Ruby puts the heart into flowers


Posted on: 3rd November, 2014

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

mags rubyMany of us don’t give a thought to where our cut flowers come from. In fact, most are grown in countries where little pesticide regulation exists, encouraging the use of potentially dangerous chemicals. A 2007 study by the International Labour Rights Fund (ILRF) found that 66 per cent of Colombian and Ecuadorian flower workers suffer from work-related health problems.

Locally grown flowers have similar advantages to locally produced food. As well as being free from dangerous chemicals, they are for instance, fresher, so have a longer vase life and most will have a better scent. 

Mary O’Brien meets Mags Riordan of Ruby Harte Floral Design, who is passionate about growing flowers free from chemicals.

Down at Bumblebee Farm, near Drimoleague, there is plenty of food for the birds, caterpillars and hedgehogs that make it their home. It’s an idyllic haven of biodiversity and beauty in the heart of West Cork. Fascinated by the wildlife that visits their garden, Mags Riordan and her husband Stephen Davies are real nature lovers. “I won’t dig over a bed if I know there are elephant moth hawk caterpillars in it,” says Mags laughing. Their biggest bane this summer has been the Tortrix moth, which invaded the tunnels at Bumblebee Farm.

Although pests like the Tortrix moth are left alone and nature is given free rein at Bumblebee Farm, Mags and Stephen still manage to produce a breathtaking array of seasonal blooms. “We’re never bored, I love the fact that everything changes with the season,” says Mags.

In Spring, there are over 25 varieties of daffodil and narcissus, as well as hyacinths, tulips, irises, primula, freesia, anenomes and brightly coloured ranunculus. Sweet william in all its scented glory arrives in April followed by the first roses, alliums, libertia, nepata, centauria and ragged robin. alstroemeria and calendula play a part all year round. Mags plants a number of iris bulbs in spring to be ready for cutting in July. Delphiniums make their grand entrance in May with the annual Mallow Lavatera not far behind. Mixed Cosmos have a splendid display of blooms right through from April to November. “One my favourites has to be godetia,” says Mags. Its common name is satinflower; it bears the most beautiful, satiny pink or white flowers for weeks in summer and grows to 2ft.” Of course, in late summer and autumn, dahlias take centre stage. But coming in to the Christmas season, as well as all the clearing and planting work to be done in the garden, Mags is busy drying blooms like hydrangas, which will dress Christmas wreaths and garlands; and collecting cones and foliage.

As well as selling her own creations, Mags really enjoys teaching others “how to create something beautiful from what’s around”. She is running a series of Autumn/Winter Flower Arranging Workshops where you can learn how to create a wonderful seasonal hand tied bouquet that can be adapted as a table centrepiece. Christmas workshops will take place at Bumblebee Farm on Thursday, December 4, from 7-9pm, costing €35 and Saturday, December 6, from 11-4pm, costing €65. Make and take home your own beautiful Christmas wreaths and arrangements.

A professionally trained florist, Mags is renowned for her romantic wedding bouquets, ranging from Cottage Garden’ style to ‘Vintage’ to ‘Bohemian’ to ‘Contemporary Chic’ — of course all chemical free. There is an excellent selection of wedding flower photographs for interested parties to peruse on the Ruby Harte Floral Design page on Facebook.

Mags will give a free one-hour flower arranging demonstration at Organico in Bantry on November 22 at 11.30am.

Ruby Harte Floral Design is at Mahon Point market every Thursday and Mag’s beautiful flower bouquets, priced from €5 up, are also currently available to buy in West Cork at Organico Café in Bantry.

Ruby Harte Floral Design, Bumble Bee Farm, Leitry Upper, Castledonovan Drimoleague. For more information call 086 8251380 or 028 32892.

Latest News Articles:

Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence
St. Joseph’s in Clonakilty looks back on 50 years of educating young girls
‘Operation Transformation’ for Young Beef Farmers
Macra President welcomes publication of EU Young Farmer Survey
Vital role of Focus in the West Cork community highlighted at Open Morning
Clonakilty Food Company opens new production facility in Clonakilty
Beara student one of three Cork students awarded €20,000 scholarship by Naughton Foundation
International success for Skibb rowers

Join us on Facebook

Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
... See MoreSee Less

26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
... See MoreSee Less

7th September, 2017  ·  

Jump to: