It’s that time of year again! The summer has crept up on us and for all the gardeners, the beginning of the summer is aptly marked by Bloom, Ireland’s largest Garden Festival, now in its 8th year. Running on the June bank holiday weekend from Thursday to Monday, it’s an excellent opportunity to see what is happening in the world of horticulture on our little green Island.
It’s also a fantastic opportunity to meet other like minded folk. You might even bump into some of the Sodshow team; please do say hello if you see us, we’re a very approachable bunch!
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Whether you’re a school leaver or a more ‘seasoned’ member of the population, some of you heading to Bloom this year might be considering studying horticulture, especially if you have heard recent inspirational Sodshow interviews with WIT students Eddie Byrne and Maura Clarke. So to help you on your way into horticulture education, I’ve consulted with current student of Horticulture/ Young Hort Ambassador Paul T. Smyth, and we’ve put a list together of five stands that anyone heading considering a career/ studying horticulture must visit. In no particular order, we have the following!
- Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT): WIT offer a 3 (or 4) year degree in horticulture in Waterford in conjunction with Teagasc. Students can choose to study in Waterford and Kildalton, or they can study in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. The BSc. is led by myself and I’ll be at the WIT stand over the weekend. WIT’s course is ideal for anyone in the South East considering studying horticulture but we also have students from as far away as Galway *HatTip to Rory and Fiona* There is more information available here or just come along to the stand and we’ll have a chat.
- Teagasc Amenity Horticulture: Teagasc offer a great selection of horticulture courses at various levels including FETAC and degree level (in conjunction with the aforementioned WIT). Teagasc also oversee Ireland’s national horticulture development unit and have excellent educational facilities in Dublin and Kilkenny. Teagasc students who have completed their FETAC studies at level 5 and 6 can also apply to gain entry to the second year of WIT’s BSc. in Horticulture.
- Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB): This 3 year BSc. horticulture course led by Mr Michael Hagan, is an excellent option for anyone interested in furthering their horticulture skills. ITB’s catchment is the Dublin area, but I’m sure they’ll accept people from outside The Pale! Like WIT, ITB also have an add-on year so students can upgrade their level 7 degree to a level 8 honours degree.
- Dublin School of horticulture (DSH): For anyone looking to expand your horticulture knowledge and earn a RHS certificate in horticulture, this stand is a must visit.
- Finally, make sure you visit as many of the tourism stands as possible. Yes, it’s a little strange to categorise these as ‘educational’ stands however, Ireland has so many fantastic gardens which are usually backed by their own county’s tourism board. Visiting gardens is one of the best ways to learn about heritage gardens, garden design and biodiversity and there’s a fantastic selection around the country. So, get yourself to the An Taisce stand and any of the County tourism board stands to check out your local gardens and perhaps a few others further afield. You never know what you inspiration you might find!
Of course many of you won’t want to embark on a horticultural career but might like to improve your gardening skills. Luckily, the educational stands at Bloom cater for a huge variety of interests and skill levels and along with so many plant and design based companies attending Bloom, there’ll be a plethora of informed minds to pick! Hope to meet you over the weekend. Do come say hello.
Paul T. Symth and Cara T. Daly. 😉