Upcoming Events

Members are eligible to attend events in any part of Ireland, so don’t limit your browsing to your own location. The categorisation by geographic region is for administration and organisational purposes only.

Non-members are very welcome at our events though there will be a charge for insurance purposes. Do come along and join us and, perhaps, become a member.

We occasionally list events of other groups in the ‘Other Events’ category, generally for groups we regularly work with. These are not part of the official IGPS programme but may be of interest to members.

‘Garden Inspirations’ with Andrea Jones @ The Old Courthouse,
Mar 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Andrea has photographed gardens professionally for over twenty years and is now one of the world’s foremost garden photographers. Her many varied assignments have taken her around the globe, working on books, magazines and newspaper assignments.

The prairie meadow and shed
There is nothing quite like visiting gardens to get ideas for designing your own and in this illustrated talk Andrea hopes to show you many that will inspire and trigger ideas for your own or your clients. As a garden photographer, Andrea has had more opportunities than most to visit not just gardens open to the public but some very private gardens too – and in many countries around the world. The range of styles in which gardens have been created is quite phenomenal and she tries not to miss any opportunity to visit a new one.
The talk will include many illustrations and Andrea will look at many types of garden styles, including prairie, geometric, dry, landscaped, gravel, water, exotic, contemporary, modern, minimal, oriental and night.
Refreshments provided, plant raffle on evening.  This is our Spring lecture in Association with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
My Favourite Roses – with Assumpta Broomfield. @ Northridge House
Apr 3 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Among Assumpta Broomfield’s broad interests in garden flowers, she has taken a particular interest in roses, especially those old and dearly cherished roses we associated with the older gardens. Assumpta has very actively sought our many of these old cultivars, propagated them and distributed them to ensure they will be grown by generations of gardeners to come.

This is sure to be a most interesting and enjoyable talk and members and non-members are most welcome to join us on the evening.

‘Plants and Gardens at Home & Abroad’ – with Frances MacDonald @ National Botanic Gardens
Apr 19 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Frances MacDonald is the Garden Tours Manager for Travel Department and guides the majority of their garden tours each year both at home and abroad.  Over the past twenty years, she has visited most of the well-known gardens in the British Isles as well as gardens in France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, China, Japan and Pennsylvania.  This talk shows some of the gardens she has visited, plants she has seen but also indicates how lucky we are to live in the temperate climate of Ireland where we can grow  those same plants from all over the world”
Perennial grasses at The Bay Garden
Annual General Meeting 2018 @ Burrendale Hotel
May 19 – May 20 all-day

Annual General Meeting Weekend 2018


Mourne Mountains photographed by Jenny Constable

Join us for the Society’s AGM weekend and visit an outstanding selection of gardens where the Mountains of Mourne, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sweep down to the sea. South County Down has a rich heritage of horticultural excellence. Castlewellan Arboretum which along with Annes Grove in Co Cork belonged to the Annesley family has been described as “…a world-class gem”. Also world class in their time were the Slieve Donard Nursery in Newcastle and Daisy Hill Nursery in Newry, both sadly defunct but their legacy lives on in the names of some of our most beautiful plants such as Pieris japonica ‘Daisy Hill’ and the outstanding Himalayan poppy, Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Slieve Donard’.

Meconopsis x sheldonii ‘Slieve Donard’ photographed by Maeve Bell


Garden visits

Following the meeting which starts at 9.45am, there will be tea/coffee and scones after which we will share cars and drive the few miles to Castlewellan Forest Park; here there will be a guided tour of the Arboretum with its internationally important collection of trees and shrubs including magnolias and rhododendrons which should be in bloom. A light lunch (included in the ticket price) will be followed by a further visit to a nearby well-established private garden.  On Sunday morning we drive through the heart of the Mournes to Ballyedmond Castle on the shores of Carlingford Lough; after light refreshments in the Orangery there will be a choice of guided tours taking in among other things the kitchen garden, the magnolia walk and the newly developed woodland area. We make our own arrangements for lunch in the villages of Rostrevor and Warrenpoint before our final visit is to the garden of two knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardeners on the outskirts of Newry before a cuppa and tray bake (included in the ticket price) to fortify us for the journey home.


NB For the comfort and enjoyment of all concerned, the garden visits will be limited to 100 people.

Castlewellan Arboretum photographed by Jenny Constable



The comfortable 4* Burrendale Hotel Country Club and Spa on the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle – www.burrendale.com telephone +44 28 4372 2599 has agreed an excellent package for our stay:

One night B&B per person sharing (pps)                                £75

One night B&B pps including the AGM dinner                       £85

Two nights B&B pps including the AGM dinner                     £145

Single supplement                                                                  £20 per night.

The hotel is holding rooms for us until 14th February.  Book directly with the hotel mentioning the Irish Garden Plant Society to secure these rates. A deposit of £50 is required. After this date, although the special rate will continue, there is no guarantee of getting a room. If you wish to stay elsewhere, details of how to contact the local Council’s Visitor Information Centre can be found on www.newrymournedown.org.



There are different ticket prices depending on whether you are staying in the Burrendale Hotel or not. Be sure to have secured your accommodation in the Burrendale before making your booking so that you pay the correct amount.


  • The cost of the weekend for members who have booked the package with the Burrendale Hotel inclusive of dinner is £59.
  • If you are staying elsewhere and wish to attend the dinner on Saturday night, the cost of the weekend is £92 (£59 plus £33 for the dinner).
  • Members may bring one guest; guests pay a £10 supplement on the above prices.
  • If you have special dietary requirements, eg vegetarian, gluten-free and so on, please email Barbara Kelso (see below) with details as otherwise we won’t know to inform the hotel.
  • For further enquiries, please contact igps.northern@gmail.com or phone Barbara Kelso +44 7449 484050 or Maeve Bell +44 7713 739482.
  • Please use online booking if at all possible.


Booking will close 30th April.  As an alternative to booking online you can return the booking form in the January newsletter to Barbara Kelso, 25 Farm Lodge Drive, Greenisland, Co. Antrim BT38 8XN.



Jun 10 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Montalto is a well known wedding venue in an extensive estate with a walled garden adjoining the house, a lake, propagating houses, many architectural features, extensive planting, stable yard etc

 The head gardener PETER HARRIS who is a member of the Society will be guiding the visit and describing the future plans for this impressive estate / garden


From Belfast proceed through Ballynahinch then turn right for Spa. After about a mile the gated entrance to the estate is on the right. Follow the long drive towards the house.

Coffee / tea and biscuits included in admission.


A visit to CASTLE DOBBS. @ See directions below
Jun 30 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

This castle/garden has a fascinating history and I would recommend a visit to the web site for some background information on the Dobbs family.

The present house of 1730 stands in a splendid position overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Down shore. Features include woodland, parkland and avenue trees with vestiges of a formal garden from an earlier house. There is a landscaped park for the 18th century house with a lake, a bridge and a cascade.

There is a walled garden looks that looks magnificent.

David Ledsham, with whom I’m sure you are all familiar, and a personal friend of the family, will be conducting the visit




From Belfast drive through Carrickfergus and on to Kilroot, turn left into Tongue Loanen and proceed to the entrance to the estate which will be indicated.



A visit to ASHFIELD @ Ashfield
Aug 4 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

A traditional Irish house and estate with stables, an extensive garden and surrounding planting. Fully functioning walled garden serving both the kitchen and the social needs of the family. Respecting its original layout ornamental planting surrounding the house and embracing the existing mature trees and shrubs. Within this and beyond are many Icons relating to Irish History and Mythology giving the garden a fascinating and unique atmosphere!

The remodelling of the garden was completed over several years by two of the society’s expert gardeners.

Mike Snowden, who you may know, among his many achievements, from his time as Head Gardener at Rowallane, focused on the major transformation of the walled garden.

Accomplished garden designer Angela Jupe, was responsible for re-designing other areas of the extensive gardens.

We are very fortunate to have both Mike and Angela as our guides.

NOTE – The visit is limited to 60 (Members only) and must be booked on line through EVENTBRITE(Link not yet active! – It will be activated in early June) 


From the North through Slane over the River Boyne on the N2 continue past the turn off to Newgrange approximately 2 miles turn right on to the L1013 just before Brink Service Station.

From the South N2 to Brink Service Station turn immediately on to L1013

After approximately half a mile Ashfield is on the Left with a gated entrance midway along the estate wall.




Sep 1 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm


A three acre country garden developed over thirty years. Fine specimen trees and shrubs, herbaceous beds and borders, water features, gravel garden and woodland area under-planted with shade loving plants and much, much more



From Armagh City take the Keady Road A29, drive 2.5 miles along and opposite a row of cottages, turn left into Ennislare Road, take the second left on Ennislare Road and house is first on the right.






The Delicious Edibles of our Gardens with Orlaith Murphy @ Northridge House
Sep 4 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Orlaith was one of the first participates in Carraig Dulra’s organic garden complete course in 2006. A keen allotment grower, Orlaith has a level 3 diploma in Horticulture from the RHS. She also has completed courses in Forest Gardening and most recently Geoff Lawtons Permaculture Design Course.

She is currently teaching organic gardening with the VEC in North Dublin and Tallaght and has a passion for cooking sumptuous meals with her home-grown produce. Orlaith will take us on a botanical gastro journey to discover the bounty that  hides in our gardens.

Autumn at Ballymaloe with Susan Turner @ Northridge House
Oct 2 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Susan Turner is Head Gardener at Ballymaloe House as well as Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens. An expert in her field, she has worked extensively in Israel and Germany as well as her native South Africa and brings a wealth of experience to bear on her series of gardening workshops. Susan is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of organic horticulture and has been lecturing since 1995.

This evening’s talk will be on all matters in the autumn at Ballymaloe.




Patthana through the Year with T. J. Maher @ Northridge House
Nov 6 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Patthana Garden is situated in Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow, and is the garden of artist, T. J. Maher. It opened to the public for the first time in 2017 and attracted visitors in great numbers. T. J. is a  painter and his eye for colour and colour combination has made the planting at Patthana Garden perfectly beautiful.

Join T. J. this evening for an overview of the garden through the seasons.