2019 GARDEN SHOW - photos by Ines Billings

RHSI Russborough Garden Show Sunday, 28th July, 2019


The RHSI and The Alfred Beit Foundation teamed up for the third year to host a spectacular Garden Show on Sunday, 28th July 2019 in the beautiful parkland setting of Russborough, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.

With plenty to occupy the experienced and the novice gardener, children and families, attractions included plant stalls from some of Ireland’s leading nurseries, stalls dealing in garden accessories, cut flowers, artisan foods and botanic-inspired art and craft, all complementing the beautiful plant offering. See MARKETPLACE below for a full list.

Under the ‘Learn’ banner, there were talks in the Hippodrome from such luminaries as Éanna Ní Lamhna, Oliver Schurmannn, Hester Forde, Hazel Proctor, Mick Kelly, Ed Burnham and Anne Swithinbank offering their expert insights; with Peter Donegan, fresh from speaking at the RHS Cardiff Talks Theatre, as MC. See HIPPODROME below for timetable.

The Garden & Landscape Design Association  offered Garden Design Clinics in the RHSI Walled Garden which will had many other attractions. See WALLED GARDEN below for timetable.

Ticket holders also benefitted from all of Russborough’s many amenities, including walks, a fairy trail for children, 25% discounts to tour Russborough House or visit the National Birds of Prey Centre - a special flight demonstration is also scheduled as part of the day.

The organisers are immensely grateful to anchor sponsor, Quinns Superstore; to the Leader Programme, in particular for their focus on biodiversity and sustainability. Friends of the Show are GLDA,, The Irish Garden, Euro Garden & Home and Quilter Cheviot. A particular thanks goes to RHSI garden manager, May Maguire and the RHSI team of volunteers who keep the Walled Garden in peak condition.

For enquiries please contact Elaine on


Ann Harrington Rees DesignsFuture ForestsPontoon Nursery
Back Avenue BooksGreenman NurseriesRare Bits
Baurnafea StudioHarrington ExoticsRare Plants Ireland
Bend in the BarrowIrish Fuchsia NurseryRiverlane Nurseries
Blessington Lakes Garden CentreIrish Seed SaversSallyann’s bags
Boyne Garden CentreIrish Water PlantsSarah Largue
Caherhurley NurseryJust RosesShady Plants Nursery
Camolin Potting ShedKestrel ForestrySpringhill Nursery
Coosheen PlantsKildalton CollegeSwanton Plant Centre
Cottage Garden PlantsLeaf and PetalTara Hill Honey
Deborah Donnelly ArtLeamore NurseryThe Birds and the Teas
Dee Brophy Decorative Antiques
Lynn StringerThree Gates Nursery
Deep Route GardeningMulhall ObelisksTwo Lions Garden Plants
Euro Garden & HomeNatural Growing CompanyTwo Sisters Perennials
Flower Farmers of IrelandOPW Heritage Services

11.45  Opening remarks - Join garden designer, horticulturist and presenter Peter Donegan in the Hippodrome for a day of engaging talks and discussion.

12.00  Anne Swithinbank* - Horticulturist, freelance gardening broadcaster and writer. The Greenhouse Gardener. A greenhouse quickly becomes the headquarters of a garden and even unheated extends the growing season, is a hub for propagation and shelters tender plants. Explore how to use this growing space and make it an attractive feature of the garden.

12.30  Hazel Proctor - Teacher, writer, horticulturist, designer. Join Hazel as she delves into the reasons why we need to choose our plants with caution to ensure biodiversity is rich in our gardens. Learn what plants are best suited to catering for our winged friends both insect and bird alike.

13.00  How will your garden grow? Panel discussion with Gerry Harford (Camolin Potting Shed, Hester Forde (Coosheen Plants) and Maurice Parkinson (Ballyrobert Cottage Garden). What are the issues facing gardeners today and how gardens and nurseries are responding?

13.30  Hester Forde - Gardener, lecturer, writer. Summer Charm. Hester will look at plants which are the backbone of of biodiverse summer borders and gardens such as roses, clematis, lilies, thalictrums, agapanthus, hardy geraniums, dahlias and many more. With successful combinations and successional planting she will ensure a summer long of colour that gives a wonderful display.

14.00  Oliver Schurmann - Nurseryman, garden designer. The Lifetime Garden. Based on the premise that gardens are dynamic and not static, Oliver will talk about the initial planning of a garden with the understanding of how the planting will develop over 20-30 years. This long-term approach allows the gardener to design for the future and through a complex theme of trees, shrubs and perennials, to see their garden evolve into a well-balanced and less maintenance-heavy ecosystem.

14.30  In Conversation with Ed Burnham (Burnham Landscaping Ltd) and Peter Donegan (Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd). With significant combined show garden experience Ed and Peter will discuss the ideals involved in show gardens, and how they relate to the more ‘usual’ garden. They will contextualise the experience of both the highly polished and more hands-on consumer garden in relation to biodiversity and sustainability.

15.00  Éanna Ní Lamhna - Biologist, environmentalist, presenter, author and educator. Éanna will discuss importance of biodiversity, with a particular focus on Ireland’s wildlife. She will also offer expertise regarding what individuals can do in their own surroundings.

15.30 Michael Kelly - Writer, author, broadcaster and social entrepreneur. How Food Grows. This talk will inspire you to try growing your own food and give you the basics on how to do it successfully, focussing on practical tips from the speaker’s years of growing. Michael started to grow his own food when he realised some garlic he was buying was imported from China. What started as a garlic growing experiment became a life-time obsession with the joys and health and sustainability benefits of growing your own food. He will talk about getting started, working on your soil, key pests and will focus on some of his favourite veg to grow including beetroot, garlic (of course), tomatoes, courgettes and great salads.

* with thanks to Quilter Cheviot

11.00 Field Games and Facepainting. A day of fun with the 8th Wicklow Blessington Scout Group. Scouts Garden Quadrant

From 11.00. Garden Tours. The volunteers who maintain the beautiful 18th century Walled Garden at Russborough will offer garden tours on the hour. Last tour 3pm. Garden.

From 11.00. The World of Bees. North Kildare Beekeepers Association will be on hand all day to share with you the wonderful world of bees with demonstration and observation hives and products of the hive. You can also check out their apiary permanently located in the garden. Garden.

From 11.00. GLDA Garden Design Clinics*. The speed-dating of Garden Design! Please arrive for your slot 5 minutes before your assigned time. GLDA Tent.

11.00. RHSI planting know-how. Join some of our Walled Garden volunteers as they offer expertise on selected favourite plants. Activities Tent.

11.45. Sing-song music group for aged 4-7 year olds**. With the Ballymore Eustace Concert Band. Activities Tent.

12.15. Seed Saving the Future. Learn about seed growing, seed saving and the importance of protecting our rich biodiversity with Seed Savers Ireland. Activities Tent.

13.00. Five steps to a better designed garden. Michael O’Reilly of the Garden and Landscape Designers Association shares some expert tips. Activities Tent.

13.30. Birds of Prey flight demonstration. The National Birds of Prey Centre and the Harris Hawk join us in the garden. STRICTLY NO DOGS ALLOWED.

14.00. Make and Do**. Cherry Sleeman will lead your children in making some garden related art from freecycled*** materials. Activities Tent.

14.00. Performance. Ballymore Eustace Concert Band. Garden

15.30. Make and Do Exhibition. You are cordially invited to view the work of future artists, gardeners and up-cyclers. Activities Tent.

* If you have not pre-booked, please enquire at the GLDA tent to secure a slot
** Parental supervision is required at all times
*** with thanks to Tom Richardson of Europrint Wicklow and Zero-Waste Freecycle Ireland facebook group



Forthcoming Events

Day Tour to Altamont Garden, Co Carlow

Saturday 09 February, 2019

Floral Art demonstration by Suzanne Cray

Wednesday 20 February, 2019

Airfield Estate Gardens

Ballintubbert Gardens and House

Ballycommane Garden

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Garden

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dower House

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glebe Gardens

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Hunting Brook Gardens

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum and Gardens

June Blake’s Garden

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Kilgar Gardens

Killruddery House and Gardens

Killyreagh Garden

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kilravock Garden

Kylemore Abbey Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park Gardens

Old Deanery Garden

Patthana Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Seanabea Cottage

Strokestown Park Gardens

Terra Nova Gardens

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden

Website development: Neal Walsh Web Solutions