30th May 2019: As the gates open for the 13th annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin this morning, Bord Bia announced that the highest-ever number of gold medals had been awarded to the show gardens at the heart of the event. A total of 11 gold medals were presented to show garden designers and the overall show garden award went to Dublin-based garden and landscape designer, Alan Rudden, for his Argentinian themed Vina Doña Paula – A Matter of Altitude garden.
This year’s event, which will be officially opened by Bloom Patron, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins this morning at 11am, reflects the groundswell of national support towards living more sustainably in order to address the issue of climate change. From show gardens highlighting water conservation, the damage of plastics pollution in our oceans and the importance of pollinator and bee-friendly plants; to the community postcard gardens which encourage attendees to reduce plastic waste, recycle and grow their own food; and the Bord Bia Food Village featuring impressive horticultural displays, talks on the impact of climate change on the food industry and a range of new food and drink product launches with a green twist.
The show gardens were rigorously inspected by a team of seven independent expert judges over the last two days before the medals were presented this morning.
Speaking about the awards, Gary Graham, Bloom Manager, Bord Bia, said, “We are thrilled to announce a record 11 gold medals for this year’s show gardens. Bloom is a showcase for the best of what the Irish horticultural industry has to offer and this result proves that our show garden designers are on par with some of the best in the world when it comes to their skill, attention to detail and creative flair. The delivery of these spectacular spaces takes an immense amount of hard work and dedication over months, if not years, and we are incredibly proud of what our garden designers have achieved here today.”
Show Garden Winners
The overall show garden winner, Alan Rudden is a multiple Bloom gold medal winner and also just last year received a gold medal at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Show, London along with the Best in Show, Best Show Planting prize and Best World Garden.
Alan’s garden for Doña Paula (Santa Rita Estates) was inspired by a recent visit to Mendoza, Argentina which is reflected in the sprawling landscape and the contrast between the lower altitude, urban social life of the city and the higher altitude, more rural, open landscape where Doña Paula’s vines are grown. The garden boasts a semi-covered entertaining and cooking area where you can enjoy an Argentinian ‘asado’ (outdoor gathering of friends) and a pathway that represents the higher altitude vineyards of Mendoza.
In addition to the overall large garden category winner, the overall medium sized garden award went to Belfast garden designer Linda McKeown for Enable Ireland’s Diversity Garden in association with Solus and the overall small sized garden medal was awarded to VTOS Horticulture Cabra Community College for Tóg go Bog é (Take it Easy). The Best Concept Garden award went to Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) Aqua Marine Garden designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann and Best Planting was awarded to Maeve O’Neill for the ‘Grounded’ Growing Conversations Around Mental Illness garden.
Nursery & Floral Pavilion Awards
A total of 10 gold medals were awarded to displays in the Nursery and Floral Pavilion with the Best in Show Nursery Award going to Boyne Garden Centre, Slane Co. Meath. The judges singled out Boyne Garden Centre’s Aileen Muldoon Byrne “for her ability to create an impactful but elegantly restrained horticultural composition worthy of a gold medal at any of the best shows in the world.”
Sponsored by FBD Insurance, Bloom also hosts fourteen small but perfectly formed postcard gardens which were also judged. In this amateur postcard garden category, Longford Town Guild Irish Countrywomen’s Association garden called ‘Fork to Fork’ won best in category.
Association of Irish Floral Artists (AOIFA) Floral Art
In the AOIFA Floral Art competition Ann Clifford from Doddervale Flower Club, Dublin received the overall prize for her ‘Streamlined’ class entry.
Botanical & Floral Art
Meanwhile, Nicola Lynch Morrin from Kildare received the overall floral art award while Siobhan Larkin from Dublin received the overall botanical art award.
Bloom continues in the Phoenix Park, Dublin until Monday 3rd June 2019. In addition to the stunning gardens, the event offers the following family-friendly activities:
- Bord Bia’s Food Village – bursting with more than 100 Irish food and drink exhibitors the Food Village will feature many new companies and new products at the event. In addition, the hugely popular Bord Bia Quality Kitchen stage will feature leading chefs including Neven Maguire, Rory O’Connell and Catherine Fulvio, among others.
- Bloom Inn – Reflecting the buoyancy of the Irish drinks industry, the Bloom Inn features 27 Irish drink producers including three brand new distilleries and a vibrant new group of breweries.
- Live Talks & Demonstrations – From gardening and GIY to food, fashion, floral art, craft and cookery displays, Bloom will host more than 100 live talks, demonstrations and advice clinics for visitors.
- Live Music – Music education and festival company “YouBloom” will bring lots of exciting new and unsigned music to perform at Bloom. The main stage will feature a range of musicians from the pop-infused energy of Rêves to the uplifting country rock from Jamie Stanton, the charming Garda Band and Dancing with the Stars 2018 winner Jake Carter!
- Fashion Stage – The Bloom catwalk returns with Debenhams showcasing looks for summer 2019 from designers including Jenny Packham, Richard Quinn and Savannah Miller and Jasper Conran. The Debenhams Style Clinic will also offer style advice and tips.
- Food Dudes Kids Zone – the Food Dudes Play Zone will host Playstival, Cool Food School, Margaret’s Fun on the Farm and a host of other child-centred features and activities including the kids stage, sure to keep little ones of all sizes entertained.
- Irish Craft Village presented by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland will feature leading Irish craft markers and host craft workshops, live demonstrations and interactive installations throughout the event.
Returning sponsors for this year’s event include FBD Insurance, RTE, Irish Independent, and the Office of Public Works.