Bumper finish – and bloomin' good time had by all
LIKE flowers on a sunny day, they came in their tens of thousands to bask in the warm temperatures on the final day of Bloom.
Organisers credited the fine weather for a bumper finish to a record year for the garden exhibition bonanza, which has doubled in size since it began in 2007.
Over the five days of the show, 111,000 toured the innovative gardens, artisan food stalls, craft displays and other stalls which make up Ireland's answer to the Chelsea Flower Show.
The green-fingered sought expert advice from the horticulturalists while others grazed from the many free samples on the food stalls before sipping a well-earned cool drink in the sunshine.
Where there's muck, there's brass, they say, and plant sellers were offering a host of bargains in the closing hours to sell off the last of their wares.
Shirley Bradshaw and her daughter Alie (12), from Rathfarnham, Dublin, were beaming with the pleasure of the good deal they secured – six tall delphiniums for €40.
"We chanced our arm," said Shirley, who said she and her family go to the show every year.
Down in the show-gardens, the Wizard of Oz garden was a huge draw for the families, who were queuing to take a walk down the yellow brick road and have their photograph taken with Dorothy, although there was no sign of Toto.
The Overall Large Garden Category Award went to Waterford-based designer Gerard Mullen for his 'Waterford Harvest – Venture into the Wild', a marvellously natural-looking habitat created using mainly wild native Irish plants set around an old dry stone wall, but with a surprisingly modern interior seating area.
Gerard has previously won two awards at the show. His garden this year also scooped the Designers' Choice Award while the People's Choice Award, voted for by visitors over the five days, went to 'The Hospice Garden – Journey on Earth' designed by Eileen Nolan, Dr Mary Toomey and Adrian Eggers.
After the show, the garden will be transferred in its entirety to Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin, for use by the patients.