Mallow Garden Festival

I began uploading this post on Tues evening but Smart telecom our phone and Internet provider experienced what they called a major 'outage' in the Cork area so we are only back online since this afternoon!
Mallow garden festival was thronged for the 3 days it was open,it takes place on the Mallow racecourse each year.Zwena had been invited to 'do' an allotment for it so we were totally inexperienced greenhorns to the exhibition stage!

Our scarecrow was designer clad from the charity shop!We constructed a compost heap and a raised bed, the idea was not to have a picture perfect site but to replicate the allotment as much as possible.
I thought we would have a nice flat area where we would put in some raised beds with veg and that would be it.We got one of the 24 permanent gardens with 3 curved raised stone beds and had to work with that.The first day we went out we cleared and dug over the beds, the soil was not great, in fact terrible but we planted potatoes and some veg directly into the ground.Zwena planned the front bed with potatoes,onions,brassicas, legumes and others which would be the format for a six bed rotational system.

Everyone on the allotment had contributed plants which were transported in pots and buckets to the site

Rosie and Zwena hard at work but it is coming together.

The allotment garden was a huge hit for the 3 days of the show, everyone stopped to chat, ask questions and tell us what they were growing. There were different teams each day ,I only went on the Sunday as I had the wedding for the previous 2 days.Peter explaining the benefits of nettle and comfrey 'tea' to interested gardeners.Zwena had brought out 2 big containers of each and they attracted a lot of attention, while most people would not have comfrey growing most would be able to get nettles without much trouble.
The front beds planted up, when we went out the second day we found the slugs had had a field day with some of the plants, the potatoes had grown so they were earthed up as in the plots.Most of our plants were actually growing in the ground and looked natural, some bigger than others which would be the case in the garden.
Looking down the site towards the herb bed.
This bed had terrible soil so all of the herbs were put in in pots, some fruit bushes went in also.
Side view, on the right are 2 wheelie bins which Zwena had planted up with strawberries and potatoes, they attracted a lot of attention and questions, the raised bed had courgettes, tomatoes and peppers plus a sunflower for colour.
Peter,Charlie,Angela (in designer flowery boots)! and Rosie.

The view down from the balcony,with Zwena in sunhat chatting and answering questions. The allotment was really a crowd puller each day and shows the interest people have in growing their own either at home or on a plot.
Angela Charlie and Rosie

Rosie took the camera and I stood in for a shot.
We will be much more organised if it comes up next year and we will start plants off in pots early in the year.It was a great learning process for us and it was great to meet fellow gardeners and exchange tips and ideas.
Guess what, our plot was picture perfect after all!


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