Food for thought at Bloom.

Visiting a Garden Show is, for me, rather like having too much chocolate. It takes me a day or two to get over it and distil my impressions. I usually whizz around all the gardens first to get my bearings, rather like being faced with an exquisite box of Belgian chocolates .. hmm, what shall I choose? Then slowly linger over and savour the goods on offer.


Tankardstown’s picnic basket used to display produce

Certainly, at Ireland’s Bloom Festival, the zeitgeist was Grow Your Own and the Community Garden Network’s tiny Postcard Garden was an introduction to their work connecting community growers in both urban and rural areas throughout Ireland. The willow structures were made by community gardeners using materials grown by them, the table was made from native wood, and the plants encouraged productivity and biodiversity.

The Community Garden Network's Postcard Garden

The Community Garden Network’s Postcard Garden

SEED (Schools Environmental Education Development) aims to establish “living classrooms” in every school, training teachers and educating children in where their food comes from and their Stand was full of ideas.

Encouraging biodiversity

Insect hotel – Encouraging biodiversity

Mick Kelly, of Grow It Yourself (GIY), was there, as well as a number of nurseries and growers.

Self- contained raised wicking bed, with built in resevoirs

Self- contained raised vegetable bed, with built in reservoir


Recently launched

Recently launched Red Salanova lettuce

Back to the Show Gardens, and the stunning Tankardstown House Hotel based their “A work of heart” Garden on the formal French potager, such as that at Villandry. The formal geometric design, by their own gardener Dónaill Murtagh, was a perfect match for the brimming beds of produce.


The garden was a reflection of the herbs, edible flowers and organic vegetables grown in Tankardstown’s own walled garden and served in their restaurant.

Newcomer designers Deirdre Walsh and Gavin Foy took on the challenge of designing The Pantry an edible small city garden for an imagined health conscious couple with two children.


Gavin Foy and Deirdre Walsh

This garden was brimful of ideas for city dwellers to take home

The Pantry

The Pantry

– wide doors swung open revealing herb pots lined up for inside/out, living/growing.

Show organiser Gary Graham is interviewed in The Pantry

Show organiser Gary Graham is interviewed in The Pantry

Raised vegetable beds concealed compost bins below, all built by Gavin.

Bloom 2014 017

Other gardens featured veg and herbs; some have been mentioned before here and apologies for not including them all.

Bloom 2014 009

Many of you will be growing your own herbs and veg, but I hope I, and the Bloom exhibitors, have provided a little inspiration!




10 thoughts on “Food for thought at Bloom.

  1. How fresh and enticing! I can not wait to get hold of some Salanova seeds! What a lovely compact lettuce with so many baby leaves. I don’t suppose it will be easy to get hold of if it is so new. If you do know who stocks it, I would really love to hear. Thank you for introducing me to something so new and exciting!


  2. Pingback: Making the most of tiny urban gardens. | Jardin

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