Budding brilliance: Two garden designers announced as winners of Bord Bia Bloom ‘Cultivating Talent’ initiative

Winning designers have opportunity to design and deliver Show Gardens at the much-loved flowers, food and family event 

Today, Thursday 11th April 2024 Bord Bia Bloom has announced two winners of its Cultivating Talent initiative sponsored by Westland, which aims to support emerging talent within Irish horticulture. Sarah Buckley from Dublin and Nòra Tombor, originally from Hungary and now living in Dublin were both selected as garden designers that will have the opportunity to design and deliver a prestigious Show Garden at Bord Bia Bloom 2024. The winners will join a host of new and returning Bloom Show Garden designers that are developing gardens based on themes of health, children, sustainability, heritage and much more! Bord Bia Bloom will return to its home in the Phoenix Park, Dublin for five days of fun across the June Bank Holiday weekend (May 30th – June 3rd). Now in its 18th year, the flowers, food and family festival expects to welcome over 100,000 visitors to this year’s event.

Cultivating Talent supported by Westland Horticulture  

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Cultivating Talent programme, Bord Bia Bloom has expanded the scope of the initiative and offered not one, but two places to promising garden designers. New for this year, the programme is supported by Westland Horticulture, a leading supplier of horticultural products for thirty years across Ireland and the UK. Cultivating Talent offers financial support and 1:1 mentoring to first-time Bloom designers in order to encourage a pipeline of new talent into the industry.

Kerrie Gardiner, Show Garden and Horticulture Content Manager Bord Bia Bloom added: “We are delighted to continue to nurture new talent in the Irish horticultural industry with this initiative. After the response to last year’s launch we were thrilled to be able to open it up to more applicants and we have two really strong designers coming to this year’s show. Through programmes like Cultivating Talent, barriers that might traditionally prevent emerging designers from applying to showcase at events such as Bloom are removed; and with that, creativity, talent and new perspectives are allowed to shine. We believe that both Nóra and Sarah’s gardens will impress visitors and will complement the wider portfolio of show gardens on display”

Sarah Buckley is based in Dublin and has a background working in biological sciences and related fields. Having always had a love for gardening, she recently obtained a Diploma with distinction in Garden Design. Sarah’s garden “Mind Yourself” centres on the theme of mental health, exploring the positive effect that plants and nature can have on personal wellbeing. The garden aims to provide a nurturing space for the visitor to take a moment to ‘mind themselves’; to take time out to reconnect with nature, with themselves, or with others. Sustainable design will feature throughout the garden, with an emphasis on plants and less hard landscaping or structural elements. Commenting on the announcement, Sarah said: “As someone that doesn’t work in the horticultural sector, it feels surreal that my garden design will be featured at Bloom! As a keen gardener, I really value the peace and tranquillity that the outdoors brings to my life. Anyone that enjoys plants, and spending time in nature understands the benefits it has for our wellbeing and I hope that this will resonate with visitors at this year’s event”.

Nòra Tombor is a Landscape Architect based in Dublin. In her career journey, Nora has been passionate about creating spaces on various scales that address the challenges resulting from modern lifestyles, disconnection from nature and a rapidly changing climate. Nora’s winning garden design ‘Rewild’ celebrates the ability of human diversity to foster resilient and sustainable environments. The garden will be an immersive space that encourages visitors to rethink the traditional perceptions of gardening and landscaping, emphasising the connected relationship between cultural and human diversity, and ecological well-being. Speaking about the garden, Nora said, “I’m excited to bring this garden concept to life in the Phoenix Park festival site. The transformation of what will be a sparse space in the beginning, into a rich, biodiverse area will hopefully serve as a metaphor for the growth and enrichment that diversity and inclusion can bring to our societies and ecosystems. I would love for visitors to feel inspired and informed when they see my garden and that it can encourage conversations about building a harmonious and sustainable future together”

Show Gardens 
Event organisers are currently finalising the line-up for the vibrant show gardens which are one of the event’s most popular attractions. The show garden area features some of Ireland’s leading horticultural talent who entertain visitors through imaginative story-telling and creative concepts that address important local and global issues, while inspiring people to get creative in their own gardens at home. Building on its continued success,  Bord Bia’s Easy Steps to Dream Gardens will once again have a show garden at Bloom that is designed for visitors to be able to replicate in their own outdoor space with ease.

Bord Bia Bloom takes place Thursday May 30th – Monday June 3rd 2024 at the Phoenix Park, Dublin, with the show open from 9am – 6pm daily.

Tickets are on sale and priced from €25.  Up to two children aged 12 and under go free with every adult ticket. For more information see bordbiabloom.com

Note: Media accreditation will open on April 15th 2024 on www.bordbiabloom.com

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