the bloom in the park ’09 experience

The sun is splitting the skies, the Phoenix Park looks spectacluar…. you simply can’t imagine what a show Bloom in the Park has turned out to be.

To only mention the gardens is, maybe, what I should be doing…. but, as a garden builder and designer at Bloom – they are all [seriously] amazing and I simply can’t be pushed to just pick one. Anyone who designs and/ or builds a garden here is a genius in my eyes 😉 I will however give an over view of the  entire Bloom experience & some of the interesting people I met on my sabatical 😆

The beautiful Maeve Desmond [International PR for Bord Bia] lets you know what you can expect to see…

If kids entertainment is what you really want…? Go meet the wonderful Orla from Imaginosity. They have an amazing kids interactive garden event [amongst many things] going on just behind the tea rooms at the visitor centre. Go see. Bring the kids you’ll love it…..

More interesting people….. Ever wondered what The Irish Wildlife Trust really do… ?

Of course I met literally hundreds of people that I knew…. here’s a few quick snaps for you to get a gist of what else is going on.

And last but not least….. do get there early. It’s well worth it…. but, I’m guessing the traffic will be a little crazy-er than the Thursday. That said, it is the All-Ireland of garden shows…

To the big question…. would I go again? 110% absolutely yes. [I’ll be back on saturday] I loved every second of it. I got a great chance to speak to the public, the people involved and the traders… One girl sold out of bread in the food stall within 3 hours ?!! Another lady I spoke thought it was great value for money…. others felt it was better laid out this year and that there was more seating…. call it what you like, compliment what you wish… but honestly, the only complaint I heard was that the sun had been shining too much and extra watering would be required in order to have the gardens looking their best for tomorrow 🙂

Do go. Do enjoy. Do let me know what you think after. My opinion 5/5. Well deserved. Take a bow Bord Bia. Bulaidh Bós Mór 😉

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how to bloom in the park 2009

**bloom in the park 2009 – to read my review – click here

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Show times and dates:

  • thursday 28th May  11am – 6pm
  • friday 29th May 10am – 6pm
  • saturday 30th May 10am – 6pm
  • sunday 31st May 10am – 6pm
  • monday 1st June 10am – 6pm

Recommended to do and see:

  • 27 show gardens
  • don’t forget the engaging spaces gardens
  • recreation of US First Lady Michelle Obama’s Whitehouse Kitchen Garden
  • free childrens craft workshops with The Craft Council of Ireland
  • Ladys Day – Saturday 30th May
  • sit on the lawn and enjoy the live entertainment
  • go see the floral pavillion
  • a must is the conservation area at the back of the coffee shop
  • loved the food market last year
  • the playground is genius

How to get there:

Do and Don’t:

  • have a chat with the show garden people
  • don’t bring the dog
  • bring an umberella and wellingtons and sun cream
  • bring Grandma & the kids
  • bring a camera – don’t be afraid to take snaps
  • buy a programme and use the map!!
  • get there [very] early traffic last year was mental
  • use public transport if possible
  • say thank you if you had a great time!!
  • if you’re going – let me know – we can have coffee
  • let me know what you thought!

Good People for you to meet:

  • In the garden tent – Pat Fitzgerald is there. The brains behind the MyPlant range if you ever wanted to meet somone who breeds their own plants…. how do you invent a new plant….? Go ask Pat. He also helped out on this little matter with a few hundred plants and then with The Niall Mellon Garden when he was passing by…. lovely guy 😉  [Pat is on twitter as @patfitzgerald ]
  • In the engaging spaces…. is the Niall Mellon garden… brilliant stuff. Genius people. Make you think… head on over and say hello.

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see you there...

see you there...

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behind the scenes of a bloom show garden

it is for you....

it is for you....

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The slogan that runs under the bloom logo is ‘celebrate garden life’. This year more than ever I hope we as a nation do just that. To quote my good friend Eugene Higgins article in the Irish Mail on Sunday…

It’s not that long ago that garden shows in Ireland were poor to say the least. They were mostly a selecion of neglected plants and muddy pathways with a few burger stands thrown in. But then in 2007 Bloom came to the rescue…

I remember in 2007 cold calling suppliers looking for help. They didn’t even know what Bloom was. Nobody did. Now into the third year it is the Irish Garden event of the year. If you have never been to Chelsea flower show – this is as good as it gets.

what you won't see...

what you won't see...

I’ve built gardens  in 2007 and 2008 and I know it is not as easy as it looks. The garden build time is usually about 2-3 weeks [this varies on garden size]. Some gardens will have had little or no sponsorship [like myself for both years] and whether it rains [and by God it did this year!] or not the garden must be complete 2 days before opening for the judging to take place.

This is the bit you may not know… For me I start planning a show garden garden at least 12 months in advance. My first year, I was answering emails on my honeymoon. 🙄  This was the January before, designs had been submitted the October before that. You might say one simply just can’t switch off. For me anyway, the sleepless nights continue……

Fast track to the garden build and with 27 other gardens being built around me, almost 35 different trades involved in my garden alone, over 250 thank you cards sent out after the show… I then awake at 6am to make it to the park to see what or if I have won a medal. The result was always immaterial, to me anyway. Pink boats don’t win awards. But as my Father would say…

Elvis didn’t wear that white suit cutting the grass son…. Only in Vegas!

It is a show garden. It is a show. I have 5 days to stand at my garden to greet you the paying visitors, the reason I have built the gardens I did.

almost there....

almost there....

It doesn’t end there. When everyone has left on the Bank holiday Monday I must then within one week disassemble my entire 3 weeks 1 years works and reinstate the grounds to how they were before I arrived. And breath…… All whilst trying to keep a business running or for some holding down a full time job.

Why amn’t I building a garden this year, to be honest I guess I just needed a little bit of a break. To reflect, to ponder, to rejuvinate the brain cells…. to spend time with the people in my life. I guess it was not easy, at times.

**That said, I love every single second of it 😉

No matter what medal a garden and it’s designer recieve, no matter who is you’re favourite or who gets the most press coverage – if you do meet the designer at their garden…. congratulate them, shake their hands, damn it – give them a big hug and wish them only the very best. They really do deserve it.

Most of all, Enjoy the show !!

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Peter Donegan, Show Garden – Pour L’amour de Jeux

bloom in the parkPour L’amour de Jeux. Garden for Bloom 2008.

Created from a 1957 crashed and damaged pleasure cruise boat that measured 33 foot long that was due to be smashed and dumped; the boat was by hand brought back to something a little more respectable for Pour L’amour de Juex (For a Love of The Game), a 20 metre by 10 metre show garden designed by Peter Donegan.

The garden also featured La Principessa e La Rana (The Princess and The Frog), a sculpt by Paddy Campbell, a part of a marina that was also set for the landfill but saved, sanded and respectfully relaid and a painting, intentionally unfinished and unsigned by the artist.

Whilst all elements of the garden were positioned in new gardens designed by Peter Donegan post Bloom in the Park, the main feature of the garden was taken by Electric Picnic Music Festival and placed opposite the Main Stage.

You may also like this.

And this….

Bloom 2007 – The Morris Minor Garden

donegan gardens bloom (2)

No Rubber Soul. Silver Medal Winner. My Garden for Bloom 2007.

I love this garden. I really do. I had no sponsor. I was advised not to do it. Nobody knew what Bloom was really and although I had won awards for garden design and landscaping, this was my first *show* garden. I don’t even think I knew what a weblog was when I did this garden so there really doesn’t exist that many photographs of  ‘No rubber- soul’ the garden. For some reason or another it became know as the Car-Den. Enjoy!

Peter Donegans garden design ‘No Rubber- Soul’ won silver in the large garden category in the inaugural year of Bloom in the Phoenix Park Friday 1st June 2007. During the 20 day deadline over 1,500 plants; 50 square metres of rolled lawn; 4 tonne of recycled compost; 5 tonnes of recycled bark chippings; 6 tonnes of recycled tree stumps one 1965 morris minor and an outdoor flat screen television.

Despite the rainfall over the bank holiday weekend over 50,000 people still flocked to see the unsponsored garden. No decking, no paving, no additives or preservatives…. Imagine sitting within two thirds of a 1965 Morris Minor, watching the television, smokes plumes through the front grill of your car and you sit back and watch nature and plant life grow around you. This is the garden that has no rubber but lots of soul. Built from 100% recycled and/ or recyclable products. Take a trip back to 1965 when men used shovels and gardens had soul.

Built to commemorate the many Irish men with initially, great intentions who promise to restore and rebuild projects but sometimes are never fully completed; it has been slightly adapted to via audio visual equipment to become an entertainment area of sorts and it should give the appearance that whilst unwillingly forgotten, the life of the garden continued to flourish around it.

….and of course there was this. genius.

this was the making of….

and there was also a bit of this….

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