Sunday 22 October 2017

Record-breaking Bloom 'even beats Chelsea Flower Show'

Cormac Murphy (9) and his father Michael at their Pro U Yogurt stand at Bloom. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Cormac Murphy (9) and his father Michael at their Pro U Yogurt stand at Bloom. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Laura Lynott

A record 120,000 people turned out to Bloom across the bank holiday weekend, with the horticultural show even leaving Chelsea in the shade.

Though the weather may have been a touch lamentable yesterday, a holiday atmosphere ensued as attendees sampled strawberry gin and bagged organic meats at bargain prices.

Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia chief executive, said: "We're proud Bloom has developed into such an inspirational festival of creativity, where creators of food and drink, of gardens, craft and art, get a platform to tell their story."

Former head of judging at the UK Royal Horticulture society (RHS) Bob Sweet was so impressed with offerings he said there was "no doubt in my mind this year's Bloom is event better than Chelsea".

Mr Sweet said the event is now "world class".

Many festival-goers were not there to admire the gardens, but to shop and have a day out with a difference. The constant and vast ATM queue showed just how much cash was being splashed.

Peter Mulryan with gin from the Blackwater Distillery. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Peter Mulryan with gin from the Blackwater Distillery. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Business owners were so overwhelmed with demand, many enlisted family members to help with sales.

Michael Murphy, Pro U yoghurt managing director, from Harold's Cross, Dublin, benefited from a young team of salespeople in his children, Róisín (13), Cormac (9), and nephew Thomas Ryan (16).

"I'm a family man, so I brought my family along." Michael said. "The customers react to that, as they like to see this is an Irish family business."

More than 30pc of visitors attended for the first time, plant sales increased by 20pc and more than a third of traders were newcomers.

Teagasc's Garden of Hope won the People's Choice Award.

A modified version of the gold-medal winning plot will be rebuilt at one of the Pieta House grounds and Enable Ireland will utilise two of the show gardens.

The Dementia Friendly show garden will be relocated at a nursing home and the Dogs Friendly garden will be moved to The Dogs Trust HQ in Finglas, Dublin.

Irish Independent

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