Bord Bia welcomed over 106,000 visitors to its Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend. Artisans, exhibitors and garden designers alike have enjoyed a very busy few days with many reporting buoyant sales onsite including Donal Skehan’s Skoff pies, CAIS farmhouse cheese and Caulfield Country Boards who were all sold out before lunchtime today. Last year, a Behaviours and Attitudes study valued the onsite sales at €5.5 million.
Earlier this week Bloom Patron the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins described the event as “a beautiful festival of scents, colours and flavours that announces the delights of summer.” Addressing a large crowd of Bloom visitors, President Higgins added “Over the last seven years Bloom has become an important and beloved rendez-vous, not just for professional horticulturists and landscape designers, but also for amateur gardeners and all those who wish to enjoy, discover or simply admire Ireland’s wide variety of flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, and food and drink products.”
BLOOM 2014 IN NUMBERS
- Over 80,000 plants were sold at Bloom 2014 at an estimated value of €750,000
- 27,000 people availed of the free Shuttle Bus to Bloom
- 116 Bloom medals and awards were presented over the five days to garden designers, nurseries, floral artists, exhibitors and botanical artists.
- 130 food buyers attended Bord Bia’s business breakfast at Bloom on Friday morning for one to one meetings with the exhibiting artisan food and drink companies.
- Many sections and elements of the 30 show gardens will be rebuilt at various locations around the country over the coming including hospitals, nursing homes and commercial enterprises. The Barretstown & Glanbia: Sowing the Seeds of Magic garden will be transported in full to Barretstown, while the Limerick City of Culture Garden will also be re-homed in the Medieval Quarter of Limerick City.
- Onsite caterers sold in excess of 30,000 ice-creams to Bloom punters
- GIY-ers bought more than 100 polytunnels valued at €850 each
- The Craft Council of Ireland reported €200,000 worth of sales within the Craft Village at Bloom
- Keoghs sampled over 10,800 packs of crisps throughout the five days, while Food Village visitors enjoyed over 8,300 summer berries at the Keeling’s stand
- Over 30,000 Bord Bia recipe booklets were distributed at the Quality Kitchen Chefs Stage
- The Sculpture Garden featuring 50 pieces of Irish sculpture proved very popular with Bloom visitors, with almost half of the pieces selling during the show. Eight orders were placed for the ‘Apple Tree’ by Liam Butler, each valued at €800
- 20 sheep were sheared at the Bloom farmyard producing over 70kg of wool
- 582 people including An Taoiseach Enda Kenny danced for the #BloomisHappy video
- Eachday over 2,000 plants were cared for in the Plant Crèche while visitors continued to enjoy the show
- 82 tonnes of waste material from Bloom will be recycled
- A total of 4,000 people worked onsite over the 5 days including 170 volunteers
- It will take 14 days to clear the Bloom site (it took 31 days to build Bloom)
- Only 359 sleeps until the next Bloom which will open on Thursday May 28th 2015
The judging panel awarded a total of 22 medals to show garden designers including; 7 Gold, 6 Silver Gilt, 7 Silver and 2 Bronze. The overall category winners were:
- Large Garden: Renault ZOE: City Life Garden, designed by Kevin Dennis
- Medium Garden: You Talk I’ll Listen – The Samaritans Garden, designed by Andrew Christopher Dunne
- Small Garden: Facing South: The Talbot Collection at Malahide, designed by Paul Foley
- Concept Garden: Messenger designed by Paul Doyle for Jack and Jill Foundation
Floral & Nursery Marquee
A total of 44 medals were awarded to exhibitors within the Floral & Nursery Marquee with 11 gold medals; 8 silver-gilt; 11 silver and 13 bronze. W.S Warmenhoven’s display of allium and amaryllis won ‘Best in Show’.
Association of Irish Floral Artists (AOIFA)
The AOIFA Awards saw 20 medals awarded this year across four individual categories. Marta O’Kelly from Enniskerry, Co.Wicklow won ‘Best in Show’ for her entry within the Spellbound category.
- On Sunday evening, the Designers Choice Award, a much sought-after accolade whereby the participating show garden designers vote for their favourite garden, was awarded to You Talk I’ll Listen – The Samaritans Garden, designed by Andrew Christopher Dunne
- The People’s Choice Award as voted by the Bloom visitors was today (Monday 2nd June) presented to Tim Austen for Barretstown & Glanbia: Sowing the Seeds of Magic.
- There were 7 postcard gardens at Bloom 2014 – 2m x 3m plots developed by garden clubs, societies and relevant associations. The Irish Wildlife Trust’s garden entitled ‘Our Natural Heritage’ won the overall ‘Best Postcard Garden’ award.
- Eleven Botanical Artists were awarded a total of 14 medals for their original pieces of art on display in the Phoenix Park Visitors Centre.
- Finally, Broderick’s were awarded ‘Best Stand’ within the Bord Bia Food Village and Mount Venus Nursery scooped the same title within the Floral Marquee.
According to Bord Bia, the focus has already shifted to planning for Bloom 2015 which will take place from Thursday 28th May – Monday June 1st 2015.