05 Jul 2022

Gardening with Jo: Blooming brilliant experience at top garden show

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Blooming brilliant experience at top garden show x

Ella and Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries, at Bloom

I’m not entirely sure how I write this week without sounding excessively biased in my review, but here goes. Bord Bia’s Bloom opened on Thursday, June 2, and from the 9am opening the crowds came and it felt back to normal.

It was lovely to be both back in the Phoenix Park and also back around people, who were all so thrilled to see the beautiful gardens and everything else that Bloom brings for the first time in three years.

Medals for the show gardens were given out before 9am on the opening morning, and Kerrie Gardiner of Bloom along with Tara McCarthy, head of Bord Bia, did the rounds to the eagerly awaiting garden designers, builders and sponsors - and there was huge excitement.

Three first-time show garden designers were awarded gold medals for outstanding garden displays - Niall Deacon for his Eureka Garden sponsored by Solus Light Bulbs; Sean Russell’s National Dairy Council Sustainable Dairy Farm Garden and Seán O’Malley and Oisín Griffin for the Peter McVerry Trust Pathways to Home Garden.

Seasoned show garden designers Andrew Christopher Dunne and Alan Rudden took the coveted best in category awards for large and medium gardens, bringing their total gold medals at Bord Bia Bloom to four and seven respectively. The overall large show garden award was presented to Andrew Christopher Dunne for Hit Pause, The Caragh Nurseries Garden and the best in category medium show garden was awarded to Alan Rudden for the Savills Urban Oasis Garden.

Andrew Christopher Dunne for Hit Pause, The Caragh Nurseries Garden

There were a total of 10 gold medals awarded to nurseries exhibiting at this years event. The judges presented the Best in Show Nursery Award to Oliver and Liat Schurmann of Mount Venus Nursery for an impressive display of hardy garden perennials, trees and shrubs in the new Nursery Village at Bord Bia Bloom.

St Mary’s Community Gardening Group in Clondalkin were awarded Best in Show for their amateur gardening display in the Postcard Garden area of the show. These small, but perfectly formed gardening showcases feature exhibits telling the stories of charities and community groups.

As part of my involvement with the Gold medal winning and Best in Show Garden from Caragh Nurseries, I want to say it was an amazing show.

It was an incredible amount of work in the build-up to the show but from the minute it opened everyone was delighted. We were honoured to show President and Mrs Higgins our garden as well as the array of visitors over the weekend.

We had Neven Maguire filming his food show from the garden as well as Marty Morrisey encouraging us to join his Marty Party - such a lovely chap with such enthusiasm.

We were joined for day one by the infectious Hugh Wallace who waxed lyrical about the importance of inside/out and outside/in for homes and their relative gardens, whatever the size and style. The above mentioned Alan Rudden’s garden was a beautiful example of how to create an outdoor living area – yes, it’s a garden and yes, it was beautiful, but its main purpose is to create an outdoor extension of our busy homes. Spending time outdoors should feel as luxurious as indoors.

It was fabulous to see the Postcard Gardens and I’m going to give them some space as they deserve it. Their creators, amateur gardeners, came up with a great display.

Second level students from Ardscoil La Salle, Raheny, created a mini Biodiversity and Wellbeing Village in their postcard garden which aims to provide visitors with information about promoting biodiversity and and the importance of nature to our well-being.

The Walk in My Shoes garden was created by Walkinstown Greenhills Resource Centre, a local community-based charity offering a range of support services to those affected by substance misuse, gambling harm and mental health difficulties. The design was led by the Women Wellbeing Group at the centre and through the imagery and symbolism of nature, visitors could explore and reflect upon the theme of mental health through the prism of the garden. The garden will be relocated to Walkinstown Greenhills Resource Centre after the festival to start a community garden.

The Where’s Wally garden designed by Sacred Heart Junior and Senior School, Tallaght represents our journey to find each other again after staying apart for so long.

A collaboration between children, parents, and teachers, the garden represented every single member of the community in Killinarden. The garden, which features a range of recyclable materials, will be relocated to the school for use by all the children in the school community.

My own experience of Bloom 2022 was that of delight to be back talking to people about everything garden-related and enjoying the great response to both our garden and the elements including my furniture collection which is proving extremely popular.

To top everything off, not only did we work with the best garden designer there is, on the Saturday afternoon, a good friend of ours on the nursery, but more importantly the builder of our Gold medal winning garden, was awarded the Best Construction award. Well done to Mark Mohan and his team at Silverstream Landscapes — that pretty much topped off our best weekend ever. I’m still trying to wipe the smile from my face.

Thank you all

Lastly, a thanks to everyone for the very kind words and messages that Ian and I have received form so very many people over the last few days. It really means so very much, thank you.

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