In the normal running of events following last weeks RHS Chelsea flowers how would then follow Bloom in the Phoenix Park, a magnificent event run expertly by Gary Graham, Kerrie Gardiner and the team at Bord Bia.
Over the years we have been involved in many capacities from building gardens, sponsoring gardens, supplying gardens to plant stalls, each time has been such a great experience and it great to see o many beautiful and well put together gardens. So I wanted to give you my favourites over the last fourteen years.
In year one which was 2007, there was some stunning displays and back then the gardens were all inside the walled garden, that year Jane McCorkell produced a beautiful garden, for Keelings which was just perfect for the time. It obviously had a fruity theme but the garden was a residential garden rather than feeling like an allotment, it had a relaxed easy vibe and Jane won a gold medal for it.
Elma Fenton also produced a beautiful garden that year that included a natural swimming pool, an ecologically sustainable design, yet it has been planned to work as a place of relaxation and entertainment with shaded rest and eating areas. The main element, a natural pool was self-cleaning with filtration occurring organically through appropriate planting. The main tree planting was 3 beautiful Pinus Pinea Standard Trees that we supplied and the highlight was seeing people swimming in this stunning natural pool in the Phoenix Park.
The following year, we not only supplied but built the garden for Elma again, this year was a very different affair, a Colonnade Pavilion dominated, adding beauty, proportion, structure, function, & shelter and an opportunity to entertain within the garden. Twin Reflective Water ponds emphasis the beauty of the space and offer contemplation and stillness. Sculptures enhanced this garden without dominating it, a beautiful garden. The same year the star of the show was Paul Doyle;’s garden, a formal affair called The Art Deco Mulberry Grove for The Travel Department, it was formal and beautiful with stunning planting. That same year was another of my favourites from Paul Martin, this was a great year which was such a useable family friendly space that looked even better at night than out did in the daytime.
A couple of years went by before anything else really struck me, those where the years when spending on gardens was frivolous and unnecessary and the gardens in Bloom reflected that but by 2014 the show gardens were back producing magnificent spectacles but it was 2016 before I saw anything that I was bowled over by and for which was going to get the Irish public back building magnificent gardens again, Alan Rudden, his garden in 2016 was fantastic but his Savills Garden in 2017 was perfected another favourite of mine, it included pleached trees surrounding a beautiful dining area which was finished to perfection.
In 2018, one of my favourite garden yet was produced by Andrew Dunne of Andrew Christopher Designs, his realisation of ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’, which was sponsored by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, promotes the idea of sustainable fishery and features a moored fishing boat surrounded by swathes of picturesque planting, it was just prefect and was awarded Gold and best in show too.
No story of Bloom can go by with our mentioning Oliver & Liat Schurmann and their gardens, always a little different, always thought provoking and never, ever boring. I have so many favourites of theirs, they would never be gardens that you would replacer but they do what a good Show Green should do, make you think about how we use the garden space and bring drama to what has always been a great show. I think my favourite was their 2017 garden but then what about their 2011 garden!
For this year, once again Bloom is on hold but when we are able to design and build Gardens again in the Phoenix Park then we along with lots of other Designers, Landscapers, Nurseries and everything else that goes into making some of the most stunning gardens will rise to the challenge and all the waiting will be worth it. See you in Bloom 2022 X