Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Bloom in the park

Couldnt resist! what a crazy garden
Did ye got to Bloom?

I was there last Thursday on the first day of the festival with a rowdy bus load of students, not teenagers, adults-definitely more trouble! At least no one got arrested or drunk and we only lost 2 out of 18 so not bad going for my first "school tour".

Anyway it was great craic. We met celebs, ate our way around the food village, perused the crafts, watched cookery demos and talks, checked out the show gardens and finished up in the craft beer tent (where else!) at the end of the day. This is the sort of festival that with good support will go from strength to strength. It's improving greatly every year, and with a broader scope than hardcore gardening shows like the Chelsea flower show it will appeal to more people.

Seafood sausages! (you're not seeing things) delicious!
In fact the gardens are almost a side line. Even for me, enamoured as I am with the world of gardening the first place I went to was the artisan food tents in the food village to eat the best food the country has to offer by tasting free samples at every stall! Bord Bia are really stepping up to the mark when it comes to promoting Irish food at these kinds of festivals. If they could get their arse in gear the rest of the time it would be great.

One of the best areas outside of the food village was the Veggie section. The Organic school gardens tent had a lovely raised bed vegetable garden built outside and the peppy Kitty Scully chatting to people and handing out leaflets, dispensing advise and sharing tips.I had a great chat with the potato.ie guy website here about spud varieties, he had an amazing wall chart with models of spuds native to South America on it. Mad stuff! the likes of which I have never seen before.

one of the super pretty organic school garden beds
The GIY tent was awash with seeds and tools(if you are interested in the seeds I did a posting about them a few days ago) but no Klaus, it was an accident I met him last year, ironic when you consider I had no clue who he was then and this time I was after him to autograph another book for me! There was a strange tent where kids could paint a spud, why exactly I'm not sure, stranger still when they were giving out leaflets across the way on kids and food waste! Some times the things they do to educate kids about food just baffles me!! This is where defencive parents pull the old "you're not a parent you don't understand" and I say "b*""$%^& my friend I was a child once!!!" That goes down very well I can tell you.

What a load of ..
The show gardens themselves were lovely but nothing I'd walk away from wowed about. The only one that got a strong reaction from me was the biggest pile of s*&%$ (garden wise) I have ever seen. It was a pile of bales, with pictures on printed cloth and headphones. Something about immigration, you picked up the headphones to listen to the stories of the people pictured on the cloth who had to immigrate. This did not belong here, even Fiona an art graduate agreed, it was an art installation not a fecking garden! It turned out later that this is a space left to artists-doesn't look like they understood the garden concept very well-or my fathers hay barn is the fecking Louvre!

On the other hand I have high regard for the actual Irish art which was being sold in the craft village. After a funny totally accidental reunion with the ladies group from Herbertstown in Fan Regans tent I bought one of her lovely prints for my wall. She has a website and a facebook page if you like lino prints here it is Fan Regan, she will be doing textiles at the end of this year too. I love this kind of unassuming home grown talent. Its a tough business though, you'd have to love it to do it.

ye old tools of gardening past
The walled garden in the Phoenix Park deserves a post of its own, it was the star of the show, beautifully kept, fully productive, everything looking super healthy. On display were old garden implements and the herbaceous garden is just coming into bloom to light up the central walkway. This year they have a tonne of sweet peas planted against an army of wicker obelisks, it will be quite a sight, and smell, later in the summer when the are all in bloom. Wouldn't fancy the job cutting the flowers though!

I have an army of photos from the show gardens and interesting stuff around the bigger Bloom show. If I can I will post just a gallery later in the week.Finally just to say I didn't notice last year but there were lots of animals at bloom. Pigs, hens, sheep calves and cows. Ursula's son was in charge of milking the cow later in the day to show the lads from the big smoke that milk actually comes from a cow-not a carton! Would have loved to have seen the expressions on the city kids faces but I was too busy eating. Came home with mostly food-surprise surprise.The fruit "creche" was particularly helpful! (dont worry Jude there was a nice ration of chocolate too).So thumbs up to Bloom-and hopefully onward and upward from here.

What the peck are you looking at?

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