Bord Bia Bloom is inviting creative and ambitious gardeners to apply to design and deliver one of the magnificent show gardens at the heart of Bord Bia Bloom 2024. Ireland’s leading horticulture and food festival returns to Phoenix Park, Dublin from May 30th – June 3rd 2024.
Bord Bia Bloom continues to attract some of Ireland’s leading landscape and garden designers year after year. For 2024, organisers are also keen to attract applications from talented and experienced professionals who may have not yet considered taking part in the spectacular industry showcase.
Show Garden Design
In outlining the opportunity Bord Bia Bloom presents, seasoned show garden designer Alan Rudden, who has won eight gold medals for his garden designs at the festival said, “Bord Bia Bloom is an unbelievable platform that most other industries don’t have. If you have any idea percolating in your head, it gives you the ability to express yourself on a big blank canvas which is not in the real world and so it has no restraints. The whole process is amazing. To be given free rein to be able to express yourself and deliver a design you want to do. Where would you get that exposure or that stage in any other industry? That for me is the big draw.”
The showcase also provides show garden designers with an opportunity to further develop new skills or approaches to landscape and garden design. Nicola Haines, three-time gold medal-winning show garden designer said, “Bord Bia Bloom has allowed me to test new materials or explore new design areas which I might not be able to incorporate into my client work. It also allows you to focus on a theme or concept and justify the time researching it, which can only benefit future garden projects. Bloom is also a wonderful opportunity to meet with the public to see what they are interested in.”
Following its successful rollout in 2023, Bord Bia Bloom is also seeking applications for the ‘Cultivating Talent’ initiative which will offer financial support and 1:1 mentoring to help kick-start the career of one motivated show garden designer. The initiative has been designed to promote emerging garden and landscape designers and to encourage a pipeline of new talent into the industry.
The inaugural ‘Cultivating Talent’ winner in 2023 was Joe Eustace who currently combines studying for a degree in Landscape Architecture in University College Dublin with running his own business, Online Garden Designs. At 21 years of age, he is one of the youngest designers to have brought a show garden to Bord Bia Bloom.
Speaking about the experience, Joe said “I was following Bord Bia Bloom for years as a spectator as I had a huge interest in garden and landscape design but I would have always thought it was something that was above me. I heard about the Cultivating Talent initiative through my college network and going from a spectator to being involved has given me a huge boost as a designer. I would say to anyone thinking of it, apply, apply, apply -100% go for it!”
“It was a great experience. I learned so much being on-site and seeing how the experts were approaching their gardens. It allowed me to learn about the importance of producing a set of drawings that can be read and applied to the site, and the key differences between designing a show garden versus a client garden, which is where the 1:1 mentorship was invaluable.”
In addition to allowing show garden designers to express creativity and craftsmanship, Bord Bia Bloom offers social and business advantages for the show garden designers taking part.
According to Nicola Haines, “You can lead an isolated life as a landscape designer but Bord Bia Bloom provides a wonderful opportunity to get together with people who are facing the same challenges as you. It always offers a very social, tremendously supportive and encouraging atmosphere. Ireland is a small country and the fact that we have our own national garden show is something to be celebrated. It allows us to have a voice in the sector and be part of the conversation while getting our name out there.”
Speaking about the business benefits, Alan Rudden added, “There’s no doubt about it, people associate a certain level of quality with Bord Bia Bloom and it definitely adds another string to your bow when building your business profile. You get back what you put into anything. A show garden comes with a lot of hard work, but for me it is the foundation of where I’ve built everything from. The images lend themselves so well to social media platforms such as Instagram and have really helped build our brand. This should be a definite draw for any aspiring designers.”
The closing date for applications for show garden designers and for the Cultivating Talent initiative is Monday 20th November 2023. For more information visit www.bordbiabloom.com/participate.
Bord Bia Bloom takes place from May 30th– 3rd June 2024.