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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# Green shoots
Is your garden summer ready? Here are some top tips from Bloom's designers
The designers at the 10th annual Bloom festival have some advice for budding gardeners.

THE TENTH ANNUAL Bloom festival is happening this weekend in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

There’s a wide range of imaginative designs on display – from tributes to the children who died in 1916 to Chinese temple gardens.

Between them, the Bloom designers have hundreds of years of experience in creating and maintaining their gardens. They’ve been working hard for the past three weeks to get their offerings ready in time to be judged and viewed by the public.

So… Want to get your garden in shape for the summer months, but don’t know where to start? spoke to just a few of the designers at Bloom to get their top tips for gardening at home. / YouTube

1. Don’t copy what you see in show gardens

Brian Burke

The award-winning Brian Burke designed GOAL’s Damascus Courtyard War and Peace Garden at Bloom this year.

He knows a thing or two about show gardens and exhibits and said people shouldn’t try to create what they see at festivals like Bloom:

There’s an imperative in the show garden setting that you plant very densely, that you create density, that you create quantity and you create lushness, people often make the mistake of trying to recreate that at home.

Instead of copying what you see, his top tip is to give your trees and plants room to breathe in your garden:

At home you need to give plants a bit more breathing space.

download GOAL’s Damascus Courtyard War and Peace Garden

2. Wear suncream (Baz Luhrmann would be proud)


Fiann Ó Nualláin has plenty of experience at Bloom having participated in all ten of the festivals.

He has designed 19 gardens altogether for the annual event and this year one of his creations is all about 1916 and the children who died during the Rising.

download (1) Bullets and boiled sweets – 1916 Commemoration Garden

His advice is to wear suncream while gardening, but along with that he also gave some unexpected dietary advice:

Eat more tomatoes, because tomatoes have lycopene contained in them and the more lycopene you ingest into your body, the more melanin you get, and melanin makes you tan, not burn.

3. Organise and plan everything you do

Sofi Dosa

The youngest ever participant at Bloom, Sofi Dosa, believes the most important thing is to be organised in your garden, and plan everything beforehand.

She said:

My top tip, organisation, that’s always number one, and planning, planning, plan yeah plan.

So. Yes… That’s you told.


4. Keep it neat and tidy

Alan Rudden, designer of the Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden at this year’s festival, has several Bloom medals to his name to date.

Alan Rudden

The long time competitor gave a simple tip of keeping your garden neat and tidy, which everyone can follow at home:

Paint your boundary walls and  keep your grass verges clipped and clean look.

1 Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden

5. And remember – relax and enjoy your garden!


One of the most relaxing spaces at Bloom is the Savills Face to Face garden, which is meant to encourage conversation rather than living your life through a smartphone.

The designer, Andrew Christopher Dunne, believes the number one thing any gardener should do is enjoy their surroundings.

It doesn’t matter what you do or how good your garden is, enjoy it.

Bloom is on between now and  Monday, for more information about tickets click here.

Read: Here are our 6 favourite gardens at Bloom >

Read: 9 beautiful gardens in Ireland you should visit soon >

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