Alan Rudden, gold medal winner of the large garden category at Bord Bia Bloom 2019. Photo: Johnny Bambury/Fennell Photography

Smell the roses at last

Geraldine Fitzgerald

We all get to stop and smell the roses for real this year as the much loved Bord Bia Bloom Festival returns.

Ireland’s favourite gardening and lifestyle festival had to get creative during lockdown and ran two very successful virtual shows, but all involved are really looking forward to celebrating all things horticultural in person in June.

Organisers anticipate a huge crowd at this year’s physical event, as lockdown saw our latent gardening skills blossom nationwide.

The consumer spend on gardening soared in 2020 and 2021 as record numbers of people discovered the joy of getting their hands dirty and watching as the literal fruits of their labour ripened, so the appeal of the festival is sure to attract a diverse and enormous audience.

Mike Neary, Director of Horticulture at Bord Bia said: “New gardening enthusiasts have emerged over the past two years as many people discovered the mental and physical benefits of gardening for the first time during Covid-19.”

The organisers of the event will be kept very busy indeed but are delighted to be back at Phoenix Park.

“The entire team is looking forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors back to the Park for the first time in two year,” said Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

She added: “The festival is the perfect opportunity for the public to experience and sample the very best of Irish horticulture, food and drink directly from our world-class designers, suppliers and growers, as well as engage with important topics like sustainability, biodiversity, and mental health through beautiful floral design, expert talks and family-friendly exhibits.”

Lots of enthusiasts will no doubt be seeking inspiration at Bloom, but you don’t have to wait until June to get some fantastic ideas for your own space.

Check out the Easy Steps to Dream Garden section on the site – the new initiative has been designed to help you create your own gorgeous show garden at home.

You get to harness the genius of seven award-winning show garden designers who’ve put together a series of garden designs suited to a whole slew of different locations and requirements.

Each garden in the series comes with a detailed planting list and easy-to-follow planting plan, so no matter the size or orientation of your home plot, you can fill it with every shade and scent of flowers and plants.

Take off your gardening gloves long enough to book tickets for the Bloom show, as it will be a riotously colourful few days. Browse oodles of indigenous plants, products and shrubs in the Nursery Pavilion; enjoy a botanical art exhibition and sample the fare of over 100 of Ireland’s most fabulous food and drink producers.

There’ll be cool stuff for children at Bloom’s Kid Zone, gourmet treats for foodies and live cookery demos from celebrity chefs.

The whole festival promises to be a fantastic four days of fun, enveloped in joy and colour.

You better hurry if you want those tickets, as visitor numbers will be capped. Early birds can buy from until 27 March to take advantage of a 28 per cent discount for a full price adult ticket, and don’t forget - two children under 16 can attend for free with each ticket!

It takes place in the Phoenix Park from 2-6 June.