Monday 23 October 2017

Tidal-effect water garden brings a sense of the sea to Bloom

Claire Corcoran (11), from Mount Merrion, and Molly Hayes (11), from Milltown, play with a sculpture from a garden by Sanctuary Synthetics, a regular at Bloom. Photo: Dave Meehan
Claire Corcoran (11), from Mount Merrion, and Molly Hayes (11), from Milltown, play with a sculpture from a garden by Sanctuary Synthetics, a regular at Bloom. Photo: Dave Meehan

Laura Lynott and Zainab Boladale

There's a riot of colour taking over Dublin's Phoenix Park as those with green fingers prepare the ground for the 11th year of Ireland's largest gardening event, Bloom.

Husband and wife team Oliver and Liat Schurmann were inspired by a Connemara view to create a dramatic tidal effect garden at this year's festival. The aptly-named Transition is set to become one of the most show-stopping plots at the Phoenix Park event, running from Thursday until Monday.

But the vision of such a provocative water garden was borne out of the most simple of pleasures - the view on any day from Connemara.

Garden designer Mr Schurmann said: "The inspiration for the garden is from a fisherman's hut on the island of Lettermore.

"We have the shack right there on the coast looking out over the sea with views of the island and mountains in the background. The area is very tidal with one island in front of us, the sea and rocks.

"At low tide, the islands and whole landscape is in front of you but that landscape transforms at high tide. We wanted to capture the atmosphere of a tidal landscape with a garden at full tide, all lush and green, with a subtly planted landscape and a light structure to resemble a house in a vulnerable landscape.

Onja van Doorslaer works on the Enable Ireland No Limits showgarden. Photo: Damien Eagers
Onja van Doorslaer works on the Enable Ireland No Limits showgarden. Photo: Damien Eagers

"During the course of the festival, once every hour, we will drop the water level by 30cm, exposing a different garden. When you visit the sea you never have the time to watch the landscape change as the tide rises and drops - we wanted to show people this effect."

The couple will, with their team, pump an astonishing 30,000 litres of water in and out of the plot over a gushing waterfall, each hour.

Festival goers are recommended to stop to capture each view to enjoy the whole experience.

Oliver (53) and Liat (55) have been married for 20 years, after meeting at the prestigious Dr Hans Simon nursery in northern Bavaria. They moved back to Ireland in 1999 with their son Noah and daughter Lou. They run the Mount Venus Nursery in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Being a couple who are both garden designers only adds to the experience, Mr Schurmann said. "We've always worked together - it's fascinating because I have a partner who's just as creative as me and it doesn't matter who comes up with the idea. We bounce them off each other." He said being part of Bloom is an "amazing opportunity" but not one he or his wife had taken lightly.

"This is art, an exhibition we want to expose to as many people as possible," he said.

The couple have spent on average 14 hours a day on the site and are now looking forward to the public viewing their masterpiece, which is sponsored by FBD Insurance and entered in the 'Large' category.

Meanwhile, two-time Bloom silver medal winner and 2015's gold medal winner Joan Mallon has created a vibrant helter skelter piece.

'No Limits Garden' was designed by Ms Mallon as part of Enable Ireland's entry. The inspiration is from the children and the families of service users of Enable Ireland, she said.

Designer Liat Schurman works on her garden called ‘Transition’ at Bloom. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Designer Liat Schurman works on her garden called ‘Transition’ at Bloom. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Mark O'Loughlin, from Sanctuary Synthetics and a Bloom triple garden winner, is returning this year, with an interactive display involving an iconic sculpture, the Naas Ball, along with characters from the 'Wizard of Oz', 'Alice in Wonderland' and the ' Secret Lives of Pets'.

Irish Independent

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