About fifty members of an online gardening group (Facebook: Garden.ie Friends) met yesterday. Two meetings each year has become routine since the first such meetings about ten years ago and, if yesterday’s attendance is an indicator, the number of members who will wish to attend in future will be greater still and there are suggestions of regional get-togethers which might be more manageable numerically and also would involve less travelling – plans are always evolving!
Yesterday, we met in the carpark of The Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, Co. Meath where we exchanged plants – arrangements made online in the past week or so. Afterwards, we had lunch in the hotel and then went on to a nearby garden centre, Ratoath Garden Centre, where the owner, John Lord, gave us an excellent guided tour of the garden – and lifted a few bits and pieces, took a few cuttings, for people who fell in love with a particular plant. I was especially delighted to receive a piece of a white-flowered Eupatorium purpureum, Joe Pye Weed. I expect a piece or two may make its way to the exchange at a future get-together. Afterwards, we indulged our love of plants and bought a few in the garden centre to bring home to our own gardens – they will remind us of a good day out with our gardening friends.
One of the members lived locally and we were all invited back for a stroll around his garden, followed by delicious cakes and tea/coffee. A most generous invitation and deeply appreciated! It was a perfect end to a very enjoyable day and I expect there will be others.