At the start of June I was asked to head to Dublin and take the 'Weekend Tea Break' Gardening Podcast & Skinny Jean Gardener to the Bloom Festival!
I absolutely love Dublin and the chance to take the podcast there was a very exciting prospect indeed. So yeh, I jumped at the chance!
Having never been to Bloom before, I asked around about how the show was, and a lot of feedback I got was that it was the Chelsea of Ireland. What I found was it was nothing like Chelsea.. it was much much more!
Everything I do, I always take a view from a family and kids perspective and I was really not disappointed.
First things first, Bloom has gardening at its core! The show gardens are at the incredible Chelsea level, built at a fraction of the cost. Actually coming away from a garden show with inspiration is exactly why we all visit these shows, and I personally come away with inspiration in abundance. Highlights for me have to include Des Kingstons, (winner of tv show Super Garden in Ireland) garden, which was an incredible mix of upcycled, rusty pieces including the front of a car and large upcycled cable drum that had been turned into a water mill! I gelt a connection to Des, as like me he was a collector of the weird and wonderful, although much of mine has been cleared, "to make the garden safe for Olive", Des continues to bring this awesome stuff home with him that he finds, just like I would.
‘Everyone has a Dream’ by Leonie Cornelius, was another garden that really caught my eye. It was part of the medium size gardens with a seating area looking over a small pond. The planting was fabulously wild, something that I would personally like in my own garden, although every time I popped over her son was cleaning out the pond/ now in my mind, swimming pool, but it was just a garden that you could really see in someone's home.
A 'Dispicable Me' garden also drew me in, as not only is it my daughters favourite film, but also the gardens and the giant Grew flowered characters brought the children into the show gardens, and even I got excited when the minions turned up. I think having something like this amongst the show gardens is incredibly bold and reinforces the view that gardening is for everyone, young and old.
These were just my top 3 at the show, but others were equally as impressive. Giant colourful helta skeltas, a garden where the tide went in and out every hour and a large calidoscope for all to look into got the imagintion running.
As I strolled around the gardens a child said to their Mum and Dad, "can we go to the kids zone now?!" With the reply "let's have a look at the gardens first and then we'll go there". Something I already know too well, even after two years, known In the parent industry as a 'bribe', this seemed to work, and the family continued their adventure around the gardens. Perhaps without this incentive that family would have never seen those gardens, those parents would not have enjoyed their day, but this was not just a garden show with a kids play area stuck to the side, oh no, this was a full blown family day out.
I always enjoy seeing a garden show that has activities for kids to learn about gardening and adult too! If anything I think Bloom had too much! Which is amazing! Everywhere I looked there was GYO stages, sowing seeds for free, learning about wildlife and so much more. It was incredible to see everyone getting involved and coming away with some GYO info! And then the Kids Zone had everything that a child would want, with toys, magicians and bubble workshops!
It was the added extra of food that turned this show, into a festival. That and the music stage, where you could enjoy some lunch while listening to some local talent! I've always said that growing for purpose joins the dots for gardening and food. If we know what we're growing for, then we are more likely to look after our plants. That's why I really enjoyed the mix of gardening, food and Music.
Its often I go on these garden adventures and ask my wife and Olive to join me, and often it's the thing "well it's not going to be much fun for Olive is it?!". Well I can say than next year when I go back I will able to say there is so much for Olive to do, and us as a family, and if that doesn't prove how much of a success my visit to Bloom festival was, I'm not sure what will!
Over the next few weeks on 'Weekend Tea Break' gardening podcast there will be a Bloom SPESH, + Garden chats with Top Dog Gary Graham, and garden designers Leonie Cornelius & Des Kingston SUBSCRIBE TODAY to never miss a pod!
Finally I just want to say a big thank you to Bloom for inviting me over to Dublin for the festival, and for looking after me while I was there. Everyone was very kind and happy, even after running around for 5 days straight. Big thanks especially to Gary and Bairbre and I look forward to hitting it up again in 2018!
Thanks for having a little read. If you enjoyed it, do me a favour and give it a little SHARE, would be really appreciated! Thanks Lee x