Bloom 2012 ~ Ireland’s Garden Festival

June 4, 2012
Bloom 2012 ~ Ireland's Garden Festival

The Greenhouse – Gold Medal Winner – Designed by Deirdre Prince & Patricia Tyrrell

Ahh, what can I say about Bloom, brought to us from Bord Bia, the name of the festival speaks for itself and I’m not sure how to begin to capture its essence in a few paragraphs.

A family event full of colour, gorgeous floral scents, warmth (human kind, not the weather), friendliness, music, crafts, foody aromas, friendship, fun and showcasing. It was there in bundles this year and of the three Bloom festivals I’ve attended – the first as a visitor, the second as a volunteer and the third – invited by Michael Kelly of GIY as a speaker on the expert stage to discuss community gardening with fellow enthusiasts. It was obvious the organisers had listened to the concerns of previous years (mainly space) as the  2012 Bloom festival was certainly the best so far.

Bloom 2012 ~ Ireland's Garden Festival

Designed by Carlow Designer Deirdre Pender – Silver Medal & Designers Choice Award – Machnamh/Reflection

All the areas were more spacious, walkways wider, marquees bigger (the biggest marquee ever built-in Ireland – an acre and a half!) and the layout of all the stands, gardens and stalls easy to navigate and find. There must have been miles of matting and metal walkways laid around the show grounds to keep our feet dry (it worked!) and the gardai did a great job of helping us park outside of the flooded (for one day only) car parks.

Scarecrow couple

Scarecrow couple

Due almost entirely to social media, this was a day of meeting online friends as well as looking around for new ideas and products as well as talking about a subject I’m passionate about.

I don’t recall attending an event where so many ‘virtual’ friends greeted with smiles, hugs, kisses and handshakes, but that’s Bloom for you.

After months of tweeting and facebooking Slated I finally got to meet the lovely Tara who gave me an adorable set of plant markers ~ the pencil doesn’t wash off making them an ideal gift for a gardening friend… Tara told me a tale of Twitter at it’s very best when she’d put a shout out for wellies and socks and was duly presented with some!

Slated Plant Markers & Slug Gone

Slated Plant Markers & Slug Gone Wool Pellets

In the marquee I came across a slug control called Slug Gone. Made from sheep dung and sheep wool it’s placed around plants, watered in and the tiny barbs on the end of the wool act as a deterrent that annoy the slugs and snails causing them to turn back instead of making their way to your tasty plants. As an organic mulch it can be dug in later. If you’re interested in trying out this product you can email David Brennan.

The OPW Walled Vegetable Garden

If you don’t like crowds, visit Bloom on a wet day! Bliss

It was great to finally meet Tim from BecauseWeCare who was launching his new Urban Composter at Bloom – a great idea for anyone who avoids composting for fear of rodents.

I seemed to find myself gravitating towards the  Caragh Nurseries stand on several occasions. Jo & Ian have one of the most helpful and cheerful daughters I’ve come across helping them for the day and I finally made a purchase of some Nepeta as Caragh’s plants were extremely well priced and healthy looking too.

Jo - Caragh Nurseries

Jo – Caragh Nurseries

Bloom 2012 was billed as a Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event and I’m sure there will be many food blogs covering the huge artisan food village that was a popular attraction.

Bloom 2012 ~ Ireland's Garden Festival

Floral display – Kilmurry Nursery

However as a gardener, for me Bloom is and should be about the plants – from the indoor floral and nursery displays, to the 27 designer show gardens.

Campunala Ripicola 'sarastro'

Campanula Ripicola ‘sarastro’

I was slightly disappointed that unlike last year, vegetables weren’t used as much in the garden designs as there are many vegetables that are stunning in their own right – just think of cardoons and rainbow chard for a start. This was made up by the fact that purples and pinks were the most popular colours in many displays with Alliums, Digitalis, Lavender, Campanulas and Hostas very much in evidence around the show ground (I bought a Campanula ‘beetroot’ just because…)

Astrantia 'Gill Richardson'

Astrantia ‘Gill Richardson’

If you haven’t yet made it to Bloom, I’d highly recommend it as a day or a weekend to aim for next year…

In 2012 Bloom was priced at €20 for a day but concessions are available, children under 16 go free and many garden centres were offering buy a ticket get another half price. If you like gardens, crafts, foods or just a good day out with the family, Bloom’s the place to head to in Ireland in June.



  • Reply Lorna June 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I enjoyed it and they did a great job with the walkways etc, the crowd seemed small yesterday but I’d imagine it was packed today when the sun shone. It all seemed quite small though, I felt I’d missed some and then realised I’d been everywhere.

    • Reply greensideupveg June 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

      I know what you mean Lorna, I did the same but liked that it meant I could go around again more slowly and take a really good look at everything. The first time around was more of an excited rush to see what was there! It was a shame for the stallholders that the crowds were smaller because of the rain, but it really wasn’t that wet and made it much more pleasant for us looking as no mad queues or bumping around!

  • Reply La Vie en Rose June 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    So mad I missed it! I was just too busy with the shop! Maybe next year! Sounds like you had a great time, nice to see some of the photos anyway!


    • Reply greensideupveg June 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I could have spent a lot longer there, next year must go for longer.

  • Reply Slated Ireland Plant Markers ~ Product Review September 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

    […] I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Tara from Slated Ireland gave me a packet of plant markers when I dropped by her stand at Bloom. […]

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