Budding gardeners to take inspiration from high design at Bloom
The competition is high at the Bloom festival but the chief judge has given an insight into just what could make a winner - and how to make the most of your own space.
Andrew Wilson, this year's Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner, said: "We're looking for something inspirational and atmospheric.
"We have lots of different types of gardens, from the show stopping and dramatic to the small and intimate.
"But regardless of size or impact, we're looking for something special and that can come from a small and simple garden.
"Sometimes the (garden) designers feel they have to create a big impact to get noticed but we're equally interested in the smaller projects with something different and original."
And he said that budding gardeners could take inspiration from the ideas at Bloom.
"Even though you might have a large meadow planting section here, you could take a small section of that and use it as a border or frame," he said. "People shouldn't be afraid to slice down designs rather than think 'that's too big for the space I've got'."
Bord Bia's Bloom manager Gary Graham said that people should embrace pop-up gardens and rental spaces.
"People who are renting aren't going to get into any structural changes. There's also a lot of people waiting to trade up and trade down so you do the same thing you would do with your interior. You decorate, you accessorise," he said.
One of the large gardens featured at bloom is a city hideaway designed by a gardener with his finger on the pulse of urban living.
The innovative 'Urban Retreat' sponsored by Savills, was created by Alan Rudden (34), a garden designer from Castleknock, Dublin, - who's witnessed an "explosion" in the new rock 'n' roll that is gardening in the city.
"People want to spend more money on their gardens. It was a luxury item in the recession but now it's gone nuts," he said.
Mr Rudden has designed the perfect city escape with his show garden at Bloom. The impressive 10m by 16m garden is covered mostly by a structure supported by timber legs to create the impression of "a living room outside".
A dual seating area is complimented by an outdoor dining section, for al-fresco eating and dashes of white geraniums, pine trees and hedging, create the essential natural aspect.
"I've looked at how a garden should be used all year round, regardless of the weather and really how it is increasingly being seen as an extra room," he said.
"This garden is designed for city centre living and I've created it after dealing with clients who live in urban areas.
"Families want areas to socialise in, but I had to maintain the balance between spring, summer, autumn and winter.
"I had a limited amount of space and had to think about not imposing on a neighbour's view."
Bloom festival begins today and runs until June 5 at the Phoenix Park, Dublin.