Bloom festival: Record number of gold medals awarded

Top prizes given to Chilean inspired garden and a number of first time entrants

Bloom festival has announced a record number of gold medals have been awarded at the garden show in Dublin on Thursday.

President Michael D Higgins is officially opening the event that will run until Monday in Phoenix Park.

The annual event, which celebrates its 10th birthday this week, features 23 show gardens and exhibits many of the country’s best nurseries.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the Bord Bia garden festival, which also has a food village, cookery demonstrations from top chefs, music, fashion shows and an open farm.


Alan Ruddan from Westmanstown, Co Dublin won the Overall Large Garden category award for his Chilean inspired “Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden”.

Mr Ruddan travelled to the Casa Real Estate, home of Santa Rita wine, earlier this year as part of the research for the project.

The contemporary Latin-American garden includes an alfresco dining area, a pool and Mediterranean arid planting.

First time entrant James Purdy from Belfast won the Overall Medium Garden category for “Podscape Garden”, which he created to show a sustainable approach to everyday life.

Mr Purdy also took the top prize for the newly added category Best Plant Design Award.

The Overall Small Garden category was awarded to garden designers and owners of Mount Venus Nursery on Mutton Lane in Dublin Oliver and Liat Schurmann for their garden called “The Designer’s Back Yard”.

New to the competition University College Dublin won the Best Concept Garden for its “Evolution of Land Plants” garden designed by Dr Caroline Elliot-Kingston and Nicola Haines.

Floral and Nursery Pavilion at Boyne Garden Centre, Slane, Co Meath won Best in Show.

Andrew Wilson, curator of the National Botanic Gardens, was the head judge at the festival.

The judging panel awarded a total of 57 medals to garden designers and nurseries, including 24 gold, 12 silver girl, 13 silver and eight bronze.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is due to visit the 70 acre site of the festival on Friday.

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Overall Winners for show gardens and nurseries

- Gold, Best in Category - Large: Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden, sponsored by Santa Rita, designed by Alan Rudden

- Gold, Best in Category - Medium: Podscape Garden, sponsored by Glenisk, designed by James Purdy

- Gold, Best in Category - Small: The Designer’s Back Yard, sponsored by Mount Venus Nursery and Valentia Slate, designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann

- Gold, Best in Category - Concept: UCD Evolution of Land Plants Garden, sponsored by UCD, designed by Dr Caroline Elliott-Kingston and Nicola Haines

- Gold, Best in Show - Nursery Display: Boyne Garden Centre, Slane, Co.Meath

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is Digital Features Editor and journalist with The Irish Times