Bloom 2017

Bloom is Ireland’s largest garden festival, showcasing garden plants, garden design, construction and horticulture. Launched in 2007, Bloom follows the successful formats of garden shows such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Show. This year’s Bloom runs from Jun 1-5, 2017 in Phoenix Park, Dublin, with the aim of inspiring and exciting the public about gardening and garden design. With this year’s show almost upon us, Cornelia Raftery takes a look back at Bloom 2016.

Great entertainment and top-quality design

My lasting memories of Bloom 2016 are sunshine and beautiful show gardens. Bloom is full of colour and energy and the standard of design is getting better every year. From the gardens to the fantastic selection of Irish produce, it’s well worth visiting and I highly recommend people go and see what’s on offer. Here are some of my favourite gardens from last year’s event.

Creative gardens and plant displays

Liat and Oliver Schurman, designers and owners of Mount Venus Nursery, won a gold medal in the small garden category for their garden “The Designer’s Back Yard”. This was a lovely garden surrounded by windows and gave the impression of a peaceful, enclosed space. A number of creative design effects (for example, mirrors and a small stream of water) made the garden seem larger than it was, and the choice of plants used created a healthy, lush atmosphere.

 “The Legend of Tarzan Garden” was also a gold medal winner in the small garden category. Designed to coincide of the release of The Legend of Tarzan movie in the summer of 2016, the garden convincingly recreated a jungle using a selection of plants, including Rhododendron, Rhus typhina, Fatsia, Mahonia, Echium pininiana and Gunnera manicata. Please note that some of these are quite invasive and not suitable for garden use. The garden also used a lot of moss - a very creative idea.

Exotic gardens and idyllic landscapes

The “Yi Garden” (Friendship Garden) was perfect in every detail and reminded me of the Japanese show gardens at Chelsea Flower Show 2016 such as Ishihara Kazuyuki’s “Garage Garden” and the “Watahan East and West Garden”.

My favourite garden at Bloom 2016 was Barry Kavanagh’s “Across Boundaries”. This garden showed how social farming can play a vital role in the therapy of those in the health care system. The stand showed a clinical, interior scene merge with an idyllic farm scene. Meadows were surrounded by dry stone walls and dotted with Gwen Wilson’s wire animal sculptures of pigs happily grazing and chickens busily pecking. A pond with rushes and a corrugated iron shed completed the scene. It was fantastic.

The other large garden that I found spectacular was the “Santa Rita Living La Vida 120 Garden”, created by Alan Rudden. This garden brought the atmosphere of the Chilean countryside to Bloom and was hugely popular with the crowds.

Bloom 2017

This year’s Bloom promises be another wonderful festival full of fantastic show gardens, entertainment and family fun. I expect the quality of the gardens to improve once again and am really looking forward to my visit.

Are you going to Bloom this year? Please let us know in the comments.

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Written by: Cornelia Raftery

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