Garden festival gets ready to bloom for 5 days

MORE THAN 60,000 visitors are expected to flock to Dublin today for day one of Bloom 2011, Ireland’s biggest garden festival.

Organised by Bord Bia, Bloom will continue until June 6 at the visitor park in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.

Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said the show has a wide appeal.

“This year’s show will offer a vibrant, engaging and creative experience to share with both family and friends with a broad range of features offering something for everyone,” he said.

Bloom 2011 features 27 show gardens, including small, medium, large and interactive gardens or “engaging spaces”.

This year, Bloom has a number of additions, including its first international garden.

China’s Ire-Su was designed and built by the Suzhou Garden Bureau and will feature traditional activities and entertainment over the five days.

Other gardens on show include the Arnotts’ Style Garden, where Brendan Courtney and Sonya Lennon of RTÉ’s Off The Rails will share their style secrets each day, an Alice in Wonderland Sanctuary Garden and a secret garden, designed by the winner of this year’s Super Garden TV series.

Another addition is The Irish Craft Garden, organised by the Craft Council of Ireland to celebrate the 2011 Year of Craft.

It was designed by landscape designer Fiann Ó Nualláin and will feature more than 20 of the country’s top crafts brands and their products.

A dedicated craft village featuring demonstrations, workshops and a retail area will also feature.

Bloom 2011 is hosting the Bord Bia Food Village for the first time, where visitors can taste and purchase the very best of Irish food and drink.

The village consists of seven different areas: The Quality Mark Chef’s Summer Kitchen, Artisan Food Market, Love Irish Food, Best in Season Market, Farming For Life Exhibit, Bloom Inn and the Field to Fork Market.

The village will showcase how to produce your own produce, the best ways to use it, the art of producing local beers, spirits and whiskeys, cookery demonstrations and much more.

For younger visitors, the Bloom Kids’ Zone will keep children occupied with story readings, animals from Dublin Zoo, the CreativeKidsCafe, Food Dudes and the Little Gym.

Bloom 2011 is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are available both online (adult €15) or at the event (adult €20) Children under 16 go free.

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