Bloom – no bet­ter place to be

Bray People - - LIFESTYLE - ANDREW COL­LYER’S

IS there any bet­ter coun­try in the world for the gar­dener than this one when we have a spell of weather like last week. You could grow broom handles in weather like that. And is there any bet­ter place in Ire­land to be for the gar­dener than the Phoenix Park dur­ing the Bloom gar­den fes­ti­val week­end.

In its cur­rent for­mat Bloom has been run­ning for ten years and it seems to be go­ing from strength to strength and by the look of the crowds it is ever more pop­u­lar. The amount of hard­work and hon­est en­deav­our that goes into the show de­serves ad­mi­ra­tion.

The trick with these busy gar­den shows is to ar­rive by mid morn­ing and take your time to look around. If you have time con­straints your’e un­der pres­sure and ex­tra has­sle all day. That’s the key, in­tend to stay all day to get the most out of it. For most vis­i­tors gar­den­ing is a leisure ac­tiv­ity and a visit to Bloom should be a leisurely ac­tiv­ity, stick around un­til four o’clock and the fes­ti­val site takes on a much more re­laxed at­mos­phere as the early crowds dis­ap­pear.

This be­ing a land­mark tenth year I know that an ex­tra ef­fort had been made all round with the both the show gar­dens and in the flo­ral pav­il­ion with the gen­eral qual­ity up on pre­vi­ous years.

The show is a great show case for some spe­cial­ist grow­ers with fine dis­plays of prim­u­las [Penin­sula prim­u­las], fuch­sias [Fuch­si­avale nurs­ery] and ferns [Kells bay nurs­ery]. Har­ring­ton Ex­otic dis­played a huge va­ri­ety of cac­tus and suc­cu­lents that left you won­der­ing at times if you were look­ing at an­i­mal, veg­etable or min­eral.

Devine nurs­eries had a lovely dis­play of Ere­mu­rus [Fox­tail lilies] that I thought de­served bet­ter than a bronze medal and I was de­lighted to see that Hughes roses had got some flow­ers on dis­play this year, last year their stand was nearly de­void of blooms, and they were re­warded with a gold medal.

Paper­vale trees had an in­ter­est­ing stand show­ing off many small ex­am­ples of the trees they grow, trees seem sadly over looked at the show so I was glad to see they were plough­ing their own fur­row. Kil­murry Nurs­eries were up to their gold medal win­ning habits again with their dis­play wor­thy of The Lou­vre. And I was de­lighted for new com­ers Spring­mount Gar­den Cen­tre who acheived a gold medal at their first at­tempt.

Out­side in the show gar­dens one has to marvel at the lo­gis­tics in­volved in im­ple­ment­ing these gar­dens. The ‘de rigueur’ seemed to be for sunken ar­eas and wooden struc­tures with some rust­ing metal thrown in for good mea­sure. The over­all win­ner was the Santa Rita gar­den that was de­signed as a Chilean court­yard, Santa Rita is a wine from Chile, and was by far the best ex­am­ple of work on dis­play.

The hard land­scap­ing qual­ity was ex­cel­lent and the plant­ing was thought­fully car­ried out. The Ir­ish Coun­try Mag­a­zine gar­den had the best plant­ing in my opin­ion show­ing more variation than most gar­dens, trees and shrubs as well as herba­ceous plants. The Yi gar­den–Chi­nese in style was lovely but not for me per­son­ally.

The UCD Evo­lu­tion of land plants gar­den was thought pro­vok­ing as I felt it ref­elected the ten years of the fes­ti­val it­self. It dis­played bare rocks and soil first then jour­neyed through moss and ferns and in dif­fer­ent phases de­vel­oped into a mod­ern plant­ing scheme. Like the fes­ti­val from hum­ble be­gin­ings to some­thing quite won­der­ful.

My one gripe is the plant­ing in the show gar­dens, its very samey and a lit­tle in­sipid of­ten lack­ing any real struc­ture. If I never see an­other Ly­chi­nis [Ragged Robin] that’s just fine by me.

What the show does best is to pro­mote hor­ti­cul­ture and gar­den­ing in Ire­land and for that I am eter­nally grate­ful.

The win­ning gar­den at Bloom 2016.

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