With only two more sleeps until the gates open on Bord Bia’s Bloom 2017 festival, the Phoenix Park is a hive of activity with finishing touches being put on the 22 show gardens; 13 postcard gardens; 50 floral and botanical art displays and 110 food and drink stands. The build is also almost complete on the 70 acre site of stages, marquees and pavilions which will host more than 100 live talks, demonstrations and family friendly activities over the five days from June 1st – 5th 2017.
Bord Bia has outlined some of what goes into planning the event as it prepares to open the festival for its 11th year:
- Bloom will have the largest marquee in Ireland which houses the floral features
- Since the first year, the show has doubled in size. Today it is a 70 acre site (including car parks)
- It takes 31 days to build the show in the middle of the Phoenix Park
- Nearly 700 people are involved in the building including show garden designers
- A total of 4,000 people work onsite over the 5 days including 200 volunteers
- Year-long planning!
Bloom will be officially opening by President Michael D. Higgins on Thursday June 1st. Visitors to the event can also expect to rub shoulders with a host of Ireland’s best known faces including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Edward Hayden, Rory O’Connell, Paul Flynn, Roz Purcell, Donal O’Shea, Alison Canavan, Jim Carroll (Banter), Aoife Hearne (Operation Transformation), Cathy Davey, Don Conroy, Paula Mee and Olympic Rowers, Gary and Paul Donovan who will attend the show on Friday.
RTE will also broadcast five days of live television, radio, weather bulletins, panels & music featuring Aine Lawlor, Marty Morrissey, Joe Duffy’s Funny Friday, Miriam O’Callaghan, Marty Whelan, Jacqui Hurley and Ronan Collins.
Excellence in Garden Design
At the heart of Bloom will be 22 stunning show gardens which will demonstrate excellence and innovation in Irish garden design. The gardens range from functional gardens expertly designed to fit an urban space, to concept gardens which have been designed to communicate a powerful social issue or charitable message. In advance of opening day, each garden will be critiqued by an international panel of judges, and awards will be announced on the opening morning of the event. The panel will be chaired by Andrew Wilson, an award winning UK garden designer, who won his latest gold medal at Chelsea last week!
Celebrating Amateur Gardeners
While Bloom is a showcase for the best of Irish garden design, it also celebrates and caters for amateur gardeners, who make up the majority of the visitors to the event. The recent Bord Bia ‘Gardening in Ireland’ study, carried out by Red C on behalf of Bord Bia, revealed that over 1.3 million Irish people, from almost 1 million households, now garden on a regular basis and that gardeners of the future will want compact gardens with almost half 43% of gardening ‘fledglings’ owning a small garden, balcony or limited space.
In honour of this, Bloom will host some 13 ‘Postcard Gardens’ which have been designed and constructed by passionate amateur gardeners from around the country. These “small but perfectly formed” gardens provide an opportunity for garden clubs and societies to demonstrate their abilities and to inspire other non-professional gardeners to experience the joys and benefits of gardening.
Among the Bloom 2017 ‘Postcard Gardens’ are three gardens designed by young people, including Fiona Bichard (Aged 14) from Athenry in Galway’s ‘Burren in Bloom’ garden which celebrates the magical floral orchestra that makes the Burren world famous; the ‘Drogheda on the Boyne’ garden designed by students from St. Josephs Secondary School, Drogheda; and a mindfulness garden created by students fromMerlin Woods Primary School in Galway. The amateur gardens will also feature installations from PACE a voluntary sector organisation that works in the community with prisoners, offenders, ex-prisoners and ex-offenders; ACCESS 2000, a Women’s Community Education and Development Project in Wexford; the Heartbeat Trust, a national heart failure and heart failure prevention charity and a bee-friendly garden fromFriends of the Earth.
In addition, some of the more than 80 flower clubs throughout the country will be represented in the AOIFA (Association of Floral Artists) floral artistry competition.
New and returning Bloom partners for this year’s event include FBD Insurance, The Irish Independent and the Office of Public Works.
For more information visit www.bloominthepark.com or follow Bloom on Facebook, or Twitter @bloominthepark #Bloom2017.