Back in Bloom

What a great start to the summer! Bord Bia Bloom returned to its rightful home at the heart of the Phoenix Park for the first time since 2019. In his opening speech at Ireland’s largest gardening festival, President Michael D. Higgins was effusive with admiration for the horticulture industry.

“When I look around the audience today, I see engaged citizens still full of wonder who are biodiversity’s greatest allies. As gardeners, horticulturalists and lovers of plants, you have an expertise we need, one that should be given more attention. It is you who will have witnessed how climate change and biodiversity loss are happening at an alarming rate.”

Horticulture Connected was in attendance, marveling at the stunning show gardens, reveling in the chance to meet friends old and new, and taking the time to browse the many products on sale and display. In this issue, Patricia Tyrell reports back from what was undoubtedly a grand return for Bloom, and we celebrate the magnificent show gardens with a festival photo gallery.

Celebrating the wild in our gardens was a central feature of both Bloom 2022 and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. At both events, top prizes were awarded to gardens that encouraged biodiversity and a move away from the more highly manicured winners of past years. At Chelsea, it was the ‘A Rewilding Britain Landscape’ garden that took the top prize, while at Bloom, the ‘National Dairy Council Sustainable Dairy Farm Garden’, and the ‘ALDI Sustainable For-est Garden’ took home gold and silver respectively in the medium sized garden categories. This transition to a more environmentally harmonious approach to gardening is celebrated by Patricia in her Bloom review, and by Noeleen Smyth in her article ‘Wild Inside’, which argues that we should just let it grow!

While the past few years have seen the horticulture industry affected by issues relating to the pandemic, including continued supply chain issues, and attempt to traverse the increasingly tricky terrain of Brexit, it is the building energy crisis that is foremost on our mind in this issue. Exacerbated by the hostilities in Ukraine, the energy crisis has highlighted the importance of renewable energy research, to both increase energy independence, and to ease our reliance on fossil fuel imports.

In this issue, we present well researched articles from Teagasc and the AIPH that delve into the energy issues affecting the horticulture industry, and present the data on alternatives that could replace or augment our outdated energy systems going forward. In particular, the Teagasc article ‘Energy Options in Horticulture’ is an invaluable resource for those in the Irish market interested in alternative energies like Solar PV, biomass heating systems, and heat pumps. The article lays out very clear data on the benefits and the grant aids that are making a move towards more environmentally friendly energy sources more attractive.

Environmental concerns are also pervasive in the retail sector. In this issue, Liam Kelly returns to encourage retailers to be more conscious about the environmental impact of the products they stock; Féidhlim Harty provides some timely guidance on tackling waste in your business, and TU Dublin student Aideen Loftus argues that there are more opportunities than challenges facing the Horticulture retail sector as a result of climate change. Thank you to our sponsors, advertisers, writers and most importantly to you our readers for your continued support. ✽