Festival Blooms with 50,000 visitors

MORE than 50,000 people flocked to Bloom 2008, the five-day gardening showpiece, which ended at Phoenix Park in Dublin yesterday evening.

Bord Bia, which hosted the event, said it was an outstanding success and its extraordinary development in just two years was a great pleasure.

Chief executive Aidan Cotter said he was delighted with the standard of this year’s show and believes the event will grow to become an international showcase with an impact both at home and abroad.

“The exceptional number of visitors to Bloom is an indication of the ever-increasing interest in gardening in Ireland,” he said

Bloom project manager Gary Graham said the feedback has been overwhelming, with many visitors expressing their delight with the increased variety of features and attractions.

He particularly thanked sponsors, Pfizer, Keelings and Tesco, and the Office of Public Works (OPW), which provided a site with a stunning backdrop.

Mr Graham said the OPW deserves recognition for the upkeep of some of the finest gardens in the country. All 30 garden designers were given the opportunity to vote for their personal favourite. Their choice was Twilight, the work of Oliver and Liat Schurmann, Mutton Lane, Dublin, who also received the overall medium garden award. Thousands voted in the people’s choice award which went to Tim Austen, the Murrough, Co Wicklow, for his large garden, Inspiration from Mount Usher.

A speciality food market, which included 40 producers from around the country, proved to be a popular choice with visitors.

Barry Broderick, managing director of Ina’s Kitchen Desserts, Walkinstown, Dublin, said that at one point over the weekend they had to call in extra staff to meet with the overwhelming demand.

“Our baker and ice cream maker had to return to work unexpectedly to keep us stocked up. Our giant muffins, ice cream and scones were particularly great sellers throughout the event,” he said.

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