Flower power electrifies the Park

BLOOM, the inaugural four-day gardening showcase, which attracted 50,000 visitors to Phoenix Park in Dublin over the bank holiday weekend, is set to become an annual event.

Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, organisers of the event, said last night it was a phenomenal success and surpassed all expectations. He predicted it will enrich the Irish summer for years to come.

“Our garden designers and exhibitors have excelled this year and are the undeniable heroes of Bloom 2007. It will be most interesting to see how this high standard can be built upon next year,” he said.

Mr Cotter thanked premium sponsors, Keelings, Tesco, Fáilte Ireland and Pfizer, and also the Office of Public Works, for providing a stunning 70-acre parkland setting for the show.

Bloom was a timely event, with the horticulture sector growing by 71% in the past four years, reflecting consumers’ spending habits, their move outdoors and investment in all associated aspects of gardening.

Bloom Project manager Gary Graham said more than half of the population consider themselves novice gardeners and a significant percentage are willing to engage the services of professional designers and landscapers.

He said the event marks the dawn of a new awareness of the sector and a key opportunity for the country to embrace its greenness and harness the amazing talent and expertise of its horticultural sector.

“Our aspirations for Bloom, while never modest, were well founded, as we have a country with a multitude of highly adept designers, passionate horticulturists and a population aching to better understand the joys of the garden.”

More than 300 people were involved in the logistics. Work on transforming site into an oasis of colour and design took 36 days.

Materials brought to the park included 22 tonnes of bark mulch, 72,000 litres of water, 300 metres of car park track, 300 metres of walkway, 120 temporary toilets, 10 power generators, a temporary mobile phone mast and five lighting towers. A total of 3,000 car park spaces were created and even two bridges from World War II were brought on site so that visitors could drive over a moat to gain access to the car parks.

Orla Woods, Nursery and Floral Pavilion Co-ordinator, said exhibitors were kept busy meeting the demands of the huge crowds.

“Many of the exhibitors travelled through the night to the four corners of the country in order to collect more stock to keep up with the demand from Bloom visitors. We are absolutely delighted with the vast numbers of people who purchased plants,” she said.

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