The Healthy Way. Fennells Photography

Over 115,000 people, including 20,000 childrenattended Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin over the June bank holiday weekend.

Commenting on the success of this year’s show, Tara McCarthy Bord Bia’s Chief Executive said, ‘We are proud that Bloom continues to evolve and this year’s show so accurately reflected our changing times and the mood of the nation. Important stories and conversations around the key themes of sustainability and biodiversity have taken place across nearly every aspect of the show. Our show gardens, postcard gardens and panel discussions highlighted key issues from climate change, environmentally friendly packaging and the importance of physical and mental well-being, to protecting Ireland’s indigenous bee population and the need to safeguard our marine environments.”

In keeping with the festival’s focus on recycling and sustainability, many of this year’s show gardens will be rehomed in the coming weeks and months. Linda McKeown’s gold medal-winning diversity garden will relocate to Enable Ireland’s new Children’s Centre opening in Curraheen, County Cork.

The plants from Cheshire Ireland’s garden won’t have far to travel as they will be replanted at the Cara Cheshire Home in the Phoenix Park, while the garden’s striking red figure sculpture and birch trees will be rehomed in the Ardeen Cheshire Home in Shillelagh, County Wicklow, the original Cheshire Ireland service home.

Following applications from over 50 organisations, St.Ita’s Community Hospital in Newcastlewest, Limerick, has been chosen as the new home for Dementia Ireland’s garden. This will allow the garden to be enjoyed by those living with dementia and the wider community for many years to come.

The Marie Keating Foundation’s Breath of Life garden will be donated to the Cuisle Centre in Portlaoise to provide a relaxing outdoor space for people diagnosed with cancer and their families. Meanwhile, the plants from the Bee Positive Garden will be replanted in Fingal County Council parks, while the stone wall will make its way back to Bremore Castle, Balbriggin, Co. Dublin.

Bloom 2019 was also a hive of activity for business. According to Tara McCarthy, ‘now in its 13th year, Bloom provides Bord Bia with an invaluable opportunity to engage with the public, helping us to build insight and share new ideas while also celebrating and showcasing the best of Ireland’s horticulture, food and drink industry. Bloom has a strong track record of delivering sales and new business for those exhibiting, both here on site and in the key months following the festival. Over 250 UK and Irish food buyers attended Bord Bia’s trade breakfast on Friday for face to face meetings with over 100 food and drink companies, while we estimate in excess of €10 million was spent onsite over the last five days.”

Bloom 2019 by Numbers

As the festival draws to a close, Bord Bia has released some of the event facts and figures from the last five days:

  • Over 115,000 visitors, including 20,000 children.
  • The judging panel for Bloom 2019 comprised of 14 Irish and international horticultural experts, who awarded more than 100 awards to show garden designers, amateur postcard garden designers; nurseries and floral artists
  • This year’s show featured 22 show gardens, 14 postcard gardens and 28 nursery displays and a record number of11 gold medals were awarded to show garden designers.
  • More than 20,000 visitors left plants in the Plant Crèche to be cared for while they enjoyed the festival.
  • Over 10,000 Irish plants were sold in the newly established Quality Mark Plant Village.
  • Almost 20,000 people availed of Bord Bia’s free Shuttle Bus to and from Bloom.
  • Three-quarters of a tonne of strawberries were eaten in Bord Bia’s ‘7 a day’ Rainbow polytunnel and the Food Dudes Kids Zone.
  • A total of 4,000 people worked onsite over the 5 days, including 200 Bord Bia volunteers.
  • It will take 14 days to clear the Bloom site.

People’s Choice

The final day of Bloom also marked the announcement of the People’s Choice Award which is voted for by visitors to the show over the five days. This year’s winner was the ‘Memories are Made of This – Dementia: Understand Together’ garden, designed by Robert Moore. The garden is a celebration of the 1950s, where people in their 60s, 70s and 80s can remember, celebrate and share stories from their early years.

Dates for 2020

According to Bord Bia, plans and preparations are already well underway for Bloom 2020, with many show gardens, sponsors and designers already signed up. Bord Bia has also confirmed that Bloom 2020 will take place from Thursday, May 28th to Monday, June 1st, 2020.