Saturday 20 January 2018

Sunshine brings out big crowd for flowers and fun

Edel O'Connell

A RED hot sun and green fingers made for happy flower bed fellows yesterday.

Thousands of gardening enthusiasts swarmed to the second day of Ireland's answer to the Chelsea Flower Show in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

The rising temperatures were partly responsible for a 50pc jump in attendance figures at the Bloom festival on Thursday -- with more than 12,500 coming through the gates for the opening day -- and the crowds were even bigger yesterday as the bank holiday weekend took off in earnest.

But it was easy to spot the avid horticulturists from the day trippers: the latter flocked to the picnic area, which was bedecked with colourful hammocks, large bean bags and picnic tables -- perfect for one of the hottest days of the summer so far.

But not everyone was solely interested in topping up their tan.

There were poetry readings taking place at the 'River Run' garden, created to celebrate the designation by UNESCO of Dublin as City of Literature.

Fragments of salvaged stones from old city streets and buildings, including cobbles from the Liberties and paving from St Anne's Park in Raheny, have been salvaged and reused for the garden.

"The garden is symbolic of Dublin's ability to reinvent itself, "said a spokesman.

It is hoped the literary garden will be given a permanent home in Phibsboro Library.

Reinvention also ran through another design called 'Out of the Ruin', which was created by students at Blanchardstown Institute of Technology in Dublin and was put together with material salvaged from ghost estates all over the country.

There are a record 27 show gardens on display this year, including Bloom's first international garden, from China.

There are also more than 50 floral displays, an artisan food village and live entertainment each day.

For the enthusiasts, there are parrot tulips, crocuses, orchids, pansies, poppies and sweet peas on display -- and for the first time ever in Ireland, red-fleshed apples, which produce a sweet, pink juice.

But, inevitably, the extensive picnic area was the most popular attraction yesterday, with people sipping wine, and sampling the artisan foods and organic beers in the blistering sun.

"We come every year, but this year is so perfect with the weather," Sarah Whelan from Sutton, Co Dublin, said.

"This is the closest thing we have to the Chelsea Flower Show and as an avid gardener I just love it. We are settling down now to have a picnic of foods from the artisan area and we couldn't ask for more."

Irish Independent

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