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Sunshine, shrubs and grub to please punters at Antrim Castle Garden Show

By Linda Stewart

Published 05/05/2016

BBC NI chef Paula McIntyre
BBC NI chef Paula McIntyre

It must be spring - the sun is coming back and Antrim Castle Gardens will be awash with colour for the 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland this weekend.

Forecasters are predicting spells of sunshine for the start of the burgeoning garden show tomorrow, with rain giving way to sunshine on Saturday and warm, sunny weather for Sunday.

This year promises to be the biggest show yet, with more than 20 show gardens to inspire the hundreds of visitors.

Star of the show is green-fingered broadcaster Monty Don who will be dispensing gardening advice on Saturday.

On his third visit to the show, the Gardeners' World presenter will be giving talks on his bestselling book Fork to Fork as well as sharing his wealth of knowledge during his walkabout of the show.

The show will feature talks on how to grow your own vegetables and floral arrangements for your dinner table and plenty of opportunities to meet expert exhibitors who are happy to answer any questions.

It will also be celebrating the NI Year of Food & Drink 2016 in style with a Food NI Pavilion which will be filled to the brim with exceptional and unusual local producers creating tasty dishes for visitors to enjoy.

Throughout the weekend, BBC NI chef Paula McIntyre will be giving talks and will be joined by celebrity chef Maria Elia, author of the book "Smashing Plates".

This week, Monty Don told the Belfast Telegraph that the show is one of the warmest, friendliest welcomes he gets anywhere.

"What is great about it is it seems to be family-orientated - you get young children, you get grandparents and you get a whole wide range of people and cross section of society sharing the event," he said.

"People in Northern Ireland are the friendliest people I have ever met in the world."

The 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland will run from May 6-8 at Antrim Castle Gardens and is open daily from 10am-6pm with parking in town centre car parks and at Junction One. Adult tickets cost £10 (concession £8), the event is free for children under 16 and there is a reduced rate for online booking. For more information visit www.gardenshowireland.com.

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