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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 19 January, 2019
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5 reasons you should go to Bloom this weekend

If you think it’s just about some pretty plants, think again!

Kevin Dennis

IF YOU HAVE never been to Bloom in the Phoenix Park and you think it’s just about some pretty plants, well, think again! Bloom is Ireland’s largest and most vibrant gardening, food and family event and a visit to this year’s exhibition will not disappoint. There are exquisite show gardens, the country’s best food producers and lots to entertain all the family.

Bloom celebrates the apprecition for garden design and horticulture while creating a fun atmosphere. Each year it showcases talent from all around Ireland with contrasting styles of design and planting combinations.

I wonder if people really know the effort that is undertaken by the guys building these garden creations?

There are typically three main types of gardens: small, medium and large.

To give you an example, last year I took on the largest garden plot which measures up to be 20 metres long and 10 metres wide. That’s 200 square metres to be filled with stylish hard landscaping and a massive quantity of plants. It is almost a five week long project – with three weeks of building, one week for the show, including the judging process, and a week to dismantle your masterpiece, a painful experience indeed.

As with any project, things can go wrong, whether it is flooding, materials arriving late, hoping your plants will flower on time or just attention to detail that soaks up your time. It means working seven days a week and I remember the security guys telling us to leave a few times as it was almost dark.

There are also serious responsibilities within the construction areas. For example, a simple green roof structure I built had to hold the weight of two tons of soil for planting – now that had to be secure especially when your sponsor’s electric car is going to be parked underneath it…

It is a rollercoaster ride and an all-round great experience working alongside many great Irish garden designers, who become friends by the end of the show.

Getting a gold medal was also the icing on the cake after all the hard work. A really good vibe.

5 reasons to go to Bloom 

1. The Show Gardens

Visit the show gardens to experience gardening outside of what we perceive to be ‘normal’. This is a chance to see the latest planting and design trends. The gardens are there to stimulate and they don’t disappoint. Even if you are not a gardener I would recommend spending time there; it may change how you think about your own garden. Every show garden has a different theme, so this is where you will really see the innovative and creative designs of our top Irish garden designers.

2. Plant Village and Floral Marquee

These areas showcase the very best of over 40 top class floral nurseries in Ireland – you’ll find plant choices that you may not at your local garden centre. It’s a great time to get good advice from these dudes as they are passionate about plants. Their ideas and advice will inspire you to use plants to their full advantage. Their displays sit alongside their retails areas, giving you the opportunity to create the look in your own garden.

3. The Food Village and Great Dining Experience

The food is amazing at Bloom. The Quality Kitchen Stage is a major attraction where you will find cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Edward Hayden and many more. There are food markets with 60 food producers on site, market stalls, and meat and fish markets. The market stalls are run by the producers themselves offering advice and tips on how to prepare their produce. You will find cafes, restaurants, a seafood bar and everything on offer from ice cream to wood-fired pizzas and everything in between.

4. Family Fun

It is a great day out for the family (there’s no entry fee for kids) and what better setting could you ask for than our great Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin? There’s plenty to entertain, from Fun on the Farm to Food Dudes, and there is also a dedicated
children’s stage with performances from magicians, Irish dancers and Bloom regular Scientific Sue who will take the kids on a scientific discovery journey.

5. Entertainment

Part of the great vibe at Bloom is created on the main stage where a wide range of musicians from all genres perform at regular intervals throughout the day. So take time out to relax and enjoy one of the many talented artists or take in a fashion show on the Style Stage.

There’s so much more to see and do at Bloom, so my advice is to arrive early so you can take it all in. And don’t forget, there’s also Bloom Fringe which takes the magic of Bloom to various locations around Dublin city and includes workshops, talks, secret tours, art installations, pop up food stalls and so much more. I can’t wait!

Bloom takes place this weekend in The Phoenix Park Dublin from Thursday 28th May to Monday 1st June. For more details: www.bloominthepark.com.

Kevin Dennis is a landscape designer with CityScape Gardener. Kevin was overall winner of Ireland’s 2014 Bloom Festival with his garden ‘City Life Garden’. His passion is taking urban areas and transforming them into places of beauty and calm.
Kevin is now following on with his Urban Greening Theme and is developing his ideas in city garden spaces. See www.cityscapegardener.ie for more details.

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About the author:

Kevin Dennis

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