After a two year Covid 19 imposed hiatus, Bloom returned to the Phoenix Park, Dublin in 2022. My garden for Woodie’s was entitled ‘Seomra Eile’. The garden aimed to showcase a range of easily achievable, head turning built features and planting which are suitable for a compact suburban garden.
My Bloom 2019 garden for Woodie’s was ‘Connectivity’. The garden aimed to showcase various means by which we might get our children off their screens and out into the back garden.
In any discussion on climate change you will hear the expression ‘our children and our children’s children’. You will inevitably hear reference made to the idea that we are merely the custodians of the planet who will hand it off to successive generations. To my mind successive generations are not well placed to inherit that responsibility.
They are not well placed because they have no empathy, they have no empathy because there is no familiarity and there is no familiarity because there is no engagement. This garden is all about promoting that engagement, developing and nurturing connections to the realm beyond the patio door.
My Bloom 2018 garden was ‘Moving Statues to Marriage Equality’ for Woodie’s to mark the passing of thirty years since the opening of their first store in Ireland. We attempted to convey this by various means; horticulturally by dividing the planting into three zones – past present and future. The past referred to the nineteen eighties and nineties and consisted of shrubs and species synonymous with the tastes and trends of those periods. The present zone was planted in the prairie style of mixed herbaceous perennials and evergreen grasses that has been popular over the past decade. The future was split into an arid and a fertile area, the suggestion here being that the future we have is determined by how we act now in relation to the challenge of climate change, shifting rainfall patterns and rising global temperatures. Each zone featured a piece of commissioned ceramic sculpture to reinforce the theme. We also used the backdrop to present a pictorial narrative of pivotal points in the social and cultural development of the country over the past thirty years, from the religious fervour of our recent past to a more secular present.
My Bloom 2017 was ‘On Cloud Canine’ for Dogs Trust. The premise of the concept was to showcase a range of ideas which can potentially be incorporated into a garden which is to be shared with a dog. There is a widely held perception that if you have a garden you cannot have a dog and if you already have a dog then you cannot create a pleasing garden. Our Bloom 2017 Show Garden attempted to counter these perceptions. We showcased a range of ideas such as sniffer trails, sand digging area, agility play frame, puzzle pole, tunnel and mound, sacrificial toilet area, outdoor shower and grooming station, covered canopy. I was awarded a Silver Medal for the garden.
At Bloom 2015 I designed and built ‘Non Forsit’ for which I was awarded the Silver Gilt Medal. The garden was a modified version of a ‘real world’ garden which I built for the Brett family in Monasterevin in Co. Kildare and which featured in the RTE Television series ‘Super Garden’ in 2015.