Thousands of visitors flocked to the stunning Antrim Castle Gardens over the three days of Allianz Garden Show Ireland to enjoy the fabulous Festival of Flowers, Food and Fun.
Monty Don’s visit on Saturday was a highlight for many.
Returning as Show Patron for his third visit, he remarked on the warmth of the welcome he received.
Those who managed to get into the Punjana Tea Pavilion to hear his talks were enthralled with his stories of behind the scenes filming of BBC Gardeners’ World.
Monty applauded the Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016 initiative and gave his audience tips and advice on growing the vegetables and fruit which create exceptional taste during each season of the year.
The Year of Food and Drink 2016 theme was woven throughout every aspect of the show with multiple demonstrations in the Food NI Pavilion from local Chef Paula McIntyre and a bustling trade in artisan and local food in both the Food NI Pavilion and the Food Garden.
Paula was joined on the stage on Friday by Celebrity Chef Maria Elia and on Sunday by edible gardener Jilly Dougan for some fascinating foodie insights and ideas.
Over 20 gardens were created especially for the show, many with an edible theme, including the highly acclaimed Nourishment Garden created by design duo Michael and Rohanna Heyes who are owners of Flourish Garden Design, and Hydebank Wood College’s award winning ‘A blooming construction’ whose imaginative design impressed the judges.
Tea dances and jazz in the Punjana Tea Pavilion set the unique atmosphere of the event and the Show saw in many cases, three generations of the same family enjoy the day with lots of activities for everyone to enjoy.
Allianz’s Damien O’Neill was particularly pleased to witness the engagement of so many young people as he examined the miniature ‘Edible Gardens’ created by primary school children as well as all the Scarecrows in Allianz Scarecrow Avenue,
“Allianz is delighted to have been title sponsor for the second year and to have supported what was the biggest event in the Show’s history. We really saw how this three day festival brought communities together in a variety of ways and showcased the very best in the world of gardening, food and drink to thousands of people.”
Aine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events, Tourism Northern Ireland, said: “Allianz Garden Show Ireland has served as a perfect reminder of what fabulous events Northern Ireland has to offer.
“We are thrilled that the Show has joined with us to promote Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink showcasing the delicious offerings of the local area. It is great to see an event which brings visitors from throughout the island of Ireland and beyond to enjoy all we have to offer here.”