Volunteers in London

Garden Show Ireland: Making friends and winning competitions

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Ivan meets Monty Don

It was a day to remember for the team in Northern Ireland last weekend, as not only did we take the Best Interpretation of Theme award, we met a gardening hero.

Monty Don, television presenter of Gardeners' World fame, was the celebrity guest at Garden Show Ireland on Saturday 9 May and while he was offering advice and admiring the competition entrants, he stopped by for a chat with TCV's Ivan Black.

Monty was impressed with the garden that Ivan and his team had created; even going as far as saying they'd got the theme "100%".

Using recycled materials, Ivan and the team assembled a 3m x 3m square garden, displaying brightly coloured pencils to match this year's competition theme of 'A Colourful Garden'. Apart from beautifully coloured fresh flowers, what could be more appropriate than colouring pencils?

Garden Show Ireland is held every year and is a three day festival of flowers, food and fun! As well as the 'How To' talks, demos, thousands of plants on display, and live music; the Team Garden Challenge is a competition to create something spectacular in one day. This year it was held at Antrim Castle Gardens and we had a fantastic time showcasing our gardening skills.

We were proud to show off our imagination and creativity in creating the garden and winning the award, but we also loved being able to highlight the benefits of gardening to the public. Of course you don't need to install colouring pencils in your own garden, and you might not meet a celebrity gardening hero every day, but we showed you can create a garden really easily.

The end result is something beautiful to look at – even in this small 3m x 3m space – and getting out there with the plants is healthy for both your body and mind.