President Higgins, patron of the five-day event, did not have to travel far — Bloom is being held beside Áras an Uachtaráin in the grounds of Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Nevertheless, the President, accompanied by his wife Sabina, arrived at Bloom in a motorcade, which was just as well as it was a typical “soft day”.
The couple were shielded from the rain by a bunch of cheerful rainbow-patterned umbrellas when they joined those attending the event.
“With 27 show gardens, a floral marque, food markets and cookery demonstrations, really Bloom is a feast for the senses and it is a great success,” he said.
During his tour of the show gardens, the President met Miah Ní Nualláin, the first child to design a show garden.
She was awarded a silver medal for her pet friendly garden entitled ‘Reigning Cats and Dogs’.
Miah, 10, from Crumlin, Dublin, who was with her mother Melissa, said she was delighted to have got a medal. “It’s my first show and I’m a child, so I really did not think I would get one,” she said.
Miah was helped by her uncle, Fiann Ó Nualláin, from Inspiring Gardens, who designed two other show gardens for the event.
His ‘Stream of Consciousness’ incorporates a garden stage depicting the story of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge.
Mr Ó Nualláin also created The Glenisk Lorax Garden in celebration of the release of the film Lorax, based on the book by Dr Seuss, which was awarded a bronze medal.
Another show garden winner was Leonie Cornelius, who got a gold medal for her garden ‘Cookie and Creams Reclaimed Sanctuary’.
“It is the first time I have been at Bloom and coming here this morning and getting a best in category and a gold medal is just ‘wow’,” she said.
Ms Cornelius, an interior architect and garden designer, from Ballymote, Co Sligo, said the garden was made from recycled materials for two rabbits and a family as well.
The overall large garden award went to Jane McCorkell from Killsallaghan, Co Meath, for Growise ‘My Garden’.
Her design incorporates a working garden for horticultural enthusiasts, plus plenty of space for a family.
It is Ms McCorkell’s fifth year competing at Bloom, her fifth gold medal, and second time winning the top award.
Most gardening enthusiasts attending the opening of the event organised by Bord Bia did not mind the rain.
One visitor said she loved smelling the scented air as she arrived and proclaimed it was much better than the Chelsea Garden Show.
Emma Jane Lenehan from Lenehan’s Hardware in Dublin was one of the 160 retailers on the site. She said it was the third year the firm had exhibited at Bloom. “We had a busy first year, last year was quiet, so we are hoping things pick up this year.”
* Up to 90,000 people are expected to attend Bloom.
* It is held on a 70-acre site at the Phoenix park.
* There are 27 show gardens, 100 Irish food and drink displays, 40 nurseries, and 25 cookery demonstrations.
* The pavilion, at 1.5 acres in size, is the largest marquee ever built in the park.
* A shuttle bus will run to Bloom from Heuston each day.
* Tickets start at €15 and children go free.