James gets creative to win silver award

Gardening guru and broadcaster Alys Fowler congratulates Carnmoney man James Sheridan on his award-winning design. Pic by Mark Marlow, Pacemaker.
Gardening guru and broadcaster Alys Fowler congratulates Carnmoney man James Sheridan on his award-winning design. Pic by Mark Marlow, Pacemaker.

Local landscape gardener James Sheridan put two decades of gardening experience to good use at this year’s Garden Show Ireland.

The green-fingered Carnmoney man wowed the judges to take second place in the keenly contested Show Garden Challenge.

James, who runs Golden Homes Landscapes in Carnmoney, won a silver award for his ‘Garden Bath Thyme’ creation at this year’s garden show, which took place at Antrim Castle Gardens from May 9 - 11.

Finalists from all over Ireland competed in the UTV Magazine Show Garden Challenge, which tasked existing and budding garden designers to present a small garden which was fun, useful and easy to maintain.

The finished gardens were judged by a prestigious panel comprising of Ireland’s world renowned plantswoman Helen Dillon, gardening guru Geoff Stebbings and Reg Maxwell - former Head of Botanic Gardens and winner of Best in Show at the first Garden Show Ireland event 10 years ago.

James impressed the judges with his creativity and inventive use of reclaimed materials.

Head of the judging panel, Geoff Stebbings commented: “The standard this year was extremely high and incredibly competitive. Designers used the theme to the best advantage and the different interpretations were most interesting.”

The winners were revealed by gardening guru and broadcaster Alys Fowler from BBC Gardeners’ World.

James, whose success earned him a mention on UTV’s Magazine programme, was delighted with his silver award.

“It was a great experience being involved with the Garden Show Ireland this year and it was lovely to meet up with old customers and friends and make some new ones,” he told the Times.

“The show gave my wife Gill and I a great opportunity to showcase our ability to design and construct a financially viable and attractive show garden using mainly reclaimed and cost effective landscaping materials. We did however integrate a small amount of more expensive hard wood decking, and a couple of rare plants to enhance the overall mood and appearance of the garden.”

James, who runs Golden Homes Landscapes and James Sheridan Contracts Ltd, added: “We having been working in gardening for 20 years and we have learnt that most people aren’t looking for super expensive quality materials in today’s financial atmosphere, when cheaper options and a bit of creativity will do just as well.”

Taking place in a brand new venue this year, an expanded and new look Garden Show Ireland boasted great garden shopping, garden designers and show gardens, a craft village, a free design pavilion, artisan food stalls, live music, garden gourmet, garden challenges, a dedicated kids zone and more.

The event, which attracted big crowds over the three days, was the ultimate garden show experience for gardeners of all ages and experiences.