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Bloom, Bord Bia's garden & family festival returns with a record 27 showgardens and a new best of Irish Food Village to the Phoenix Park in Dublin next month

Published 18/05/2011 | 05:00

Bloom 2011, Ireland's largest gardening, food and family festival -- which is celebrating its fifth year -- will take place once again in the Phoenix Park from Thursday, June 2, to Monday, June 6.

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The event will showcase the best of Ireland's horticulture and food industry and key attractions this year will include a record 27 spectacular showgardens; an Irish Craft Garden in association with the Crafts Council of Ireland to celebrate the Year of Craft; Bloom's first international garden from China and the new Bord Bia Food Village.

"Bloom 2011 will celebrate the best of Ireland's creative flair and passion while showcasing our skills and success in food, horticulture and design," Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, says. "This year's show will offer an engaging and creative experience to share with both family and friends with a broad range of features offering something for everyone."

Gardens

At the heart of Bloom this year will be the 27 stunning large, medium and small showgardens which will be judged by international independent judging panels.

In addition, RTE's 'Super Garden' winning garden will be featured at the show. Gary Graham, Bloom show manager, says: "Our show gardens have been designed by a mixture of new talent and Bloom veterans and the quality and detail contained in all of the designs is just superb.

This year's offering sees the use of a broad range of materials and inspiring features that we are sure will excite and engage visitors".

A number of broad themes will be explored in the Engaging Space gardens which include a garden which will evolve and develop over the course of the show for the Crafts Council of Ireland; an Allergy Free Garden in association with the Asthma Society of Ireland; a garden for Focus Ireland created by people who are homeless; a garden design focusing on mental health recovery in association with the HSE's EVE Plantmarket Training Centre and a garden designed to celebrate Dublin City of Literature.

A Chinese garden entitled re-Su, built by the Suzhou Garden Bureau and presented as a gift from the Chinese people to the people of Ireland, will be a key feature at Bloom next month. The authentic Chinese garden is Bloom's first international showgarden and will provide the perfect platform for a dazzling display of Chinese cultural activities and entertainment.

The showgarden area will be complemented by features covering all aspects of the broad floral and horticultural spectrum, including the Nursery and Floral Marquee; the new AOIFA Floral Art Stage; the Garden Expert Stage with speakers including Gerry Daly and Dermot O'Neill; GIY Ireland's grow it yourself feature; the OPW's Kitchen Walled Garden; a wide range of DIY gardens and a complimentary Plant Creche to store visitors' plants while they are exploring Bloom.

Food

New to Bloom for 2011 will be the Bord Bia Food Village which will feature many of the elements of Ireland's thriving food and drink industry in one central area. The Farming For Life, Best in Season and Field to Fork features will demonstrate to visitors the origins of our food and how the raw materials are used to produce world-class ingredients.

Visitors to the Bord Bia Food Village at Bloom will be able to sample and purchase the best of Irish food and there will be a wide range of delicious wholesale local produce in the Food Market from almost 50 Irish artisan producers and a selection of artisan caterers.

The food offering will be complemented by a range of local artisan beers, whiskeys and spirits available at the Bloom Inn. Love Irish Food returns to Bloom as an event partner and will host a large number of its member brands in the Love Irish Food pavilion.

At the centre of the new Food Village is the Chef's Summer Kitchen which will present a daily programme of cookery demonstrations by a number of Ireland's well-known celebrity chefs, including Catherine Fulvio, Neven Maguire, Donal Skehan and Jenny Bristow. RTE presenter and foodie Ella McSweeney will host the Chef's Summer Kitchen and will interview chefs and food producers throughout the event.

Family

Bloom is a wonderful family day out and, best of all, children under 16 go free. There are a range of family activities including entertainment on the outdoor stage which will feature the Café Orchestra and other musicians. There will also be demonstrations and workshops by the Crafts Council of Ireland and a Bistro Bloom café, restaurant and seafood bar.

In the Children's Zone, Dale Treadwell will host Gondwanaland -- a haven for dinosaur enthusiasts and an Australian bush feature. The children's stage will feature a host of activities including storytelling by Dublin City of Literature readers and a creative kids' café will also run throughout the five days, encouraging children to use their imaginations, discover and investigate.

A host of wildlife features will include demonstrations and activities from Birdwatch Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust and the Beekeepers' Association which is celebrating the year of the honeybee.

Bloom will be open daily from 10am-6pm from Thursday, June 2, to Monday, June 6. Advance tickets are on sale now from €15 and kids go free! For more details see www.bloominthepark.com. Book your tickets now for Bloom 2011 taking place in the Phoenix Park from June 2 to 6.

This article originally appeared in 'It's garden time', in association with Bord Bia

Irish Independent Supplement

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