Bloom patron and President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins officially opened the prestigious, annual, five-day Bloom flower and food festival event at 11am today (June 1) in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. In addition to visiting the 22 show gardens, 13 postcard gardens and 110 food and drink exhibitors, visitors can also attend a host of live talks, cookery demonstrations and debates.
A show garden inspired by the rugged Connemara Coast, designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann of Mount Venus Nursery in Dublin, has been announced as Overall Large Garden winner at the Bloom event. The ‘FBD Insurance Transition’ garden features a water-landscape with a dramatic tidal effect, capturing the essence of the Irish coast. The husband and wife team are celebrated Bloom garden designers, having previously won seven Bloom awards. Bord Bia announced the details of all award winners as the gates opened this morning. First-time Bloom designers, Laura Cassin, Louise Jones and Linda Murphy were announced as Overall Medium Garden winners for their Teagasc Garden of Hope in association with Pieta House. The garden, which aims to evoke serenity and a connection with nature to raise the spirit, will move to a permanent home at one of the Pieta House centres after Bloom. Previous Bloom-medal and Super Garden winner, Leonie Cornelius received the Overall Small Garden award for the ‘Everyone has a Dream’ garden in association with Woodies, which aims to show how, through careful design and creative thinking, we can build the garden of our dreams on a small scale. The Oxfam Ireland and GOAL garden ‘A World Beyond Walls’, designed by previous Bloom medal winner Niall Maxwell, received the Best Concept Garden award for creating a vibrant, social garden space to highlight the need for tolerance and acceptance in an increasingly divided world. The Best Planting Award went to garden designer, Alan Rudden, for the 'Savill’s Urban Retreat’ garden which shows how a stunning green retreat can be created to address the twin challenges of space and privacy.
Meanwhile, additional awards across the show included floral artist, Maeve Duke, from Rathfarnham, who was awarded Best in Show in the AOIFA Floral Art Competition and Shevaun Doherty from Sandyford, who received Best in Show in the Botanical and Floral Art Competition.
Speaking about the awards, Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s festival manager said: “Before Bloom opened its doors to the public this morning, each of the show gardens, nursery displays, floral artistry and postcard gardens were adjudicated over two days by an independent panel of judges. We are delighted to be awarding more than 100 awards this morning which is testament to the high standard of garden design, nursery and floral artistry available in Ireland. After more than 30 days building the site here in the Phoenix Park, we are excited to finally be able to share these stunning displays with the public.”
The judging panel for Bloom 2017 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 including 28 gold, 18 silver gilt, 21 silver and 21 bronze medals.