Bloom 2017 is set to open tomorrow (June 1) and will run until Bank Holiday Monday (June 5). The Bord Bia run festival, which is located in the Phoenix Park, has 22 show gardens on display in addition to a whole host of other events and displays, some with a clear agricultural influence.

As well as the show gardens, which are described as the ‘jewel in the crown of the show’, there will be 50 floral and botanical art displays and 110 food and drink stands in addition to another 13 ‘postcard’ gardens.

From an agricultural perspective, there will be three main show gardens on display. These will be the Agri Aware Garden, the Teagasc Garden of Hope – which is a collaboration with Pieta House – and the Bord Bia Strawberry Bed Garden.


At a media preview of the show gardens earlier today, Agriland spoke to Roz O’Shaughnessy of Bord Bia about the event. O’Shaughnessy gave some context, saying: “Our judging panel are representative of what we call the RHS [Royal Horticultural Society] show, who do Chelsea [Flower Show].

Andrew Wilson chairs the panel; he himself won a gold medal last week at Chelsea, so they come literally from the end of Chelsea straight to Bloom.


O’Shaughnessy explained how the event developed, noting that this year is the eleventh year of Bloom, which is run by Bord Bia. She clarified that while people in general would often assume that Bord Bia organised the food village alone, the reality is that Bord Bia organises the full event.

Bord Bia’s remit includes horticulture, so we would be responsible for the marketing and promoting of horticulture, including our landscapers, nurseries and growers – and that’s where the whole idea of Bloom came from.

“Last year we had 115,000 but we had five days of glorious sunshine so that obviously helped.”

She noted that last year’s attendance was a record number but they were gearing up for another busy five-day show.


O’Shaughnessy said that there are three categories among the 22 show gardens – large, medium and small. She added that the results would be announced tomorrow morning before the show begins.

Bord Bia Strawberry Bed Garden

O’Shaughnessy pointed out the agricultural show gardens that were on display. She said: “From an agricultural background, we have a ‘strawberry bed’ garden this year which is to celebrate the start of the Irish strawberry season; that is designed by Maeve O’Neill.”

The Strawberry Growers’ Association was also involved in the garden. O’Neill herself noted that a good team was essential for the development of a show garden.


‘My Land, Your Land’ Ireland by Agri Aware

O’Shaughnessy commented on the Agri Aware garden, saying: “We have Agri Aware here at the show garden space for the first time, and its garden is very much about Ireland’s heritage in food and agriculture. As you can see with its really bright, stunning features, it stands out near the middle of the show garden space.”


Agri Aware, the Irish agri-food educational body – funded by the CAP Communication Campaign – has a clear agricultural theme with bales of hay and a miniature hay shed.

The Agri Aware representatives said that they were expecting 800 primary school children over Thursday and Friday as part of the “Incredible Edibles” awareness initiative. This will include the class of students that won the Agri Aware competition to design a scarecrow, with the winning design currently on display.


Teagasc Garden of Hope

O’Shaughnessy provided some information on the Teagasc garden, saying: “Teagasc is here with us and [the designers] have done a beautiful garden here today for Pieta House. The Teagasc horticulture team designed it – their first time here in the show-garden space.”


The quotes on the wall, according to one of the designers, Louise Jones, were supplied by the suicide charity. The design of the garden has dark colours along the outside but light, sunny colours in the centre, symbolising the ‘darkness into light’ theme.


O’Shaunnessy concluded by noting that all designers had been working on their gardens for the past three weeks to prepare for the event.

Bloom will be open from 9:00am until 6:00pm for each of the five days of the festival. Tickets can be bought on the day at the gate or in advance through Ticketmaster. For those interested, further information is available on the Bloom website.