Ireland’s Biggest Garden Exhibition!


LAN writer Lisa Tierney went to Bloom 2014 to find out what all the fuss was about. This past bank holiday weekend, Dublin’s Phoenix Park hosted the 8th Annual Bloom Festival. It brought huge crowds, and I was lucky enough to experience the elusive Irish summer during the day I attended. It housed beautiful planting schemes with a stunning display of Irish crafts alongside. It was an incredible gathering for plant enthusiasts and an interesting day out for families. The site was filled with show gardens, food, Irish craft stands, and family favorites, all balanced to create an ideal atmosphere.


Supergarden. Photo credit: Nick Bradshaw and Gary O’Neill

The gardens were separated into four categories — concepts, large gardens, medium gardens, and small gardens. This gave different types of designers a chance to enter and gave the younger designers an opportunity to create show gardens to be displayed publicly. There was incredible creativity behind the gardens, and the crowds were introduced to comedic, futuristic, philanthropic, and even remedial garden designs, all within one site.
Renault ZOE: City Life Garden

Renault ZOE: City Life Garden. Photo credit Lisa Tierney

Best in Category Winner The winner in the large garden category was Renault ZOE: City Life Garden, designed by Kevin Dennis. This scheme focused on the environment and the benefits plants have on people’s lives. This garden had a stunning palette of purples, rusts, and mid greens that resulted in a contemporary and urban planting scheme. Integrated into the design were a roof garden and green wall within the bright, small seating area. These touches highlighted the urban side of the garden — a reminder to use any space possible when faced with city limits. Within the planting beds were striking steel sculptures and water ponds that added a sense of reflectiveness and serenity once again juxtaposed against the urban lifestyle. I really enjoyed the aesthetics and concept behind this scheme; the planting was well thought out through strong edged paths with overlapping softer vegetation. Below: Renault ZOE: City Life Garden – RTE Bloom 2014 I was really impressed with the integration of plant lovers with the landscape designers and growers as the individual stands throughout the site provided information on anything you could want to know, whether it was Keelings’ Strawberry Way, a growing tunnel filled to the brim with berry plants and lilies, or the show garden’s individual stand workers interacting with the public and explaining ideas and concepts behind the various schemes. I felt the stands breached the gap between designer and public very well and aided interaction between the groups.

David Everard’s Tayto Park. Photo credit: Nick Bradshaw and Gary O’Neill

After spending my day at Bloom, I know I will turn this into an annual visit, as the atmosphere and enthusiasm was unparalleled. As a student, it was impressive to see these gardens that were created with such passion and determination. This is an event that is not to be missed and is an important affair for novice gardeners and more practiced designers alike, giving inspiration to all. You may also be interested in: Top Ten Show Gardens: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Article written by Lisa Tierney

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