Award winning Co. Laois garden designer returns to Bord Bia’s Bloom

Brian Burke’s ‘Moving Statues to Marriage Equality’ show garden to tell the story of Ireland’s social and cultural evolution

Eclectic mix of stunning show gardens, tantalising food features and fun for all the family at
Bord Bia’s Bloom Thursday May 31st – Monday June 4th 2018


Award winning Co. Laois garden designer will return to Bord Bia’s Bloom this June Bank Holiday weekend to tell the story of Ireland’s social and cultural evolution in his ‘Moving Statues to Marriage Equality’ show garden, sponsored by Woodie’s. The five day event which returns to the Phoenix Park Dublin from 31st May – 4th June 2018 showcases the best of Ireland’s horticulture and food industry and will feature 20 spectacular show gardens; endless garden and floral features, installations and talks; more than 100 food producers; 25 live cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland’s best loved chefs and a host of activities and entertainment for all the family.

Created to depict a shift in mood over the 30 years since Woodie’s opened its first store in Ireland, Brian Burke’s show garden comprises three zones: past, present and future, each of which features a commissioned piece of sculpture.  The past refers to religious fervour; the present depicts progressive secularism; while the future represents the omnipresent threat posed by climate change.  A photographic backdrop will chronicle pivotal points in history over the last 30 years, while a 20-metre long rill abutting the backdrop will symbolise a journey of continuity, fluidity and coherence and the natural unfolding of a newly assertive society, despite periodic difficulties.

Show Gardens
The jewel in the crown of Bloom by Bord Bia are the show gardens created by leading garden designers worth some €1 million (accounting for plants, materials, sponsorship and labour). These magnificent works of art have become an engaging, colourful platform for many organisations to communicate strong health and charitable messages. For 2018 these include ‘Moments in Time: Dementia Understand Together’ a multi-sensory garden for dementia sufferers; ‘A SunSmart Garden’ to raise awareness of skin cancer by the Marie Keating Foundation designed by the UK based ‘Hairy Gardeners’; the ‘Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries Garden’ which caters for people of varying abilities; the ‘No Limits – GOAL’s Garden For Women’ which highlights the issue of gender inequality in the developing world; and Trocaire’s ‘Peaceful Resistance’ garden will represent the plight of Human Rights and Environmental Defenders.

Speaking at the launch, Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia said, “This will be the 12th year that Bord Bia has hosted Bloom in the Phoenix Park and we are incredibly proud of how the event has developed and evolved over the years. If offers a platform for some of Ireland’s most acclaimed garden designers to showcase their skills, creativity and imagination in developing spectacular outdoor spaces which continue to captivate our visitors. It also offers our many hardworking food producers, plant nurseries and food and drinks companies the opportunity to engage directly with the consumers of their products in a relaxed and informal setting. And best of all it offers a great day out with something for everyone!”

In a nod to popular culture, Universal Studios will host a Greek-style garden inspired by ABBA songs to celebrate the cinema launch of Mamma Mia, Here we go again! and Woodies will celebrate 30 years in Ireland with a garden which chronicles pivotal points in Ireland’s social and cultural evolution in the ‘Moving Statues to Marriage Equality’ garden. The challenges of urban living and the need for access to outdoor space and cycle routes will be explored by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s ‘DLR-Fernhill – An Exercise in Sustainability’ garden and ‘The Greener Way for Fingal’ by Fingal County Council. While BIM’s ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’ will tell the story of the journey from tide to table of the fish and seafood that surround and inhabit our island.


In addition to the show gardens, there will be a large number of floral installations and gardening features including 13 postcard gardens designed by community groups; the Floral & Nursery Pavilion which will be brimming with flowers and plants from more than 30 of the very best plant nurseries in Ireland; the Garden Expert Stage and AOIFA Floral Art Stage; a Botanical & Floral Art Exhibition; and the Office of Public Works’ Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden located at the centre of the site, allows visitors to learn about the design and layout of this traditional garden structure.

For 2018, the centrepiece of the Floral & Nursery Pavilion will be a ‘living’ installation designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann to communicate to visitors the role of ‘Origin Green’, the world’s first food and drink sustainability programme operating on a national scale, created by Bord BiaThe semi-circular walls made from wheatgrass, barley, cress and micro-greens will enclose a miniature town to communicate the role Origin Green plays at community level. The purpose grown feature will be dripping with water throughout the event and, as 90% of the materials are natural, it will decompose within days.

Food Features

The Bord Bia Food Village will be a bustling culinary hub showcasing the very best of Irish food and drink. This will include more than 100 Irish food producers; the Bord Bia Quality Kitchen Stage which will host cookery demonstrations from some of Ireland’s best loved chefs including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Paul Flynn, Oliver Dunne, Rory O’Connell, JP McMahon and Roz Purcell, Gary O’Hanlon and Adrian Martin; and the Bloom Inn featuring some of Ireland’s best craft brewers and distillers;

Bord Bia’s ‘7 A day’ under the Rainbow at Bloom feature will highlight the role that fruit and vegetables play in a healthy balanced diet and offer visitors advice on how using the colours of the rainbow can make that target achievable; and the GIY Zone featuring the Food Matters Stage will host daily workshops, discussion and debateThere will also be a range of tasty fare available for visitors throughout the site including at the BBQ Bliss area; the Country Crest Food Fayre restaurant and Bistro Bloom which sit-down table service, a seafood bar and a café.

Craft Features & Art Installations

The Irish Craft Village supported by Design & Craft Council of Ireland will present a selection of work from some of Ireland’s most creative designers and makers, as well as a series of in-person craft demonstrations. In addition, the ‘Sculpture in the Park’ feature garden will showcase new and previously unseen work by more than 40 artists, offering visitors an opportunity to walk through and interact with some of the best of Irish outdoor art in a garden-style setting. The installation will feature some of Ireland’s leading artists including Orla De Brí, Stephanie Huss, Bob Quinn, Anna Campbell, Ray Delaney and Liam Butler.

Family Fun
A number of show gardens are also sure to capture the imagination of children and ‘young at heart’ visitors. These include ‘The Enchanted Wood’ garden designed by Peter O’Brien created around a Dr. Seuss inspired children’s treehouse; ‘The Sanctuary Nurture Garden’ which offers a sunken outdoor classroom created for The Phoenix Park Specialist School by Dominic O’Donohoe and an ‘Upside Down Garden’ created by Mark O’Loughlin which offers a simple urban terrace with a difference – the ground is the sky and the footpath and lawn are overhead!

The ‘Budding Bloomers’ children’s area will host a vibrant mixture of family friendly features to keep children of all ages entertained and active in an effort to play, learn and grow at Bloom. This includes Margaret’s Fun on the Farm Kids Zone; Paddy’s Plot where children can learn how to grow a sunflower; ‘Away with the Fairies’ which will demonstrate how to make your own fairy garden; and features from Children’s Books Ireland (CBI); Clap Handies; Amnesty International; Billie Bubbles; Scientific Sue; Physics Busting and Food Dudes.

There will also be some 200 retail exhibitors (for shopping), the YouBloom music stage, the Debenhams Fashion Stage and a children’s stage.


Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster and can also be purchased on the gate. Ticket prices vary from €16 – €25 and children under 16 go free.

For more information visit or follow Bloom on Facebook and Twitter @bloominthepark.

Returning sponsors for this year’s event include FBD Insurance, Irish Independent and the Office of Public Works.

Bloom 2018 Show Gardens

Large Gardens

  • A Different Outlook – designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann, sponsored by Savills
  • DLR Fernhill ‘An Exercise in Sustainability’ – designed by Ruairí Ó Dúlaing and Nicola Haines, sponsored by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
  • FBD at Bloom 2018 – designed by Niall Maxwell and Marina Andreeva, sponsored by FBD Insurance
  • Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin Garden – designed by Anthony Ryan and Kieran Dunne, sponsored by Kildare Growers
  • Life is Rosé by Santa Rita ‘Living la Vida 120 – designed by Alan Rudden, sponsored by Santa Rita
  • The Greener Way for Fingal – designed by Fingal County Council and Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, sponsored by Fingal County Council and Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown
  • The Sustainable Seafood Garden – designed by Andrew Christopher Dunne, sponsored by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)
  • Fruit Juice Matters Garden – designed by Kevin Dennis, sponsored by Fruit Juice Matters

Medium Gardens

  • Moving Statues to Marriage Equality– designed by Brian Burke, sponsored by Woodie’s
  • Peaceful Resistance – designed by Barry Kavanagh, sponsored by Trocaire
  • MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN – designed by Tunde Szentesi, sponsored by Universal Pictures International Ireland
  • Marie Keating Foundation SunSmart Garden – designed by Peter Cowell and Monty Richardson (AKA The Hairy Gardeners), sponsored by the Marie Keating Foundation / MSD
  • Moments in Times – Dementia: Understand Together Garden – designed by Dementia Friendly Garden (DFG) Team, sponsored by Dementia: Understand Together Campaign
  • Super Garden Winner, sponsored by Woodies and Cuprinol (designer revealed at show opening)
  • The Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries Garden in association with Solus Bulbs – designed by Linda McKeown, sponsored by Enable Ireland
  • The Sanctuary Nurture Garden – designed by Dominic O’Donohue, sponsored by Sanctuary Synthetics

Small Gardens

  • No Limits – GOAL’s Garden For Women – designed by Cornelia Raftery, sponsored by GOAL
  • Growing Shed Garden – designed by Melanie Webb
  • The Enchanted Wood – designed by Peter O’Brien, sponsored by Plan Eden
  • The Sanctuary Upside Down Garden – designed by Mark O’Loughlin, sponsored by Sanctuary Synthetics

Feature Garden

  • Sculpture in the Park Bloom 2018 – designed by Ruth Liddle and Ken Folan, sponsored by The Kildare Gallery at Carton House


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