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Bord Bia Bloom springs back to life in the Phoenix Park

Over 110,000 visitors return to Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival

Date: 06/06/2022

110,000 visitors, including 15,000 children, returned to Bord Bia Bloom in the Phoenix Park over the June Bank Holiday weekend. Following a three year break, visitors and exhibitors alike celebrated the return of Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival.

 

 

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Commenting on the success of this year’s show, Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia’s Chief Executive said, “The phrase I’ve heard repeated most over the past five days at Bord Bia Bloom has been “It’s great to be back”. This has been reflected in the enthusiasm and positivity from visitors, exhibitors, show garden designers, volunteers and staff throughout the weekend. Not even the reliably unreliable Irish weather could dampen spirits in the Phoenix Park. Equally, we’ve welcomed new fans of the festival, many of whom gained a new appreciation for gardening and locally produced food over the past three years. This was another theme of the weekend – the multitude of benefits that gardening, horticulture, and outdoor spaces can bring to our lives, plus the importance of supporting local food and drink producers. We’re already looking forward to Bord Bia Bloom 2023 and the opportunity to once again showcase the best of Irish horticulture, food and drink to the Irish public.”

In keeping with the spirit of sustainability and waste reduction at Bord Bia Bloom, many elements of the show gardens will be relocated in the coming weeks and months.

  • The Enable Ireland Respite Garden will be recreated at the charity’s Rathmore House Respite Centre in Arklow, County Wicklow and will be used as a template for other centres.
  • All elements of Woodie's Seomra Eile garden will be reused with the plants distributed to primary schools in the Laois area.
  • The plants and shrubs from Aldi’s Sustainable For-est Garden will go to Barnardos locations around Dublin.
  • All planting and hard elements from The Shared Spaces Family Garden and The Nature Enthusiast’s Garden will be donated to the mental health charity Flourish in County Sligo.
  • St Michael’s House Special School in Baldoyle will have their pick of plants from the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre’s Beauty & The Beast The Musical Garden.
  • Elements of the Green Cities Europe Garden will be donated to Tidy Towns Meath.
  • The heart sculpture from the Croí – The Cardiovascular Garden will go the charity’s headquarters in Galway.
  • The Hit Pause, The Caragh Nurseries Garden will be reinterpreted at Barretstown children’s charity, in County Kildare, to include the planting, the water feature and the sculpture.
  • Elements of Peter McVerry Trust’s Pathways to Home garden will be recreated at one of the charity’s homeless services in Kildare.
  • The Sightsavers Gairdín na Gcéadfaí (Sensory Garden) will go to the Central Remedial Clinic’s office in Clontarf, Dublin, an organisation dedicated to the achievements, wellbeing and health of people with physical disabilities.

People’s Choice

The final day of festival also marked the announcement of the People’s Choice Award which was voted for by visitors to the show over the five days. This year’s winner was Pathways to Home designed by Seán O’Malley and Oisín Griffin for Peter McVerry Trust. The garden, which was also awarded gold by the show garden judges, aims to prompt reflection on the work of the Peter McVerry Trust, which provides homes and wraparound services as part of the Government’s ‘Housing First’ model.

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Bord Bia Bloom 2022 by Numbers

As the festival draws to a close, Bord Bia has released some of the event facts and figures from the last five days:

  • Over 110,000 visitors, including 15,000 children attended the festival.
  • The prestigious judging panel comprised of 15 Irish and international horticultural experts, who awarded more than 78 awards to show garden designers, amateur postcard garden designers; nurseries and floral artists.
  • Three new garden designers struck gold for the first time at Bord Bia Bloom.
  • There were over 1,200 potato plants in the Eat Well Garden.
  • Seven new products launched in the Bord Bia Food Village.
  • Over 10,000 Irish plants were sold in the Quality Mark Plant Village.
  • This year’s show featured 19 show gardens, nine postcard gardens and 17 nursery displays, over 80 food and drink producers and 130 retailers.
  • Almost 17,000 people availed of Bord Bia’s free Shuttle Bus to and from Bord Bia Bloom. 
  • More than 5,000 plants were left for safe keeping in the Plant Créche while their owners explored the festival.
  • Over 250 retail and foodservice buyers with a combined buying power of €20 billion met with 80 plus Irish food and drink companies at the Bord Bia trade breakfast.
  • 23 children took part in the first ‘Learn to Cook with Neven’ demonstration at the Quality Kitchen Stage.
  • A total of 3,800 people worked onsite over the five days, including 100 Bord Bia staff volunteers.
  • It will take 14 days to clear the Bord Bia Bloom site.

 

Amplifying the horticulture content at Bloom

In keeping with our Horticulture Marketing Strategy 2019 – 2021, and the Bloom strategy to place horticulture at the core of Bloom, the Horticulture team undertook a number of initiatives 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.

 

Easy Steps to Dream Gardens 2021 and at Bloom 2022

 

Bloom Dream Gardens- Jane McCorkellBloom Dream Gardens- Nicola Haines

Working with Bloom award winning garden designers, Irish plant nurseries and Irish garden retailers, Easy Steps to Dream Gardens an initiative designed to help the public to plant their own show garden at home was launched for Virtual Bloom 2021, providing a virtual activity to celebrate and highlight the event in its second virtual incarnation.

All Award Winning Bloom garden designers were canvassed resulting in 16 design submissions, shortlisted to 7. Nursery growers were invited to submit their availability lists across the season for consideration by the designers for inclusion in their plans, while garden centres were canvassed and invited to participate to promote the initiative with Point of Sale in their premises.

This project was developed with support across three internal teams, and multi specialist external agencies, requiring coordination and liaison across design, web, digital, print and communications.

A specialist agency was engaged to create a suite of 3 dimensional images and videos for each of the seven gardens, a second agency assisted with developing the downloadable Pdf’s for each garden design pack including full details / garden plan / planting plan & plant lists. This element was also utilised to develop a Trade information pack with details of all gardens and plant list which and sent out to nurseries as well as to 103 garden centres with their POS.

Dedicated and engaging Point of Sale was creatively displayed in 103 Garden Centres Nationwide, while a full support package was developed for participating garden designers, nurseries and garden centres including a Suite of Social Media assets, along with suggested content plan and distributed to all. This achieved excellent engagement from stakeholders across all areas of horticulture – Garden designers/Nurseries/Garden Centres with many sharing and posting the information on their own media platforms thus amplifying the campaign.

To build on this, and to encourage the public to engage with their gardens at home, as well as to demonstrate how the designs work in reality and how they suit the average sized garden, Bord Bia brought two of the Dream Gardens to life at Bloom 2022.  The Nature Enthusiast’s Garden by Jane McCorkell, and The Shared Spaces Family Garden by Nicola Haines.

This campaign has proven a huge success with both the industry and the public, resulting in more than 19,383 visits to the Dream Gardens section of the website alone and over 18,500 downloads of the garden designs and planting plans in the 12 months from June 2021 to June 2022.

Excellent media coverage was achieved in national and regional press (both trade and consumer) during 2021 and again in 2022, including two double page spreads in the Business Post and Sunday Times, The Irish Examiner and the Irish Times Business Pages, Irish Independent and the main body of the Irish Times, while a large number of national and regional radio interviews also took place, alongside a live interview with the two featured designers on RTE’s Bloom Special broadcast on Thursday 2nd June.

 

Let’s Grow Gardening Promotion

Let’s Grow is the overarching umbrella for all gardening promotion, and while the Dream Gardens took centre stage to amplify our focus on plant sales, there has been a dedicated social media campaign under the Let’s Grow banner with an emphasis on video and animated carousels of ‘how to tips’ being distributed to the near 20,000 Facebook following, and a focus on getting people into garden centres and buying Irish plants.

To enhance the impact Bord Bia substantially increased the funding for plants in the new season of Supergarden, ensuring that plants were a bigger focus of the gardens, highlighting the Quality Mark on plants, as well as a large investment in the plant village at Bloom, renamed the Quality Mark Plant village.

 

The Quality Mark Plant Village

The re-named Quality Mark Plant Village had a 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. 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 Arboretum Garden Centre and supported by Bord Bia.

Dates for 2023

Plans and preparations are already underway for Bord Bia Bloom 2023. Bord Bia has confirmed that the festival will take place from Thursday, June 1st to Monday June 5th. Many show garden designers, sponsors and exhibitors have already signed up. Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of the event, contact us to express your interest.