An essential experience for budding gardeners
Gardening is such a huge and wide-ranging subject that it leaves us all in need of advice and inspiration. I can think of nowhere better to get both than at the upcoming Bloom festival. Now known as Bord Bia's Bloom, the festival takes place in the Phoenix Park Dublin over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Bloom will again include gardening displays of all kinds and numerous trade stands, as well as a huge food hall offering the best from Irish food producers. Don't miss the show gardens which demonstrate what is possible for the rest of us to imitate.
Reusing potential waste products such as pallet wood and old windows is very much in fashion and we can pick up useful hints from our current crop of garden designers. Do also visit the floral and nursery pavilion where you can purchase a wide range of plants as well as enjoying the great displays that our top nurseries have created.
The Craft Village, another spot not to miss, is where craftspeople and artists show off their skills with natural products, often using old methods such as pole lathe turning and demonstrating genuine hand crafts like basket weaving and woodwork.
A garden can be a place of beauty and a joy forever to some but to others, it can prove to be a constant annoyance. It all depends on the mindset of its owner. We all know those to whom gardens are a nuisance and a tiresome chore to manage.
They groan at the sight of lawns that need mowing or vegetable plots to be weeded and wish the whole thing was covered in concrete or tarmacadam. You can see examples of this all over Ireland where potential garden spaces are either black or grey deserts depending on what material has been used to prevent anything growing there.
Happily such barren areas are in the minority and most of us prefer the opposite. We are prepared to roll up our sleeves and try to make our own gardens places for leisure and pleasure. We like to sit under trees, enjoy the scent of flowers and freshly cut grass, listen to the birdsong and the hum of the bees and maybe watch children play on lawns on warm summer evenings.
People living in towns usually have relatively tiny spaces to work with but farmers have the luxury of acres that have the potential to make others stop and gaze and admire planted landscapes that, if cared for, will endure for centuries.