Monday, 19 April 2010
Ireland’s Biggest Garden Festival to Bloom in June
Win FREE tickets to this years Bloom Festival on the gardening.ie site
Embargo Tuesday 20th April 6pm Bord Bia today announced its plans for Bloom 2010 which will take place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend. In addition to the stunning show gardens and an enhanced artisan food offering, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Local Food’ and ‘Grow Your Own’, are central themes to this year’s event, which has attracted over 150,000 visitors since its inaugural staging in 2007.
According to Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia “the themes for Bloom 2010 reflect current consumer sentiment and the interaction between horticulture, food and the environment. Bloom aims to educate, inspire and inform visitors and with something planned for all ages, we trust visitors will enjoy the wide and expanded range of features and exhibits Bloom 2010 has to offer.”
Flora and Fauna
The show gardens at Bloom are the very essence of the show. Ireland's top horticultural talent will deliver elaborate displays and the very best in cutting edge garden design. According to Gary Graham, Bloom Project Manager, Bord Bia “visitors to the show this year will be amazed at the vibrancy and intricacy of the designs. Designers from across the country will produce a selection of some of the most visually impressive show pieces that our rich stock of garden design professionals have to offer.”
Bloom 2010 will include 25 large, medium and small show gardens, which will be complemented by a spectacular floral pavilion featuring 50 displays and the best of Irish plants and flowers. Both the show gardens and the floral displays will be judged by international independent judging panels, including Chelsea Flower Show adjudicator, Andrew Wilson. Gold, silver gilt, silver and bronze medals will be awarded based on strict guidelines addressing both horticultural skills and design superiority. In 2009, 51 medals were awarded.
GIY Ireland, a network of grow-it-yourselfers, has joined forces with previous Bloom medal winner Fiann Ó Nualláin, to create a totally ‘Edible Garden’ for this year’s show. “The garden is designed as a classic suburban garden to show visitors just how much GIY-ing can be done in that environment and how a productive suburban vegetable patch can also be an attractive garden” commented Michael Kelly, Founder of GIY Ireland.
GIY-ers nationwide are currently growing vegetables for the Bloom exhibit. Supporters in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway are busy growing peas for the Edible Garden; red onions will come from Boyle, Co. Roscommon; leeks have been assigned to the Carrick on Suir contingent and the people of Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford have been charged with producing the perfect potatoes! In total growers from 52 locations around Ireland are currently cultivating over 50 different types of vegetable in time for the Bloom harvest. The same group of growers and volunteers will also be involved in the construction of the Edible Garden.
Locally grown fresh produce and plants will feature strongly at Bloom 2010. Bord Bia’s “Best in Season” fresh produce marquee will promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables and highlight the nutritional benefits of eating the recommended daily amounts. The feature will include a fabulous display of the full range of fruit and vegetables grown by Irish producers. Helpers will be on hand to provide information on Ireland’s fresh produce industry and to highlight what’s Best in Season when! A ‘Garden Time’ feature will also highlight the wide range of ornamental plants grown in Ireland and the suitability of these plants for the Irish climate.
Also new for 2010, is Bord Bia’s ‘Sustainable Garden’, which aims to highlight the positive impact consumers can have on the environment by thinking about their purchasing choices. Bord Bia is also currently working with the Carbon Trust to measure the carbon footprint of Bloom and will use the results to plan future events. A series of measures have been put in place to reduce the carbon footprint of this year’s event including waste management controls, monitoring the reuse of materials after the event and increasing the use of public transport to travel to and from Bloom.
The Office of Public Works (OPW), which provides the 70 acre site for Bloom, will once again open its walled kitchen garden to the public, which has been restored to its original Victorian style. The garden will allow visitors to learn more about the growing of fruit, vegetables and flowers and during the 5-day event, the Phoenix Park gardeners will be on hand to answer any questions.
The Garden Expert Stage will also host a comprehensive range of leading experts in horticulture, gardening and floristry. Speakers will include UK TV presenter James Alexander Sinclair; Ireland’s gardening guru Gerry Daly and Shawna Lee Coronado, American author of the critically acclaimed book, Gardening Nude, a guide for living a green lifestyle.
Once again, children can enter Bloom free of charge and this year the event will incorporate many more family orientated attractions and activities. The Irish Preschool Play Association (IPPA) will be onsite with an imaginative and interactive garden, including hay castles and willow huts. The garden will be constructed on a minuscule budget using natural materials. The IPPA hope to encourage families, playgroups, county councils and crèches to replicate the simple play garden concept to provide young children nationwide with more play areas.
Imaginosity, the children’s museum based in Sandyford, Co. Dublin, will return with a “Good to Grow” feature for Bloom 2010. Daily workshops and classes for children will vary from how to grow your own vegetables to building a bird’s nest. Mini Bloom fans can also enjoy puppet shows, storytelling tents and help create a ‘Scented Garden’.
Earlier this year the Irish fruit and vegetable industry, Bord Bia and educational body Agri Aware challenged school pupils nationwide to not only eat their fruit and vegetables, but to know and grow their own. As part of the “Incredible Edibles” challenge every primary school received a box including everything a class needs to grow their five-a-day. The “Incredible Edible” characters will be at Bloom to show all the younger visitors how to grow and sow fruit and vegetables.
Bloom neighbours - Dublin Zoo - will host a number of children’s workshops throughout the weekend and this year visitors will have the opportunity to meet, and feed, a number of farm animals at the mini Bloom farm.
Food & Drink at Bloom
The Food Market is now firmly established as a key attraction at Bloom and this year’s Food Market will be Bloom’s biggest yet! With over 40 artisan food producers, the market highlights the very best that small artisan producers from around Ireland have to offer. The producers themselves will be on hand to provide tastings and give tips on how to prepare tasty dishes using their products. The market will include a huge variety of foods from handmade chocolates, and baked goods to farmhouse cheeses and the finest Irish honey.
A ‘Craft Beer Garden’ will allow Bloom visitors over the age of 18 to enjoy the very best of independent Irish beers, spirits, and liqueurs. This new space will be located near the music stage and the artisan catering offering, a perfect addition to this relaxed picnic area.
Each day, Bord Bia will also host four live demonstrations on the Bloom cookery stage. Featured chefs will include award winning chef Neven Maguire; Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School; food blogger and author of “Good Mood Food” Donal Skehan and well known TV chef Jenny Bristow. The dishes prepared by the celebrity chefs will promote quality assured local produce and will be available to order each day in Bistro Bloom.
There will be an particular emphasis on artisan food within ‘The Food Village’, the area incorporating all the outdoor catering options, where food producers will “serve slow food fast”.
A new feature for 2010 - Bord Bia will seek to bring food to life through a series of talks and demonstrations which will take place alongside the Food Market. The purpose of the showcase is to recreate the link for visitors between the food products on sale at the Market and the craft skills used in their creation. The demonstrations will also bring to life ‘forgotten’ food skills from Ireland’s past.
Skills on show will include cheese making, butter churning, apple pressing and fish smoking. The demonstrators and talks will be delivered by a mix of current artisan producers and domestic practitioners.
The Bloom 2010 key sponsors include the OPW, Love Irish Food, Woodies, Failte Ireland, the Travel Department and Specsavers.
Tickets on sale now
Tickets are on sale on www.bloominthepark.com or by calling 0818 300 260, with significant discounts available in advance of the show. No booking fee applies and children go free.
Bloom 2010 will run from Thursday June 3rd – Monday June 7th.
See more photo's of past BLOOMS