Pics: Gates open to Bord Bia’s 12th Bloom festival

The gates to Bord Bia’s 12th Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, were opened to the public today, with the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, officially opening the event.

The event is set to run until next Monday (June 4), with thousands of people expected to flock to it over the course of the five days.

In addition to 20 show gardens, the festival will host a large number of floral installations and gardening features – including 13 postcard gardens and 200 retail stands that will feature more than 100 food and drink exhibitors and some 30 plant nurseries, organisers have said.

The event was officially opened by the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins
There will also be 150 live talks, demonstrations and family-friendly activities for those in attendance to enjoy across the 70ac site (comprising stages, marquees and pavilions).

From start to finish, the build phase leading up to the festival takes just under two months; and once it’s all over, it will take 14 days to return the site back to its previous condition.

More than 4,000 people are involved in staging the five-day event, organisers added.

Created by leading Irish and visiting garden designers, it is understood that the 20 show gardens are worth almost €1 million – when the cost of plants, materials, sponsorship and labour is account for.

Commenting on the event, Bord Bia’s Bloom show manager, Gary Graham, said: “We are now in our 12th year of Bloom and while the range of features on offer has steadily grown as our visitor numbers have increased, the heart of the show still lies in the magnificent works of art created by the show garden designers.

We in Bord Bia are in awe of the creativity and imagination which many of the designers who return year after year exhibit. They are constantly coming up with new concepts, innovative design features and, best of all, spectacular outdoor spaces which continue to captivate our visitors.

“And it is always exciting to have among them some garden designers who are completely new to Bloom who bring with them new influences and energies,” he said.

Louth man takes home top prize

It was confirmed early this morning that garden designer Andrew Christopher Dunne from the coastal fishing village of Clogherhead in Co. Louth had been named as the overall ‘Show Garden’ winner for his ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’ in association with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The award was announced as Bord Bia opened the gates to the festival, following on from a “rigorous” two-day judging process with an independent panel of judges.

The ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’ aims to tell the story of the journey from tide to table, as well as the story of the fish and seafood that surround and inhabit this island.

Congratulating the winning garden, Graham said: “The sheer scale of endeavour involved in the delivery of this exceptional garden is something which the judges were all agreed upon.

“This was a hugely ambitious design featuring complex construction and intricate planting schemes in order to create an authentic seaside coastal inlet pier.

“With clever design features such as a custom-built fishing boat, made from up-cycled materials and the wall and pier made from reclaimed sandstone and karst limestone, this garden brings elements to Bloom which we have never seen before.”

The judging panel for Bloom 2018 announced a raft of 113 awards for show garden designers, nurseries, floral artists and amateur garden designers today, including: 35 gold; 22 silver gilt; 19 silver; 24 bronze; and 13 certificates of commendation.

Tickets to the event can be purchased from Ticketmaster or on the gate.