Tuesday 15 October 2019

Baby Bloomer whose birth interrupted her dad's first garden show is back to help out

Festival fun: Anthony Ryan from Athy with his daughter Sadhbh. Picture: Tony Gavin
Festival fun: Anthony Ryan from Athy with his daughter Sadhbh. Picture: Tony Gavin
Anne Quinlan (4) and Lauren Bradley (4) from Dungarvan at Bloom in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Sara Garcia and Liz Balbernie from Howth. Photos: Tony Gavin
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

She was born during Bloom exactly 10 years ago - but today Sadhbh Ryan is celebrating her birthday with her father's gold medal at the garden show.

Sadhbh was helping her father, landscape architect Anthony Ryan, at his beautiful gold medal-winning show garden yesterday. A decade ago Sadhbh, from Athy, Co Kildare, interrupted proceedings for her father when she arrived into the world just as he was getting ready to unveil his garden.

"Ten years ago, we had a garden here and Sadhbh was nearly born here," Mr Ryan told the Irish Independent.

"But thankfully Sadhbh ended up being born at the Coombe. My wife Geraldine had been helping out and the next thing was she was in hospital giving birth.

"For me, everything became about the baby then and I forgot about Bloom. But the next day when I went in to the garden, I couldn't believe it, everyone knew and they were congratulating me.

"We ended up being on the front page. Sadhbh has just turned 10 [on Thursday] - it's hard to believe it's been a decade. We got the people's choice that year and ever since Bloom has been our life. And it's part of Sadhbh's life and her birthday each year."

This time around at the festival, Mr Ryan and Kieran Dunne, from L&K Nurseries, along with the Kildare Growers Group, and Valerie Murray, garden designer, scooped gold with the CMRF Crumlin garden. The green space is a beautiful haven of lilac hues and includes a pretty pool area and a collection of new roses.

Sadhbh and her older sister Aoibhinn (11) were helping out at the show garden yesterday with mother Geraldine, who said it felt a "little like Anthony is a rock star", as festival goers vied for her husband's attention.

"They want little bits of advice about their gardens," Mr Ryan said.

"It's a lovely event, we love taking part and this year it's been great raising awareness of Crumlin with a garden. I'd love to see the garden rebuilt for the new children's hospital because it's a perfect space to relax and escape from the world in: it's a sanctuary."

One of the most ingenious gardens at the event, the silver medal-winning E3 Garden, designed by Trinity College researchers Liwen Xiao, Tom Grey and Dun Zhu Li, recycles wastewater from a toilet and powers electricity from waste. The system also regenerates water that is suitable to irrigate flowers and plants.

Mr Liwen said: "Last summer there were water restrictions. I couldn't water my garden and it was ruined but I started thinking 'can we use this wastewater' and then we came up with our idea.

"This could be used in a drought situation."

Mr Dun said: "This is not just about the future - it's about now. With this technology, we can upgrade the water system in households to benefit people's health."

Mr Grey said they had deliberately included a toilet and transparent pipes running through the garden, to show onlookers the science behind the garden. "We expect a call from Ciaran Cuffe," Mr Grey said, smiling.

Irish Independent

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