In keeping with our Horticulture Marketing Strategy 2019 – 2021, and the Bloom strategy to place horticulture at the core of Bloom, the Horticulture team spared no effort this year to build and amplify the horticulture content at the show. The objective was to activate additional and stronger horticulture (and industry linked) content and activity across the show site. This was achieved in the following ways;
The central feature in the Nursery/Floral Pavilion, This is Horticulture, was designed to educate and inform visitors about the Irish Horticulture Industry, its existence, scale, variety of activity and how it contributes nationally from a commercial perspective. It showcased both ornamental and edible production in a variety of ways, with fresh produce and plant displays, infographics highlighting production values and a selection of growers, along with plasma screens running ‘Meet the Grower’ videos. The main focus of the display was large screen made up of 42 individual half metre screens which wrapped around the viewer in an specially designed viewing gallery. This provided a virtual tour of Irish horticultural production via six specially commissioned 360 degree videos bringing the viewer through giant glasshouses full of flowers, strawberry and tomato production, a field vegetable production site and apple orchards from spring flowering to harvest time full of fruit.
The experience was designed to deliver key messages about the importance and value of the horticultural industry to Ireland and gave growers the opportunity to spend time at the feature and chat to visitors.
Following a collaboration with Healthy Ireland at Bloom 2018 and building on this relationship further in 2019, Bord Bia partnered with Healthy Ireland to install a large show garden at Bloom this year. Healthy Ireland is a Government led initiative (led by the Department of Health) aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland. The garden, called “The Healthy Way” represented a public space linking healthy eating, healthy movement and wellbeing through a series of seasonal planted areas and water. Ranging through a mixed perennial environment and mature woodland setting it reflected a vision that Ireland is a place where people can be inspired and feel empowered by their natural surroundings to improve their health and wellbeing.
Over the course of the show, the garden had a schedule of interactive activities ranging from cooking demonstrations, to exercise and wellbeing with singers, dancers and yoga bringing the garden to life. The range of seasonal vegetable crops growing in the garden were profiled and cooked into delicious healthy meals by the Hungry Gardener amongst others, with the Food Dude characters along with some other well-known faces bringing an energetic dynamic to the garden over the five days.
This year Bord Bia focused on showcasing Salad Crops, as well as launching new season strawberries, salads and ‘new’ potatoes. As part of the Celebrate Strawberry Season campaign, strawberry sampling took place while salad preparation and growing demonstrations provided the main sector theme for the entire feature this year. How to use new potatoes in potato salads was be a sub theme of the salad demonstrations. Alongside this a display of Irish honey was hosted within this feature, with beekeepers from the IFBKA on hand to tell the story of Irish bees and honey making. A series of speakers took on the theme of healthy eating while practical 7-a-day demonstrations took place across the five days.
This new planted feature in the centre of the Food Village and close to the main stage combined a series of planters containing a mix of crops and ornamentals set out around a hexagon (honeycomb shape) with a centre pedestal with a facsimile beehive mounted on top. The beehive at the centre represented the important contribution of bees to all plants and horticulture, through the work of pollination. It aimed to be thought provoking in linking worker bees to human existence on the planet.
The organic school garden made a welcome return to Bloom this year organised in conjunction with SEED. The very topical theme for 2019 was “The Pollinator Friendly School Garden”
Visitors & children learned more about:
Key highlights included:
The re-named Quality Mark Plant Village was moved to a more high profile location at the front of the Bloom Bistro and close to the entrance to the show gardens, to give quality assured Irish plants greater exposure and to highlight that The Bord Bia Quality Mark means that the plants have been produced to the highest Bord Bia quality standards and grown in Ireland. The formal layout and new shelving with the prominent Bord Bia Quality Mark branding reflected a stronger professional profile for local plants from a variety of QA growers and was run in conjunction with the Kildare Growers and Newlands Garden Centre and supported by Bord Bia. A number of new plant varieties were showcased, with one being mentioned on Lyric FM and consequently sold out during the show.
At Bloom 2019 a new initiative inviting GroMor garden centres to have a presence on the main gardening stage was piloted. Interested retailers were requested to put together an engaging talk/demonstration. Participants on the stage could choose from a wide range of topics and could also engage a third party gardening expert to participate on their behalf. Topics suggested included container gardening, lawn care, fruit and veg, the herb garden, year-round colour, etc. For the pilot the aim was to have one GroMor retailer participating each day. The uptake on this initiative was encouraging, with three garden centres taking up the offer. Throughout the event, QMark plants were showcased on the stage, along with a list of 15 Qmark plants profiled. This list was sent to Garden Centres to ensure that they could stock them for the weekend following Bloom.
With a view to linking up the various gardening and plant promotional activities by Bord Bia and the Industry, this year’s Supergarden series had an increased focus on using local quality mark plants in the garden designs. Additional funding to spend specifically on plants was provided to each designer to raise the profile of plants in each garden design.