Bee botanicals and Ireland’s first gin garden: What to expect at Bloom 2019

The gardening festival returns to the Phoenix Park for the June bank-holiday weekend

Bloom gardening festival: five-year-old Adrianna Fayiah, seven-year-old Eoghan Fox and four-year-old Florence Marlow Ward help launch this year’s event. Photograph: Alan Betson

Bloom gardening festival: five-year-old Adrianna Fayiah, seven-year-old Eoghan Fox and four-year-old Florence Marlow Ward help launch this year’s event. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Gardeners all over Ireland are frantically preparing for the biggest event in the horticultural calendar: the Bloom gardening festival, in the Phoenix Park in Dublin from Thursday, May 30th, until Monday, June 3rd.

Now in its 13th year, the hugely popular flower, food and family festival, which attracted almost 120,000 visitors to its 70-acre site last year, will feature 22 show gardens – including Ireland’s first gin garden – 14 postcard gardens, 25 plant nurseries, 25 cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland’s best-known chefs and some 100 retailers. This year’s event will have an added focus on environmental issues such as water conservation, plastic pollution and health and wellness.

Show gardens

The 22 show gardens will celebrate the skill and creativity of Ireland’s garden designers, landscapers and horticulturalists. Gardens with an important call to environmental action include Bee Positive, a pollinator-friendly concept garden; Aqua Marine, an underwater garden featuring marine flora and fauna; and the E3 garden – E3 stands for environment, engineering and emerging technologies – which will incorporate the treatment of waste water to be reused for gardening, food production and farming.

Several gardens will explore the role plants can play in improving both physical and mental health. The Lidl Healthy Mind Healthy Planet garden will demonstrate how mental wellbeing can be improved by stepping into nature no matter how big or small the green space. The Grounded garden incorporates ideas that came about through a series of workshops contributed to by people living with or affected by mental illness. The Healthy Way garden explores the steps you can take to achieve a more balanced lifestyle, while issues of accessibility and inclusion will be highlighted by the Great Outdoors and Diversity gardens.

Food and drink

Two show gardens will be dedicated to food and drink: the UCD History of the Irish Diet in Plants garden, which will illustrate changes in the Irish diet over the past 8,000 years; and the Blackwater Gin garden, Ireland’s first show garden dedicated to the spirit.

The Bord Bia Quality Kitchen stage will feature Neven Maguire, Rory O’Connell, Catherine Fulvio and other leading chefs; and Márie Dufficy of Bord Bia will host a new cookery feature with the gardening expert Gerry Daly, who will demonstrate how to add home-grown herbs to everyday meals.

At the Keelings display tunnel, children will be able to create seed bombs that include nectar-rich wild-flower seeds to attract bees and other important pollinators into their gardens.

Bloom gardening festival: the 2018 event attracted almost 120,000 visitors. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Bloom gardening festival: the 2018 event attracted almost 120,000 visitors. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Horticulture highlights

Bloom will also have lots of advice on hand: a plant clinic will offer the collective brains of more than 20 horticulturists and gardeners to deal with queries. Visitors can also seek advice (and purchase plants) from more than 25 of Ireland’s top nurseries.

The Floral Art stage and Botanical & Floral Art exhibition will have huge displays of cut-flower arrangements. Amateur gardening displays will also be celebrated in the 14 postcard gardens, which are small but perfectly formed showcases from community groups around the country.

Tickets

Advance tickets cost €20 for adults and €16 for seniors and students, plus booking fee; children under 16 go free. Each ticket costs €5 more at the gate.

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