Bloom has been abuzz over the last month preparing to mark its 10th year with the biggest festival yet in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
But organisers are hoping the icing on the cake will be for the weather to stay fine for the five-day festival that will be officially opened today by President Michael D Higgins.
Since its first year, Bloom has doubled in size to a 70-acre site. Bord Bia is hoping to welcome 100,000 visitors, compared to just 40,000 when it started.
Most people make a beeline for the festival’s centrepiece, the show garden area where themes this year range from the 1916 Rising and the war in Syria to social farming and the evolution of plants.
Apart from a record eight large gardens on display this year, there are also showcase gardens from Chile, China and Chicago.
Bloom manager Gary Graham said hundreds of workers have been helping to build Bloom over the past 30 days, with more than 4,000 people, including 200 volunteers, working on the site over the festival’s five days.
The festival also provides a welcome boost to the horticulture industry. The average annual Bloom spend is just over €7m but consumers will also spend up to €30m on gardening, foliage and landscaping afterwards.
One of the bigger gardens is ‘Sculpture in the Parkland’, designed by Ingrid Swan of IS Design, Cork, and Ruth Liddle from the Kildare Gallery at Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare.
It is their third year creating a sculpture garden, which is set away from the others because it is the largest and the only garden that the public can walk through.
“People really have to get up close to the sculpture to enjoy it,” said Ruth, who has placed more than 30 Irish sculptures in the garden. “We got a gold medal two years ago. Last year we got silver gilt but this year we are very confident of getting another gold.”
Artists John Fitzgerald and Vincent Devine, will be painting in the garden throughout the festival.
“It is about creating an outdoor gallery. It did not take long to design it, but it took 21 days to build,” said Ingrid.
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