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Bloom in Dublin review

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Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Bloom in Dublin review Reply with quote


I went to the Bloom Flower Festival in Dublin presented by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) last week. It is the second year that the event has been on in Phoenix Park and I couldn't miss the opportunity to take some photos for my website.

Big business
The amenity horticulture and landscaping sector is currently worth about €2 billion to the Irish economy annually, so the event is a key player in highlighting modern gardening trends and products. There were plenty of stalls selling a great range of home-made produce including cheeses, spreads and sweets. My son (who came with me) disappeared and returned with the biggest chunk of delicious fudge (it took him three days to finish it). It looked like a piece of marble stone and was a work of art...before it was devoured.

There was a large turn out of nurseries displaying this year's plants as well as companies showcasing the latest in gardening labour saving devices and accessories.
There seems to be a lot of drama this year too in the garden, with bold architectural planting, which reflect what a creative lot the Irish gardeners are. Environmental issues are high on the agenda in the gardening world. Organic vegetable growers were well represented by the Dublin Meath Growers and there were sponsored gardens highlighting the need to feed yourselves from home grown produce, make your own compost and save the water that comes off your roof to irrigate the plants.

Health and Well-being[/b]
Floristry was well covered too, and a whole pavilion was taken up with fantastic displays. One that caught my eye used blue and red neon lighting to highlight the already bright colours. They were aptly called Madflowers. Less mad were conservation groups such as Bird Watch Ireland who reflected the diversity of outdoor interests and if anyone was interested in cookery there were displays running all through the weekend. A big emphasis was put on health and wellness at the show and dieticians and health experts were at hand to give talks and advise people on how to get - and stay healthy.

I was particularly interested in the show gardens. These are generally gardens that are so well laid out and planted that you could come away feeling as though your own plot was just a pile of old broken toys and wind blown overgrown shrubs. Don't let that put you off though. It is the same as walking around the Ideal Homes Exhibition. The rooms are beautiful but are not lived in. In fact both Ronnie and I got told off a few times for climbing over the ropes and walking around the designs. The gardens can spark off your imagination but if you incorporated some of the ideas into your own garden they wouldn't necessarily look the same as in a show garden as they would be more than just something to look at.

High Standards
The standard of design was really high for all sizes of gardens and although most designers are based in the Southeast, (perhaps reflecting denser populations, more expendable income and different priorities).

Small gardens used structures to give the illusion of space; one designer used large irregular four sided frames to magically change your perspective on the view (likened to Alice through the Looking Glass). I really enjoyed the use of different materials in the designs, one garden had slate, water, grass, bricks, slabs and wood all in the space of a few feet. Architectural features are important in a garden to give it depth. Peter Donegan went one better and included items that were either recycled or recyclable, including a 1957 pink, three storey pleasure boat. The Living Classroom entry inspired school grounds to be used for organic food production and to learn about biodiversity. The key phrase being "Think global act local". School grounds tend to be concrete and grass so initiatives that will promote organic growing and educational wildlife areas with a pond will hopefully be the norm. It doesn't have to be serious either. The south Dublin Education Society designed a Good Fun School Garden which incorporated overflowing baths and graffiti as well 5 separate areas representing the senses. Bord Bia will soon be coming out with a DVD on the subject so teachers can keep an eye out for it.

An inspiring day out and I plan to return next year. Check out more on:



if you are interested in raised vegetable beds and veggie growing I have a new website - We're busy on social networking too and have over 12,000 members in the group.
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