Bloom in the Park 2013
I mentioned our Bank Holiday weekend was a bit full in my last post and the annual garden festival, Bloom in the Park, held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, was a definite highlight.
In the weeks leading up to Bloom I saw a lot about it on Twitter. Irish writers, chefs and foodies whom I follow and respect were expressing their excitement, talking about which artisan food producers would be featuring their products this year, which cheese would come out on top in the annual Irish Cheese Awards and, of course, the gorgeous show gardens that would be on display.
Me? I like all of the above. They’re kind of my thing. I figured Bloom was something I didn’t want to miss out on.
Luckily, Patrick got offered two free tickets from his work. We were sorted!
Then, I saw on Twitter that GIY (Grow It Yourself International) were recruiting volunteers, so I signed up. GIY is a movement that I think a lot of. I use their website and growing calendar as my main gardening resource in Ireland and have been looking forward to joining the Waterford group (there are GIY groups all over Ireland).
Also, let’s face it, I’m at home all day carrying around a big belly. No kitchen would hire me in this state, nor would any marketing department, knowing I’d be going on maternity leave in two short months. I’ve been getting a little bit shack-happy and wanted to meet some like-minded people. I was delighted when they contacted me and arranged to come in on Monday to help out.
I had such a great time with GIY! They had raised beds set up with pre-grown veggies that were strategically placed around their tent. There were also different stations – one for kids, one for growing seedlings, one for composting (you get the idea). With this set up it was so easy to engage passers-by because they all stopped to admire the vegetable gardens. I loved chatting with gardeners – amateur and professional – from all over Ireland; exchanging tips and learning more about what grows well here and what doesn’t.
The GIY folk were such lovely people and I really appreciate them letting me hang around for the day!
In between volunteering, Patrick and I wandered through the (very crowded) show garden area, browsed through the many gardening kiosks, had a few bites to eat and did some shopping at the Artisan Food Market.
We had some lovely spit-roasted Adare Farm pork with apple sauce and roasted potatoes. We also brought home (aside from a few plants) some Inch House black and white pudding, some Cooleeney Farm Cheese (both from Tipperary! We’re so proud.) and an intense chimichurri marinade from Tully B’s.
Aside from minor hiccups which included but were not limited to: getting lost in Phoenix Park (it’s 707 hectares, one of the largest enclosed parks in any European city), trying to find a parking spot and being slightly disappointed by the prepared food offerings, Patrick and I had an amazing day at Bloom in the Park. It was warm and sunny, there were great people everywhere and the whole thing had a lovely family-friendly, egalitarian feel to it. Bring on next year.