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Festival of flowers at Hillsborough Castle
The Marquis of Downshire with Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure; CIIr. Paul Givan, Lisburn City Council; CIIr. Bill Gardiner- Watson, Lisburn City Council; CIIr. Allan Ewart, Lisburn City Council; Claire Faulkner, Garden Show Ireland; CIIr Trevor Lunn, Lisburn City Council; CIIr Jim Dillon, Lisburn City Council. The Marquis of Downshire with Lucy Cook, Garden Design by Lucy Cook; Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure; Elaine Cunningham, Hardy Hill Garden Centre; CIIr Allan Ewart, Lisburn City Council.
The Marquis of Downshire with Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure; CIIr. Paul Givan, Lisburn City Council; CIIr. Bill Gardiner- Watson, Lisburn City Council; CIIr. Allan Ewart, Lisburn City Council; Claire Faulkner, Garden Show Ireland; CIIr Trevor Lunn, Lisburn City Council; CIIr Jim Dillon, Lisburn City Council. The Marquis of Downshire with Lucy Cook, Garden Design by Lucy Cook; Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure; Elaine Cunningham, Hardy Hill Garden Centre; CIIr Allan Ewart, Lisburn City Council.

THE Garden Festival which takes place this June at Hillsborough Castle has been officially launched.

Paul Mooney, CAFRE Greenmount Campus and Derek Alexander, Hillsborough Horticultural Society
Paul Mooney, CAFRE Greenmount Campus and Derek Alexander, Hillsborough Horticultural Society

Once again in the Walled Garden at Hillsborough Castle from June 6 - 8, the Garden Festival hopes to capture the same magic of its historic setting as green fingered gardeners and budding enthusiasts alike gather to admire the floral displays and listen to the expert advice on hand while the deckchair gardeners sit at the bandstand and enjoy their cream teas.

The Marquis of Downshire with Gailmarie Milligan, Victoria Tannahill and Christopher Kane from Beechlawn School in Hillsborough planting a tree in the Castle grounds to replace the one planted in 1872 by his Great Grandfather
The Marquis of Downshire with Gailmarie Milligan, Victoria Tannahill and Christopher Kane from Beechlawn School in Hillsborough planting a tree in the Castle grounds to replace the one planted in 1872 by his Great Grandfather

Celebrating the launch of this colourful event the Patron of Garden Show Ireland, the Marquis of Downshire planted a pine tree to replace the one planted by his Great Grandfather the Infant Earl of Hillsborough in 1872 which had this winter succumbed to old age.

He said: "I am delighted to see the gardens of Hillsborough Castle opened up during the Garden Festival for so many people to enjoy. And this year there is so much more to see with the development of the Garden Festival, and the renovation of parts of Hillsborough Castle's gardens."

This year the Garden Festival has expanded to embrace even more gardening gurus.

The well known faces of Dermot O'Neill and John Cushnie will be joined by horticulturalist Frances MacDonald from Wexford while by popular demand the Bayer Garden Roadshow returns with Martin Fish and Geoff Stebbings joined this year by Sarah Hopps.

Lisburn City Councillor Allan Ewart was at the launch of the Garden Festival.

He said: "The activities in the Garden Festival create a wonderful day out or week-end away. Lisburn City Council is delighted to support Garden Show Ireland which brings significant economic benefit to the local area."

Minister for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots MLA commented: "The Garden Festival is an excellent example of a top quality event which has grown each year, last year attracting nearly 30,000 visitors to the Hillsborough area.

"!I would like to see more events like this, organised and run by local people and attracting an international audience."

The Garden Festival at Hillsborough Castle takes place from 6 to 8 June 2008. Opening times are 10am to 8pm on Friday 6 June and 10am to 6pm on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June. Admission is 9 for Adults, 7 Concession and FREE to Children when accompanied by an adult.

Special car parks have been organised for visitors to the Garden Festival with a complementary shuttle bus to the Walled Garden.

To buy tickets visit www.gardenshowireland.com or telephone Garden Show Ireland on (0044) 2897 561993.

jenny.monroe@jpress.co.uk

Ulster Star
25/04/2008