and here we mostly are! (A few missing)
Well, we went, we saw, we had a ball!
40 intrepid Tidy Towns and Residents Associations volunteers from all around the county, supported by Monaghan County Council, took to the road last Saturday, 25th August in the last of the glorious sunshine, and headed north for this year’s field trip to brush up on our knowledge, get to know one another a little better and have a bit of craic along the way.
First port of call was to the very beautiful village of Hillsborough, Co. Down, where Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Head Grounds Maintenance Manager Stephen Mackle met us to show us around their award winning floral displays, including two 3-d creations of a horse and cart and a tractor! Even though he has a crew of over sixty staff at his disposal, many of his tips were very practical and will enable us to get a bigger bang for our efforts, such as rotivating wildflower areas every winter to stop the weeds and grasses from taking over.
From Hillsborough, we travelled onward to Rowallane Gardens, a National Trust-owned property which started life as a farm owned by a keen botanist, whose nephew continued the collection after his death. There we were treated to a very tasty lunch, followed by a guided tour of the garden. There were trees aplenty to keep Dennis happy, and then we had a potter around their gorgeous walled garden, which had a mix of formal beds and wildflower areas.
Then it was off into Belfast, for a visit to the Botanical Gardens, where Carol let us off the leash with a map of the grounds and a promise to be back at the bus by 5pm. There was plenty to see here too, with stunning herbaceous borders, beautifully planted formal beds, a rose garden with hundreds of varieties of rose, as well as tropical plants and palms.
A wonderful day, hugely enjoyable, and very informative. Our thanks to Monaghan County Council for arranging the event.
Here are some photos to give you a flavour of the trip – but as always, what happens on the Tidy Towns tour, stays on the Tidy Towns tour!