Bloom in the Park 2018

Fingal's entry to Bloom 2018: The Greener Way for Fingal 

Bord Bia’s Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family festival will take place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from Thursday, May 31 to Monday, June 4. Now a key feature of the June Bank Holiday Weekend, Bloom attracted more than 100,000 people last year. Bord Bia’s annual showcase of the best of Ireland’s horticulture and food industry will once again feature a range of impressive show gardens, food features and family entertainment.

This year our large garden category exhibit named The Greener Way for Fingal features a section of a future greenway route that incorporates a sustainable drainage system (SuDS), natural play features for children, nature friendly planting and seating for passive recreation.  The garden was designed in collaboration with the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown (ITB) and built in collaboration with a Local Training Initiative part of the Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board (DDETB) located in Bremore Castle, Balbriggan. The theme is based on the Green Infrastructure Objectives in Fingal County Development Plan of creating a cycle/pedestrian network that encompasses the proposed Fingal Way and at the same time maximising the use, accessibility and attractiveness.

Bloom Build

This year’s theme highlights the changing form and function of public open spaces as we adapt to the impacts of climate change such as flooding, loss of pollinating insects and the need to create a Fingal cycle/pedestrian network to facilitate sustainable transport. The garden contains a central swale which functions as a flood storage feature by holding water during times of high rainfall and releasing it slowly over a period of time. The swale contains two dam walls which separate three different level storage areas within the swale.  Parallel with the swale is a metal grid walkway to provide a durable surface ensuring the greenway is useable all year round. Natural play features includes stepping stones, boulders and a fallen tree trunk are included for children to explore. The garden has also been designed with pollinator insects in mind with the use of native wildflower species in the meadow grass and insect hotels in the gabion walls. Seating is provided at both ends of the garden with a five metre long oak bench carved with images of bees and butterflies. At the other end a 2m diameter concrete ring creates a visually impressive ornamental feature. The use of this concrete ring as a seat highlights how traditional pipe drainage systems have become defunct in many situations and replaced with sustainable urban drainage system landscape features such as swales.

Bloom Build 2

The materials for the garden have all been sourced or manufactured in Ireland. The trees and plants have come from Irish nurseries, stone from Irish quarries and the oak bench from an Irish woodland. Many of the materials will be reused including the stepping stones, bench and cut stone slabs for the restoration of Bremore Castle, Balbriggan.

Bloom top

The planting is naturalistic in keeping with the theme of a sustainable greenway. The trees species – Betula (birch) and Tilia (lime) are commonly used in landscaping public open spaces with Salix (willow)an important pollinator friendly tree species. The willows and grass for the swale were salvaged materials from a construction site in north Fingal. A number of herbaceous flowering perennials and tall grasses give the garden a range of textures and colour.

The garden build commenced on site in the Phoenix Park on Thursday, May 3 and takes over three weeks to complete. Fingal County Council works closely with the Department of Horticulture at ITB for the past seven years, providing a training ground for their students in Fingal County Council’s parks. 


Bloom in the Park 2018 takes place in the Phoenix Park from May 31- June 4. Tickets and further information are available at: