Bloom visitor numbers likely to grow this bank holiday weekend

Bloom Models 2012

Bord Bia’s Bloom gardening festival starts today ands runs until Monday evening in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Now in its sixth year, Bloom attracted over 90,000 visitors last year. This year’s show has 27 show gardens, over 100 Irish food and drink producers, 40 nurseries in the floral marquee, 25 cookery demos and over 160 retailers on 70 acres. There are a number of firsts this year, including a show garden designed by a child.

Miah Ni Nualláin, 10, from Crumlin, has designed a pet friendly garden. There will a Guinness Book of Records attempt by GIY Ireland to break the world record for the largest number of people sowing seedlings at the one time, which currently stands at 904. Visitors will be offered more walking space to enjoy the show gardens, food and family features. The winner of RTE’s Super Garden show will be revealed.

Designer Fiann O’Nuallain’s Stream of Consciousness garden includes water features, lighting and performers. New garden designer Kate Kurevleva from Bray, Co Wicklow, has created a traditional Japanese garden featuring Irish moss. Charities are also on board working with garden designers to highlight social issues. These include the National Council for the Blind, Rehab, Amawele and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

Visitors to the Bord Bia food village can sample and buy a range of foods, including meats, fish, poultry and artisan foods. The Bloom Inn offers craft beers and whiskey. The chef’s summer kitchen hosts cooking demonstrations by Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Donal Skehan and Rozanne Stevens. The events are hosted by RTE presenter and foodie, Ella McSweeney, who will also interview Irish food producers throughout the weekend. Visitors can learn more about the origin of food at Agri Aware’s farmyard.

Gardening tips and advice are provided by experts Gerry Daly, Mick Kelly and Paddy Gleeson at the Woodies’ expert stage. The art of flower arrangement is explored by the Association of Irish Floral Artists. The Budding Bloomers kids zone hosts the Hamley’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic each day and the Food Dudes characters have games based on children getting their five fruit and vegetables a day.

A garden school has advice on how to plant and sow. Other family activities include TreeCareIreland demonstrations on tree-climbing skills while promoting tree care. The Crafts Council of Ireland (CCI) is hosting craft demonstrations, workshops and a retail area. Bloom sponsors include Fáilte Ireland, Love Irish Food, Bord Na Móna, The Irish Times, OPW, Nissan, Viking, Robert Roberts, Atlantis, Popcorn Ireland, Newstalk, Irish Greyhound Board, Universal Studios, Bewleys Hotel, Lyric FM and Glenisk.

Tickets are from €15 and children go free.

You can follow Bloom 2012 on www.facebook.com/bloominthepark or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #Bloom2012. See www.bloominthepark.com for the full list of this year’s designers.

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