A show garden resembling a traditional old-style Irish country farm to emphasise the importance of grass-fed dairy in Ireland, is part of the 16th Bord Bia Bloom festival in Phoenix Park starting tomorrow (Thursday, June 2).
The National Dairy Council (NDC) has teamed up with Cork-based landscape architect, Sean Russell to showcase how Irish farmers work to improve biodiversity and lower the carbon footprint of the dairy sector.
Sean told Agriland that the idea behind the garden was to highlight that the basic methods of milk production remain largely unchanged to the present day.
Only native plants were used in the garden, which also includes dry stone walls, mature grass – which was dug out of a farmer’s field in Co. Offaly – white clover, and an old open-structured farm outhouse.
“I love the Irish countryside and I am a big believer of promoting biodiversity”. Sean added:
“It does not always have to be high-intensity farming, maybe we could reintroduce more trees back into farmlands and start taking a bit more care of the natural environment and work hand in hand with it.”
Attention to detail was important to Sean, who included old reclaimed farm gates; milk churns; a specifically commissioned bronze wire mesh cow; and a door and old wooden windows from his home farm in Co. Cork.
Communications manager at the NDC, Cathy Curran said they are excited to tell the dairy-farm story to a largely urban audience at Bloom. She added:
“There is still a disconnect between parlour to plate and we need to capture these opportunities to tell the dairy-production story, and the efforts being made by Irish farmers to reduce emissions and to farm more sustainably.”
The show garden at Bloom explains how nitrogen is essential for plant and grass growth, and how farmers must replenish its use, and replace nitrogen removed in the harvested crop, the NDC said.
Green Cities Europe Garden
The Green Cities Europe Garden is sponsored by Bord Bia and the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association (IHNSA), as part of the Green Cities Europe campaign, which encourages the greening of public spaces and the use of local plants.
IHNSA representative Val Farrell told Agriland:
“We are here to promote the greening of our cities and the planting of Irish plants, to help the environment and to increase sales in our industry. Our endeavor is to promote our local authorities and planners to increase the green area in our cities for the future.”
Every Irish-grown plant is a substitute for an imported plant which benefits the Irish economy and the environment, he added.
Landscape designer, James Purdy brings together the main elements of green spaces to create a sustainable garden, which can be reinterpreted within public parks and outdoor areas across cities, towns and villages.
Purdy, who already won two gold medals for his show-garden designs at past Bloom events, chose planting to promote a range of diverse habitats for wildlife and to support ecology.
The garden design incorporates a series of natural surfaces and a main colour palette of green in trees, hedges and perennial planting, as well as a wildflower meadow of red poppies and cornflowers.