Grow your own to take centre stage at Bloom

“GROW Your Own” will be the central theme of Bloom ’09 which will be held in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

The Bord Bia showcase — the country’s largest and most successful gardening event — has attracted over 100,000 visitors since its inaugural staging in 2007.

This year it will include a replica of the kitchen garden being developed in the White House grounds by United States First Lady Michelle Obama.

The aim of the garden is to promote healthy eating and encourage visitors to plant, harvest and cook their own food.

Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said Bloom has continued to evolve since its launch and this year will reflect the rapidly changing environment that consumers are now experiencing.

“In times of economic uncertainty, the role of the garden becomes increasingly important and we begin to recognise the significant health, social, economic and environmental benefits of gardening.

“This is reflected in the widespread trend in ‘growing your own’ and the rise in both home and garden entertainment.

“Bloom 2009 will offer ideas and inspiration to help all those who wish to explore the full possibilities and make the most of their gardens,” he said.

Bloom will feature 25 show gardens from Ireland’s top horticultural talent, complemented by a spectacular floral pavilion featuring the best of Irish plants and flowers.

The show gardens and the floral displays will be judged by international, independent judging panels, including Chelsea Flower Show adjudicator Andrew Wilson.

Gold, silver gilt, silver and bronze medals will be awarded based on strict guidelines based on horticultural skills and design superiority. Last year, 48 medals were awarded.

Bloom project manager Gary Graham said some show gardens will be constructed on limited budgets this year as many visitors want a beautiful garden but are likely to have less disposable income to achieve it.

“Some of our gardens are designed to show what can be achieved when a professional designer is engaged, often with the garden owner getting ‘dug in’ and carrying out the planting and unskilled labour themselves,” said Mr Graham.

Fiann Ó Nualláin, a medal winner at Bloom 2007 and 2008, has joined forces with UNICEF Ireland to create a garden aimed at encouraging Ireland’s younger generation to learn more about horticulture and climate change.

During the May 28 to June 1 event, the Office of Public Works — which provides the 70-acre site for Bloom — will open to the public its walled kitchen garden which has been restored to its original Victorian style.

Craft and food villages, an artisan food market with over 40 traders, daily cookery demonstrations, a picnic area, seminars, entertainment and a plant clinic will be other features.

* bloominthepark.com

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