock back.
“Neither of us were experts in biodiversity, we knew nothing of garden design, had little spare cash but we had a dream. We played it by ear and started planting trees under our own steam – over 1,000 whips of alder, oak, maple, ash, hazel and pine. We excavated three large ponds, thickened up existing hedgerows to form small woods and sowed a wildflower meadow. Then we waited with bated breath.
“Before long, the new ponds were visited by hundreds of frogs and newts, as well as heron, buzzard and otters. Mallard, teal, moorhen and water rail began breeding, the occasional dabchick, cormorant or merganser dropped in, and great diving beetles, ram-shorn water snails and water boatmen appeared. Fieldfares, house martins and swallows came in droves, charms of goldfinches swirled around the thistles and sparrow hawks hunted. Irish hares and barn owls appeared, the first seen in the area for over thirty years. Results of what seemed at times, a crazy scheme, exceeded our wildest dreams.
“When another nine acres came up for sale on our boundary, I applied for a forestry grant with the guidance of the Woodland Trust and put in another 4,500 native trees, creating 12 acres of woodland in total. A neighbour had already planted 38 acres of woodland and the farmer opposite is set to plant a further 22 acres so with our planting and the mature woodland in Seskinore Forest we now have a very sizeable woodland area.
“To date, we’ve spotted 64 bird species, many of them nesting, and 12 mammals – this morning we were watching hares on our lawn. When I look at photos of how it used to look, I wonder how on earth we got started in the first place. But we’ve managed to create what we’ve come to call the Fod, short for ‘Field of dreams’.”
Over the years we have come to realize that wildlife gardens are different. They look different, sound different and are magical and alive. In creating them we can feel we have made some small contribution towards preserving what we have. We now have our own ‘bee-loud glade’ with a dawn chorus which in the spring and summer is truly spectacular. If two total amateurs can achieve this turnaround then anyone can. It is a question of changing the way we think about gardening and wildlife and taking action rather than wringing our hands and sitting back. We set out fifteen years ago with an improbable dream but, in our small way, now feel we have managed to make a difference. In order to sustain our country’s wildlife the bottom line is that we must try to plant our meadows, build our ponds, plant our woodlands and rethink our gardening practices. Committed people can change the world. We must be prepared to put in more than we take out. In our view it is well worth the effort!
The book ‘Field of Dreams’ was published in May 2018 and has received excellent reviews.
Bob will talk to us about his wonderful wildlife garden in what is sure to be a truly inspiring and uplifting lecture.
Saturday 14 FULL DAY SEMINAR
RHSI Seminar “Sustainable Gardening”
Featuring Nigel Dunnett, Alys Fowler and Professor John Fitzgerald
Members €80 / Non Members €100 / Students €40
Alys Fowler is a gardener, writer and presenter.She writes a weekly column on gardening for The Guardian Weekend Magazine. She has contributed to Gardens Illustrated, The Observer Food Monthly, The National Geographic and Country Living. Alys trained at Royal Horticultural Society Wisley, The New York Botanical Gardens, and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. She has presented on BBC's Gardeners' World, The Great British Garden Revival, Our Food, and her own six-part series The Edible Garden. She regularly contributes to radio. She has keen interest in agriculture and food politics and is setting up an urban farm in Birmingham. She also teaches garden history, specialising in Italian gardens of the Renaissance era. She is fascinated by urban nature and how we make space for it.
John FitzGerald is Chairman of the Climate Change Advisory Council and is the leading expert in climate change in Ireland today. He is an adjunct professor in Economics at Trinity College Dublin and in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCD. He is a former research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute. He is currently also a member of the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland. Between 2003 and 2007 he was a member of the board of the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation.
Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, and is one of the world’s leading voices on innovative approaches to planting design. He is a plantsman, designer and pioneer of the new ecological approach to planting gardens and public spaces. His work revolves around the integration of ecology and horticulture to achieve low-input but high-impact landscapes that are dynamic, diverse, and tuned to nature. In 2016 Nigel was appointed as an Ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society to spearhead their ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign, and is a former Garden Club of America International Fellow. Nigel has authored and co-authored key books on planting design, water-sensitive design, and urban rainwater management. Nigel is a gold medal-winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In November 2018 Nigel won Landscape Institute Award 2018 for Planting Design, Public Horticulture and Strategic Ecology, and the Fellows Prize for Most Outstanding Project, both for The Barbican, London. In 2019 he was awarded the North American Perennial Plant Association’s International Impact Award for his work in naturalistic planting design.
Wednesday 21 WORKSHOP
“Seed Propagation” with Shirley Cullen
Shirley is an avid propagator, especially of seeds, growing plants for her own garden, sharing with fellow gardeners and with propagation in her veins, she enjoys experimenting with more unusual and rare seeds.
Shirley is delighted to share her techniques, tips and ideas at the Seed Propagation Workshop and also at a Seed Collecting Workshop later in the Autumn (Saturday 14 October), which makes both these two Workshops connected as they complete the circle of life of a seed. During the Propagation Workshop we will take seeds out of their over-wintered cold, dark storage and prepare them for a new season of life and reproduction and so all Workshop participants become part of this fascinating plant cycle.
Seed sowing can be fun and tremendously therapeutic and the results very rewarding and those that have never tried it or are new to it, should not be put off by ‘rules’ as there simply are only a few and a basic packet of Annual seeds bought from the garden centre can be sown at any time of the year and allowed to wait for nature to take its course. For the exceptions, those who are more expert and for those who want to keep more control over their sowing, there are some simple requirements that we will cover in the Workshop.
Seed Propagation Workshop - What participants will learn:
How to distinguish different types of seeds, sowing depth, light/dark and warm or cold temperatures required for successful cultivation. Learn how seeds germinate, what special treatment they need and what triggers them into life. Suggested equipment for successful results such as the best growing medium, seed trays/root trainers or pots and most importantly, excellent hygiene practice to prevent disease.
Participants will take part in a hands-on Viability test of seed collected last Autumn, so that the seeds we will sow are viable after which we will then be taking a selection of these seeds and sowing them.
You will be provided with a few tips on the after-care of your seed tray/pot, how much light/dark is required and what temperature is needed for growing, also, tips on how to handle your seedlings once they are ready for ‘pricking out’ so that they can establish a strong root system and the next stage of ‘potting on’ where they can remain until ready to be planted out after all danger of frost has passed.
What you will need to bring, if possible: Brown wages envelopes (blank, not printed for taking seeds home), dibber, tweezers, notebook and pen and of course, for intricate work, your glasses!!
You will be provided with: Cheat Sheet with tips, root trainers or seed tray, seed compost, Vermiculite, Horticultural Grit, Plant labels.
Marlay Park 09.30am Members €20/Non Members €25
“The Splendours of Spring” with Margaret Murphy
Members Free / Non Members €10
To avail of membership rates you must produce your RHSI membership card.
Margaret Murphy is a wonderful flower arranger but also a great gardener who puts a strong emphasis on using natural foliage grown in her own garden. She is a member of Naas Flower Club, an AOIFA demonstrator and a keen competitor who has won many awards including in Bloom.
Saturday 28 March WORKSHOP
“Vegetable Container Gardening” with Annmarie Bowring
Having a small space does not not have to stop you growing more vegetables in less space than you ever thought possible.
Learn all about how to successfully grow vegetables in containers. It's harder than it looks! From the proper potting compost to use, to a plethora of available container options, we also investigate space requirements, sunlight needs, the all-important fertilising, and companion planting.
Marlay Park 09.30am Members €20 / Non Members €25
To avail of member rates you must produce your RHSI membership card.
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