WHY: I’m visiting Aldi which is selling Irish-grown native trees (from €7.99) in all 142 stores nationwide from today. Choose from Oak, Alder, Hazel and Cherry, ideal for medium to large gardens, or Irish fruit trees (Apple, Pear, Plum and Cherry €14.99) which can be grown in pots as well planted in the ground. There are also fuss-free ornamental trees (€19.99) for small gardens. Choose from Birch, Flowering Cherry, Mountain Ash, Eucalyptus to Liquid-Amber (Sweet Gum). The initiative is all part of Aldi’s carbon neutral status, which it achieved in 2019. Did you know Aldi planted 16,000 trees in Limerick in 2019 and 15,000 trees in Kerry this year? The company aims to plant 100,000 trees in total as part of Phase One of their tree-planting project. Actioning this has removed 5,785 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, created a wildlife corridor for local species and enhanced biodiversity in the area. Let’s do our bit too! www.aldi.ie
WHERE: With sunny days promised, picturesque scenery and two gardens beckon. Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co Wicklow is open daily from 10am – 5pm, with last entrance to the garden at 4pm. It’s a great example of a so-called relaxed, informal “Robinsonian” garden and happens to be one of Monty Don’s favourites. It’s one of the most impressive times to visit the gardens, with countless plants, trees, shrubs and flowers, particularly its azaleas in full glory. Visitors follow a one-way trail, with a must-visit the Avoca Garden Café or pop-up ice cream hatch afterwards; www.mountushergardens.ie
Designed c1731, Powerscourt Gardens span 47 acres and is managed by Head Gardener, Alex Slazenger and a team of four gardeners. Currently open to those who live within a 20km distance, a visit is not complete without seeing The Walled Gardens, The Italian Garden, The Dolphin Pond, The Japanese Gardens, Pets Cemetery and Pepperpot Tower. The garden pavilion and outdoor takeaway coffee are other must-dos. www.avoca.com
WHAT: Lockdown spawned its own vocabulary – not least in the restaurant sector, where at home kits and boxes have been popular. One of the first and best is the allta box- a weekly nationwide delivery service of allta’s handmade sourdough, house charcuterie and freshly prepared pasta. Costing €55 per week (plus €4.95 for delivery) it includes enough fresh ingredients for a six-course meal for two people. This week, three new types of box deliveries have been added: shellFISH, Sixes (wine boxes) and Goods (beautiful homeware and kitchen gadgets). With minimum orders of €40, customers can put together their own shellFISH boxes online, choosing from the freshest raw shellfish and whole fish from allta’s suppliers. There’ll also be a couple of different seafood recipes provided by allta’s chefs to try at home. The Sixes is a box of six bottles of wine, based on your personal wine tastes or chosen by sommelier Ian Fitzpatrick. Goods comprises stunning plates and bowls from Fermoyle Pottery, including the signature pink plates used in allta wine bar, as well as large bowls and pasta plates. An ideal present suggestion; www.allta.ie.
Meanwhile, Ground + Co in Salthill, Co Galway is launching its Summer Picnic Basket which brings together their favourite wraps, fresh juices, pastries (flapjacks, biscuit cake and cookies) and freshly baked scones. Hampers are €59 and can be ordered 24 hours in advance. In order to help reduce waste, if you can return your hamper to Ground + Co they will treat you to a coffee. Order online at www.groundandco.ie.
WHO: Lockdown has made us look at our homes and living spaces and make plans – for a garage transformation, a home office, a home gym, a new kitchen or a garden upgrade to name a few. For inspiration and direction, tune into finished.ie which takes place on Saturday, June 27, from 10am – 6pm. It’s a virtual home show and a completely new concept in online homeware exhibiting. The event is centred around a virtual centre stage and will be hosted by presenter Lorraine Keane, who will be interviewing industry professionals. Keane explains, “I can’t wait to give people the opportunity to visit exhibitors’ showrooms, talk to experts, and pick up valuable renovating and refurbishing tips – just as they would at any live home show event.”
AND … For all those who took up running during lockdown and want to put this into practice for a good cause, I’m giving advance notice of the 2020 Vhi Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon, which was launched this week and will take place between October 1 – 10. Participants are asked to complete the 10km event their way over the course of ten days, with the overall goal of raising €10 million for charities. Registration for the event is now open on www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie. Every participant will receive a Race Pack, including a t-shirt and Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon commemorative medal.
Finally, Champion Green is a national movement to inspire people to #support local, to do business locally, and to source local products and services; in-person and online. It launches today Thursday June 25 in Camden Row, Dublin (at 12.30pm) with the unveiling of the Champion Green “All Rise” butterfly motif mural. If you can’t make the launch then do look online at how you can participate in this worthy and mutually beneficial initiative; www.championgreen.ie.
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