Belfast woman Mary Anne Farenden, 29, is set to appear in episode three of RTE’s popular horticulture show ‘Super Garden’ tonight Thursday May 5.
The architect graduate, artist and singer joins four other budding designers from across Ireland who are battling it out to secure a coveted garden spot at Ireland’s leading garden festival, Bord Bia’s ‘Bloom’.
This year’s series sees the designers transform Riverside in Kells, a new social housing development built by Meath County Council where they will each be given an identical plot in the estate as their blank canvas to create a spectacular show garden for the residents.
The self-employed creative described how her love for design started at a young age despite growing up in a household of engineers: “I would say I have been artistic since I can remember. I loved making little spaces and one thing my mum always said was I would make little nests.
“I think with most of the family being engineers, they need to solve problems and you can’t help but absorb it but I knew from an early age I wasn’t a mathematical person.
“When I finally got the house I’m in now I had a little yard and it was like the Garden of Eden. It was concrete with an oil tank but it was outside space. I enjoyed trying to create the perfect little haven in the middle of an alleyway.”
Mary Anne currently is a small business owner of Mary Anne Designs and Chalkboard Art Belfast creating bespoke illustrations for restaurants throughout Belfast.
In terms of design, Mary Anne takes inspiration from a broad range of gardens including cottage, fairy woodland and zen gardens and loves to create her own unique blend of them all.
With only five weeks and a budget of €15,000 to bring her idea to life, Mary Anne described how ‘blood, sweat and tears’ went into making the show garden for the Devine family who have three young children and two dogs.
“It was extremely hard work and 100% blood sweat and tears went into it. Most days I was there from 9 to 11 at night just working right up until the very last moment” she explained.
Tonight’s episode showcases Mary Anne’s ‘Enchanted Playland’ design which combines natural woodland and suburbia.
Packed full of unique touches from a willow lined gravel path leads to a log playhouse surrounded by toadstools, Mary Anne hopes to win over the family with her fairy inspired design.
Under the canopy of trees, Mary Anne has included a tyre climbing frame, swing and slide to please the young children.
The adults also haven’t been forgotten with Mary Anne creating a timber decking that leads directly from the house to a picnic bench and table under a wooden pergola with a protective Perspex roof perfect for summer socialising.
However, not only does Mary Anne have to win over the residents, her designs have to capture the attention of Super Garden’s acclaimed judges, Gary Graham, Monica Alvarez and Brian Burke who each have years of horticulture experience worldwide.
Tune in tonight at 8:30pm on RTE to see if Mary Anne can pull off a Bloom worthy garden and impress the nation.