Show Gardens, like Fashion Shows, do not reflect reality. They are there to provoke thought, make an impact, showcase trends and hopefully inspire.
If there was a defining word for this year’s Bloom Garden Festival, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, it would be ‘Colour‘ !
Bright colourful planting of course but colour spread itself onto walls, fencing, sheds and props – a lift to the spirits after Ireland’s dull cool Spring.
Turquoise, purple, blue and more adorned the vertical surfaces :
and bright colour featured prominently on fencing and props:
The Irish Country magazine garden featured many of the current trends of upcycling, edible gardening and bright colour.
There was carefully orchestrated colour too amongst the planting schemes.
We loved the restful soft colours – white Agapanthus, foxgloves and yellow Geums amongst lots of greenery – on the elegant Solus Garden of Light designed by Alan Rudden.
The ‘Darkness into Light’ Pieta House Garden, designed by Niall Maxwell, with its contrasting box globes, waving grasses, Anthriscus and Irises.
The stunning blues, mauves and purples of the “Our Origin is Green” garden by Jane McCorkell.
But what is a garden without good seating to relax and enjoy it? There was plenty of inspiration.
Bright colours, bubbling water and great upstairs/downstairs seating on the Crumlin Childrens Hospital Garden.
And then there were the Concept Gardens, designed to provoke thought.
The brilliantly executed Pan Garden by Liat and Oliver Schumann inspired by the latest Peter Pan movie :
and the lyrical beauty of the Yeats’ Secret Garden in Sligo, designed by Lorely Forrester, where visitors could be overheard reciting excerpts from the poem which inspired it .
Very impressive too was the GOAL garden, designed by Joan Mallon, which showcased sustainable gardening practices in East Africa.
So what ideas and trends could we take home and apply to our own gardens?
- Bold use of colour in planting or on painted surfaces
- Contrast areas of shade and light
- Even in a small space edible gardening is possible
- Create interesting vantage points to view your garden
- Use art or murals to create year-round interest.
- Repeat planting of a single species for impact
- Imaginative upcycling and recycling
- Define a good seating area so that you can enjoy your labours
- Use of water – still and contemplative or moving and lively – adds an extra dimension.
And during Bloom, Bord Bia revealed, in a survey of over 1,800 people, that the rose remains Ireland’s favourite flower, followed by lavender, daffodils and tulips.
Perhaps foxgloves may be on that list next year!