Sunday just gone I spent the day at St Anne’s Park, Raheny at The 2013 Rose Festival. Without Question it was brilliant to see so many families out and about laughing in the sunshine. And ice creams and what not. And fair to say my family had a ball. And it was free including parking. And all credit to Dublin City Council for throwing a really well organised event.
That aside and this not really being the place were family occasions are reviewed, I’m gonna skip straight to the headline act within the gardens. And in short they were shite.
So bad were the rose beds and rose gardens that they weren’t even part of the garden tours taking place on the day. I did ask. Instead the Rose Festival tour I went on included the Chinese garden and a herbaceous border [pictured below] complete with Yew hedge back drop that had only been partly cut finished. Further; weeds growing through beds and hedges. Roses plural missing. No dead heading. Roses that were not sprayed. Beds that were sprayed weeks ago but the weeds had started to come back through as is clearly visible and the list goes on and on.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for understanding that we had drought conditions and bearing in mind the vast greens of open areas; and water conservation that could only result in masses of yellowed lawns. But we also had ideal conditions for everything else horticulture and roses.
In the what would I know department ? I won the Overall Category Award for Private Garden Maintenance of a 27 acre, 17th century estate. I worked in The War Memorial Gardens looking after the 5,000 plus rose collection and have won award for landscaping a 55 acre 18th century estate. Cocky I may be. But I’ve reason to be and I’ve worked hard for it.
To the point and my point, I know what I’m talking about. I know the planning that is required right the way down to the man hour unit[s], inclusive of staffing issues, seasonal timelines and weather conditions to bring things in before time. Logic aside, Dublin City Council would have known that this event was taking place over 12 months ago, minimum and the place really should be absolutely pristine. And nothing of a lesser standard should be acceptable.
Some maybe feel I’m being overly harsh; or maybe my standards are too high. But my words are on par and a lot kinder than the words of some horticulturists there on the day. Also do note The OPW do it for Bloom in The Phoenix Park every year and of recent Fingal County Council did a real sterling job for the Flavours of Fingal festival at Newbridge House and Farm. Of importance also, 2014 marks the millenium of The Battle of Clontarf.
The way I see it, when it comes to annual* events like this recessionary tales and staff cut backs simply don’t cut the mustard over a 12 month period. Instead there should be a sense of pride that kicks in, or what some might call giving a sh*t. That, when you are part of a team is maybe something that starts at the very top. Either or as an individual, when it comes to gardens in particular, it is something that should come from the heart.
note: above is not the worst picture I could have taken. Please do re-read my opening paragraph. Also I do like the park. That aside, I went to a rose festival – pause – and the best I could do to promote it was a chat with the lovely people of the Fuchsia and Pelargonium Society. Double underlined lovely people. If I’m really honest, my words here are more of disappointment.
also: These are just my thoughts as I saw it on the day and though I did search for other reviews to counter balance , I was unable to find any. Please also do feel free to leave your thoughts or comments below.