Samaritans garden is the talk of the Bloom festival
MORE than 100,000 people are expected to have stopped to smell the roses over the bank holiday weekend by the time Bloom close its doors this evening.
From the technical – how to plant the new Japanese Wonderflowers – to the essential – the location of the nearest ice-cream van – the gardening and food festival at Dublin's Phoenix Park had the ground well and truly covered.
Babies slumbered under white muslin as everyone else soaked up the sunshine along with the strawberries and cream – and tried hard not to think about the traffic with which they would have to do battle on the way home.
Andrew Christopher Dunne was awarded the Designer's Choice Award for the medium-sized garden, entitled You'll Talk, I'll Listen – The Samaritans Garden.
Each year, the winner is chosen by the show garden designers participating in the show.
"We're blown away by the public's reaction to our garden," said Andrew.
Huge crowds gathered to examine the Mr Tayto garden – which plotted the journey from raw potato to packaged crisps on moving conveyor belts amid dramatic puffs of 'steam'.
The garden was awarded a silver gilt medal – something that was completely 'unintentional', admitted designer David Everard, gardens and landscape manager at Tayto Park.
"It's our favourite garden," declared Anna Sarsfield and daughter, Ruby (4), from Dunleer, Co Louth.
With the food stalls at Bloom perhaps even busier than the gardening sections, there was no better indicator that the agri-food sector is thriving. A new range of traditional Irish white pudding revamped for the 21st century was attracting curious gazes of those keen to sample flavours like Mexican Fajita and Thai Sweet Chilli.
Brendan Cleary, of De Mad Food Co in Tullamore, Co Offaly revealed that his company has just done a deal with Dunnes Stores and that the product will also hit the shelves of Spar, Mace and Tesco Stores shortly.
"It's been a two-year journey but it's finally taking off," said Brendan, who is of the Glenisk organic yoghurt family. But there was also room for the old familiars, with a new online business bringing back the milkman – complete with his own app.
With 5,000 customers coming on board since www.mymilkman.ie went online, one woman living in Tullamore yesterday said that she was going to get 11 of her neighbours to sign up.