Let ideas take root

Now is the ideal time to look at ideas for garden space – and Bloom is the perfect inspiration writes Peter Dowdall

Let ideas take root

Now is the ideal time to look at ideas for garden space – and Bloom is the perfect inspiration writes Peter Dowdall

It is during the next few months when we take to that most relaxing of pursuits, ‘armchair gardening’ that the creative juices can flow. It’s the ideal time of the year to look at ways to improve your existing garden, or to plan a new garden. If you’re merely tweaking an established garden then it is now as growth has slowed and the garden begins to show its skeleton that you can look back at what worked in the garden this year and what areas could be improved. Or perhaps it’s time for a complete change, an overhaul, time for something new.

So too if it’s a new garden you’re planning, now is the ideal time to look at ideas for your space. It is during these months that the space will look at its bleakest, its most bare and thus the canvas is literally blank. Call in the professionals if you wish or perhaps this is a project you would like to undertake yourself. My advice should you choose the latter is not to be fearful. Gardening is simple, after breathing and eating, it is its one of the most basic pursuits we can partake in. Put a seed or a plant in the ground, give it water and sunshine and it will grow, everything beyond that is an extra.

However when it comes to designing, there are principles and guidelines which should be, if not strictly adhered to at least considered. One of the best ways to get inspiration is by visiting other gardens and of course, the show gardens.

Ireland is lucky that we have a showcase event in Bloom which is as good as you will see anywhere and it’s not just mere mortal gardeners who should be thinking garden design for Bord Bia is now calling for garden designers to apply for a prestigious show garden space at the thirteenth annual Bloom festival taking place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from the Thursday, May 30, to Monday, June 3 2019.


he show gardens at Bord Bia’s Bloom are the central feature of the festival and each year they demonstrate excellence in garden design, innovative landscaping and the best of Ireland’s horticulture industry. Applications for the 2019 show gardens are open to all designers who can promote the joys and benefits of exceptional garden design across four categories: small, medium, large and concept gardens and I would urge any designer, young or old to submit a proposal. Don’t let things like nerves, budget or any other constraint put you off, the organisers at Bloom can assist on most things and even if your design isn’t successful, the feedback can be very beneficial in developing as a designer Adjudicated by an independent panel of national and international judges, a combination of gold, silver-gilt, silver and bronze medals will be awarded on the first day of the festival. In 2018 over 120,000 visitors attended Bloom over five days. In excess of €9.7million was spent on site and the horticulture and gardening sector benefited from a €47 million spend by amateur and professional gardeners in the weeks following the festival.

Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s Bloom Show Manager said:

“The benefits of designing a garden at Bloom are many, including the chance to showcase original work. We are constantly in awe of designers’ ability to deliver complex and ambitious gardens that also communicate topical and colourful themes that visitors love.’’

Veteran show garden designers

Oliver and Liat Schurmann, of Mount Venus Nursery in Rathfarnham

, won gold last year for their innovative, boardroom-inspired roof garden,

‘A Different Outlook’

sponsored by Savills.

Speaking about showcasing at Bloom,

Liat Schurmann

commented: “The

appeal of Bloom for us is the thrill of designing and executing a creative garden you would never otherwise get the chance to do. The opportunity to expose your ideas to a massive audience and be judged by professional and objective judges is a vital element also.”

Jane McCorkell, Landscape Architect and previous winner of seven Bloom gold medals said

: “There’s no doubt that preparing a show garden for Bloom can be demanding, but the reward far outweighs the effort. Receiving a medal from the judging panel is a stamp of approval from industry peers and

getting the chance to experiment with new ideas is something you don’t get to experience on every job. Planning well in advance and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is key, as it’s a very quick turnaround on site. It’s a busy period, but a very thrilling and rewarding challenge.”

The Bloom 2019 Show

Garden Application can be downloaded from BloominthePark.com.The closing date to apply for a show garden space is November 20, 2018.

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