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WINNERS, CTT's Glorious Garden 2023

Three entries were shortlisted...and the winning garden of 2023 is:

  • Rita and Denis McGowan's, Deerpark

Winning entry:

Rita and Denis's front garden has lots of colour and a wide variety of shapes and sizes of plants. It has something of interest for passers-by, be they human, animal, bird or insect. The rear garden is more swan-like. While on the surface it is a calm relaxing area, in the background there is a lot going on – in the greenhouse they grow tomatoes and grapes and propagate lots of new plants; in the beds are lots of vegetables, herbs, fruit and trees. There are rain collecting water butts and the pond is a haven for wildlife as well as a home for the fish. The birds enjoy the birdbath and feeders. Hidden behind some trees and shrubs is the 'worm workshop' – compost bins, a wormery and recycling take pride of place in this area. All in all, it's a lot of work and very satisfying - and they love it.

Simply put this garden was chosen because it is beautiful and cared for using very holistic organic gardening practices. The wormery produces excellent nutrient laden soil. Leaves and grass are composted and containers have materials at different stages of decay! Effluent from compost bins provides great fertiliser. Borage is grown for same purpose. Nothing is wasted in this garden - inventive use of materials is in evidence everywhere e.g. a former conservatory's materials were used to create the greenhouse. There is a great crop of grapes in the greenhouse as well as tomatoes, cucumbers etc. The pond is protected to stop herons from fishing! Piles of planks are saved and ready to create another shed! Special garden patches have been created to support the grandchildren’s growing projects. Both Rita and Denis strive to generate new plants from seeds and slips! It's a joy and a wonder to visit. Sustainability in spades!

As well as having created a great space for themselves, Rita and Denis are inspiring champions for biodiversity. We are delighted to have such worthy winners. Congratulations!

Evelyn Pender, Chairperson of CTT, was delighted to present Rita and Denis with the Winners certificate and a voucher for Avoca.

Two Highly Commended entries:

  • Anne Macnamara, College Grove

Anne's garden was chosen as a good example of how to maintain colour and variety in a small suburban plot. Anne has carefully chosen the plants to brighten her space year round.

For those of you who love the detail the front garden has interesting perennial plants for all-year round interest, like two Veronicas, three Thuja Tufts, two Heucheras, one Seneccio Angel Wings as well as a 12m high Pink Pagoda Ash tree. The low hedge of alternating Choisya and Photinia provides a year long colourful border. In June, the four Winter-dormant Alstromeria appear, with their beautiful delicate colours. Pots of Begonias and Geraniums provide glorious colour all Summer. The pale yellow Patio Rose is a gem, blooming profusely from June to October. A mini-cabbage palm gives architectural variety, while a Fuchsia blooms from June to late October, with its beautiful pendant pink-purple blossoms. Finally, Veronica, Alstromeria, Heuchera and Fuchsia are bee and butterfly friendly, providing pollen or nectar or both.

The back garden has a small lawn surrounded by flower beds on two sides. It is a glorious sight in Summer, while Privet, Choisya, Photinia, Conifers and Viburnum provide Winter interest. Anne loves the corner flagged area, where a large Hosta stands in a pot, with a Senecio Angel Wings in front and a Photinia Pink Marble behind, on a raised area. There are two Pieris Forest Flame shrubs. They are stunning in Spring with their pink-green leaves and white Lily of the Valley flowers hanging in clusters. A 15 year-old large red Dahlia never fails to delight with its spreading stems and glowing flower heads. Further colour is provided by Avalanche, white Dahlias, Geranium, Begonia, Phlox and two more Angel Wings. Privet, Pieris and Dahlias are very pollinator friendly and attract bees and butterflies to this back garden.

Overall a very well thought out garden maximising the colour and interest making it a very uplifting garden. Well done!

Evelyn Pender presented Anne with her Highly Commended certificate and a calla lily.

  • Barbara Kilbride, Diswellstown Manor

When Barbara and Alan moved into a new build home in 2017, the only thing in the garden was the grass and the tree at the end of the garden. Over the past 6 years they have nurtured the garden, getting snips from friends and family. Now it's blooming and is a joy to look at. They are delighted with how it's matured over the years and it's very bee friendly! Their little haven! They have successfully softened the edges while leaving the lawn for Sandy the dog to play around. A nicely designed patio with a café style table and chairs makes a great place to sit and enjoy the garden on a sunny day. Well done on a newly created but flourishing garden!

Evelyn Pender presented Anne with her Highly Commended certificate and a calla lily.

Thanks to our judging panel of Margaret Condon, Patricia Sheehan and Martin O'Halloran. The judges reported that the garden visits were most enjoyable and they were very impressed with the standard of the entries.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry and took part in this year's inaugural competition. The CTT volunteers involved in organising and judging the competition have been delighted with the experience. Gardens are spaces where we can relax and enjoy family, friends and pets. And if we can do our bit for the environment and biodiversity, isn't it all the better?

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