‘Blooming’ great result for Irish designer

DRAGONFLIES and Flutterbys was the winning entry at Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening showcase in the Phoenix Park, Dublin yesterday.

Designed by Paul Martin, Dundalk, it won a gold medal and the overall award in the large gardens category at the four-day Bord Bia organised show, which continues until Monday.

A graduate of the National Botanic Gardens and a past prize winner at both the Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace shows, he designs gardens for both private and commercial clients in Ireland, Britain and the US.

He described his garden, sponsored by Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, as a place where a person can chill out, enjoy life and watch the dragonflies dance on the reflective pools.

“This is the first Bloom show and to get gold and ‘best in show’ in the large garden category is, as they say, the cat’s pyjamas,” he said.

His garden features an outdoor fireplace in black limestone and a raised limestone terrace with stainless steel dragonflies with glass wings dancing on the water.

The overall award for the best small garden was won by Gerard Mullen, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, who was also presented with a gold medal.

A recent science graduate in horticulture from Waterford Institute of Technology, he also has a degree in industrial design.

He worked in IT for 10 years before deciding to combine his design ability with his passion for plants by setting up a successful landscape design practice.

Gerard’s award winning Bloom garden, Inner Space, is in an urban setting and focuses on extending the boundaries of the home and exploring the potential of an inner courtyard fully enclosed by buildings.

Another garden designed with the aim of using plants that discourage the activities of slugs and snails and is easily maintained won the overall prize in the medium size category for Fiann O Nuallain, a landscape artist and garden designer from Crumlin in Dublin.

Fiann described Resistance is Everything, the title of his garden, as having a sort of revolutionary feel to it, reflecting the war against the destructive agents at work in the garden with the message that everything in it resists slugs.

The overall Engaging Spaces award went to Oliver and Liat Schurmann, who run a specialist nursery for unusual perennials and grasses at Mutton Lane, Dublin.

Cans and green spaces in the capital inspired their garden, Infinity, which features a circular path lined by mature woodland planting on either side, a raised circular swimming channel and a planting scheme that includes bamboo and trees.

Elma Fenton, Dublin, whose Tesco-sponsored garden, Harmony with Nature … Every Little Helps, won a gold medal, was inspired by her ethos to consistently deliver a simple, ecological, and sustainable design.

“My passion to promote the thought process and use of natural materials is evident within our garden. The beauty of it is its diversity including a cycle of water organically filtered and a sculptured landform, creating climates for work, play, relaxation and physical connection,” she said.

Jane McCorkell, a landscape architect from Ashbourne, Co Meath, was also a gold medal winner with Keelings Naturally Fresh Show Garden, in which she used the traditional style of growing food to influence the layout, with its abundance of water, fruit trees and food plants.

Sheena Vernon, Dalkey, took gold with Kelloggs Wake up to Breakfast, a garden that presents the patio as a family space, with water, visually stimulating artwork, in the form of glass sculpture and plants that represent grains and fruit.

But garden designers were not the only winners yesterday, as Ladies’ Day, held in conjunction with Dundrum Town Centre, brought out the floral prints and blossom-adorned hats in glorious sunshine.

A panel of judges was on the look out for ladies of all ages who combined a great sense of style with a touch of individuality. There was €5,000 in prizes for the winner. nbloominthepark.com

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