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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

All welcome to the ‘big reveal’ of Randalstown’s new RHS viaduct community garden

Randalstown’s new Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) community garden, sited on the beautiful former railway viaduct, is set to be revealed with a special community event on Monday 2 May, and everyone is welcome!

It was just a few weeks ago that members of the Randalstown community gathered on the Viaduct to hear the latest exciting news for the small County Antrim town from Gloria Hunniford, that judges from the RHS “loved, loved, loved” Tidy Randalstown’s application for a new community garden.

Much to the delight of the those gathered, Gloria revealed the town’s magnificent landmark was going to be the setting for the Northern Ireland garden- Randalstown’s answer to New York’s ‘High Line’.

Each of the UK home countries will receive one garden as part of the RHS’s Community Grant Scheme.

Above: The video that aired on the BBC’s One Show highlighting Randalstoem’s success.

A film crew from BBC’s The One Show caught the excitement of the moment and a delighted Helen Boyd, Tidy Randalstown Chairperson, commented on how the garden would ‘transform Randalstown’, to provide an exciting and distinctive garden which will attract visitors and be an important restorative space for the people who live in the area.

Since then, the activity has been non-stop.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council carried out some initial preparation before Johnny Knox Garden Design, commissioned by the RHS to work with Tidy Randalstown and realise the vision of the garden, moved on site to do extensive hard landscaping in advance of ‘the big plant’.

Above: Johnny Knox pictured with Gloria Hunniford.

Above: Drawing revealing vision for the new RHS Community Garden on the viaduct.

This week Tidy Randalstown volunteers, including some new recruits, join the professional team to put the plants in place in readiness for #RHSGardenDay on Monday 2 May, when the new garden will be open to the public for the first time, kick-starting National Gardening Week which runs until Sunday May 8.

In addition to the initial costs, the RHS will provide funding for upkeep of the garden for three years while Tidy Randalstown plans to recruit a new volunteer team to be ‘Keepers of the Viaduct’ under the mentorship of existing volunteers.

The garden, which will make subtle references to the Viaduct’s former purpose, will be a place to work, linger and to enjoy. It will be the centrepiece of the necklace of community gardens that Tidy Randalstown has created over the past five years and will also provide an attractive open-air venue for civic events and celebrations.

Above: Pictured (L-R) Gardener Johnny Knox, Tidy Randalstown Chairperson Helen Boyd, Gloria Hunniford, and Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Cllr Billy Webb.

Tidy Randalstown Chairperson Helen Boyd, commented:

“It is a joy and an honour for Tidy Randalstown to be working with the elite of the horticultural world in creating this unique garden on our Viaduct. I urge everyone to join us in celebrating it, cherishing it and nurturing it.”

Join the team at the ‘BIG REVEAL’ on the viaduct next week on Monday 2 May, 2-5pm, to celebrate and enjoy Randalstown’s new RHS Community Garden.

Meet the team, experience live demonstrations, and enjoy some refreshments!

Parking will be available in town centre car parks or St MacNissi’s Church on Station Road, by kind permission. Entry will be via the path from Station Road and exit onto New Street.

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