Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘A garden is the expression of one’s personality’ – Bloom 2024: A plethora of Irish food, horticulture and entertainment

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The Bord Bia event will run until ­Monday, June 3, in the Phoenix Park and will once more feature a plethora of Irish food, horticulture and ­entertainment.

Outdoor spaces designed to enhance biodiversity will be showcased through this year’s 22 show gardens.

The gardens, which are of varying size, fulfil one of the most important demands of the festival: accessibility.

Laura Douglas, head of Bord Bia brand partnerships, said: “We put a lot of emphasis on accessibility to all.

“We are open to families, our price point is accessible, and we celebrate Irish talent while not being Irish-only. We really want to home in on that ­community feel.”

Those attending the festival can expect more than 100 food and drink producers and local artisans, as well as an entertainment stage featuring up-and-coming talent.

Even though the festival is a competition, Ms Douglas said that did not take precedence over the fun.

“Part of our ethos and the very DNA of Bloom is about cultivating and sustaining talent,” she said.

“We have so many novel things on display: from our show gardens to the 13 postcard gardens, as well as new chefs such as Darina Allan, Trisha Lewis, Erica Drum and Adrian Martin.”

Among the attendees at the Bord Bia Bloom preview on Wednesday was Doireann Garrihy, who made her first public appearance since announcing her departure from 2FM’s breakfast show after five years with RTÉ.

Doireann Garrihy pictured with Minions Kevin & Stuart at the ‘Despicable Me 4’ show garden at this year’s Bord Bia Bloom Festival at the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photo: Kieran Harnett

The crowd was thrilled by the appearance of 1990s girl-group B*Witched, who performed their hit singles C’est La Vie and Rollercoaster, while the show gardens came alive to the tune of sustainability.

As Bloom ventures into adulthood, nothing is considered too “out-there”.

Louise Checa, a French-born landscape-architect-turned-garden-designer, has created a completely modular garden. That means her garden can be taken anywhere.

“A garden is the expression of one’s personality. I do hope that people pick up on that,” Ms Checa said.

“It’s a very different way to approach gardening and this garden does reveal who I am.”

However, the pragmatic nature of her design does not come at the cost of environmentalism

“If you look around you can see a birdhouse and a bug hotel,” she said.

“All of the plants are native Irish plants, and this garden uses timber made from eco-wood, which avoids chemicals being released into the soil over time”.

Sarah Buckley, the designer behind the Mind Yourself Garden, one of the winners of this year’s Westland Horticulture Cultivating Talent Initiative, spoke about her garden’s theme of escapism.

“It’s about engaging the mind,” Ms Buckley said of her design, which features plants of various textures.

“When you’re in the garden, it’s a time to relax and a moment to mind yourself while you reconnect with nature, and in doing so enhance your mental health.”

Landscape designer Nicola Haines has created a garden called Coming Home to Nature, which is sponsored by Fingal County Council.

“We are trying to show that sustainable urban drainage systems need to be, and can be, incorporated,” Ms Haines said.

“Nature-based solutions are what people and households need, but most people don’t know what they are.”

The garden is unique in the way it peels back the layers of sustainability by showing several layers of earth and sediment and the benefits of sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) in real-time.

“The front of this garden is the how and the back is the why,” she said.

Visitors to the festival are encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport over the weekend.

The organisers suggest downloading a map and itinerary, bringing reusable water bottles and dressing appropriately for the conditions.

Met Éireann predicts the weather will be fair, with temperatures rising to 16C.

Bord Bia Bloom tickets are currently on sale on Ticketmaster.

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