In Bloom: Top gardeners flex green fingers ahead of festival

Top garden designers have started getting down and dirty for Ireland’s biggest garden festival.

Today marks the first day of the creation of the show gardens that will form the centrepiece of Bloom, now in its sixth year.

Organised by Bord Bia, the hugely successful gardening, food, and family festival takes place in the Phoenix Park in Dublin over five days. President Michael D Higgins will officially open Bloom on May 31.

There will be a number of other firsts at the event including the first show garden designed by a child. Miah Ní Nuallain, 10, from Crumlin, Dublin, has designed a pet friendly garden for the site.

There will also be a Guinness Book of Records attempt by Grow It Yourself Ireland to have the largest number of people sewing seedlings at one time. The current record is 904 people.

This year the gardens built on 2,690sq m will incorporate themes such as sustainability, the impact of immigration and the importance of Irish culture.

Veteran Bloom garden designer Fiann Ó Nuallain’s Stream of Consciousness garden will feature a floating stage and entertainment programme, while Kate Kurevleva, from Bray, Co Wicklow, will be creating a traditional Japanese garden featuring Irish moss.

Bord Bia is building on the success of the popular Food Village introduced last year. The chef’s summer kitchen will host live cooking demonstrations from chefs including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Donal Skehan, and Rozanne Stevens.

Bloom show manager, Gary Graham, said the show attracted 90,000 visitors last year, up 50% on the previous year, and that was expected to be reached again.

Mr Graham said this year’s event would have expanded walking space in which to enjoy the spectacular show gardens.

“I think Bloom has become more popular because of the recession. We know more people are staying at home and are looking for family-type experiences.

“We have concentrated from day one on making Bloom as affordable as possible, otherwise it would be a much smaller show.”

* Tickets for the five-day event start at €15 and children go free.

Floral best

On the 70-acre site of Ireland’s biggest garden festival will be:

* 27 show gardens

* 40 nurseries

* 100-plus food and drink producers

* 25 cookery demonstrations

* 160-plus retailers

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