Record Numbers to Bloom

A record number of almost 120,000 people attended Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend.

Tara McCarthy, Chief Executive, Bord Bia told The Landscaper,  “We are proud that our Bloom event has developed into such an inspirational festival of creativity, a place where creators of food and drink, of gardens, craft and art get a platform to tell their story. Each year, Bloom provides Bord Bia, and our key stakeholders, with an invaluable opportunity to engage with consumers, helping us to build insight, learn and share new ideas while celebrating and showcasing the best of Ireland’s horticulture, food and drink industry.

 In addition to being a great place to visit, Bloom has a strong track record of delivering sales and new business for our stakeholders, both here onsite and more importantly developing trade relationships for future business. This is a key component of the show, and one that Bord Bia is keen to deliver and build upon.” 

 This year’s event also received a ringing endorsement from Bob Sweet, former Head of Judging for the Royal Horticulture Society in the UK. Mr. Sweet, who has visited the show on many occasions, “There is no doubt in my mind that this year’s Bloom event is better than Chelsea. It is a world-class showcase and Bord Bia should be very proud of what it has achieved in a relatively short period of time. I recall the first show back in 2007 and it is just incredible to see how the event has evolved.”

 Bloom 2017 attracted many newly established food companies, and craft makers. Almost a third of exhibitors (33) within the Food Village were new to Bloom and a third of the Craft Village retailers were new companies and / or new to Bloom. 

More than 10,000 visitors left plants in the Plant Crèche to be cared for while they enjoyed the festival

The volunteers working on at the Bloom farmyard were busy over the five day festival, with over 50kg of wool sheared, enough for 50 wool jumpers, and some 20,000 litres of milk produced onsite

Within the Food Village, Jelly Bean Factory gave away 50,000 beans, East Coast Bakehouse sampled over 25,000 biscuits and Wild Irish Seaweed sold 100 kilos of dry seaweed over the weekend

Over 15,000 children used the new ‘Bloom passports’ introduced by Bord Bia for this year’s show, while 30 schools, with over 1,000 children visited the show.

This year’s show featured 22 show gardens, 13 postcard gardens and 33 nursery displays

The judging panel for Bloom 2017 comprised of 14 Irish and international horticultural experts, who  awarded more than 100 awards to show garden designers, amateur postcard garden designers; nurseries and floral artists including 28 Gold, 18 Silver Gilt, 21 Silver and 21 Bronze medals

It will take 14 days to clear the Bloom site (it took 31 days to build Bloom 2017)

A total of 4,000 people worked onsite over the 5 days including 200 Bord Bia volunteers

 A show garden inspired by the rugged Connemara Coast, designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann of Mount Venus Nursery in Dublin, has been announced as Overall Large Garden

The ‘FBD Insurance Transition’ garden features a water-landscape with a dramatic tidal effect, capturing the essence of the Irish coast.

First time Bloom designers, Laura Cassin, Louise Jones and Linda Murphy were announced as Overall Medium Garden winners for their Teagasc Garden of Hope in association with Pieta House. The garden, which aims to evoke serenity and a connection with nature to raise the spirit, will move to a permanent home at one of the Pieta House centres after Bloom.

 Previous Bloom-medal and Super Garden winner, Leonie Cornelius received the Overall Small Garden award for the ‘Everyone Has a Dream’ garden in association with Woodies which aims to show how, through careful design and creative thinking, we can build the garden of our dreams on a small scale.

The Oxfam Ireland and GOAL garden ‘A World Beyond Walls’, designed by previous Bloom medal winner Niall Maxwell, received the Best Concept Garden award for creating a vibrant, social garden space to highlight the need for tolerance and acceptance in an increasingly divided world.

The Best Planting Award went to garden designer Alan Rudden for the Savills Urban Retreat garden which shows how a stunning green retreat can be created to address the twin challenges of space and privacy.

Meanwhile, additional awards across the show included Kells Bay Nursery from Cahersiveen in Kerry – Best Nursery; County Wexford Garden and Flower Club received Best Postcard Garden; Floral Artist, Maeve Duke from Rathfarnham was awarded Best in Show in the AOIFA Floral Art Competition and Shevaun Doherty from Sandyford in Dublin 18 received Best in Show in the Botanical and Floral Art Competition.

Speaking about the awards, Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s festival manager said, “Before Bloom opened its doors to the public each of the show gardens, nursery displays, floral artistry and postcard gardens were adjudicated over two days by an independent panel of judges. We are delighted to be awarding more than 100 awards this morning which is testament to the high standard of garden design, nursery and floral artistry available in Ireland. After more than 30 days building the site here in the Phoenix Park, we are excited to finally be able to share these stunning displays with the public.”

The judging panel for Bloom 2017 comprised of 14 Irish and international horticultural experts, who awarded more than 100 awards to show garden designers, amateur postcard garden designers; nurseries and floral artists including 28 Gold, 18 Silver Gilt, 21 Silver and 21 Bronze medals.

 According to Bord Bia, plans and preparations are already well underway for Bloom 2018, with many showgardens, sponsors and designers already signed up.

Bloom 2018 will take place from Thursday, May 31st to Monday, June 4th 2018.

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